I love it when my friends do well. Some people are jealous or find a way to point
out that their friends got a lucky break, which they missed. Not me, when my friends do
well, I enjoy it. On the surface I have to say the snacks are better when you visit but also
the stories are much more enjoyable.
The best example of this was catching up with Kathy and Tony in New Zealand.
Tony and I had travelled together while doing our Nuffield Scholarship, and after that,
when both families spent the summer in England we lived in side-by-side apartments in a
converted barn. Our kids became friends and we sometimes traded babysitting duties
while the other couple went off on a day trip.
Tony was a dairy farmer, and Kathy an artist who had put that part of her life on
hold to raise a family and earn a steady income in the agriculture business. I had visited
their farm around the turn of the century when I was in New Zealand as a guest of that
country’s dairy industry and the couple was prospering.
Tony described it as ‘they had a turn of good fortune”, something about selling off
a shoreline paddock to a development of waterfront cottages that were quickly purchased
by Japanese buyers looking for a seaside getaway. Things had gone well for them and
now that Sandra and I were on a cruise that included spending a day in Picton, it was
possible for us to spend a day together with old friends. They said they would meet us at
the port, but for security reasons, they could not come down to the dock.
When I asked for details about meeting them Tony said they would be the ones in
the Black Lexus (HB 200). That is what I mean about enjoying it when my friends do
well. There they were just outside the fence waiting for us, the twenty years since we had
last seen them were gone and it was like we had been together just the day before.
Somehow things are always better with friends—things like food. We stopped at a
Chocolate Shop and watched people behind glass doing what Tony and I thought were
pretty boring jobs but they did turn out a great product, and we had a few samples to
make sure it was that good. It was!
Then off to a marina and a plate of green mussels, Tony knew how good they
were and ordered two kilograms, which, with a bottle of wine was just about right for the
four of us.
Our next stop was Frog Haven, a winery that was capitalizing on the trend away
from using ostentatious labels to choosing plain names with fun labels. Frog Haven
offered a very acceptable white, for $6.00 a bottle.
From there it was off to Yealands Winery, which the owner operated as a
successful winery while making a clear statement about the environment.
He was using Baby Doll sheep for weeding, chickens provided insect control and
nutrients were delivered from shells. He had a few other things going on but those
features gave us a clear idea of the mandate of his operation.
Tony had been involved with several commercial operations and had very nearly
bought a winery two years previous so could provide a great background on the wine
business in New Zealand. He was also very dedicated to the environment; the choices he
made, on his farm and businesses would have been considered much more
environmentally conscious than the commercial North American farm for the time.