Bates Family South Seas Sabbatical travel blog

Lovely to get so many messages crowing about the heatwave. I have to say I was rather rueful yesterday in darkness at 4.50, knowing it was the longest day in England and with some serious side winds making the very large ferry tilt regularly and some lashing rain, summer in the Cook straits seems a lond way off.

Having said that the crossing wasn't that bad at all- what with Gordon's anxiety about the poor sailors he has as a family and that in the book it reports that passage from the North to the South Islands as notoriously rough- and we managed a particularly long (and tedious) game of X-site. Kingsley's birthday board game which is far duller than imaginable, but gives a great knowledge of NZ geography.

So now we are on the South Island and have come to Blenheim, in Marloborough County and home of all the yummy wines. I was very surprised not to have banners out and a red carpet for our arrival, given that we single handedly support the area with our Sauvignon Blanc drinking, but clearly there are others who drink more!

The rain has stopped lashing and the sun has come out and the 3 boys are all at the cinema watching Star Wars which I declined, but that they had been promised for weeks.

Tomorrow, they will have to return the treat and come on the wine trail with us!

Naz and Meana have mentioned that we haven't commented at all on the people here. Without fail, they are unbelievably friendly, helpful and interested. Even the bus drivers are happy for a chat and to give helpful advice and it seems to be that way whether you are a tourist or not. It seems that the pace of life is just not as hectic and everyone has a bit more time to be civil. They all have an opinion about the rugby too, but have enough of a sense of humour to do mild ribbing, rather than being hostile in any way.

Ok. I need to go and meet the Jedi warriors from the dark hole- or whatever- it's why I'm not at Star Wars. We are all beginning to get very excited about Tonga, but are looking forward to Kaikoura soon as we hope to go dolphin and whale watching. Lots of love Ness x

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