Never happier than when in a library or clutching a notebook, Francesca Baker is a writer, reader and word lover. As Virginia Woolf said ‘my head is a hive of words that won’t settle.’ So she puts them to use, exploring the world and then writing about it. Passionate about creativity, communication and connection, she uses words herself and with others through story writing, journalism and workshops. Armed with pencils, coffee, headphones and a spring in her step, she likes to explore and scribble her way through life. Find out more at www.andsoshethinks.co.uk and follow her on twitter here https://twitter.com/andsoshethinks.

As a Story Terrace writer, Francesca interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better: you can read an autobiographical story of her own below. Get in touch today to work with her!

Lake Wanaka

Wild mountains, rugged scenery, transparent shimmering turquoise lakes and spiralling trees make Lake Wanaka on South Island, like many of the ranges in the region, a hub for sports and activities. The hiking, skiing and cycling are regularly voted some of the world’s best. Sheltered by the Mount Aspiring range from the wet winds of the west, and the well-named ‘The Remarkables’ mountain range in the east, the clear, natural light, awesome defined hills and craggy rocks make for an inspiring environment. Yet, as much as the adventure activities thrive here and in nearby Queenstown, Wanaka has a lot more to offer.

The scenery continuously startles me with its beauty, but the best way to really appreciate the stunning landscape of Lake Wanaka is by air: from a Tigermoth Bi-plane ZK-ALJ, no less, flown in service for the first time in 1941 as a military trainer. I’m flying with Classic Flights and I have to admit I look the part: dressed in a warm leather and sheepskin jacket and Biggles-style goggles. Seeing the hand on the altitude dial move to the right as the wind blows in your face is a thrill that not many experience, especially not with a background of snow-dusted mountains, streaks of clouds and a sunshine haze that sheers off the mountains surrounding the turquoise lake. Peter, the pilot and owner, tells me how grown men often sob as they reminisce, but even without memories it is an emotional experience.

The beauty of the vista is heightened by the exhilaration of flying in such a nostalgic vehicle and the hangar is a treasure trove of vintage aircraft and the associated kit, as well as letters and newspapers that reveal a personal side to the events that these wartime planes were part of. Reading them is as heartwarming as it is breaking. Flying among these clouds in these wings over Lake Wanaka, through the Matukituki Valley and Glendhu bay, and along the Clutha River is a privilege indeed.

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