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Eggs-iting news: Lawrence , South Island, New Zealand

8-11 April 2010

It’s a beautiful sunny day in Sydney on the day I leave. I get the distinct impression that Oz is sticking two fingers up to me and quite frankly, I am happy to reciprocate. My journey to the airport is quick and easy and even though it’s ‘rush hour’, the trains are virtually empty. My Air New Zealand flight is fully booked as it’s the skool holidays and I have an enormous woman sitting next to me and her lard arse thighs spill onto my seat, but it is only a three hour flight, so I try and put up with it. Air New Zealand have the most hilarious safety video I have ever seen: I was thinking that their uniforms were very tight when I later learn that it’s body paint. I have never seen a safety video made in such a cheery fashion that you almost look forward to an opportunity to be in the brace position. We pass Mt Cook on the way into CHCH but the Beryl Cook-esque woman sitting next to me obscures most of my view but what I do see of it, it looks imposing.

It takes forever to get through immigration and customs at CHCH airport and I am surprised that they let me in as I realised that I don’t have R’s mobile number on me or her sister’s contact details. The Kiwis are just as paranoid as the Ossies about undesirable things being brought into the country (i.e. flora and forna) but it seems like their paranoia is justified and the UK could take a leaf out of their book. I catch a connecting flight to Dunedin.

R is there to meet me along with her sister V and we head for her and Mr V’s small holding outside the town of Lawrence. Mr V has gone on a bike ride to the North Island and I think he’s wisely escaping having three women in the house. The small holding is lovely and it homes Weka the lovable chocolate brown labby; Bill and Bing the horses, Pumpkin the feral feline (who will apparently savage your arm at a hundred paces without provocation); a veggie patch and a Range Rover. This is my idea of heaven and all I need is for Brad Pitt to see the error of his ways and come and join my rainbow family and the picture would be perfect.

Lawrence is famed for being one of the first places in New Zealand where gold was found and Anthem House were J J Wood composed the NZ national anthem. There is still gold to be found but Weka fails to do any retrieving. We take the dog for a walk around Gabriels Gully were Gabriel Read discovered gold in 1861 and then head to the small but compact town of Lawrence for lunch in the Wild Walnut Cafe (where we are served by a wild waitress who flings our plates onto the table and has clearly failed module 1 ‘Customer Care’ in waitressing school) It is here that we discover the next culinary fad which is bound to reach trendy London tables in due course (no pun intended) no doubt to be highly endorsed by Nigella Lawson in her usual food porn manner.

Well, what is it you ask? Smoked eggs! They are raw eggs cold smoked using the maunka plant and the process takes about six hours: “It’s like bacon and eggs without the bacon” says Neville, who set up the NZ Manuka Egg Company, in an article in the paper the next day. Hot off the press: you heard it here first! www. R cooks a magnificent frittata for dinner using the eggs and we wash it down with some equally magnificent NZ sparkling in front of the fire.

The following day we take the Range Rove out for a drive along the Clutha River and stop off to have lunch in the Speargrass Inn near Alexandra in Central Otago. The Inn was established in 1869 as served the hungry and thirsty gold miners who flocked to the region in search of gold. The drive along the Clutha is truly dramatic and the river is unimaginably clean and has the colour of turquoise-blue-green. It has been another great day and I will be sad to leave tomorrow.

Posted by emmam at 01:24

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