Wednesday, 27 February 2008

The rather long scenic route...

After a day in Wellington and an early evening, Vix and I were up at the crack of dawn to catch the Interislander to Picton on the south island. The trip is spectacular as you travel through the Marborough Sounds. Luscious hills covered in trees and firns drop down to the water's edge with only tiny pockets of habitation.

At Picton - a relatively unspectacular small town - we picked up our shiney, new, red Toyota Corolla. Vix took the wheel to begin with and we headed into Picton to pick up some essential supplies: a pump for the airbed, snacks and plastic bowls. We then decided to go the 'scenic route' to Blenheim via Port Underwood.

The scenic route turned out to be a beautiful, windy, well Tarmaced road - well for the first few miles anyway. Then we ended up on an unsurfaced hell hole of a road that lasted about 20 miles. Nevertheless, we did get to see some fantastic little bays and developed only mild back problems from driving on shale for miles on end.

Once in Blenheim we headed to Annie's cafe for a bite to eat before hitting the wineries. We visited Cloudy Bay and Wairau River vinyards and tasted a few local Savs and Pinot Noirs. We picked up a couple of great bottles from Wairau then headed - albeit rather nevously on my part - to Tim's parents' farm about half an hour south of Blenheim.

Mary and Ossie were extremely welcoming and both Vicky and I felt at home instantly. Ossie gave us a tour of the farm in his car and we saw Jet (the sheepdog) in action as she rustled a few sheep off the railway line and back into their paddock. we also met John (one of Tim's older brother) trying to sort out a 'flattie' on his van and then back at the house we met Paul (Tim's younger brother), Nadine, Ashley and Matthew (the most recent member of the Hickman clan at 8 weeks' old). The evening was spent with the family and with Ruth and Gordon (some other friends of Tim who'd coincidentally arrived on the same day as us). It was really great to get an insight into a completely different aspect of Tim's life and somehow it made me feel like i'd suddenly got to know him so much better. In fact, seeing the photos of him as a child just made me realise just what a great guy he is and how lucky I am to be able to call him mine (for now at least).

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