Last Friday, I cajoled my family in to a trip to the Whale Fossil at Milburn and then to visit Milton, which is about 1 hour down the main highway.
It was a misty, Scottish sort of day, and my 9yo was reluctant to say the least...."is there a skateboard/scooter park?", "where are we going?", "Why are we going to....". Those of you with offspring will understand, and those without may have nieces and nephews and can imagine a conversation along these lines.
Well, the Whale Fossil Lookout at Milburn Lime Quarry is amazing. As the name suggests there is a lookout and you can see all the way to Dunedin - well almost. There is a stunning view of Lake Waihola and the Sinclair Wetlands. At the lookout is a display of pictures of the quarry going back to the turn of the century before last, with men wearing hats and carrying shovels, small trains specially designed to pull wagons of lime and the like. There is also a display (carefully protected) of some amazing fossils found in the quarry and carefully excavated by the Geology Department at the University of Otago. My daughter was amazed that the top of the hill - the quarry pit, used to be at the bottom of the sea!!
Despite not doing very much at the lookout, we were all very hungry and set the controls of Avie our, family traveling wagon towards Milton, only to be distracted momentarily by a sign saying "Garage Sale" immediately beside the turnoff to the quarry. Half an hour later we were debating the merits of a St John Ambulance Caravan for sale which we imagined parked in our quarter acre paradise!!
Cafe Lola provided us with much needed sustenance and I have to say that the cheese rolls were exceptionally tasty. Across the road was one of those antique shops which you feel compelled to enter even though you know you cannot afford to spend anything. My family departed after about 1 minute concerned about the possibility of breakage or boredom. I navigated amongst the un-exceptional antique furniture towards a display of fine furs only to have my path to the jewelry counter blocked by a local chatting to the store owner. Neither seemed interested in me - so I left in disgust.
On exiting the (w)antique store (sorry only NZ readers may get that joke) I made a bee-line for the Salvation Army Store. As a relatively serious thrifter, I know that if invited "out the back" to peruse items which are not yet in the store, you have made it. As I scanned through some vintage patterns, I chatted to the two lovely ladies who were going through the recent stock. One held up a purple, yellow and orange hibiscus print dress and was possibly about to say "I would not be seen dead in this" when I gasped - OH MY GOD that is GORGEOUS! Alas, it was a size 20 and with a pleated skirt there was no chance I could modify it to suit my needs. That was when the door opened, well, the flycurtain was pulled aside and I was invited to look "in the back". Oh Reader I could have moved in, and made myself at home :-)
I restrained myself to two polyester dresses @$3.50, seven sewing patterns @ 50 cents each and a cute kitten vase. Photos of the patterns below and of the other treasures to appear soon!