There is always something reassuring about the sound of the aircraft wheels coming down and then feeling the gentle jolt of rubber hitting tarmac. As I peered out the window I couldn’t help but smile as I took in the lush green paddocks dotted with big woolly sheep which lined the runway and the irony of it all. I suddenly found myself wondering if I would actually recognise my hosts and would they recognise me? After all I had only met Philip and Linda once before when they came to Brisbane about six months earlier and we’d caught up for dinner.
Pushing my concerns aside I disembarked my flight and once again I made my way through customs with no delays. Walking out into the open arrivals lounge my earlier concerns returned as my eyes darted around the room scanning for a familiar face. It didn’t take long before we made eye contact and shared a big smile as I felt my muscles relax. Philip and Linda stood to greet me, and then as we embraced they admitted that they shared the same concerns. We laughed at ourselves and made our way to the car.
Linda informed me that Angus had clued onto my visit so the surprise was not going to be quite what we had hoped. Angus was most likely the kind of kid sleuth that found the Christmas presents before they arrived under the tree on Christmas morning. I wasn’t too worried that my visit was no longer a surprise as I was just happy to be there with them and share in their life for a few days.
Angus was still at work so we went for a drive around Christchurch where I could see firsthand the damage caused by the tragic earthquakes earlier this year. In some places you would never know the sheer devastation that took place and in other areas your heart ached as you drank in the enormity of what Mother Nature was capable of.
They took me up to a lovely little look out café which sold overpriced food and drinks however more than made up for it with the panoramic views of the city. Having not eaten anything other than some crackers all day, my first holiday food was a huge slice of moist carrot cake with lashings of cream cheese icing, Yum! As I gorged myself we caught up on what life had brought them since Angus’s operations and what the plans were for the weekend ahead.
It wasn’t long before it was time to go and pick Angus up from work. A well dressed and impatient Angus was standing on the side of the road talking on the phone as we approached. He was excited to see me but not surprised. After a big hug and a quick hello we were back on the road again, this time heading back to the farm which was over an hour away.
Angus’s parents own a beautiful property where over three thousand sheep and about three hundred cattle call home. With this being my first visit to New Zealand other than in transit I was mesmerized by the picturesque landscapes that were whizzing by my window. It was lambing season so the road was boarded by beautiful rolling green pastures peppered with mummy sheep and their cute as a button lambs.
By the time we arrived home I was starting to feel the weariness wash over me despite having slept for several hours on the flight. Angus’s older Sister Phillipa and her two gorgeous little girls were already there and had dinner cooked and ready to eat. For the first time I experienced roast mutton and vegies. Having only recently acquired the taste for lamb I have to say I quite enjoyed my meal despite the stronger flavour and smell of the mutton, although I did have some extra mint sauce to be sure. Not long after dinner it was off for a nice hot shower and bed, which after such a long day I think I was asleep before my head even hit the pillow.
Until next time,