I have just completed the first week of my second stint at the Robert Lord Writers’ Cottage in Dunedin. I was offered a residency in two parts – three weeks in August/September, then seven weeks from November to January. Although unintentional, this split in my time has worked very well for me.
This photo was taken shortly after I arrived for my first stay in August. It was a beautiful time to be in Dunedin, and from the cottage I was able to walk to so many lovely and interesting places – the Botanic Gardens with its crocuses, magnolias and rhododendrons coming into bloom, the town belt above the valley with its kowhai, rewarewa, tui and fat kereru, and even all the way up through the bush to the picturesque Ross Creek Reservoir.
Dunedin is the perfect place to be for a writer, with its peacefulness, cultural ambience and activities, and strong educational and research underpinnings.
I spent many hours at the Hocken getting the research side of my engineering heritage project underway. I also visited Special Collections at the University of Otago, Archives New Zealand on George Street, and the archivist at Dunedin City Council. And I made a point of visiting many of the sites about which I will write – the oceanside pool at St Clair, the Cumberland Street Overbridge, Port Chalmers.
During this second stay, I am making contact with local engineers who have worked on many of the features I am writing about, and I am also focusing a lot more on the writing side of my project.
It is such a gift to have so much time to deep-dive into my work, and to call this delightful place home while I do it.