Saturday, March 24, 2007


Tuesday March 20 2007

Linda Pullar, my host here on the coast of the South Island in Timaru, has 19 horses, a big farm on a hill, and boarding pastures down the road - 10 acres all together, with a view to the South Pacific Ocean not far away. Timaru is the birthplace of Pharlap! He was bred and born here, and sold to Australia as a yearling. Linda rode as a young girl, got away from horses as she raised her 3 daughters, then as one of her young daughters developed an interest in horses, she got back into them also. Linda started endurance about 10 years ago. For her it's a business; she doesn't let herself get attached to them. Her goal is to bring horses along and sell them overseas to pay for next season's endurance. She teaches lessons, and she also runs her own business of producing phone book covers, selling advertising space on them.

After arriving at Linda's home at 11 AM Tuesday, I was desperate for a New Zealand adapter for my computers and cameras. I have one European adaptor, and a "Universal" adaptor, the Universe of which apparently does not include New Zealand! Linda loaned me her car and turned me loose, and I drove into town to find one. This wasn't my first attempt at driving on the left side of the road - I'd done it across South Africa 11 years ago... but I kept telling myself, "GAUCHE!" which is left in French, which was the word Carol and I kept yelling at Leonard in Napier-Hastings as he sometimes forgot that he was supposed to be on the left instead of the right. The roundabouts would be confusing enough if they drove on the right side of the road, but I escaped them unscathed. I also had to parallel park on the left side! And the steering wheel is on the right, for an added challenge. I was also very careful not to get Linda a parking ticket and skip town.

All went well, I found an adaptor quickly, and stopped at McDonalds, not for food, but for an ICED Coke. I had to ask the lady to fill the cup with ice. "More ice?" She looked at me as if I were daft. "Yes! Fill it up with ice!" And I got a half cup of ice with my coke, which I greatly enjoyed. You can't get a cup of ice in any hotel or grocery store or gas station anywhere. I think nobody in New Zealand ever craves a cup of ice with their drinks. Oh well, I guess I'll stick to my lukewarm water.

Back to the farm, a bit of work for me on the computer because I am so far behind, then I went out to help Linda pick the horse poop out of the lower pastures. We scooped it into a cart pulled by a 4-wheeler, then bagged it up (8 bags!) and took it to the bottom of the drive, where she leaves it out for people to pick up at $2 a bag. There's an Honesty Box down by the poop, where people mostly leave their $2 when they pick up a bag. I don't think there are too many places where you can do that. The Bedouins might be that honest.

In the afternoon, Rebecca and Judith came over to ride with us. We headed down the road a mile or two to Linda's other property where she boards horses, and we took 4 out for a short ride - Monica drove up and joined us. My mount Babe, a Thoroughbred bred off the track, wasn't used to going out in a group, so we spent the ride walking, making sure she didn't get too excited. But that was fine, because it was still the Raven's and my first ride in New Zealand! More trails to ride tomorrow!

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