many and varied reasons

Of all the many and varied reasons guests come to stay at Dry Paddocks I thought you would like to read about this one, as it is quite different from the usual weekend escape, celebration or time out stays, and it is topical at the moment with the world climate change conference taking place.

Our lovely guests who I am referring to, live in Singapore and they have recently booked their seventh visit with us for next year.
They love New Zealand and just keep returning.

        Why do they keep coming back to us? they come to run around our property……………….. yes really!!

They enjoy running on grass, there is no traffic, the air is clean and it is so peaceful. In Singapore they said there are 3 or 4 months of the year where they cannot run and being outside is a health risk the air quality is so poor. We were surprised, it had never occurred to us maybe we should include it in our advertising?  Air quality, something we take for granted where we live, but many others aren’t so fortunate.
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 Lichen, we have lots of it……… on tree trunks, fences and anything wooden. Lichen only grows where the air is clean, it is like the canary down the mine. It is extremely sensitive to any pollutants in the air, so if you are somewhere where it is growing, breathe deeply, for you are inhaling good clean air.


We go about our daily life blithely drinking clean water, breathing easy, pulling vegetables out of the garden, collecting free range organic eggs out of our letterbox from our neighbour………..this is our just how we live.
Sometimes it takes others from overseas to make us realise, that we have so much to be grateful for .


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Art in a garden

It’s been a huge weekend in the valley. It always is at this time of the year. The Culverden fete is the one to kick everything off. It is always held on the last Thursday of October, followed by Art in a Garden at Flaxmere in Hawarden, plus the Amberley A&P show on the Saturday.

What more could you want on a warm sunny spring day than to spend it in a NZ garden of National Significance listening to  the Nairobi trio,  with a chilled glass of Waipara wine wandering around appreciating sculpture, paintings, ceramics, jewellery and much more.

Flaxmere where it is held, is the garden of Penny Zino.  Large in scale, and forty nine years in the making,  it is breathtakingly beautiful with all its spring colour, and it provides the perfect backdrop for a huge variety of sculptures. At other times of the year the garden is open by appointment.
PicMonkey Collage

Yesterday, Sunday was the last day for 2015. It runs for three days, with different workshops held every year. Efficiently organised with an army of helpers it runs like clockwork. A stream side café, where you can rest, imbibe or nibble on picnic lunches, and listen to music provides welcome shade on a hot day.

                                                                The sculptures and the landscape are the stars……………..

                                                                                            from the bold……………

                                                                                        to the subtle………………

                                                                                          the colour co-ordinated……………..

                                                                       there is something to inspire everyone…………………..

If you have never been before, mark it in your next years calendar, it is definitely worth a visit.
It has been a little quiet on the blog for the past weeks, so if you are still reading………..a very big
thank you I do appreciate anyone who reads about our life here in the Waipara Valley.



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our community

One of the things I enjoy most about living here in the valley is the sense of community.


In the country your neighbours can be some distance away, that’s just the way it is.

We’ve lived in cities where we knew our neighbours, but not like here.


I think the distance between neighours  actually adds to the connection you have with them in rural areas.
I have said before there is a genuine  looking out for and helping out your neighbours in the country.


Last week we  returned home to a message on the phone from a neighbour alerting us there was an
opportunistic thief operating during the day if he was lucky enough to find you were out.  The local
policeman had emailed a long time resident, and he had spread the word, and on it went.
The country grapevine was in overdrive and working well.


Security is often taken for granted rurally. Locked doors are rare and cars are left with their keys inside.
It is not something we usually have to think about, and we like it like that.


However an arrest has been made, and its probably good for us all to become a little more safety conscious.
But it illustrates safety is not just ringing the emergency services, its about knowing those living around you who
look out for you, and take the time to pass on warnings and if you are home alone, you know can count on neighbours
along the road should you need to.


That is community, and I am grateful we live where we do.


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road trip…………………Kekerengu

Some days are just made for taking a daycation……………and last Friday was that day. It was one of those days that capture the best of autumn.
Calm, with a sun that is now lower in the sky, but perfectly positioned to  shine through the gold leaves of the vines and poplars as we headed out
of the valley.
IMG_8747We were off heading north to Kekerengu on the Marlborough coast, a blink and you miss it spot halfway between Kaikoura and Blenheim.
We have been wanting to check out The Store, since we started hearing good reports from locals and guests, of its rejuvenation under the new owners.On such a perfect day driving the Kaikoura coastline is magic.

IMG_2245The salt spray casts a hazy finish, and diffuses the bright light .  It is breath taking, the first dusting of snow on the Kaikoura mountain range is
gleaming in the sunshine, at times the mountains jut right into the sea, and the road has been cut through a promontory.

It always brings back childhood memories of travelling up here as a family heading to Kaiteriteri for holidays. Dad would always, prompted by
us in the back seat, toot in the road tunnels, and parents still do it now as it echo’s wonderfully as you drive through.

We stopped at a small beach before Kaikoura to smell the sea air and walk the dog when I literally almost stood on a seal. Basking on a nest
of kelp he blended in so perfectly and was almost indistinguishable from his brown bedding. Not that he was bothered by our presence, just lazily looked up as I carefully backed away.He had friends close by one hopped up onto the rocks to show off his fine form and pose for the camera.

Kekerengu is on a bend in the road The Store has been here for a number of years owned by Richard and Susan McFarlane, one of their sons
has returned with his wife from Auckland and taken it over.
mayThey have revamped the interior, it looks fresh and smart, and the menu has been reworked .A location that is hard to beat looking straight
out to the ocean. You can dine inside, or on the deck with the sound of  the waves thumping the shore in the background  interspersed by birdsong.
may2                                    A glass of local rose, and a bowl of excellent seafood chowder hit just  the right note, we were happy diners.

blog11                                                         You can see why The Store is so popular……………….what a location!

On our way home, as the iconic Nins Bin was closed for Crayfish (lobster) purchases,so we bought fresh, just off the boat groper for dinner.
blog15Hightailing it back home, as we had a call from some unexpected guests who wanted a bed for the night………that’s what happens when you play hooky for the day, we reflected on how beautiful our country is and how enjoyable it is to just up sticks and take a day off to enjoy it. So often  we are en-route to somewhere and are unable to take the time to enjoy the journey and stop along the way. It is something we are going to do more of.

IMG_2267                                                     I hope you have enjoyed this road trip along the South Island’s east coastline.

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