What does a pipe maker do when he goes to another country.
The "Other Country" was Australia.. Queensland and Northern NSW to be exact. The occasion was the annual conference of the Australian Anthroposophical Society, and the place was the Steiner School on Mullumbimby.
Before the conference there was a short excursion. Around a dozen of us went into the bush on the border area between Q'land and NSW. The country is hilly, with ranges rising to 1000M at times. Immediately crossing the border we entered a National park. There are many national parks in NZ with magnificent trees to admire. Here was the same. Not one tree, to my knowledge, was the same as the ones we have in NZ, but the overall impression was the same. However there had been a dry "wet-season" in this part of Australia and it was dry underfoot. There was still underground moisture. The forest had seen to that.
We camped above the gum-line. This is the "line" above which no gums grow. What magnificent trees they had here!!! These trees were different from the NZ trees. They were taller. The kept going up where NZ trees cluster and branch out. How I would love to have some of these woods to turn.
The night was below zero, and I had not enough warmth in my bag to keep me warm. At 4am [6am to my body clock.] I had had enough. I got up to tend the fire. I was warmer now than before. Soon I was joined by two, then three, the quite quickly six. For the rest of the week I got some ribbing about the 'early' start. We set of about 5.30 for the lookout to watch the sunrise. Magnificent view of the Caldera and Mt Warning. The wind was execrable. It blew very cold and very bitterly. I went down to the cars before the sunrise, as I had had enough.
During the conference I demonstrated my pipes and sold one by conference end. Not inspiring. However I had given away four pipes to people who had done things for me. Beautiful ones they were too. Two from GORSE, One from Agonis, and one from Pohutukawa. Three books of pipe music also found their way into the world.
The end result was great.
On the last day I spent the morning at my hosts tidying a large clump of Bambusa Vulgaris Bicolor. Beautiful bamboo. But it tends to stick out little branches from the lower nodes. They harden to "Iron Spikes" after a few years. They all went. Any branches up to reach height were also trimmed. Then the trimmings were cut into foot long lengths. It left a small tidy pile. The bamboo looked much better. My way of thanks to some good people.
I reflected on how nice the Australian were that I met. Aussies and Kiwis are very similar. The countrysides are very different. Cheers Chris the Pipemaker