Friday, March 10, 2017


Tuesday, March 7
Janet has a very good friend in Winnipeg who has a brother, Mathurin, living here in Queenstown and he is coming by this morning. He picks us up in his land rover which he calls a jeep, the farmers version. It does have two seats in the back and for the first time in my life I do know what it like to be a tallish person because the seats are so high up that I have to crouch over to get a good look out the windows! We get to his house and it's amazing! He's built it himself, entirely from old and recycled stuff. He tells us where he got the stone, reclaimed from something. The windows on the back wall are floor to ceiling, bi-folds that he rescued for some old building being torn down. The inside cabinetry is all from recycled projects and you can see drawers for old business functions.
The drop lights in the kitchen and dining room have been fashioned from old copper drums cut in half. Above the fireplace, there was an odd-looking thing, attached to some rope and a pulley system. It turned out to be a drying rack - a very important part of life in NZ! I found out that he used to be a part of the Canadian World ski Jumping team and he was a
daredevil actor/stuntman for a while. He now runs a green Eco business of making essential oils from pine trees that NZers are trying to get rid of! A very interesting guy to chat with. He even knew Mike Mahoney, the Everest climber from day 4 and was quite impressed that Backroads had him as a speaker!
His wife Jesse sets out tea and a plate of a local treat called birdseed cakes or sticky seed flapjacks. I told her that on our first day at Manly, two weeks ago, (seems like a year!) I bought one of these bars at a coffee stand and I had told Janet that I would kill for the recipe for this! Jesse gave me her recipe without harm being done to anyone! I since found a couple of other recipes in the bunch of cookbooks on our current cottage shelves - I'm set for experimenting when I get home!
We learned if you are coming to visit someone in NZ you should be bringing maple syrup, wild rice and something else that I've already forgotten! Such nice, interesting people, I could have stayed for days! Yummy and healthy!
a different LandRover
Can't remember if I told you to bring a flashlight - it's come in handy more than a few times. In a hotel room, there are usually enough little electronic lights so you can see your way in the middle of the night without turning the lights on, but in our country cottage, who remembers where the light switches are, so it's good to have your own flashlight at hand! And when you're coming back to your lodging, it may be dark!
Packing up to head back to Australia, Janet gave me permission to leave her first book, 'the new new thing' and the 'Explore NZ'. I also seriously depleted my rock collection by half, keeping only the prettiest and with the most green shades, so I've offloaded at least a pound or two.
The book I started last night was Janet's second read, 'my brilliant friend' by Elena Ferrante - it's one of those 'Heather's Pick' from Indigo or Chapters, I think. Janet wasn't too sure about it and I'm only a third way through and probably if I were at home, I'd drop it and start something else but I will persevere. It's a rather sad, dismal story and I can't see it really getting much better. I did give up on 'Complications, a surgeon's notes on an imperfect science'  by Atul Gawande - I am already skeptical enough about the medical profession without a doctor confirming my suspicions!
It's pretty cool here this morning, 3C and really cool inside our cottage. Our landlady stopped in later and told us there was a frost! There is a very small heater that if you stand in front of it, it blows warm air. Janet has turned on the oven and left the door open and even though I disapprove, I'm not telling her not to. This is the coldest weather we've experienced, but we are going back to Sydney today, and it looks like we'll be back in sleeveless and maybe wishing it were a bit cooler! One is never happy!
By the way, an update on that rolling duffle bag I was so proud of at the beginning....seriously, I hope you didn't dash out and get one! I am really not liking it. It doesn't stand up on its own and even though one of the reviews said that I did not realize how important that could be - not major, but the real issue is that it's like putting things into a black hole and in order to find one thing, I have to unpack the entire load - a bit of a pain! It would be ok for a weekend trip, but packing and unpacking almost daily is messy!
Our landlady drives us to the airport, a good 20 minute ride, for free, saving us probably a $100 cab ride. Quite interesting chat on the way about local issues, tourism (they get a large Asian trade and many of the locals are not so happy) and she was saying that attitude has to change.
Our flight is Qantas in a smaller plane, but still 6 wide, 3 on each side of the aisle, about 180 seats total. We have to walk out on the tarmac to board, which seems strange for such a big plane and especially funny for an international flight. I was going to tell you about airline food, to make up for not telling you about the awesome dinner we had on the flight over with Emirates, but it was so bad, I couldn't bring myself to, sorry!
March 8, Fitbit, 8.4 km; MA, 7.8 km
March 9, Fitbit 5.4; MA, 5.5 km

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