We found the homesit at Appleby without any trouble although we DID hesitate near the bottom of the long narrow twisty drive – having a large caravan in tow makes one hesitate sometimes. Luckily the homeowner saw us and walked down with Katie, our lovely charge for the next week or so.
The house was part of a large estate situated on a ridge in the middle of some very hilly country. There were about ten homes separated not by fences but by the contours of the land, and walking paths everywhere on common land. I understand there is a body corporate which deals with such things as keeping the vast tracts of grassland mown and possibly doing new plantings or erecting seats, etc. The views everywhere were breathtaking.
Katie took Penny and me for a rather long walk, I was surprised such an old dog more than half blind and deaf and with obvious arthritis was so willing to go so far – she put me to shame. Another time she took Dave and penny – and as soon as they reached the large duckpond, jumped straight in! Her owners have her well trained about the ‘consequences’ of such swims and as soon as we got back she headed straight for their shower and stood patiently while we rinsed her down.
All dogs have inbuilt alarm clocks and Katie was no exception. Used to receiving a bone for lunch each day and some biscuits at precisely five o’clock each evening (her main meal being breakfast, served by Dave), she did not allow me to forget the time!
Right next to the estate is the Playhouse Theatre Cafe so we went there for lunch one day with Dave’s niece Viv. It was a lovely lunch, but perhaps the timing could have been better as we had earlier attended the Mapua markets and sampled some delicacies there and then enjoyed a large brunch at Viv’s friend’s home! Needless to say dinner was little more than bread and water.
The homeowners have an extensive collection of DVDs which we were invited to sample. We got stuck into Foyle’s War with the admirable Michael Kitchen …. and by the time we left had managed got get through several ‘seasons’ but still had a few to go. Hopefully we can find them at lending libraries during our future travels.
We were at Appleby for nine days and did little of note apart from daily walks and attending the Richmond A&P Show. It was a lovely restful time. There were plenty of bees around for Dave to practice his macro shots.
Although a lovely sunny day, the A&P show was almost blown away by the strong winds. Many stalls were dismantled early and some had trouble displaying their wares at all. There were all the usual country Show events like sheep dog trials, horses, cattle, alpaca, photography, vintage tractors and a children’s section.
I missed the Strongman competition but from the size of the equipment – and the guys wandering around – it must have been spectacular.
There was some curious seat numbering- a hidden message perhaps?
There were some magnificent Clydesdales not pulling actual ploughs but a shot of sledge contraption mimicking a plough. They had to wend their way through what constituted an obstacle course, including doing a 360 d agree turn in a narrow circle. One team accomplished that perfectly but then one of the traces got caught up as they were exiting the ‘circle’.
One innovation was Terrier Racing. Dogs were permitted in the showgrounds and knowing Penny’s speed is second to none we decided to enter her in the races. But Penny had other ideas. She was not interested in the ‘rabbit’ which did not have an interesting smell. She was in several races and although she started well each time (chasing the other dogs and easily reaching the leading group) but then decided to return to Dave as she couldn’t see me standing at the finishing line. A little more training and I’m sure she would have done just fine!
We left the homesit with regret, heading for Christchurch after a few days in Blenheim.