What’s brown and hairy and better if you don’t squeeze it too tightly? In Hawke’s Bay, we got up close to both types of kiwi: the area is the fruit basket of New Zealand, covered with orchards growing peaches, grapes, figs and the eponymous hairy ball of green juice, but it’s also home to a big kiwi bird sanctuary.
Ed was Kiwi Detectorist in Chief for the day and led us into the bush to find a kiwi called ‘Bug’. They’ve all been electronically tagged so that top dollar tourists can bash through their cosy homes and wake them up for a poke. Lucky little sods.
‘Bug’ was located, weighed and inspected and then everyone had a cuddle…
… including Adam who managed to look like he was about to eat it. WRONG TYPE OF KIWI, DUDE.
‘Bug’ scored a solid 8 on the cuddleometer, but to get the big numbers, we needed to move onto New Zealand’s other national fluffball: the sheep. The farm at Cape Kidnappers sold us a Shepherding Experience, including live shearing and sheepdog skills. It’s like they knew we were coming.
Eddie basically died and went to heaven. He’s wanted to manhandle a sheep for as long as he’s known what one is. Quick question: at what age does a strong desire to hug livestock become problematic?
Fortunately the sheep was delighted, as I’m sure you can tell from the pix.
Meanwhile Johnny’s dream also came true, in the shape of an enormous mound of gravel in the yard.
Cape Kidnappers is basically a DREAM FACTORY. All we need now is a Ballet Academy for Alice, a Fashion Design Studio for Jamie, an Extreme Sport carrying a greater-than-average Risk of Death for Adam and a Quiet Room filled with Scones for me and we’re all happy.
Dangerous levels of cute were also on display on the sheepdog front. Since we offloaded… ahem I mean… temporarily rehoused our cats for the duration of our travels, there’s been momentum growing from Team Dog (members: everyone but me) and I’ve got to admit, the only canine that cuts it in my opinion is the Border Collie. Hit me with your reasons why that’s nuts (‘bad hips’, ‘need insane amounts of exercise’, ‘astronomical hairdressing bills’) but LOOK AT THOSE EYES. Border Collies are basically really sad, wistful humans stuffed into silky dog suits.
All in all, a day of animal magic that even Terry Nutkins would get out of bed for. And we got to take home a nice shaggy mass of sheep’s wool, complete with tag-nut accessories. Customs at Heathrow are going to love that.