Tuesday, February 14, 2006

After the rain ...

Fruit stall
Originally uploaded by goforchris.
It rained today. Real rain, which made you wet if you stood under it. As a result, we decided to go shopping for fruit. Cromwell is THE fruit-growing area in NZ, and there are many roadside fruit stalls selling the products of the orchards around them. This one was amazing - and the cherries I've just eaten were the biggest I've ever seen. The plums were pretty spectacular too - we had a couple to round off dinner. Dinner, incidentally, was Elephant fish. I fried it in a mix of butter and olive oil, with a little garlic. The nice lady in The New World (your LOCAL store - no overseas interests) told me it was "a bit like shark". So there you are. It was jolly good anyway.

And after the rain? Well, we saw this bit of blue sky beyond Bannockburn and pointed our Bighorn in that direction. The road ended in a grit track, so we parked and walked into the sunshine. I don't think anyone ever walks on that road. The cows all stopped what they were doing (ruminating, I suppose)and came to look at us. Some of them commented, quite loudly, on our passing. John said he felt like Jack Nicholson at the Oscars. The strange sheep had a bit of a gander too (they're strange because they are greyish, with stripey-looking fleece, long legs and quite round heads). It grew warm again; there were no cars, it was silent apart from the sound of water in narrow channels running through these amazingly green fields which changed abruptly to brown scrubby desert on the hills above. (I think the water must be doing the limestone thing of draining through the hill ground and emerging at the ends of the rock strata - or something)

As we did this, I reflected how this is my idea of visiting a new country. People will ask if we toured, if we saw the big sights, if we visited North Island. Fancy going all that way just to walk up a country road at the end of a wet day. But to me, this *is* the country. I feel I know the smells, the vegetation, the amazing trees, the dry hills. The birds sound exotic. This is how people live here. It's like going back to '50s Britain in some ways - the friendly girls serving in the shop, the passing farmer waving from his 4x4, the old-fashioned clothes shop in Alexandria - and to me that's strangely reassuring.

And now I feel a nectarine moment coming on ....


  1. Bannockburn - the "original and best" - was, today, driech and mild. Not quite Spring kind of way. Glad to see you're keeping the scurvy at bay. I've been making Morgane culinary treats all day for St Valentine's and getting our fair share of greens in there!

  2. One more thing... when I lived in Paris I NEVER went up the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe, NEVER supped coffee in the Marais, Opera or Les Deux Magots and NEVER ate snails. Since living in Edinburgh we have snails every time we go to Daniel's Bistrot, have been up the Eiffel Tower three times and the Arc twice with school trips and have supped coffee AND had lunch in some of Paris' most delictable restaurants.

    Sounds to me like you're actually LIVING New Zealand.

  3. Oh, we are. And loving it. A Scottish Spring is going to be difficult!