The Coromandel Eco Dream
Greeting Sarah Bradley and Tony Haycock, I would just like to pass on my regards to Steve Hale who wrote Coromandel - Living the Eco Dream in the #52 issue (Oct/Nov 2013).
Not so sure about this eco dream bit: It’s damn hard work being a kindly friend to ‘mother nature’!
I would like to gently correct just a couple of things in Steve’s nicely flowing article.
Plans for a local supermarket modernisation and expansion have not been scuttled; Foodstuffs’ new enlarged Four Square store is going ahead despite quite a lot of objection. The problem is simply that this is to be on the wrong side of the main street causing traffic nightmares at the west end of our downtown due to restricted access from State Highway 25, the main road from Thames. Otherwise it will be an asset to the entire district. Were it to be located on the south side of Wharf road, presently a jumble of parking, garages etc, access off SH 25 would be direct.
I came to live in Coromandel from Auckland in 1961 at age 26, after having graduated from AUC, to try teaching. That it not was a disaster is common knowledge; I used teaching as an excuse to get established in the district in order to become a full-time stoneware potter, the first ’Kiwi-born’ one ever to do so. (The late Mirek Smisek of Nelson, a Czech, beat me by a few years). Driving Creek Potteries, supported by the railway is the longest surviving handcraft pottery studio/workshop in the country, another thing that makes Coromandel Town distinctive.
During our interview (when was it please?) I made Steve a cup in my studio using an old immersion heater in one of my mugs. Nowdays you cannot buy the good old quick immersion heater – I source my collection from secondhand shops. They’re marvellous, a cup of boiling water in two minutes! And, what’s more, the mug or teapot gets heated gently and evenly without the thermal shock that happens to a pot when boiling water from a jug is poured in. So… a finely made stoneware teapot will last a lifetime using an immersion heater. Trouble is, people forget to turn them off, the water boils away then the thing would glow red hot and set the kitchen bench and then the house on fire! It’s never happened to me. Presumably this is why they are banned.
Also please, could I interest you in the subject of road versus rail in this country, hoping that it is not too sociopolitical for you to delve into, yet a very important issue for this coming election. As an energetic rail advocate, rather than a ‘railfan’, I have done much writing on this theme including its effects on the environment.
And… you can tell Steve that this lefthander has no interest in rugby whatsoever or competitive sports in general
PS. I must have a crack at the work ‘quirky’ on page 50, centre column. Steve describes my railway as quirky. Well actually it is a very serious example of civil engineering which recently received a certificate of recognition by IPENZ (Institute of Professional Engineering NZ). Cheer Barry Brickell ED. Hi Barry and thanks for your letter. Congratulations on the certificate from IPENZ. As a travel magazine we are unlikely to write an article which debates rail versus road, however, I did do a story on the amazing golf cart rail ride between Taumarunui and New Plymouth, so we are big fans of rail journeys here at NZTODAY.