On my morning walk I happened to be passing the entrance to Burnside Homestead as four cyclists came out and stopped to take a photo.
I offered to take one of all of them and in the process got into conversation with them.
They were very enthusiastic about the Alps2Ocean cycleway and the hospitality they’d received at Burnside.
The cycleway has created lots of jobs and brings a lot of people who would never have travelled from Mount Cook to Oamaru Harbour without it.
It’s boosting the local economy and also providing exercise opportunities for locals and I’m grateful for that.
One of the beautiful historic homes in our neighbourhood is for sale.
Burnside Homestead was built in the mid
1980s 1890s by John Forrester Reid. It has been owned by only two other families since then. The Hudsons bought it from the Reids in 1930 and the current owners, Alison and Bruce Albiston bought it from them in 1974.
The Albistons have lovingly renovated the house, updating it with heating and extra bathrooms in sympathy with its Victorian origins and maintained the garden and parkland with the mature trees which surround it.
The house has at least nine bedrooms, four bathrooms and two en suites, separate servants quarters, a private bedroom with en suite upstairs, a billiard room, large commercial kitchen and scullery, dining room and the grand octagonal hall with a sprung floor.
The coach house near-by was recently converted to provide two more bedrooms with a kitchen and living area.
Most of the furniture in the house is original and includes a grand piano.
The Albistons have been running the homestead as a B&B and hosting small conferences.
Burnside is only 15 minutes from Oamaru and only a few kilometres from the route the Alps to Ocean cycle way will take.
The property is listed on TradeMe for private sale.
The invitation was to A Proper High Tea at Burnside with the added attraction of a conversation in which Fiona Kidman and Owen Marshall would share their thoughts on The Spirit of Place in Writing.
Burnside is one of North Otago’s original homesteads which specialises in Victorian fare. The proper high tea included pease pudding, devilled chicken, cold sliced venison, jellied beetroot, green salad and rooled bread and butter.
Dainty cinnamon oysters, chocolate cream cakes and a selection of fruit tarts followed.
In between courses the two writers took us around New Zealand and the world with poetry and prose.
The evening was a fundraiser for the Janet Frame Eden Street Trust.
Earlier in the day Fiona had led a workshop on writing memoirs in the Janet Frame room at Waitaki Girls’ High School followed by lunch and writing time at Janet’s childhood home at 56 Eden Street.
The annual Geosciences conference is taking place in Oamaru this week.
Last night about 200 delegates were dining at Burnside Homestead. The owners asked my farmer and a friend to lend a hand.
They were happy to oblige and spent most of the day tending two lambs and a leg of venison as they cooked over the fire.
They’re getting well practised and have found the secret. They use hard wood like manuka or blue gum which burns hot, then use the heat from the embers rather than the flames so the meat cooks slowly.
The result is tender, succulent meat which almost falls off the bones.
One of the delegates was Argentinean and was thrilled to have an asasdo for the first time since she’d left home.