I thought I might go for a walk up the Brook today, but when I got to The Brook Sanctuary, I discovered that the walking track is now only open to the public from Friday to Sunday. It's a couple of years since I was there, and they seem to have made great strides with the fence. (This is a conservation area, where efforts are being made to regenerate native species in a preserve where introduced flora and fauna are being eradicated in order to allow a recreation of the biome that existed before Colonial times). The old path that I remembered having walked up before is now closed.
So, that was a bit of a disappointment. But as it turned out, it might have been a good thing, as there's no mobile service up there. As I drove back towards town, I received a message from Immy asking for advice. I decided to take the road up the Matai Valley instead, and pulled over here at Sharland's Creek to call her. However, she said "Where are you? You sound like tinfoil!" so I ended up snapping this one picture and then getting back into the car and heading for town, where I ordered a cup of Earl Grey and sat outside Yaza café to call her back. No much walking for me today, then.
The good news is that they've found a flat. The bad news is that, despite its having been empty since February, the landlord is only prepared to drop the rent by a measly $25 per week. It's a great deal more than they've been paying but, as Immy says, rents in Dunedin seem to have risen astronomically in the past couple of years. As they have less than three weeks before they have to vacate their current abode, they need to take this one. The only other alternative is apparently "the worst flat in the world, with no sunlight, and bad vibes." Knowing the three of them as I do, that does NOT sound ideal for mental health. So they're going to go ahead with the nicer-but-more-expensive one. Relief on one hand, but more parental advice needed on how to cope with the stress of a job where requests for specific rosters are being met but then changed, while also planning both the enormous move and an overseas trip in July.
I headed home and changed the look from jeans and walking boots to a silk scarf, lipstick, the black handbag and shinier shoes as S. had invited me to another 'Intellectual Gathering'. This month the talk was about Wine as an Indicator of the Global Economy. In fact, it seemed to be more about How Global Warming is Affecting Wine Growing in Upper Moutere, but it was interesting. I particularly enjoyed the introduction by the wife, who used to work in radio and has a sharp wit and great delivery.
Amusingly I noted that the owners of this boutique vineyard, who have been there since 1978, pronounce its name – which is originally German – in the Kiwi way, saying the 'eu' sound as in the word 'new' and not as in 'boy'. My late father-in-law was for many years a teacher of German, and had lived in Germany. When he came to live in this area, he always pronounced the name of that vineyard in the German way – something he passed on to us. But no – we've been wrong all these years!! It's 'Newdorf', not 'Noydorf'. Just like St Arnaud, up at Nelson Lakes, which we always want to pronounce in the French way – 'Arno'. But that's wrong – it's 'Arn-ud'.
During the drinks and mingling after the talk – the vino of course provided by the vineyard concerned, pity I don't drink wine! – I met a cardiologist and his wife who had looked at our house when it was on the market in 2008. They loved the view but felt the house was too old and likely to be cold, and were put off by the fact that there was no real kitchen and no garage. This is the second time it's happened to me; not long after coming to live here I had 'flu, and saw a locum doctor who commented on my address and asked whether it was the place with great views but no kitchen! He told me they'd bought another property, futher up the hill with lovely views AND a kitchen. The couple I met this evening said they ended up building their own house - again with views of the bay, but of course a modern kitchen and lots of insulation and heating! Oh, and an easier driveway, too.
Well, we still have the views and, since 2015, a proper kitchen. But the lack of insulation is an ongoing issue though we're gradually dealing with that, one double-glazed window at a time. A garage is next on the rather long list of necessary improvements – but I do think that perhaps if we'd actually looked at this house in person, along with other houses, we might have made a different decision in 2008!!