Saturday, 28 February 2015

Pick up truck

We interrupt the holiday report for a news flash.
This is the first time the Ford F1 Pickup truck has gone down the road with brakes in 34 years.

Tandem Bike riding

 Can you believe this... On the weekend there was not one bike left in Green Jersey Cycle Tour shed. All of the bikes were out on hire for a hens party -  Touring around the Martinborough vineyards and wine tasting. This must of been so much fun,  plus we were told on our brief  "You can't get charged for drink driving on a bike".. I bet the girls had a fun hens day and hope the bride to be wasn't looking hung over for her big day. There are rather a lot of wineries to visit.

Honest how fun would it be to have a tandem bike for your wedding . (source pinterst) -  

Now this is my kinda wedding (which was also off pinterest). The guests were told to dress to impress, but to wear comfortable clothing that they could move in. When the guests arrived near the church they were surprised with bicycles and followed the newly weds to a park to have a picnic. Click here to read more about this wedding.

We chose a Schwinn tandem.

Ok I'll be honest I chose a tandem bike- Brent was not too keen to begin with... 
He said "I'm not pedalling you around the district".

Here is Stuart from  Green Jersey Martinbourgh's bike hire  He is  adjusting my seat since I'm a shorty. Stuart was great and a lot of fun to talk to. He gave us a run down on all the best wineries to call into.

 Brent wasn't keen on a tandem at first and he teased me saying I'd just sit on the back, not pedal and go la la lal la

You can tell from our faces... I was super excited and meanwhile Brent was thinking more practical things... Like ... OK - how do these gears work.
Yay ... under way -  Stuart told me I am to be subordinate and have to just sit on the back, no moving my hips or leaning over trying to re balance the bike. It was all up to Brent (as he feared). But in fact once you get going, the front person controlled everything even the pedals. So this meant I HAD to keep up with the momentum of pedal speed that Brent set.

 And we are off to sample some wines....

 First vineyard Muirlea Rise. They specialise in red  - Sadly I couldn't do any tasting as I'm allergic to red wine. (I learnt apparently it is the histamine in the wine that I will be allergic to) He thought an older red would be OK as the histamine is reduced and probably wouldn't give me a reaction - but I wasn't prepared to risk getting welts on the first day of our holiday just for a sip of red.

Five very nice wines to sample followed by a tasty Port
Brent enjoys a red and had his first taste of a $120.00 bottle of wine - a 1999 Mareth

Mareth is named after the two grandma's  Mary and Ethel.

Our next stop was Martinborough Vineyard ahh now they had whites. I was upfront and honest and said I'd never ever done a wine tasting in my life. Neil was awesomely fun and before I knew it, he was teaching me to swirl the glass, smell, swirl, swish and spit (how unlady like) then have a little taste. He reckoned that the nostril that is opposite your dominate writing hand has better odour sense. So next thing we are nostril testing the wine. Neil made the wine tasting ever so much fun. Make sure you pop into Martinborough Vineyard if you do the wine trail.

We brought their Chardonnay 2012  very nice indeed.

Hasn't Neil got an awesome view for his job - helping people taste wine. He said he likes tasting wine but  has to spit out any tastings during the day. But come 5pm he gets to enjoy his drop.

We were rather blessed with weather, it only rained while we were inside sampling wines. Can you see the big black clouds? We needed lunch and really had a dilemma in front of us.. There were still many winery's to visit and Brent didn't mind pedaling along while being well dosed... He wouldn't drive the car and we still had some travelling ahead.  We knew there was no way we were going to get to every winery in Martinborough so we decided to bike past many and looked for a winery that had a cafe and some food on offer.

Tirohana Estate was open for a late lunch (2.30pm) a gourmet tasting platter. Nothing was too much trouble and I ran through my food allergies and they adapted the platter for me.

Freshly baked bread with olive oil on the top tier.

Artichokes, stuffed peppers, potato salad, carrot and sultana poppy salad on middle tier.

Bottom tier had a lovely cranberry relish, salami, pate, feta cheese, cheddar cheese and smoked chicken. As you can see extremely generous portions.

Captain Sam the resident vineyard and cafe cat was onto us.... He knows the type of clients that will feed him well and soon as the food arrived so did Sam. (The smoked chicken was his favourite).

 However..... Sam is a true professional cafe cat.... Soon as the food is gone so is he.

After sampling Tirohana Estate wines we were back on the tandem. We both decided there was no way we could manage more wine tasting after such a good lunch.

We called into Martinbourgh Wine Centre where you can purchase  Moon Over Martinbourgh Olive Oil   Very tasty on salads and for dipping your bread into. I've followed Jared's blog and read his book, Moon Over Martinbourgh. So we HAD to bike and get some of their olive oil.

Ta da... We made it back safe n sound. We didn't fall off and Brent didn't do any skids and we didn't get too tiddly. We did cycle a wee way but you didn't actually feel like you did as there were many stops. Some of the winery's are only 30  to 50 metres apart and before you know it there's another stop for a wine taste. Stuart marked out nine wineries and one olive grove on the map he gave us.

Honest, if you are unfit you would still manage doing the wine tour on the bikes as there is lots of stopping and starting - but then again if you sampled at every wine place you might not get back on the bike or get into mischief somewhere on route.

For those of you who are no good on bikes Green Jersey Cycle Tour  gives guided tours where you sit in their rickshaw (a three wheeled passenger cart) and they do all the pedaling. The tour takes you around some of Martinbourough vineyards and olive groves. I'm not normally one for guided tours but I wouldn't hesitate to go with Stuart. He has both horticulture and wine experience and a great host so with his knowledge and the wine tasting along the way it would be rather enjoyable. The package tour they offer includes a lunch and all wine tasting fees.

We will back to use Green Jersey Cycle Tours as we want to do the Rimutaka Cycle Trail.

Disclaimer: This blog post was sponsored by Green Jersey Cycle Tours. For more information on sponsorship click here

Friday, 27 February 2015

Day one of our holiday

"All Whiskers" by Gary Tricker.
A whimsical take on the All Blacks. - Can you see the mouse on the ball?
This will be going soon into art galleries for purchase.
  Flagstaff Gallery and Moray Gallery usually are two galleries you can get Gary's work from. 

 The etchings are done on copper plates 

  I love how his art work is quirky - it usually has trains (Gary was brought up with trains as his dad worked on the trains) clocks and black cats. 

Toko and Tahi  are two cats we bred, they sure have life sussed living with Gary and are his models for many of his art works. I'm often asked if I miss breeding cats - yes and no. Yes for all the wonderful people we have met. But no as I really did not like moving on the old breeding stock - Burmese have such wonderful personalities and you get very attached to them. I doubt I will breed again.

 Toko was the inspiration for this etching
 Piwakawaka is currently available at Moray Gallery and Flagstaff Gallery .

Gary reads the blog and gave me permission to put the photos on the blog. Leave a comment to Gary below, I'm sure he will enjoy hearing from you. 

Brent and I enjoy catching up with Gary. We both love listening to his stories and getting a peek into his art studio. This visit the cats didn't come walk abouts instead they stayed asleep. But did wake up for pats and gave big purrs of contentment. 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

We are home...

This year we stayed in a coachman's cottage and a log cabin. Visited a light house, went tandem bike riding and much much more... will share over the next few days.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Farm Stay Guests

 Pancho has won all our hearts. He even looks forward to seeing our cats. I think he could easily just slip into a member of our family. (I always feel like this when a guests stays for a while)

 Maji popping down to say hi Pancho

 Cinders having big conversations with Pancho

 Lordy his crossed paws cracks me up.

 I did snap a shot of Cinders and Pancho talking

Laura leaving - I think Pancho is in love with Laura....