We have done a series of house sitting jobs here in New Zealand, it’s been great for us preserving our meagre $$ at the same time as meeting some lovely folk and their furry friends. All three have been really hospitable and have even included a car for us to use during our stay, thanks to you all!
The first one we approached with a little trepidation, we were asked to look after the hounds of a couple called…the Baskervilles. But as you can see from the pic, they are far from being terrifying slavering beasts! We had a pleasant week here in Cambridge administering to their aging cat, meeting the neighbours and playing with the adorable doggies. Poor Zeta and Matt had a bit of a trauma when we disturbed a wasps nest, one buried in her fur and another got Matt on the hooter, ouch! We visited a very inspiring sculpture park and arboretum, the owner being understandably very proud of transforming a defunct quarry into a place of real beauty.
Next for something completely different, multiply our last canine charges by ten and you get some idea of the size of Daisy and Fraggle, the bear (newfoundland) and the lion (leonberger). These too were very sweet and we had some great walks along the river enjoying watching them splashing about. There were two cats who were very individual as only cats can be, Savvy thinks she’s a dog, and Fergus would love you until he chomped you. Clive, near Hastings, is wine country, and we were obliged to sample the delights, sometimes in the hot tub under the stars, it’s a tough job, but someones gotta do it!
Next to Te Puke (pronounced ti pookie), a reassuringly New Zealand name after Cambridge and Hastings! This was kiwifruit country (“The Kiwifruit capital of the World!”) and the house we stayed in was completely surrounded by orchards. The owners are really keen fishers and they told us of the monster catch Shirl had made the week before. It was a 300(plus)kg blue marlin that took her an hour and a half to land. They had two chest freezers in the garage full of steaks and we got to sample its delights on the barbie. They are also horse people and we were looking after their lovely aging gent dog Webster and their two cats HT and Meg because they had gone on a 6 day horse trek. They took me out on a ride before they left, but my horse took a boot at Shirl and she had to stay and watch her leg change colour! Whilst staying here we also walked up Mount Manganui, a wonderful rock promontory rising out of the beautiful blue sea at the top of the Bay of Plenty and visited a weird and wonderful garden called The Looking Glass Gardens – another converted quarry. This place included an amazing straight path up the side of a hill called the Stairway to Heaven!
Gallery pics below