View from the top of the icy Remarkables
Winter, for us, started in Blenheim in the wine making area (Marlborough) of the South Island (NZ). We arrived back at the feijoa farm James worked at in May to house sit for a few days and had a glorious weekend of crisp, cold and sunny weather swanning around vineyards sampling the sauvignon blancs well known to the area before returning to light the log fire and curl up with the dogs, Rocco and Posh. Work began upon our hosts, Jess and Dean, return and we were out in the feijoa orchards pruning the 600 trees. James went off with his strimmer like a real man, Jess with her electric saw and me with a dainty pair of secateurs feeling vaguely pointless. Nevertheless after 3 days of pruning the orchard looked like a new place, stripped back, leaving Jess with her annual worry of whether any fruit would grow back.
We happily had the opportunity to revisit the rugby club James played for back in May but in a social context this time as the fractured ribs are still healing from the first game he played there! The annual club night was a raucous affair starting with a raffle which James and I had keenly entered in the hope of winning the backpack weed sprayer or solar powered electric fence kit. Among the other prizes included an irrigation system and a pile of wood. How life had changed from our surburban life in England! As it happened luck was not on our side that evening but I am confident the prizes all went to better homes. Next came our forte (well…James’) – a quiz! James was on fire as usual and managed to answer questions such as “Who founded the first Norse settlement in Greenland?” (Erik the Red obviously) and even I managed to contribute with some of my 90s pop music knowledge. The evening descended into what I imagine what might also happen the other side of the world back in England with grown men sculling tepid white wine and rum and needless to say, James woke up the next day with a sore head.
Our work for our hosts, Dick and Jillian, has been varied and interesting. James has been giving IPad tuition and outside doing maintenance whereas I have been in the kitchen poaching pears, making custards and looking after 4 new arrivals – the neighbours farm dogs: Fred, Zach, Old Sue and Young Sue.
On our day off we decided to visit the local ski fields called the Remarkables which was a surreal experience in July! We were very happy to back on the snow and desperate for a skiing holiday which we have missed for the past couple of years. First world problems. In any event I am really enjoying the winter atmosphere – as I write this we are sitting next to a fire in Queenstown surrounded by people drinking mulled wine and hot rum. Just need to hold on to it until we get back at the end of the year..!