Away from the Island


In late April our daughter Anne went overseas to attend two conferences, with a trip to Spain in between. Rather than put Eddie …. her Border Terrier ….. into kennels she sent him down to us. Eddie is a well travelled little dog, having visited us with Anne several times before, and also flying with her down to Wanganui where Anne occasionally works. Rather than fly Eddie home when Anne returned Iris & I decided to spend a week in Auckland. This was seen as a great idea by Anne, who, suprise suprise, had  several days chores for us…. gardening for Iris, and handyman duties for me.

Island Comedy

As always we flew off the Island with Stewart Island Flights, the local operator. They use Britten Norman Islanders, a very capable twin engined 9 seater aircraft. The flight was pure Island comedy. Iris and I sat in the rear two seats, with  Eddie secured on our lap, In front of us was a local young mum with baby twins, one held by another local woman along side her. The next row up had the local nurse and alongside her was the young mums friend, holding the twins elder sister. In the next row forward was an expectant mum, with her two little dogs, The remaining seats with other locals. But also on the plane was a box of doves. So in total 9 adults, 3 babies, three small dogs and a box of doves.  Getting all this travelling circus aboard was something of a project, and there were several comments regarding what any tourist would have thought had they been travelling.. but for the pilot, just another day at the office, and for us, just what makes Island life different.

But it wasn’t all work, among other things we spent the Saturday on Waiheke Island. Anne hired a car and we circumnavigated the Island. The western end is just a suburb of Auckland, but the eastern end is mostly farmland, and although not much of the Islands native bush remains, it is very pretty. We had lunch at Man ‘o War Bay Vinyard, a panini accompanied by a superb Red… Dreadnaught, if I remember correctly.

Leaving the Island means we have to organise care for our own two Borders, Millie & Bridie, and for our cantankerous cat who by the way enjoys the very original name(s) of Kit the Cat, or Mog. In the past we had sent them to kennels in Invercargill. But they hated it and invariably came home with snuffles and sneezes. So this year we asked a friend to come across and house sit our fur children.

We have known Lee for ever, and she and Anne are great friends, And as Lee spent a lot of her childhood on the Island she leapt at the chance to kick back and visit with old friends. We didn’t tell her too much about our odd animals, thought it would be an interesting learning curve for her.

As you might see from the email we received

Dear Mum and Dad and Anne
we hope that you got to Auckland ok. Kitty and I have been very good, but Bridie not so much, she must miss you.

Millie & Bridie

Yesterday when Lee was trying to work with her computer on her lap, me, Bridie and Kitty tried to all get on her lap at once. Lee had to work at the table instead, because there wasn’t any room for all of us.
When Lee was having a sleep yesterday in the afternoon, Bridie woke her up barking. We still don’t know what she wanted because she didn’t want to go outside. Lee went to sleep in the window seat instead.
I have decided that I don’t want to sleep in your room, I just sit at the door, so Lee bought my bed out and I am sleeping in the lounge.
Bridie barked during the night, so Lee got up and let us out. When she was trying to get us to go outside for our nightly business we wouldn’t go. We both looked at her with doeful -‘ its to cold out there eyes’, and she fell for it. HAHAHAHA. So we woke her up when it suited us. I think we are very clever.
Once we had been out (I had a good look round the place in the dark in case anything had been going on) I was out there for ages, Lee was worried, we came back inside and Lee left the TV on for us to watch, because she was worried, we missed the company. But we didn’t make anymore noise, so she figured out now that we just wanted out.
She told us she is not falling for that again tonight. 
We went for a walk this morning, but we were so excited we barked and barked and barked (it was Bridie) that Lee kept walking us up and down the drive until we stopped, every time we got near the end of the drive and started barking again she turned us round and walked us back again. We are pretty clever so after doing this for ages we got the idea she wasn’t having any barking when we go walkies. So by the time we got out of the drive I was almost tired. We had a nice walk to Watercress bay and back. I did not chase any dogs, people or cars, because we didn’t see any.
Lee forgot to take a poo bag, but it was all good, because she didn’t feed us until we got home!
 We hope she never eats pumpkin ever because we really like it, we had it for tea and some more for breakfast as well.
Kitty seems to like Lee a lot, follows her round and won’t get off her lap so we can have a turn. Lee had to put her in her dog kennel yesterday afternoon so that she would leave her alone. Of course we sat under her cage in case she through some food out for us. Kitty also likes it that Eddie has gone home to his mum too.
Anyway, Bridie is in my basket, but I don’t care right now, because I’m going outside to check the mail again.
Have a good trip.
Woof woof
 Milly, Bridie and Kitty.

Coming South

Instead of flying from Invercargill we took our van (which we send across to the mainland every 2 years for maintenance) up to Queenstown and flew north from there. While we were away the Island weather was terrible, easterly and cold rain, and the day we were due to fly south a major Southerly storm was forecast. It arrived at Q’town just as we landed, and

A Farm House near Fairlight

we awoke next morning at Lake Hayes to a thin covering of snow, maybe 10 mm. But going over to Arrowtown we found 10 times that, and snowing heavily, but nothing back at Lake Hayes. The trip down to Invercargill on Friday was a bit of an adventure. The road was open just, with care, and we drove through heavy snow falling, half a metre on the fields. The graders and grit trucks were busy and we got through OK, although from halfway down the Lake to Lumsden at

Stalled Trucks

Stalled Trucks, waiting to be towed up the Jollies Pass between Lake Whakatipu and Lumsden. One of the truckies was wearing shorts… they breed ’em tough in the south

just 40 kph.

Snow is not something we get a lot of on Stewart Island, maybe one fall of a few millimetres  once a year is generally our lot. Something I am very grateful for, as I loath the stuff. A spell or two snow raking as a young fellow cured me of any illusions about snow. Although I will admit it does look very pretty, but only when seen through double glazing accompanied by a roaring fire and a large mug of mulled wine.

A Casualty. A small camper van upside down on the slopes of Jollies Pass

Border Terriers

Anyone who has stayed with us will remember our two Borders…. it must be a Tait thing, as our son Ivan has a Border as well. Like all pets they rule our lives, and Bridie in particular is a “pataholic” and demands endless pats and attention. Millie is much more a couch potato, but having been a breeding bitch before she was retired to us I suppose she is allowed. Millies favourite occupation is watching the world go by.  Eddie on the other hand is an exercise freak, or at least is with Anne, and they will generally walk several K’s per day. However we do find while down here he seldom surfaces before 0900, and is looking for his bed around dinner time.

…. Peter & Iris, Sails Ashore
11 View St,
Stewart Island,
64 3 219 1151
0800 783 9278Sails Ashore