May 16, 2011

Goodbye Christchurch, Hello Paradise

May 6, 2011

We said goodbye to Christchurch for good on Thursday and made our way up to Picton, about a four hour drive. The sun was shining the whole way leaving us partially baked by the time we finally made it to the sunny harbour town. Picton is where you can catch the ferry to Wellington, or for us its where you are picked up by private boat and taken to Double Cove in Marlborough Sounds. It was like going into Milford Sound, only sunny and warm. We are at the top of the South Island and although we are well into Fall/Autumn (compare this month to November on our hemisphere – that month where you all started getting snow) it feels more like spring.

After picking up some groceries (there are no shops on the island at all), we were chauffeured by our host Nigel from Picton to our private self contained cottage on one side of the cove. During the summer it is rented out as a vacation home. When we got there we met Nigel’s wife, Sue who gave us some fresh fish as well as pears and apples right from the tree. Since we got here we have been treated like royalty (move over Kate). They left us for the evening to settle in by the fire. This morning we met Nigel down by the jetty to take the boat over to their house on the other side of the cove. We spent the first part of the morning mostly being shown where things were as Nigel explained what we would be doing for the day. We started a bit of work, Luke digging while I clipped some overgrown shrubbery, and before long it was time for a coffee break! Nigel, Sue, Luke and I all sat down to nice cafe style coffee and cookies getting to know one another before we set back to work for the rest of the morning.

My mother would be shocked and amazed to learn that I did manual labor, and probably even more baffled to find out that I actually enjoyed it! Ok I’m not about to go off and become a landscaper, but it was nice to be working outside breaking a sweat! Luke and I both agreed that we felt like we’d really accomplished something once we finished our day at 1:30 not only because we had seen we could do some hard work, but also because it felt nice to being helping someone out with their home. Our job today was to clear a path for a rope to go from the dock up to the septic tank which is going to be emptied on Monday (not by us thankfully!). So I started with clearing trees while Luke dug for the opening of the tank. Then Luke and Nigel set about clearing some trees before we got the rope from A to B. While they did that I was working away on clearing a walking path and covering it with sand. So we finished a bit tired, but happy with the work that we’d done. Nigel was happy with it too which is probably even better!

Once we finished for the day we had a really nice lunch that Sue prepared for us getting to know our hosts a bit better. Then Nigel took us back by boat to our cottage and we’ve spent the afternoon relaxing. Back to work tomorrow on our own!

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