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Monday, 28 February 2011


We’re really enjoying life in Nelson, the weather continues to be hot and sunny, the people are still friendly and our life/work aspirations are looking pretty good just now.
I have started teaching at the very impressive Sound Stage professional performing arts academy and rehearsals for ‘Brassed Off’ have taken a very interesting turn in that Mel is now a member of the cast!

The week began with Tom, Ngaire and their children arriving home from the holiday down south and despite their son, Oliver, contracting pneumonia, they were in high spirits and pleased to come home to a clean house and home cooked soup followed by carrot cake, courtesy of Mel’s culinary skills. We stayed with them for a further 3 nights before reluctantly heading off to our next house-sit; such had been the pleasure of our time at their property.

Sue and John live in another stunning house, with views of the entire Bay. You can see Takaka Hill from their balcony, way off in the distance, a sharp reminder of the distance and gradient of our travels on the bikes.

The house itself is not an easy place to get to in that it is up a steep climb on the bikes, it is worth the effort though. Sue and John stocked the cupboards with all sorts of food and wine for our enjoyment during their trip up north. They have a very productive veggie patch with all sorts of stuff in season and they left us with strict instructions to water twice daily and enjoy the benefits should anything be ready to devour. We have been given the privilege of looking after ‘Puss’ as well, an aging tortoise shell cat who has travelled half way round the world from Ireland to spend her twilight years here. She is very much the apple of Sue and John’s eye. It is so nice to come home to a cat again in the evenings, always so nice to have the purring on your lap whilst you consume a well deserved beer or two.

Another interesting quirk at Sue and John’s has been the daily visit of ‘Gully’, a massive black backed gull who arrives on queue, each morning to be fed the last of the unfinished cat food from the previous day plus a slice of bread.

Viola has been in town this week, armed with lots of photo’s of her Kayaking trip with Gary, our ‘warm showers’ host from Wellington. Viola and Gary spent a week on the water cruising round the empty beaches and inlets of the many islands dotted around the northern tip of south island. It looks like she has had a great time.

Mel and I are unsure as to what to do next with regards to our onward travels. It seems like a good idea to try and stay in Nelson for the long term, especially as things seem to be going very well with my work. All we need now is for Mel to find a job and all will be well. I have been asked to cover some classes at Waimea College over the next week or so. One of the drama teachers has been offered the chance to go to Australia and perform at the prestigious Adelaide festival. I have accepted the offer, it is a chance to go and see what teaching at a secondary school in New Zealand is really like.

We have learned that another of our cycling mates, James, has been lost and found whilst out hiking in one of the national parks near us in Nelson. He was missing for several days and is lucky to be alive. It has been front page news. It must have been terrifying for him. The report I have seen, suggests that after a couple of days he had to remove his contact lenses as they hurt so much, so for 3 days he was basically blind. It is such an easy thing to do, get lost in the wilderness. But it hasn’t stopped all those idiots who have no idea what they are talking about from posting up critical statements on Facbook and the like. “Stupid Pome, wouldn’t have happened to a Kiwi!” etc. I can hear the wise amongst you yawning in unison with me.

On our last day at Sue and John’s we managed to find hostel to work in, in exchange for our accommodation, so it’s off to ‘Shortbread Cottage’ for us and we’ll catch up again soon.

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