Summer 2021

I live in Martinborough, a village surrounded by vineyards and farms in the Wairarapa (meaning in Maori, glistening waters). Rivers; the Ruamahanga and the Tauherenikau run through the plains of this lower Eastern side of North Island of New Zealand, emerging into Lake Wairarapa at the coast. The Ruakokoputuna river is smaller and runs through the magnificent Patuna Chasm but more of this in later post.

Every morning, rain, hail or shine – Cookie, Buster and me walk the roads around our home on the outskirts of the village. Cookie and Buster are Jack Russell terriers – wonderfully loving dogs, stubborn and wilful – they are my companions in this age of the coronavirus.

Cookie starts getting excited about her walk as soon as it is light. Buster and me – not so much. We are not morning people. We like to sleep in.

By 07.00 Cookie has usually had enough. Using her teeth she drags back my duvet, does her tail catching circles, and bounces against the bed occasionally achieving sufficient height to actually land on it and me – to the surprise of us both. At 07.20 I get up.

It is the 21st of January 2021 and today the sun is shining. The playful gusts of gale force winds (40-80 mph) which have plagued us for the last week have gone away and by 07.40 it is already hot.

Cookie happy nosing through the long grass, disappears under hedge rows inhaling the smells necessary for her daily existence and is generally enjoying herself. Buster is sulking. Two reasons. He doesn’t like the heat and we didn’t walk where he wanted to go.

Buster likes to start a walk at rat corner. Where the rats are.

This is a photo of Buster hunting rats in the agapanthus at rat corner. The rat has gone already but the thrill of the hunt (along with rat smells) remains and according to Buster, ‘this is his favouritist thing in the whole world to do’.

Consequently when a walk does not start at rat corner, well, it’s not really a walk. Is it? It just something to tolerate and some days he doesn’t even do that. Like today for instance. We walked half a kilometre past the Colombo winery set up for the arrival of the lunch crowd …

then another half kilometre to Puruatanga Road …

to see the vineyards and the sunflowers…

up close …

Buster was having none of it. He sat down his face pointing back the way we had come. We came home.

Some days walking in the Wairarapa with dogs can be better than others.

Tomorrow we will go past rat corner.