I must discover and use a greater variety of superlatives in this blog or it's going to be just too repetitive!
We had a very nice Indian meal last night (and I only had a starter as my main!). The food was good but the service was appalling, with bits of the meal arriving at different times, my meal arriving long before Iain's, etc. But everyone is so nice that you can't be annoyed. The restaurant is literally only round the corner but we took the car as it was pelting down; absolutely pouring. Hope it means that tomorrow will be brighter. (Mike has chastised me for moaning about a little rain as he reckons we've had more good weather in the few days we've been in New Zealand than they did in the nine weeks, or whatever, that they were here! I stand chastised.)
We didn't set an alarm for this morning and slept in until 9,30am, which was a real treat. Another comfortable bed, so we both slept well - another treat.
We started to plan the next few days - unfortunately, without any input from Mike!! We hadn't had any breakfast and Iain was getting hungry so he set off for the supermarket - opposite the Indian, so very close - and I kept on with the B & B search. An hour passed and I wondered where Iain had gone. I knew he'd been a bit vague about where he was going so I figured that he'd got lost and I should go and find him. Bear in mind that I'm the one with the appalling sense of direction and you'll quickly see a fairly basic flaw in my plan.
I walked about five minutes before thinking it would be better and quicker to drive round the town, so I went back to the apartment for the car keys. Except that Iain obviously had them in his pocket - his phone was also on the table, so I couldn't text him, either - so I set off walking again.
I walked for about 25 minutes, all over the [thankfully compact] town, panicking a little that I couldn't catch sight of him. Got to the supermarket where Iain had been headed, checked that out - no Iain - and then decided that after all my worry I'd go back to the hotel and no doubt find him sitting on the balcony waiting for me. By this time, Iain had been gone for nearly an hour and a half.
As I turned the aforementioned corner to head for the motel, there was Iain crossing the park on the other side of the road and waving to catch my attention, having been waiting for ME to appear. To yell or not, that's always the quandary in these stressful situations!
Just as well I decided 'not', as it transpired that I'd misread my watch and, rather than being away for an hour when I had started to get worried, Iain had actually only been away for a quite reasonable half an hour. He'd probably arrived back just minutes after I'd set off on my rescue mission. What a wally! Still, he very kindly made me lunch while I chilled.
As we ate, we watched a Triumph Spitfire come into the car park and later got talking to the couple it belonged to. They'd come to New Zealand in 1964 from Leeds, so when I joined the conversation the men were discussing football, that universal language! The car registration number, a present from their children, was 64 POM, which was fun. (We've come to the conclusion that there's no real car registration system here as so many number plates have a cryptic word as the registration. We're wondering if you can just make something up and then ask to have it!) They live in New Plymouth on North Island and they were commenting on how good the weather is here and also how friendly people are on South Island, and also how the South Island is like a totally different country to the North Island!! We'll soon find out what they mean!
We'd discarded the idea of whale-watching. We'd looked on Trip Advisor and read some of the reveiws of both the boat trip and the flights. While some people raved about them, a lot said that the flights were a bit pathetic as you had to be so far above the whales that you couldn't see much and the boat trip had its own limitations - not least that people were very often sea sick. We decided that, in the light of the fact that we'd have a three-hour ferry trip the next day, we didn't need any more travel on the high seas.
So, we set off to the Montana Vineyard, just outside Blenheim. Montana's Sauvignon Blanc is my favourite white wine, so I was keen to make the visit. We got there and booked in for the 3pm wine tour and ordered a coffee (Iain was driving) and a glass for me and waited in the garden until the tour started. About five minutes before 3pm we rolled up for the tour, only to find that a coach-load of people had arrived before the allotted time and they'd been taken off on a tour and we'd missed it. Cheek. The place seemed very disorganised and they obviously are led very much by the coach tours which arrive in quick succession. They tacked us on to another of these groups and, after much debate and checking between members of the group - some of them wanted to do a helicopter ride over the Vineyard and had to fit in with that timetable - we eventually had our tour. A lot of the process was simply described to us as 'elf and safety' has their say here, as well! But it was interesting, and we had a taste of three wines at the end of the tour.
One of the wines we tasted from their premier range and they only produce a very limited amount, meaning that there's not enough to export. Which is a big shame as it was just lovely. We're going to see if Emirates will let us check our box of three onto their plane to bring home!
A very cool afternoon, and the sun shone all the way. And what a great husband I have; he doesn't just buy me a bottle of my favourite wine, he brings me to the actual Vineyard to get one! Mega brownie points, there, methinks!
We're going to have a takeaway pizza tonight, basically because there seems to be very few restaurants around and even fewer open on a Sunday.
Off to Picton and the ferry to Wellington tomorrow. We had a nasty moment when we had an email to say that the 10.05am ferry was either full or not operating (they didn't specify) and we needed to choose either 8.05am or 2.05pm for an alternative. We elected the 8.05am ferry and resigned ourselves to an excruciatingly early start and then they emailed us again and said that a member of staff had made a mistake and had been looking at ferries going the other way, so the 10.05am ferry was back on! Phew.
North Island, here we come.