Garston is an occasionally strange and wonderful place!! We are truly blessed with some fantastic friends and neighbours but their choice in birthday presents never fails to amaze. Word of the great stoat attack and loss of one of our dearly beloved hens has clearly reverberated around the area but I could never have guessed that she would be replaced so soon.
Sharon and I celebrated my birthday with lunch at the Mt Difficulty Winery (very good by the way) and then that evening Sharon invited a few of the neighbours around for a few quiet drinks. Which are rarely few or quiet!!
As a staunch and regularly disappointed Everton Fc supporter I was surprised at how it was a blue theme that ran through the evening. Football, or soccer as it is more commonly know here, is a relatively new and largely disliked and disregarded concept, especially in Southland, as rugby, or football as it is more commonly known here, rules all! However, always willing to embrace the unknown, our good friends, embraced the love of the Toffee men, for the evening at least.
I was afforded at bottle of Wolfe Blass wine cleverly disguised as an Everton tipple and was even serenaded with a Kiwi rendition of....... 'it's a grand old team to play for, its a grand old team to support........' you get the idea. Tom even went to the trouble of dressing up, in a, well, ill-conceived but well meaning way, as a Scouser.
But most surprisingly and intriguing of all, taking nothing from Tom's beautiful, if not altogether tuneful voice, was a large box, wrapped lovingly in Batman birthday wrap, gifted by he wonderful Wilkins' clan. Carefully and somewhat nervously I unwrapped the gift. A long standing joke involving some Police 'do not cross' tape and the Wilkins' newly opened vegetable and superb venison and lamb outlet gave me reason to be concerned.
As the batman wrap and small portion of said Police tape peeled back and underlying box revealed it became only too apparent from the agitated scratching and clucking from within what its contents were.........a chicken! However, this was no ordinary chicken, oh no. This chicken had allegiance, this chicken new the pain of supporting perennial under achievers, this chicken supported Everton!! It proudly displayed it's alliance by virtue of its blue beak and claws and most proudly by the medallion that adorned its neck!!! This was, and proud of it, an Everton FC supporting chicken who shall for ever more be known as.... Ever-tina!!
Following the obligatory photographs, see attached, Ever-tina was introduced to the hen house and settled in for the evening as did we. The wine flowed in what turned out to be a fantastic evening. I am regularly, pleasantly, overwhelmed by the people here, their warmth and their humour is unsurpassed.