We are all sitting around indoors reading books and playing cards, and it's only 8.45am. The plan was to work from 8.00 so we had most of the afternoon free but it looks like Dartmouth outside. Thick cloud and rain, the mountains and sea view have all disappeared into the grey mist, its just like an english summer holiday.
Thats not the only similarity, we visited the local town, Akaroa, about 5km away. It is very beautifully set round a bay, with incredible views of the water and mountains, 2/3 of the property there are second homes or holiday lets, the vast majority of the shops are galleries or boutiques and the locals cannot afford to buy houses and there is very little employment apart from tourism jobs. We had a good walk round and a bit of a hike up into the hills to look at the view which was exhausting in the hot sun but well worth it. Have booked to swim with the dolphins in the bay next Sunday.
The gardens here have similarly planted, although quite often in a modern style to match the property they surround, many of the same plants - aparently the settlers brought loads of their favourites from home so its a real mix. Slightly warmer than home with huge geranium bushes, leucospermums and citrus bushes thriving in sheltered corners, even though it does occasionally snow here in the winter.
Yesterday we picked the first lot of flowers, half the quantity that we will be doing each day when we get going, just to get the hang of it all. Choosing longer stems, stripping the lower leaves off, stacking them on trays that are then transported down to the house where they are fumigated. We then stand round a big table and grade them into several sizes and they are stored in water until they are dispatched to market. Good communal work with plenty of chat and stories being told and explanations for those of foreign tongue. Though we are all having trouble understanding a local with a very strong accent who talks incredibly past.
Surfed again yesterday afternoon for the third time, am really getting hooked on it. having great fun.