The morning started with a run as usual. It was the first run for a while that wasn’t round a sports field, and had scenery. I ran alongside the Blue Lake – I think its called Lake Tikiputo. It had lashed it down with rain in the night, with thunder and lightening, and whilst it wasn’t raining, it was very overcast. The scenery was monochrome, the morning light breaking over the dark hills and reflecting into the lake.
We thought it was doubtful that our flight over the Crater Lakes – the Blue and Green Lakes would take place, but within an hour, the sun had started to break through, and by the time we’d finished breakfast the sky was blue. (the forecasters had got it wrong for once).
During breakfast I read a paper. Apparently Haskell, and two others had made sexual innuendos to a chambermaid in Dunedin. (This had just come to light, even though the team had been in Auckland for two weeks. – You are slowing up media – improve! Shame there’s no stories of how they are signing autographs and smiling for pictures for fans and locals – nut no story there. One paper said that New Zealand would be glad when they were knocked out – boring rugby and boorish behaviour. Not for the first time mountains have been made out of molehills, but the English fans are here in force, are you sure that you want us to take our money home so quickly? If the hills are sizeable ones – and it seems too regular an occurance now not to have legs on the allegations, you have to ask what sort of a camp has Johnno got? Sir Clive Woodward seemed to be able to manage the behaviour of the players, or keep doors formly closed. Maybe Johnno is still too much one of the lads – evidenced by him persisting with his mates Tindall and Jonny, when every English fan I’ve spoken to wants rid of both of them.
The clear day gave us great views of the Blue and Green Lakes. The Green Lake is sacred Maori ground, where chiefs are buried on an island in the middle, and no one can visit, so from the air is the only way to view it.
From there we went to Hell’s Gate Thermal Park and Spa. Again moon-like landsacpes, bubbling mud pools, hot waterfalls (the biggest in the Southern hemisphere) you could quite easily imagine Doctor Who being filmed here, raher than the other world – Cardiff.
I had both a mud bath and a sulphur bath. For 20 minutes I rubbed mud into my skin, in a warm outdoor pool, heated by the earth. After a cold shower to wash the mud off – not so easy to do, I got into a big pool filled with hot grey water. Both were slightly warmer than blood heat. After over 4 weeks without a bath, it was a lovely feeling, and possibly one that is unique to my female readers in understanding it. However after half an hour of the heat – it doesn’t go cold like the bath at home, I had to get out. Apparently my skin should be softer (it feels it) and the sulphur and m inerals are good for arthritis – I may have to wait that one out.
We finished the day at Huka Falls, the start of the Waikato River. The water is a vivid green, and has incredible power as it drops through a narrow gauge, and spews white foam into the river.
Waterfalls – Paul McCartney – fractionally better than the frog song and Mull of Kintyre. Because there was a hot one and a cold one today.