It takes about an hour to get to the Wairarapa from Wellington and there are some high hills to drive over on the way. Once there it's a green and lush valley - though it will become yellow and brown as summer progresses. It is very very lovely - truly Scotland with sunshine! Michael and Gaye have a beautiful home and farm the 27 acres that surround it. They have olive trees - and had their first harvest of oil this year. They also have cattle - including two bulls - chickens, lots of goats and an eel called Frank which lives in the stream under the bridge. Precious the cat seems to have left home since I arrived. It has been very hot since I arrived and I have really enkoyed sitting on the verandah in the shade listening to the wide variety of birds that populate the oak, eucalyptus and poplar trees that they have planted since they have been here. Michael gave me a tour of the farm and guess who couldn't keep her bum off the electric fence!
It's now Sunday and we have been busy. Michael took me to two wineries for tastings and we had lunch at the Gladstone Winery - owned by two Glaswegians. I was and am sober! After that he took me to Greytown which has lots of attractive shops and is a very popular weekend haunt for Wellingtonians. Crossing those hills is considered a major expedition - bit like Glaswegians braving the M8 for Edinburgh!
Michael's nearest neighbours are Penny & Jeremy and we stopped to see them on the way home. They are English and Jeremy makes very beautiful furniture from a wide range of native woods. Sadly, I already have far too much to carry so had to leave the chair I really liked behind! Penny was kind enough to give me a signed copy of the book she wrote about their early days in New Zealand.
Michael works for the New Zealand Federation of Voluntary Welfare Organisations and is part of the team behind my trip. He's also a fabulous photographer. He was also a candidate for the Green Party in the recent General Election. He didn't win but the Greens did well overall and he is very pleased with how it went. Though he's still coming down from the high that goes with intensive campaigning. Michael is also a doting grandad and is the process of building a tree house for his grandaughter who - he freely admits - has him wrapped round her little finger!