On this part of our New Zealand adventures, I’m taking a break from looking at damaged buildings and ruminating on the past and am busy getting organised for Christmas Day 2011 (which when I started these photos and jotted down my notes was less than a week away).
We had been visiting my Aunt and Uncle the day before and were discussing what was on offer at the local Market Gardens on Marshlands Road when Kiwi Daughter asked out of the blue if we could go raspberry picking like we did last trip to NZ.
I’m delighted that my ultra city-kid daughter loved the last experience enough to suggest a return visit this trip.
The fact the she adores raspberries probably helps … Little Mr. hasn’t yet acquired the taste and will pick for a while but gets bored after a bit.
My Aunt suggests a place this side of town rather than heading to to Tai Tapu on the south side of the city like we did last time, so the next morning we piled Family Kiwidutch into the car and went in search of raspberries.
To Kiwi Daughter’s dismay there turned out to be no self-picking possibilities for the public until after Boxing Day (December 26th) …probably because they want to get the Christmas rush over, beforehand and the little boxes of raspberries you can buy from the berry farms at present have most certainly, a far higher profit margin.
We do a U-turn and start to head back when all of a sudden I see a sign… Pea picking, pick your own peas!!!
Himself has always wondered at me, whooping with delight when I spied fresh peas in their pods for the first time all those years ago in The Netherlands. (tiny side-street grocer shop in Delft close to Oude Kerk, I even remember exactly where!) He had never eaten a raw pea out of the pod in his life and he thought I’d gone mad.
I promptly bought a bag of peas in their pods and proceeded to shell them and eat the peas raw… now he really thought I had lost my mind…why didn’t I take them home and cook them? … even better, skip the hard work and get a packet of frozen ones from the supermarket.
He had no clue what he was missing.
He does now though understand my love of raw peas… we have a long standing pact that we will celebrate Valentines Day any day except February 14th because we despise the merchandising of it all.
Therefore sometimes in the summer months my true love turns up with a grin on his face and presents to me a bag full of peas in their pods, and I’m always delighted because peas in their pods aren’t particularly easy to find here in The Netherlands and nor are they cheap so I know he has made a detour or siezed the opportunity when he’s seen them… and if that ain’t love I don’t know what is.
We turned into the driveway to see a shed that’s a converted shipping container (these are certainly in vogue in Christchurch at the moment!) … an honesty box, buckets and a paddock full of peas.
I stuck to the outer edges because crutches and paddocks full of low growing plants are not mutually compatable and we paid for two buckets so that we could take one lot to a friend.
What I didn’t expect was that Little Mr and Kiwi Daughter would take to pea picking like pro’s.
They delighted in it and after a first aprehensive look at the contents of the pea pods, and with worried looks on their faces as they popped their first raw pea into their mouths, … chewing they suddenly looked amazed and delighted at how sweet they were soon stuffing themselves with raw peas.
Considering that Little Mr. will happily push cooked peas around a plate going “ew, don’t like these”, this was a revelation.
Whilst opening some of the pods they of course a little clumsy as they got the hang of it and dropped some of their peas so I dredged out every corny pea/pee line I could think of… “Little Mr just pee’d on the ground” , “oh no… Kiwi Daughter just pee’d on her shoes” and of course they had hysterics and repeated the “jokes” seemingly a thousand times, each time finding it funny all over again as kids naturally can.
To my delight, not only were the peas totally sweet and delicious, but the plants were really heavily laden too.
We heard from a fellow picker who had a family connection to the place that apparently this season had been a bumper crop .. the best in years.
Even with numberous stops to shell peas and feed our faces, between the four of us we filled two large buckets in next to no time.
Later, back at the B&B I start to shell the peas and the kids come in from trampoline play and are due to get ready for bed but instead get diverted in a competition as to who can shell the most in the shortest time.
I’m clearly winning because the full dish I have in front of me is the third one I’ve filled but the competitive bug has bitten them and together we shell a heap of peas.
The kids were so enthralled with picking that they asked if we could go again so we decided to come out again with some friends and their son and get some more a few days later for my Aunt and Uncle so that they can have them for Christmas Day dinner,…. and I’m keen to take another bag to shell and use as healthy nibbles.
Two days later we go pea-picking for a second time.
I borrowed a small folding chair from Rae at the Hidden Haven B&B and having a little seat made it a lot easier than leaning on one crutch and bending down all the time. With our friends and kids we picked another four buckets between us, sitting talking as we picked and laughing a lot and of course the kids spent the whole time rehashing “pee” one-liners too.
Little did we know that tranquil sunny morning, that that very afternoon would be spent trying to calm terrified children, connect with friends and relatives to make sure everyone was safe as the earth shook violently under our feet and everything around us trembled.
This was after all, the Christchurch morning of the 23rd of December 2011.
(for an update on what happened on 23rd Dec : http://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2011/12/24/the-surprise-that-now-isnt-and-ones-that-definitely-were/ )