Sunday, January 31, 2010

Week Five: Purest Green

In one of the finest examples of British comedy, Percy while seeking the secret of alchemy, accidentally discovers something entirely different. He is amazed, "Can it be true? That I hold here in my mortal hand, a nuggest of purest green?" Of course, Blackadder is quick to deflate his aspirations; "You know what your great discovery means, don't you, Percy? That you, Percy, Lord Percy, are an utter berk."

But I have always been enamoured of the colour green - one of the finest and most versatile hues that speaks of growth and joy and birth and celebration. I think of May Queens and Thomas Hardy and pastoral ditties and all things fresh.

Walking into Arrowtown from my house I am struck by the branches (not literally - that would be painful) that form a gnarled guard of honour. I feel welcomed and protected by this green gauntlet.

And aren't we always being told that greens are good for you? (And reds and purples too, apparently) My friend, the Green Goddess, has a charming veggie garden. She is also a superb cook and works wonders with her home-grown produce. Even before it is turned into delicious dishes, however, the culinary artefacts are well-worth photographing.

I couldn't stay long in the hot house where the tomatoes are rapidly ripening. I thought I might too and be quickly past my sell-by date.

Once again I fall back on a quote from William Morris - “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” The Green Goddess has applied this to her garden. When I asked her why she grew the sunflowers - was it for the seeds or was she going to make her own oil? - she was slightly coy. "Well, I suppose I did grow them for the seeds, but they just look so nice, don't they?" Indeed they do.

Presiding over this wholesome scene is Lupin, the seen-better-days gnome. He looks happy in his flowerpot, but he may soon have a new home. More of him later.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Week Four: Chester and beetroot

Recovering after a busy few weeks with the show I've not done too much this week. However, I've probably done more than Mr Lazy here.

He's a strange cat - as I may have mentioned before - and he doesn't like fish. He does like to sit next to the piscine ornament on the windowsill and cast curious shadows onto the walls. Yes, I know, I need to clean those windows!

I figured what we all needed (with the exception of the cat) was some 'raw energy salad'. This is made with grated carrot and beetroot, chick peas, toasted seeds, feta and rocket. It is indeed, very tasty, and thankfully we've got two toilets in the house, if you know what I'm saying!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Week Three: Visiting wineries

As is our wont when we have visitors, we took our friend Shannon on a tour of the wineries. Mt Rosa is closed at the weekends which suggests to me that they don't want locals to bring their guests, but they do have a very nice sheep made out of driftwood.

The Brennan Vineyards seem much more accommodating with their petanque court, playground and picnic tables. You are encouraged to wander through the vines and taste some wines. The 2008 Gewurztraminer and the 2007 Pinot Noir are highlights (to be bought and taken home).

Shannon is keen on the idea of converting a church to a house, so we took her to Waitiri Creek to admire their building. We also admired their self-labelled produce and their wine. Here the 2007 Harriet Rose and the 2006 Chardonnay topped the table for our tasting crew.

At Gibbston Valley we headed straight to the
cheesery for a platter while Shannon and Him Outdoors eschewed the tasting for a full glass of wine each - I was the designated driver; yes, it does happen occasionally although I try not to make a habit of it.

There are curiously large cheeses dotted around the building which may have seemed like a good advertising gimmick at some point but now they merely look odd. The real cheese was fortunately far tastier.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Week Two: Leisure activities

We began the New Year resting and relaxing with friends.

Things got a little more active at the Lake Dunstan Triathlon, followed by a more sedate jaunt around Old Cromwell town.

We've had heaps of rain and snow on the hills, but a walk around with Lake Hayes with friends is always a pleasure, especially when followed with a coffee at Walnut Cottage.