Invercargill, Wanaka and Queenstown, NZ

I had bronchitis all over the Christmas period so everything wasn’t as enjoyable as it might have been. I am on the mend now, thanks to some antibiotics, and intend to enjoy the New Year celebrations! We spent Christmas Day at Avis’ sister Lexie’s house, she, and her husband Dave, cooked us a splendid Christmas lunch (see the photo) and the company was excellent, consisting of Dot (Avis' amazing mother who is still line-dancing in her eighties - seen on the right front of the photo), Lexie (front left), Dave, Oliver, Bron, Liam, Raewyn, David, Bernie (Brian's Dad), Brian, Daniel, Avis and me. Later that evening we visited Wayne and Raewyn who were entertaining their own family for Christmas. The next day we returned to Wanaka where I spent time recovering while David and Avis ran up and down the mountains and spent time in the sauna and spa.

We are now staying at the home of Avis’ daughter, Joelle, and her partner Matt, in Kelvin Heights, Queenstown, overlooking Lake Wakatipu. We have the most stunning view from our bedroom window and tend to sit gazing out over the lake, rather longer than we should, as we drink our early morning cup of tea. (See photo)

Now I am finally on the mend, I fully intend to walk along the lake-side to lose some of the weight that has surreptitiously insinuated itself about my person since I left England last September.

Yesterday, we visited Gary and Bernie on their farm in Dry Bread near Omakau.

We met Garyand Bernie when they visited Avis and Brian in Turkey, three years ago, so it was good to catch up with them again. We had lunch and then Gary took us on a tour of his 570 hectare farm. Gary has 2 600 breeding Ewes which usually give him 3 500 lambs each year to sell for meat; added to this are the 600 replacement Ewes kept to replenish his stock.

Gary also raises deer for market and he has 90 hinds and 3 breeding stags.
I tried to take a photo of the deer, but they are very shy creatures and kept running away. We spent a hilarious few minutes chasing after them around the field in the car, but the lead hind wasn’t having any of it and she led them off at a gallop every time we approached. This photo was the best I could do!

The farm is called Rankeillour, after one of the places in Scotland where Gary’s forebears came from near St Andrews. The landscape is beautiful and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit.

We especially liked the duck ponds with their Mai Mais (the hides for the hunters during the duck-hunting season). Unfortunately, this was only a brief visit, so we must definitely return to visit Gary and Bernie in order to experience more of their idyllic life!

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