A question that a person that is for some reason interested in my life would ask is “Why Timaru?” Is it that I was born here or spent the first seventeen years of my life here? No, not really, though memories do creep in every so often, Timaru of today is not the Timaru I grew up in. Like other places in the world Timaru has not stood still; buildings have been demolished, businesses closed down, streets altered, friends and family have moved away etc.
It is also a question that a famous chef maybe pondering over the next week as his Facebook page gets inundated with Timaruvians commenting why Timaru is a great place to do his live show. Heston Blumenthal is thinking of touring New Zealand and is starting off with an interesting way to gauge the popularity by asking what towns want him to visit. The local polytechnic (Aoraki) has started a campaign to get him to Timaru after successfully campaigning for Masterchef to hold their South Island auditions in Timaru at their campus.
But for me, the question is answered every time I drive up the bypass on my way home from work. I will take a photo of this reason and post it one day soon, but as I approach the crest of the hill the snow capped mountains of the Southern Alps gleam in their majesty appear in front of me and the blue waters of the Pacific stretch off to my right past the palm tree rich Caroline Bay area.
Both my wife and I are fortunate to get employment here and we can live comfortably in a three bedroom brick house with reasonable view, close to shops, bay, the new aquatic centre when it opens and even the café/restaurant strip. The same house and location in Auckland would be far from our meagre means and we would be in a viewless cramped suburb. I would rather live in a smaller place and have a life with views, decent sized section and most amenities a short walk away. But I definitely have, and still will, visit Auckland as it has a character all to its own and I do like the shopping malls there. Well at least the food courts in the shopping malls, a great place to sit down and write my stories as my wife explores the shops. The flautist description in IVRRAC was written in one such mall as I was having a coffee in a café looking out at the outside mall area.
But here in Timaru we have most things, Christchurch is only two hours away if we need more, Mount Cook Village is only two and a half hours west and Queenstown, the New Zealand tourist haven Trentsworth is based on, is four hours of driving through amazing scenery away. If I was a skier, and I am going to give my children the chance to become such, we have over four decent ski-fields under ninety minutes away and many more not much further.
The climate is an interesting one, every day can be different, one day it can be in the high 20s or even 30s (80s Fahrenheit) and then the next day plummet to single figures, only to reach high temperatures once more the following day, summer or winter. In fact one year the middle day of winter was over twice as hot as the previous middle day of Summer. The one thing we don’t get much of is rain, the clouds do not seem to like Timaru that much and avoid it as much as possible. It is quite often that I can look to the blue skies above me and see dark grey clouds banking around Timaru, too scared to actually come any closer.
So if I do seem to blog on and on about Timaru, it is not just because it is my birthplace but also because I have chosen to return with my family and enjoy the views, climate and location that Timaru provides.
Cheers and Blessings