Under a Different Sky

Upside down down under
So, here I am in one of my favourite home from homes, on the Canterbury Plain in South Island New Zealand - it's flat from horizon to horizon, rather like Norfolk, but with more sun. I was woken this morning, as every morning, by the musical magpies in the wattle tree outside the window.  Like many New Zealand birds they are a treat to listen to. This one was a bit reluctant to sing for the camera - but finally does so at about 1 min in - definitely worth waiting for!  A whole tree full of them is amazing.

The sun is shining today, as it has since I arrived and the sky seems to go on forever.  There's a special kind of light you get here, intense and constantly changing as the clouds move across the sky. In the morning it's often still and cloudless, but towards lunchtime the white stuff begins to bubble up from the horizon and fantastic cloud formations begin to form against the blue backdrop.

It's after lunch now and the afternoon wind is talking to itself in the stove pipe and the cat has crawled under the wood-burner.  It's autumn here in April, moving towards winter.  The seasons are upside down.

The little house on the Canterbury Plain - with Dexter

For a week I've done absolutely nothing but eat and sleep.  My daughter has a small 'life-style block' here and I've visited the chickens and the cows and inspected the organic veggie patch and watched the hen harriers circling the fields looking for prey. After several months of extreme stress, it has been utter bliss.
Eating organic veggies - no chance I'm going to starve!

I love south island.  From where I'm sitting, I can see the Alps on the horizon, but the sea is a short drive in the other direction.  The weather has been good so far - bright sun in the mornings until the afternoon wind springs up from whatever direction it has chosen.  This is not a breeze!  It lays the Fejoa bushes flat, pummels the windows and blows the washing off the line.  And if it's blowing from the south it has the whole of Antarctica in its jaws.  You can go from summer tops to thermals in the space of a couple of hours.

On Monday I'm heading for Wellington by bus and ferry.  Usually I take the train, but since the Kaikoura earthquake eighteen months ago the line has been closed and the road is only open during the day.  It's not just the weather that's wild here!

My sort of wine! Roaring Meg from Mt Difficulty. 


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