My wife and I had the opportunity to finally visit with Barbara in Hanmer Springs. I've known Barbara for several years, but never connected for a social visit despite an 18 month period of good intentions. Taking time to get to know new people should not be such a difficult task, nor should it be a low priority in the regular schedule of life. Note to self: people are more important than chores.
We arrived in Hanmer for morning tea and a visit with Barbara and her husband. Hugh disappeared for duties as the patron of a rugby club and left Barbara, my wife and I to have a free day in Hanmer Springs. The general intention was to get a tour from a bonafide local. I've visited the tourist city a number of times, but always did the tourist things. Barbara proceeded to take us around to her favorite photo spots, most of which I required a prior oath of secrecy! I made note of some GPS coordinates and then enjoyed our picnic lunch by the river.
The real treat came after lunch. We drove to meet the current owner of Barbara's old farm in the foothills just west of town. The land is currently used as a business offering horse riding tours. After a good catch up between the ladies who have collectively owned the land for nearly 20 years, we were given permission to drive up to the tops. I was unaware at the time, but Barbara had not been up here since they sold the property. It was interesting to see her looking for familiar landmarks while taking in many of the changes. She was telling us (more herself I think) about where the fences used to be, the old 4wd track was overgrown and how much she enjoyed it up there.
After making some photos of her own, I dropped the bad news for Barbara that she was going to be on the other side of the lens for me. I plonked her right in with a lone tree that had been noted as one of her favorites on the property. She appeared to be enjoying the fond memories.