On “Holiday”

I will be away from the office until 2 February, supposedly on holiday.  Today is Sunday, and it is not yet 1200 but so far I have fielded three questions from journalists and had two phone calls from a Cabinet Minister.  Such are my days off.  This is not a complaint – keep those calls coming.  So long as I am not on an airplane or the golf course, the phone will remain on.  Likewise thanks to my Blackberry, I can pretty much guarantee receiving e-mails anywhere in the world apart from Japan (and for some reason Washington DC was problematic earlier in the year).

I am writing from the office of the vineyard (Kawarau Estate) that my wife and I have owned since 1992.  I shall be mowing lawns, selling wine (hopefully), doing some vineyard chores and playing a few rounds of golf in Central Otago until 2 January when we all fly up to Geneva.  As many of you know my wife works for MFAT and is presently assigned as Deputy Head of Mission to our UN Mission in Geneva (while New York has the HQ far more UN agencies are based in Geneva).  This professional separation is far from ideal but we have survived the first year OK (some suggested that giving Wendy this posting was a cunning plot by the previous Government to get me to leave the country also.  I am not sure that they were that cunning….)

The point of this post is not to lay my private life bare, but to explain why my postings will not be as regular as they might be.  Here at the vineyard we are reliant on a satellite internet connection which is much slower than the service we enjoy in Wellington (office and home) but is is a whole lot faster than the dial up we used to try and survive on.

I may not be able to make any posts while travelling to and from Europe.

And while in Europe there will be days when I will likewise be unable to find the time to post or an internet cafe to make a post from.

Those who have yet to decide on the perfect Christmas present might like to visit the Kawarau Estate website.  We make excellent Pinot Noir (two styles), Chardonnay (very Burgundian), Pinot Gris (dry with a grapefruit character) and Sauvignon Blanc.  The SB is very different from the Marlborough style.  Lovely tropical flavours and less pronounced gooseberry.  We sell most of it to the Sydney restaurant trade with a bit going to the US, Canada and the UK.  All our wines have full organic certification and in a non-frosty year (we run wind machines to fight frosts) we are virtually carbon neutral (without having to buy credits to make us look good).  Our vines, trees and our soil are just sucking that carbon up (unfortunately we get no credit for this as like the rest of horticulture we were excluded from the previous government’s ETS).

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