Monday, May 11, 2009 Comment0 Comments

4th April to 6th April

Can't believe I forgot to post this! Nob...*sigh*

Anyway, while still in Feilding, we went back down to Otaki for (cue music) Gregg's annual apple-picking party! During these two days, the orchard is denuded of both Braeburn and Pacific Rose, in the service of juice and cider. And socialising. And drinkg (once again) too much...

So ya! The saturday was spent, by Si and I, that is, doing 'quality control'. The apples, once picked, had to be gone over again looking for various forms of ickies, before they could be washed, pulped and juiced. We also drank a lot of cider, went to go say goodbye to Jenny and Wayne (who were leaving for Oz), and then moved to another locale in Otaki Beach to continue drinking.

Note: mixing cider, red wine and whisky is, of course, a recipe for disaster. Astounding, I know.

So yes. Sunday dawned bright on the beach, where Si and I had spent the night (we had managed to navigate the 50m from drinking locale to beach, where I proceeded to sit in front seat of car, half-passed out with cold and liquor, being unhelpful, while Si set up the back for us to sleep in. In the dark. I'm amazed he didn't divorce me that night.) I had one of the worst hangovers of my life - so bad I couldn't stomache breakfast, which is a new one for me...

Anyway, we made it to Gregg's for round two of the apple-picking. I attempted to remain upright, and got laughed at. A lot. That day we focused on the Braeburns, which are what go into the cider (the Pacific Rose are too sweet) - the previous day not enough had been picked, and, of course, the Braebrun trees were not bearing nearly as heavily as the others.

Nonetheless, success!

Sunday night rocked. We had been offered the use of the awesome, 5m diameter teepee in friends' backyard. This we took advantage off, and got to fall asleep in a real teepee, next to a fire, under the cold night stars. Awesome. We also got to experience the unalloyed joy of being jumped on at about 7am by a large puppy and a 6 year old girl. For 20 minutes. (Actually, it was really cute).

Oh yeah, and we got to see the coolest tree ever, in the local pine forest - it's like the Faraway Tree!

We left that day for Feilding again, to both our protests and those of our friends. While we really didn't want to, we had to, and so that was it - at least for then...

Oh yeah. And this weekend was the reason for our mad dash up the north-east coast. We met, on the Saturday, a charming man called Jeremy, who mentioned that his mom, up in the Coromandel, needed WWOOFers for help with the chestnut harvest. Awesome! His mum, as it turns out, is Jeanette Fitzsimons, co-leader of the Green Party (and not actually a feral hippy! Well, not toally). Jeremy and his partner were getting married shortly, and Jeanette and partner Harry were looking for someone to house sit for the weekend so that Harry could attend the wedding for more than a day - and really, who wouldn't help someone out with something like that?
So we made the decision, after Feilding, to start heading up that way... (more on that later)

Monday, May 11, 2009 Comment0 Comments

April 12th - April 13th

Not much to tell here - only took one pikkie! (Note, we were on the far right, as you look at the photo above)

We spent the afternoon and night at the bach of a wonderful woman, Rachel, whom I had met on Saturday at Tim's. Anyway, she had taken a liking to me (rare, I know), and invited us to stay the night at hers after leaving Tim's. This we did.

Ocean Beach is gorgeous - very much old-school Kiwiana with its run-down old baches and buggerall else other than some more gorgeous coastline. Rachel, who is Maori, and her family own a bunch of the land tehre, and have been fighting off developers tooth and nail for years, who would love nothing more than to turn this slightly pre-loved, and incredibly characterful, area into, no doubt, some lovely but soulless beach baches for executives. No thanks.

Interestingly, many of the baches are quite old, and can never be significantly fixed up as they break about a million building codes, meaning that whatever people have now, they're stuck with (apart form the occasional repair). Brillliant!

Monday, May 11, 2009 Comment0 Comments

11th April - 12th April

This was awesome. We went to lunch at Time's place, outside of Waipukurau. To fill y'all in, Tim is the ex-mayor of central Hastings, and great fun. We found his obsession with building dams on his 1200-odd acres particularly amusing - then again, since the area's experiencing the worst drought in 20/30 years, it remains to be seen whether the dams will actually work.

Coolly, he's hooked them up to be able to generate hydroelectric power, and is also using a very simple paddle-wheel in the river on the bottom of his property to pump water up into a higher dam (it's incredible - he has river, valley floor, and mountains!)

So yeah - we went for lunch, having happily accepted the invitation to stay and the night, and proceeded to get rat-arsed. Again. Although we did have great fun, including a late-night drive to the local pub, some 200m away, for tobacco and to meet some of the locals. All of whom were also rat-arsed. Most amusing. I dimly remember claiming that I didn't think there were any Maori in SA, only to be corrected and told the were lots, and they were using the Cape Coloured population as camouflage :)

The next day we felt awful, but had great fun - we were treated to a tour of the place in Tim's ancient short-wheel base Landie, which was covered in cobwebs, and had to be jump-started using his tractor and the country road bisecting his place (see the picasa pics for the tour). Beautiful, beautiful place, so but so shockingly bone dry...

And then came time to move on to the next place, a bach on Ocean Beach, on the Eastern Coast, Hawkes Bay region.

Monday, May 11, 2009 Comment0 Comments

8th April - 11th April

Madness. So much madness. Particularly with Ben the ancient Jack Russel, who hunts possums and loves to sing along to 'happy birthday'...

But absolutely lovely, too. We spent a few days with Rose at her beautiful place in the hills just outside Norsewood, which was settled by a bunch of Scandinavians who, to put it bluntly, had been conned into coming in the first place. Funny now, not so much then. Anyway, weird, kinda quaint little town...

So yeah - we didn't do very much while there, as there wasn't much that Rose had for us to do, really. Her dad, who's quite ill, lives with her, and I think she was happy to have us around in the house so that she could go outside and potter every now and then during the day. Hilariously, she also had the best internet we'd seen thus far, despite being the most remote, and least techie (which is saying a lot), person we'd met!

We met some fun Checks (three girls running the neighbouring dairy farm, and the s/o of the girl in charge), charged up a hill (well, Si did - I charged up most of it), and talked a lot.

Our stay was also very brief, as Rose passed us on to a friend of hers, Tim, to spend some time with him...