Monday, January 7, 2013

Try Montana's Lindauer Pinot Gris

Yea, if you lke a fruity dry bubbly at a very reasonable price, then Montana Lindauer Gris hits the spot. I was surprised as it only cost NZ$9 on specila, but these 'specials' seemot be around enough to be almost normal pricing. We are quite spoilt in New Zealand with the quite cheap quality wines on offer. I can feel a picnic coming on. If only I could take Perdy with me, but when I see the signs on the beaches stating big fines for our four legged friends, then I better leave her at home. If I win Lotto or sell millions of books, I may be able to achive my dream of a beach home where Perdy can run and play and visit the beach 'after hours.'
Try the wine---you won't be disappointed.

A different world---Auckland/Northlands NE coastline.

Sometimes I just want to get out of Auckland. That’s not saying I don’t love the city I live in; it’s more that ‘getting out’ of the city from time to time does wonders for one’s head. Yesterday I left the madness behind and headed towards the North East coast, just an hour form Central Auckland. From the moment I hit the toll-road and tunnel near Puhoi, I had achieved the first part of my ‘mental health escape plan.’

I met my friend Nicky at Warkworth, a trendy little town about 10 minutes north of the motorway junction. We stopped for our first coffee at the famous pottery at Matakana, a quaint little village, well loved by fellow ‘escapees’ for its farmers market. ‘Morris and James’ have been going since 1977 and uses local clays to manufacture high quality tiles, pots and many other colourful products. They are expensive, but the quality is supreme and the fact that they have survived in the new age of cheap Chinese imports says something about their product. The café is rustic and restful. Nicky and I shared a huge ‘melting- moment’ and we didn’t finish it. The coffee was OK.

Next we travelled through the vine-filled countryside. It has a distinct ‘Mediterranean’ feel; with neat rows of grape vines and expensive looking wineries. I know that the wine is good, but it is not cheap compared to other areas of New Zealand. However, the shear ambiance of the district probably sucks people into to paying the price. I stopped counting at well over ten as the wineries slipped into the background. It is obviously an up and coming area.

Onwards to Leigh, a delightful little village, that has a tiny ‘port’ for fishing and other vessels. We passed a cafe that we decided to have lunch in once we had been to the marine reserve at Goats Island. It was a Monday and people were obviously still ion holiday, judging by the almost full car park. The area is famed for the tame fish and huge shellfish and crustaceans. They seem to ‘know’ they are safe from the predations of a hungry public. We didn’t stop, but put a day long trip on our bucket list.

Back to the café at Leigh, just outside the northern entrance to the village. It has a lovely outside shaded area and the food was a good as the service. Once again, we decided to return, possibly to stay a night on the accommodation wing and sample the ‘entertainment’ featured on the noticeboard. You can’t miss this café---look at the picture!

After our lunch where we had talked at length about my upcoming surgery, and how I would cope in the future, we headed towards the lovely beach at Matheson’s Bay. The picture tells all. This is just so typical of the countless beaches; all well with an hour and a half’s driving from Auckland. There is never reason to think that you have to share a beach with thousands of others if you live anywhere in New Zealand. Day trips just give you a ‘lick’ of the main prize. North east of Auckland deserves a much longer stay.

We included a look at Omaha Beach before we headed back to Warkworth--- the beach of the rich and famous. It is an incredible stretch of beach. Forget the huge ‘beach houses’ and head for the white sands. No wonder the dolphins love to frolic there! You wouldn’t want to leave once you arrived. Luckily, Warkworth is not too far, for you shopping needs. If you know someone there (Omaha), smile at them hope they invite you to stay. Even our Prime Minister escapes there from time to time, not that I am saying that that is a ‘quality-approving-system.’ It’s just one of many fantastic NZ beaches.



What is wrong with us as a nation?

A 61 year old man died yesterday, simply because no one rang the police or other emergency services. He had been lying in a park for a day and a night and people most definitely saw him and did nothing. I am shocked to the core that we could be so uncaring. Yes, I know that there are homeless people visible on our streets, but surely his condition warranted a closer look. The park is in Dunedin, not a city known for many homeless people anyway. The man was a diabetic. This unnecessary death must be sending shockwaves through ‘diabetic community,’ as any one of them (us) could unwittingly succumb to unconsciousness and suffer the same lack of attention from an uncaring public. There are many conditions that could lead to a similar scenario. All it would take for lives to be saved is for ‘someone to care.’ Would it realty matter if we ‘wasted’ the time of authorities because someone is drunk or ‘out of it’ for some reason, by ringing 111? Would it not be better to overact than to let someone die? Shame on all of us, not just Dunedin! Hell, with the age of cell phones and other technology, surely it is just a matter of taking a few minutes to save a life. I suspect this ‘it’s not my problem’ has permeated throughout our nation to the point that we no longer care. Once again, I really want to be wrong!

Let's help our mates in Australia!

Our mates in Australia are yet again in the midst of a terrible bush fire season. Even the New Zealand-like state of Tasmania is recording temperatures in the 40C range, further proving fodder for the advancing fires. Each year we seem to be seeing more of ‘mother nature’ hitting back for our folly of living in the ‘bush.’ Whether this is all the result of ‘global warming’ is beyond me as even the ‘experts’ toss their arguments about like confetti.

What I am sure about is extending the concept of ‘mate-ship’ between Australia and New Zealand. This long relationship is one of the closest in then world. Now is the time when New Zealand must step up. I hear that we are sending a team to Tasmania. No doubt more requests will follow. Why wait? This is what we do well---helping one another, be it floods, fires or earthquakes. Long may our special relationship flourish. We’re coming mate!


John Key really is showing his nasty and maybe natural side!

I see that PM Key has overrules the Commerce Commission’s stance on pricing for Broadband. The Commission had ordered Telecom and Chorus (and possibly others) to decrease its price for Broadband. John key then overruled that decision. Is this not a case of Key sucking up to the ‘big boys’---more money for them, but less for us. This is a side of Key and his government that will become the norm. Is he justifying it by saying that the Government will have increased revenue as a result? Not from anything I have seen and once again I am happy to be wrong. If his decision somehow reduce d the ‘spending deficit or if the money went into much needed infrastructure spending then once again I could understand. We all know that the balance sheet is scary but what is his reasoning for this latest anti-consumer action? Watch out as Johnny boy tightens the screws over the next two years. Maybe he will do a ‘Muldoon’ and announce that the ‘cupboard is bare,’ when he losses the next election. Damn---‘what goes around’ seem to ‘come around’ in politics eh. Watch out schools, hospitals and pensioners. OH hell no---- he would be a nutter to interfere with that latter body. I think Gold Card is safe!