We're still working hard and temperatures are just getting higher and higher, regularly going over 30 degrees and even hitting 38 one day. We've been doing a variety of jobs from more planting, to installing wires and irrigation lines to more boring shoot thinning and wire lifting. Jeff has been able to spend some time "looking busy" by driving the quad bike around which he likes a lot. We're still going down to the lake for a swim on the hot days but now the water has reached 16 degrees which feels so much better.
We have met a lot of different people over the last few weeks and we arranged a crepe party with a French couple at our campsite. They made 72 crepes and people brought lots of different fillings. There were roughly 15 people and everyone brought a filling ranging from homemade guacamole to a bowl of grated cheddar cheese!
My birthday was a lot of fun. Unfortunately I had to work but San made me a nice breakfast and we headed off. The weather was good, hot but with clouds so it wasn't too hard. After work some friends invited us to their house for some drinks. We stopped at the lake for a beer and a swim and then headed over and had cake and champagne which was really nice. The house was amazing and they have a tightrope strung up in the garden. It's quite a popular thing to do over here, they use straps that area few inches wide. I had a go and managed a few steps which I was impressed with. We came back to the campsite and San made fajitas and lots of banana split ice cream. It was a really good day. The day before we went to a restaurant called Wild Earth which is also a vineyard. They use the old wine barrels to smoke their food in the garden of the restaurant which tastes amazing. We got a sharing platter, which was; lamb, hare, mussels, salmon and beef all smoked and this was accompanied with a wine flight which included a different paired wine for each of the meats. It was all amazing and really tasty.
We were lucky enough to go wine tasting with a couple of wine experts who are currently doing research at Terra Sancta. We went to a very quaint winery to start off, most of us hadn't been wine tasting before so it was a good start and the lady was very informative and showed us how to get the most from tasting different wines. We were taught how to swirl wine, smell it and have two tastes, one to acclimatize your mouth and the second to taste the wine. We're not sure we became experts but it was fun trying 20 wines in an afternoon. It was really interesting to try three different Pinot Noirs grown at three different sites but only about 20km away from each other. Each one tasted completed different and even through the wine was made in the same way, the different locations had a huge impact on the wine which I wouldn't have imagined. We went to a few other wineries and bought a couple of nice bottles of Gewurzt and Riesling to have over Christmas.
We had arranged a big day out in Queenstown with a lot of people but unfortunately the weather let us down, it rained and it was quite chilly. We did our Christmas shopping which meant San and I tried not to bump into each other as we went around the shops, but since there's only about 3 streets with shops in Queenstown it wasn't that easy. However as we were in Queenstown we had to have a giant burger with some friends for lunch.
We had been talking for weeks about having a BBQ on the lake. We finally arranged it and it was a great success! It started with our friend Phillip turning up on a quad bike with a trailer and a huge gas BBQ. Everyone brought some food and Jeff became chef for the night. We enjoyed great food, good company, some cold beers, a Pavlova (because it is impossible to have a meal in NZ without a Pavlova appearing at some point) and a night swim (which was surprisingly warm!). It was a great night and we were very happy we weren't working the next day!
It's funny to think that it's almost Christmas. With 30 plus degrees most days it's not exactly feeling like a winter wonderland but we are fighting back. We've been forcing the guys we live with to watch Christmas films having watched Santa Claus and Santa Claus 2 in the last few days and it's time for Santa Claus 3 tonight. We've finally found some mince pies over here, we have been listening to Christmas music at work and San is going to make some mulled wine this weekend. With this full on attack of Christmas spirit we are starting to feel Christmassy and have been out today to buy stockings, hats and tinsel ready to make the van reflect the time of year!
We have about a week left of work left before we head to Moeraki for Christmas and then back to Wanaka for New Year. We are looking into working for a couple of weeks in January so we might be coming back to Bannockburn but not sure if that's possible yet.