At The End Of The Road

A search for the next J&K Rolling poetry reading venture for myself and fellow Dunedin poet, Jenny Powell, resulted in us making an approach to the Glenorchy library. We were intrigued by the fact that the little library was still in operation – although as we found out, a larger more modern one operates alongside.

Pleased as punch to be able to have a look inside this little library full of old books safely stored behind perspex

Lesley the Glenorchy librarian responded positively to our suggestion that we make Glenorchy our next rural destination. She in turn got in touch with Katherine (who in true Glenorchy fashion, just happened to be her neighbour) the manager of the newly-established, environmentally sustainable Eco Retreat, Camp Glenorchy, suggesting this as a possible venue for the reading. Katherine very kindly agreed.

The Humboldt Room was our venue and what a treat to read in such a beautiful space, completely built from recycled timber, with stone-edged windows looking out on to the Humboldt range. I’d encourage you to read more about the Eco Retreat. Here is the link with more information about this unique place.

The whole interior of the room is made up of recycled wood

But I am getting ahead of myself …

On the way to Glenorchy we passed through Earnscleugh, which because of her family connections to this area, is dear to Jenny’s heart. We stopped to take photos – the air warm and fragrant with purple clouds of wild thyme.

We were lucky to have a perfect spring day for the journey and after passing through Queenstown we were soon travelling alongside Lake Wakatipu and with spectacular views of lake and mountains.

Jenny took this photo looking towards the head of the lake where Glenorchy is situated

The reading was attended by a good number of locals, some of whom with a little encouragement, treated us to their own poetry. This is always a highlight for J&K. It’s always a delight to hear the poems that come to the surface. Each one a gem.

After our readings, there was a chance for a relaxed discussion about writing, publishing and poetry in general. Some interesting questions were asked. Just a few examples: ‘Are people farther north interested in poetry of the south?’ ‘Do you have to work at writing your poetry, or does it just flow?’ ‘Is it easy to get published?’ There seemed to be a bit of interest in starting up a local poetry group. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Jenny took this photo of a Glenorchy resident out for a walk with horse and baby. As you do. Well, in Glenorchy you do anyway.

Naturally enough, living in such beauteous surroundings, the locals at the reading appeared to be very content and happy to be living in Glenorchy. They really don’t want anyone else to know how great it is. By rights, I really should try to keep my descriptions muted and low key. An impossible task.

When we remarked at how creative and artistic they all seemed to be, someone quipped that it’s because it’s the end of the road. “That’s where you find eccentrics, at the end of the road”.

I wouldn’t call Jenny an eccentric, but here she is at the end of the road

When we headed back to our accommodation, we walked down the middle of the road – just like a local. The surrounding peace and nearness of the mountains, a tangible presence.

The next morning we did in fact go to the real end of the road – all the way to Paradise. I kid you not. That is the name of the place. And what’s more, to reach there you drive across a ford called the River Jordan.

A J&K Rolling adventure always features a horse or horses at some stage …

And our Glenorchy adventure was no exception.

I was struck by the green I could see when I turned my back to the mountain views. As you might expect, turning your back on mountains, is hard to do. However it didn’t go unrewarded.

Five days later, looking back on our trip to Glenorchy, it all seems like a dream. A remarkably splendid dream. But it was not a dream. It was real. A real privilege. A real treat. Thank you Glenorchy. Thank you Lesley the Librarian (and your adorable dog, Blaze) and Katherine the Ko-ordinator for your welcome and support. One day I trust, we will be back.