There & Back Again
What I have been doing these past four days is sneaking away for what Bridget Jones, she of Diary fame, would call a “mini-break” —or in Kiwi (aka NZ) parlance, a “long weekend.” I figured it was well-deserved, what with all the completing of The Gathering of the Lost—and besides, it was also my birthday. So I was determined to get over last week’s midwinter ills and go—& go I did, to Marlborough, which is approximately four hours drive away, at the top of NZ’s South Island.
Marlborough is most famous as one of NZ’s two major, wine-growing regions (the other is Hawke’s Bay) and we were based in Renwick, in the heart of vineyard country. We stayed in the Olde Mill House bed and breakfast, which I thoroughly recommend for a relaxed visit—the hosts are friendly, the house and surrounding garden beautiful and you get to look out over wine country to snow-capped mountains (since it is winter.) A breathtaking environment—and we visited a few of those wineries, including Highfield Estate where we also got to eat a lunch that matched the wine and the view. Definitely the best cuisine tried that weekend—and the wines were rather good as well.
One of the features of the trip was a visit to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre which features a mix of original and replica World War One aircraft. There are two World War 2 planes outside, including this Hurricane, but the main focus currently is World War 1 and the exhibition of both predominantly British/French and German planes. I am not much of a museum person, yet did enjoy the planes—but was even more fascinated by the material on the—usually short—lives of the pilots and the ‘cult of personality’ around them, particularly on the German side, eg the “Red Baron.”
It was not all wine and old planes, however—we also spent time in Picton, which is the gateway to the Marlborough Sounds, although we didn’t have time to go any further. A fun, relaxing break—and yes, with some reading thrown in. I am now onto Ian McDonald’s The Dervish House for my Hugo’s reading and also had a sneak peek at Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris’s Phoneix Rising (The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences)—so far, definitely so good: those first few pages of Phoenix were a fun read!
Tomorrow—now I’m back—I hope to bring you the second report on my Hugo’s reading for Best Novel, which should be on Mira Grant’s Feed. Just in case you missed it, my first report back was on NK Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, here.