It was time to change the clocks on Saturday night, as “Daylight Saving” was starting. We turned the clocks forward one hour before we went to bed, hence the saying, “Spring Forward” to remind everyone which way to alter their clocks. Getting an hour’s less sleep wouldn’t necessary be a bother on Sunday morning, but we had to be up and out the door for our trip over the Rimutaka Hill to Featherston.
Featherston is famous for being the home of the last remaining Fell locomotive in the world. In it’s time, engine H199 shown in the “First Stop Featherston” sign was one of six engines especially designed for use on the Rimutaka Incline railway. The locos climbed gradients as steep as 1 in 13. Englishman John Barraclogh Fell designed a system of using four grip wheels on a raised centre rail for added traction, and the centre rail was also used for braking. For 77 years these plucky little engines laboured up and down the steep gradient, pulling passengers and freight behind them.
But we were not in Featherston to visit the Fell Engine Museum, but to catch up with our SLG friends for a day out in the Spring sunshine. After a leisurely lunch in a new local cafe, we piled in our cars and drove to Martinborough. The town was named after Irish immigrant John Martin, and the central square and streets were laid out in a Union Jack pattern. The surrounding street names such as Venice, Suez and New York were inspired by a world tour taken by John Martin.
Just across the road from the square is the historic Martinborough Hotel. This grand old building has been around since the 1880s and I was very keen to take a peek in the doors. No, not to sip an ale, or a glass of one of the award winning Martinborough wines, but because a photo of my great-grandfather James Green hung on the wall of the bar. But sadly it was no longer there. The young bar maid told me that the rooms were being repainted, and all the photos of old local identities had been taken down. Could I see the old photos?, I asked. No, they were safely stored away, was the reply. Perhaps they were, or perhaps they were deemed to old fashioned to hang back on the walls, who knows.
The town was busy with people out and about lunching, checking out the shops, or enjoying an ice-cream in the sunshine. Some of the shops had these handy “dog parking stations” to keep the pet dogs safely tethered while the owners were inside spending their money.
We came across a three wheeler motor bike which was attracting a lot of envious glances. This BRP trike was brand new, we were reliably informed, and quite different from the one front wheel and two back wheel version that comedian Billy Connelly likes to ride.
We had a very pleasant day’s outing and finished up back in Featherston at our hosts home for afternoon tea, before heading back home over the hill again.