“New Zealanders of all heritages are affectionately called Kiwis after the national bird—an oddly charming, round, fuzzy brown bird that can’t fly. The bird has become a symbol of the uniqueness of New Zealand and its people.” (Taken from: New Zealand, Enchantment of the World by Donna Walsh Shepherd)
Evening of March 23 and March 24, 2010
Another warm SERVAS welcome from our host and hostess, Neil and Isobel of Timaru. Val (from Akaroa) actually put us in touch with them and we couldn’t have been more delighted. We rang them in the morning and by the time we arrived in the evening Neil had made his way down to pick up some fresh Gurnard (fish) at the market for our evening tea. In the past Val had advised Isobel on her diet (to help with arthritis) and so Isobel and Neil are almost vegetarian with Isobel watching gluten, sugar, nightshade vegetables and other foods that keep her diet more alkaline than acid. These are all good practices for me as well and I was thrilled to get more dietary advice and tips.
I was immediately struck by what wonderful grandparents these two must be because that were so attentive to what might interest Gregory. He had his own space with a reading light and Isobel invited Gregory along to the pool for her early morning swim at 7AM. Once there he found out about the hydro slide with unlimited rides from 6:30 to 7:30 PM so while Isobel was at Pilates we made a second trip to the pool that day. It was probably the highlight of his day though we had a great time at the playground, aviary, aviary, Aigantighe (pronounced ‘egg and tie’) Art Gallery (where he got to dress in Victorian costume and find his painting) and the South Canterbury museum full of taxidermy (kiwi and other local wetland birds), butterfly specimens, shells, Maori artifacts and a special photographic exhibit of the wetland birds. It was a very full day. We prepared a late tea and saw a video of a recent bike trip that Isobel and Neil made with a group of friends to the Queenstown area. They also showed us some footage from a helicopter flight over some exquisite untouched areas of New Zealand.
Isobel and Neil are just the kindest people you could meet and they are another great example of how important it is to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. We really enjoyed our stay and hope our paths will cross again one day.