Monday, April 16, 2012

The mystery guest and other stuff.

Its now been a couple of months and things are ticking along quite nicely at the lodge, guests have been sporadic but given the global financial situation and all, pretty good. However, we do not dwell too much on the trials and tribulations of the world here in Garston for it seems, at times that we are somewhat protected and removed from those mainstream worries...... so on with the news from our beautiful valley, that was carved from the land by a glacier all those millions of years ago and, of course, our little ol' Lodge.
Since Christmas we have welcomed guests, among others from NZ and the UK, including my Mum and Dad, great to see you both, Australia, Finland, Germany, America and couple of great guys from Liechtenstein, of all places, who I think bought the entire stock of Stu's Fly Fishing Shop.
Although, one guest will stand out above all others for a little while at least and means that we can now make claim the to be the 'Internationally Renowed' Castle Hill Lodge. It all started innocently enough, much like any other before the rumble of tyres across the cattle grid and distinctive crunch as a bland white rental vehicle, much like the thousands of rental vehicles that pass every day meandered its way up the drive and toward the house. Sharon showed it's American occupant, Seth, into the house and he quickly decided on the Borneo room and settled himself in. Not much out of the ordinary there and in fairness it remained that way for the entirety of the Seth's stay. He was very pleasant, very talkative and he seemed pretty comfortable and happily worked away on his computer making use of the Wi-Fi. Off he went the next day after a good breakfast, lots of coffee and some more frantic typing on his laptop, nothing out of the ordinary there either. A few days later, however, an e mail from Seth arrived and read.....
'It's Seth, your solo guest from last week. First, thank you so much for a lovely if brief stay, with individual thanks to Sharon for the excellent breakfast and Mark for the regular coffee. It was the perfect place to rest and get work done, not to mention learn something about the widely ranging personality of goats, before moving on. 
I'm sorry to say I engaged in a bit of deceit during my stay -- I am in fact a travel columnist for The New York Times and write a weekly online article about budget travel.  The work I was doing was an article about the North Island, which I had recently arrived from and was on deadline to produce.  And now, guess what? I'm writing an article about the South Island, which will focus on...rural accommodations.  So, while I will not be writing a review of your place on TripAdvisor, as Sharon requested, I will be mentioning your lovely bed and breakfast (and Basil and Parsley) in an article that will appear in my column, which is called The Frugal Traveler.  It appears at, and should be online by Wednesday morning.'

Needless to say we were very excited and indeed very proud. Seth's (or should we call him the 'Frugal Traveller!) article did indeed appear in the NEW YORK TIMES and can be seen by following the link below:
So that is how our little lodge in Garston, NZ, made its way to the NY Times, and we are all prepared for the inevitable flood of New Yorkans next summer.
In other news, Sid and Reo have both been 'tidied up', a shearer's term for....well a haircut but not around the head, enough said! Reo, who will be a mother this year by the way although she does not know it yet, is of considerable intelligence and she saw it coming a mile off as our good friend Mac unpacked his shearing gear and she proved to be quite a chase! Sid, however, who is of questionable intelligence, cannot claim to have the same foresight. He watched and skipped around with merry abandon as Reo was 'tidied' and proved an easy catch as he walked over to see what was going on and stuck his nose into proceedings, undoubtedly looking for pellets in Mac's pockets!! He looked a bit bemused by the entire process of being flipped on his back and roughly shaved clean but I fear, for Sid at least, it is unlikely that he learnt anything at all from the experience.
Ducks will, hopefully, soon be the new additions to the expanding brood. There are currently 8 Khaki Campbell duck eggs in the incubator and will be due for hatching on or around the 11th May. We have not experienced to much success as yet with the hatching process so fingers crossed! Other than that it is also possible that Elvis and Priscilla the long awaited Donkeys of Castle Hill may soon be making an appearance, watch this space for further news.  

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