Thursday, February 22, 2007

Our summer visitors

The month so far has been absolutely brim full of most interesting people, this is the delight of having extra space to accommodate visitors. Today we saw off a Swedish geology professor, friend of a friend and her two offspring, half-Bolivian, multilingual, charming and fun.. yesterday we did the circuit of South Catlins and reckon we saw the works: fossil forest, dolphins dancing, penguin sulking, sealions snoozing, terns a-twittering. Vivi took away a rock sample from Waipapa, to check for palaeo-pollen - yes she is a palynologist.

At Curio Bay we also chatted to Daniel Buckingham home for his sister's wedding. He is playing wheelchair rugby in Alabama and sometimes in Melbourne and they won a gold medal at Athens in 2004. He was with his partner Kimi, an enchantingly gorgeous young Kiwi. Daniel is famous for his determination, his competitive spirit and his dreadlocks!

Colin and Thomas have had a digger this week and have done some fencing on Thomas's leased land. Thomas has cleared away big screening hedges from the front of his house and demolished the old garage, levelling the site ready for new lawn and garage. The view is wonderful, northeast towards Tokanui hills, northwest all the way to snow-capped mountains. He can see what is going on on most of his piece of farmland too. They have painted the house exterior and the whole place is responding to their care by showing a glowing face to the world. It is really warm inside too with the insulation and circulation system they have installed.

I was going to tell about the Chengs, last weekend.. it was Chinese New Year so I was excited to be entertaining a Chinese couple. They are from Hong Kong but have lived many years in Vancouver, and he had studied in Seattle. I was intrigued that they had chosen to return to live in the high-rise business world of Hong Kong, rather than Canada. They told me that it was a simple question of money.. too many taxes in BC, and much more money to be made in HK.

For all that I wasn't convinced it was a desirable life, as their description of the daily routine made me feel sympathetic rather than envious.. I imagine they may have felt sympathetic to our lifestyle too, who knows how the other sees a situation?

But we had such a good time with them and they were paying guests too.. I should have been paying them! They were on the bus 'Catlins Coaster' which dropped them here one lunchtime and picked them up the next. We did the South Catlins circuit rather quickly, wonderful sealion experience at Waipapa, and then Colin took them on the beach in the Chariot. This is a big thrill for anyone, I love it when the weather is right and Colin has the time to do it. They had a look at David's lambs and fed our pet sheep... who have a tickly way of lipping the feed off your palm.

What, you may ask, did we do for Chinese New Year? Red envelopes, dragons and congee? No fear, no century eggs in the cupboard so we had whitebait and roast lamb and spuds. And we raised our glasses to the Year of the Pig, 4704. 1947 was also a Year of the Pig. You needed to know that, didn't you.
More later..