On days like today making a list is easy......
21. Winter days . -1c to start and a calm 16c in the afternoon - brilliantly sunshiney days.
22. The river through town. Great walks and sculptures.
23. Rocco's. Step back in time to this unintentional retro classic restaurant. Think chianti bottles in rafia and huge portions of 70's classics and you're in heaven!
24. Pinecones. Massive ones. On sale at the roadside. Perfect for Christmas or lighting the fire.
25. Rarangi Beach . Underrated by locals but a fabulous walk on the wild side :)
26. Marlborough Airport . Has to be the best in New Zealand if not the world! Tiny, personal and $10 a day parking.Bliss.
27. Meater's Butchery. Mike (the owner) who I met on my first day in Marborough. He slipped some sausages and bacon into my bag and said to enjoy breakfast on him. I hear this is a common act of kindness from Mike. Awesome service and even better meat.
28. Bikes. Lots of flat roads lend themselves to lots of bikes. Lovely to see visitors with their baskets full of wine as they tour the local wineries.
29. Makana chocolates. Willy Wonka eat your heart out. Watch chocolates being made and taste samples. Marlborough sea salt caramels. Yum.
30. ASB Theatre. We have a fabulous theatre here - way more than you expect for a small town. Go Blenheim!!
11. Our Farmers Market . The best in produce from the area. Especially love Leah's freshly made cakes and bread from Mississippi Herbs , Cheese from Dan at Kaikoura Cheese and the best organic blueberries in the world from Windsong Orchard
12. The number of roundabouts ( or lack of them) !
13. Staying with the traffic theme. No traffic lights ! It took me a while to see what I was missing while driving through town!
14. The Wairau River. Icy glacial blue and fiercely beautiful. A wonderful walking companion.
15. Muffins at Saint Clair vineyard. In fact all the food and wine is great, as is the location, but the muffins are spectacular and worth a morning coffee visit !
16. The '10 minute' Blenheim travel mystery. Everywhere is within 10 minutes. How is that even possible....
17. Shops that still shut on Saturday afternoons.
18. The abundance of roadside olives - an untapped industry in itself.
19. Our local ( free) papers. Everything you need to know!
20. The abundance of cafe's and baking on site. From scratch. Not mixes. Heaven :)
On 2nd July 2015, two very bemused Doodles joined us on their first( and likely last) flight. They shivered their way across islands and sulked only momentarily as they were released from their crates into their new South Island life.
Our first stop from the airport was to the local pet store to get the essentials - happy dogs, happy life....
I still remember the drive along Middle Renwick Road on a brilliant Marlborough day - pristine piercing blue sky and clean , lung bursting pure air. It was home. It was always meant to be home.
So Marlborough in salute of you and for the best of years, here are my 51 favourite things... ( part one).
1. The air - as mentioned - it's perfect. So much so that we are selling it in cans to Asia. I kid you not.
2. The wine. Oh the wine. I have learned more than I ever thought possible and it's barely a drop in the barrel I am now the proud owner of !
3. The mornings. Walking with the Doodles on a crisp morning with air that almost hurts to breathe in deeply, is magical.
4. The wood burner. Only meaningful when it's really cold - and we've had a few of those days!
5. Burleigh pies. Just yum!
6. The Wither Hills and The Richmond Ranges - now I know who you are , you stun me almost every day with your respective golden and moody beauty.
7. Omega plums. I have never tasted anything like it. Picking a warm sun kissed plum on an evening walk in summer was perfect.
8. Walnuts. The most wonderful and satisfying harvest of the year. All tucked away in the freezer to keep us going until next time.
9. Traffic. Or lack of it. Still makes me smile everyday.
10. Parking meters in Blenheim that can still take 10 cents ( 3 minutes ) - perfect!
Searching for the Good Life
Kia Ora and welcome. Since we moved to New Zealand’s South Island, to our little bit of paradise , I’ve been regularly asked by friends all over the world – why we did it, are we coping, do we miss city life and when will we be back, amongst other things. So I decided to start a blog to capture some of the stories and funny things that happen on an almost daily basis – as well as share my interpretation of ‘ the good life’ – mixed in with recipes using what’s available in the gardens, and wine . Lots of wine. Thanks for joining us.