Sunday 25 March 2012: Daddy's Shoulders
A couple of years ago one of my close friends, a TV producer, and another friend of hers in the TV industry decided to form a production company of their own. Their first series went to air on TV last year here in New Zealand, amidst much nail-biting (on their part - we were sure it would be a success!) about how it would be received.
The concept of the show is that it features a well-known chef, former café-owner and author of numerous cookbooks visiting a different café somewhere in the country each week. As well as offering exemplary café services, the featured establishment also always has an active involvement with the community in some way. The format of the show is that the presenter, Julie Le Clerc, visits the café for a flavour of its ambience, dishes and clientèle. She interviews the owner to find out how they got started; learns about their signature dishes and also prepares a dish of her own that is served to customers. She also follows a community event with which the café is involved - for example a fund-raising dog walk; an inner-city garden project or a sponsored kayak race (to name but a few).
The first series was very well-received and the TV network has now commissioned a second series, both a huge relief and exciting news for my friend and her partner. A couple of weeks ago she got in touch with me to say that the TV crew would be filming a Harvest Festival at a café near Nelson this weekend, and that we should go along and say hello to her business partner who would be there directing. We hadn't been to this particular café before and were delighted to discover, on arriving there, what a wonderful place it is. Nestling among the Moutere hills with their vineyards and orchards, close to the river, it combines a café, sculpture gallery and organic garden forming part of a small community in a historical village that is described as "offering people an opportunity to put their group living ideals into practice."
Established by Christian Methodists in 1941, the community supports itself with a rural based economy that combines traditional farming practices with organic gardens and orchards. It hosts regular public events such as workshops, cultural events and music festivals. The members of the community see their way of life as their main contribution to peacemaking, demonstrating that a group of people can thrive without being focused on competition, benefiting themselves and society.
The food was absolutely delicious. I introduced myself to M., the director, and before long we found ourselves being filmed eating Julie Le Clerc's special cake, talking and wandering through the garden. Lynley was particularly pleased to meet Julie and get some baking tips from her concerning gluten and dairy-free baking. My husband is convinced that he will end up 'on the cutting-room floor' and that only Simone, with her cute little impression of a starving cormorant fledgling being fed, will make the final cut! Who knows? Anyway, it was a lovely day out and afterwards we had a look around the gallery (Alexander was far more interested in the tractors outside!) and visited the little kunekune pigs that were grunting and rootling around in the paddock behind the café.
On looking through my photos, I've decided to blip this one of Simone riding on her Daddy's shoulders after visiting the pigs. It reminds me of those far-off but never forgotten days when one was small enough to ride on adults' shoulders, walking through forests, feeling so high and utterly trusting. It's sad they are so short-lived, really....