Took some extra days off and we flew down to Blenheim last week to stay with Sue and Phil over Easter. Twenty minutes over the strait, just a hop really, and you're there. Blenheim is a garden. The berry farm is next door; the honey place is down the road. In the backyard we picked up buckets of big walnuts...
... and handfuls of figs, quinces, lemons, apples, and grapes of course. Autumn colour coming through in the vines and it is harvest time in Marlborough.
On our first night we were shaken awake about 2am by a harvester in the neighbour's vines: a machine about four metres tall, noisy as a freight train with headlights blazing up and down the rows banging the bejesus out of the vines to shake the grapes into the sorter. So many grapes, so little time - they're harvesting 24/7 now for the 2015 vintage.
Here's the evidence as seen in the morning. Massive tyre marks flowing in and out of the rows, forming squashed lines of grapes that'll never make it into a bottle.
Pottered around Blenheim's cafes and vineyards for a few days in the sunshine, playing tourist.
Here's Mish and Sue making ravioli one night to Burt Bacharach.
Then we headed out to the Binnie family bach in Marlborough Sounds; a 30 minute boat ride from Havelock. Sitting out the back with Lettie, a puppy guide dog having her first year of fairly normal life with Sue and Phil. She goes everywhere and very willingly.
View looking up the bay from the bach grounds.
Walking up one of the hills around the bay; lots of fungi and ferns. These are scarlet flycaps (amanita muscaria); they pop up in forests looking like cricket balls under pine needles, and then open to bread plate size. Common in the pine plantations, of which we have a multitude in NZ.
And on the top, looking into Pelorus Sound from whence we came.
The Marlborough Sounds area is mainly forestry, recreation, and mussel farming. No roads; everyone's got a boat. Heading back to Havelock we passed a mussel boat - each of those bags has a tonne of luscious green lipped mussels mmm mmm.