Sunday, 31 July 2011

Good bye July

I'm writing this post with its pessimistic title solely as a pretence to use this nice picture I took today. There's not really much to say about my July 2011 (unless you want me to go on about vineyards again, which you don't, right?), so enjoy these few photos (inside the post) from a sunny Sunday at the beach - a nice conclusion of this winter month in New Zealand. My regards to everyone "enjoying" the lovely summer in London :)

The most incredible sunset

This post doesn't need many words. I just want to share the most amazing sunset I've ever seen. Thanks Dominik for always having your camera with you.

Click for more photos of this magical sunset.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

REAL hazards of vineyard work

A few days ago I wrote about scratched arms and broken loppers. It wouldn't be me if something much more serious didn't happen straight after. The following day I lost my temper while stripping a particularly nasty row, and I kicked a plant so hard that I almost broke my big toe. I didn't pay much attention to the pain at first, but at home I found out that it's all swollen with a big blue bruise on the knuckle. Luckily it wasn't broken, but it put me out of action for two days anyway, and of course now I'm the subject of countless jokes from our supervisor. Lesson learned: never kick a plant when you're pissed off. Take the loppers instead and make one radical cut just above the ground...

By the way, I don't know if it's a coincidence, but the evening prior to this accident we were telling each other stories about foot injuries.

Toes and fingers, a big difference
And another by the way, no matter how good your English is, you always learn something new. I found out that people from English and German speaking countries have only ten fingers, not twenty like the rest of the world (or at least a number of countries whose languages I can speak/understand). There is no such term in English and German as "foot-finger", as opposed to many other languages. Hence English and German speakers don't have twenty fingers - ten on the hands and ten on the feet; instead, they have ten fingers and ten toes. It was quite funny to see the faces of my American, Irish and German friends when they were processing the information that "humans have twenty fingers", as I was trying to tell them, together with my French and Argentinian friends. The best response came from Matt and Lavinia: "are you saying I'm a monkey? Monkeys have twenty fingers, we don't, we can't eat with our feet".

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The hazards of vineyard work

Every day we get slashed over face and arms... countless times. That inevitably leads to cuts and bruises, and if you do it like me, i.e. make a deal with the devil (the fastest pruner in the team) and only do the stripping part while he only prunes, not only do you end up totally knackered, but you also look like one of those nutcases with a weakness for razorblades. The picture doesn't really show what I mean (and I don't want to razor-shave it); basically my right forearm is a long series of cuts all the way from the biceps to the wrist. The second picture just shows a little accident Dominic had today. His loppers didn't quite agree on that last cut.

After a day like this, you're entitled to get drunk after one beer. If it has 12% of alcohol, like this Dutch one.

Friday, 15 July 2011

It's getting colder in Marlborough

Yeah, the real winter's really here, even if it took its time. They finally got snow down south around Queenstown and Wanaka (they've been waiting for it for months, now for a change they complain about having too much of it). And even here in the north we can feel the weather getting considerably cooler. You can see the snowy peaks in the previous post's picture, and that means that cold breeze is blowing nonstop at lower elevations. Anyway, this whole paragraph is just an excuse to post this photo showing 2°C in central Blenheim at 7pm, when we went to have a delicious Turkish kebab in town.
Now, if you'll excuse me, it's Friday evening and hence a time people should not spend alone in front of a screen. It's a time to enjoy, and I'm feeling so pleasantly drowsy that I'll enjoy falling asleep in the next ten minutes. If the noises from the pub downstairs don't bother me too much. Good nite.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Back to Kaikoura, back to Mt. Fyffe...

Another day, another rainbow...
... back to Lost In The Dark. Or maybe not.

Káča is going there for the weekend and she invited me to come along, but I'll pass. Not that I'm afraid of the challenge, I'd gladly go for a proper weekend hike, maybe catching better weather than last time, but I got other stuff to do (yeah, right), plus she's meeting a friend she didn't see for a while, so they'll have lots to chat about.
Wish that was my house.
I can use the weekend to catch up "un-earned" moneys (it's Thursday and so far I've worked for one day and a half this week). On the other hand... we're starting a bloody awful vineyard tomorrow and I wouldn't mind skipping it; at least I wouldn't be so knackered when we jump to the following vineyard, a much nicer and much more profitable one. Then again, I wouldn't get much rest on a two-day hike...

By the way, did you know that Mt. Fyffe has the exact same elevation as Sněžka? 1602 m.

And speaking about mountains, here's yet another bit of landscape around Blenheim.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Thwarting weather and culture in Blenheim

It's only Wednesday and I've already been off for two days this week. Sunday night was so windy to make the hostel shake and Monday morning wasn't much better. It reminded me of the awful time when I was working as a sweeper in London and had to endure the shitty weather, and I set my mind on not going anywhere. Who cares if I don't earn any money, I'm just not rolling out of bed and going out there.

Tuesday morning was much nicer and after two days of rest I was more than happy to work again. We started a new vineyard with easy plants, beautiful surroundings, and I was filled up with energy for a good job. Unfortunately, my enthusiasm was thwarted by torrential rain at 11:50. There was a nice side-effect, a huge rainbow, but I didn't find a pot of gold to make it worthwhile.

Innovation it's the best!
On Wednesday, for a change, my prayers for a rainy morning were finally fulfilled. We didn't have to get up and nobody went to work. Sweet sleep till 10 am! However, having worked for only half a day this week, I'd rather it didn't rain...

On a completely different note, here's a little example of New Zealand culture: Dominik went to see an art gallery in Blenheim (I'm more and more surprised about this town's resources every day). And to finish off, here's a small example of how New Zealander's innovate English Grammar! Misspelling intended.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

I'm still here and blogging

Click for some more crazy photos
Howdy ho, here I am again. Haven't been in touch for a while, since life's quite routine at the moment. I've got quite a set of nice new pictures, though. I can honestly say that I've seen Blenheim from all sides.

About the routine - basically what happens is that each morning is a fight between body and mind; the former wants to stay in bed, while the other struggles to find convincing arguments for getting up, leaving the warm blanket behind and going to work. Usually the prospect of lost income does the trick. My prayers for rain (so I can sleep longer) never reach the weather maker's ears. Once I roll out of the sheets I have a huge breakfast, then we all steel ourselves against the morning frost and start working. It usually takes till nine o'clock to stop shivering in the freezing cold, and by then the day starts getting warmer. The good thing about morning frosts is that they don't last long and they're always followed by warm sunny days. It's actually worse not to have a morning frost, because then there's a likelihood to end up with a windy and/or rainy afternoon.