We couldn’t have arrived in New Zealand at a worse time really. Arriving in May, we have spent what feels like the looooooongest winter on record. We don’t mind the cold weather or the frost or snow. For the moment, this is still novel coming from Australia. But I’ve never seen so much rain. I’ve been told by several Oxfordians that this winter is either the wettest on record or the wettest for the last ten years or so. Not sure which but it keeps raining. So much so that the paddocks are like swimming pools.

The land is quite heavy because it’s clay-based. The water in the front yard often doesn’t drain for days and most of the paddocks have been churned up by the horses. So you enter a paddock to give a horse some hay and your wellingtons (literally) get stuck in the mud.

This part of the New Zealand experience I’m finding a bit on the depressing side. I miss the clear blue skies of Oz. But…everyone here says WAIT. Spring is a few weeks away and then you’ll see how beautiful the Canterbury region is. You’ll see buttercups, weeping willows, cherry blossoms, emerald green paddocks. Everything will bloom and blossom. Yeah well, they’d better be right! Every day, I glance at the weeping willow and cherry blossom in the front yard. And today, for the first time, I can see buds on the weeping willow. The previous owner told me that I have to stand under the cherry blossom to really appreciate it – apparently, puffs of pink will cascade down on me. She tells me too that fat bumble bees will be whizzing all over the front garden in their search for nectar.

Meanwhile, we all remain indoors with the log fires cranked up. Last weekend, our new Kiwi friends, Neill and Sam, visited us with their very cute four year old daughter, Briar. She wanted to see Karma and so I plonked her raincoat on her and took her out to see the pony. An owner was visiting his horses and whisked Briar out of the mud so she could go with him to feed the horses. I heard a squeal of delight as I contemplated how when you’re that young, everything is just plain fun no matter the weather.

Briar with my silicon kitchen gloves. She was playing "Snap, I'm a crocodile".

A horse's owner takes her to feed the horses. Check out the mud.

This shot was taken about 3.00pm - depressing grey skies and mud, mud and more mud.