28 January 2010

Simba the boerboel

Here is a Christmas photo of my friends Leah and Tessa in Germany with their new dog, Simba. Simba is not a bitzer but a boerboel.

Mutt and Jeff

We heard more sad news. Mutt and Jeff - the Kuyper's lab-staffie bitzers - are no longer.
Sue hasn't yet sent me a photo of them for the blog so here is a pic of the original Mutt and Jeffs to chew on.

And by the way - "bitzer" is a New Zealand word for brak (bits and pieces). Made famous by Bitzer Maloney in the Hairy Maclary books by Lynley Dodd who is from New Zealand.

17 January 2010

Sad news

Dear Coco
I am sure you must have heard that Opie Dopes died in his sleep yesterday morning. Although he was not happy and in a lot of discomfort, and we are glad that his suffering is all over, it is still difficult to come to terms with the fact that he won't be there when we get home. We have one more day in New Zealand and then we will be home to comfort Omie Domes and the spaniels who must be feeling rather low.
Our last few days here have been warm, beachy days – on dog-and horse-friendly beaches which made me think of you and Dougal and wish we had you with us. These west coast beaches have black sand, so it gets rather hot and I don’t think you and Dougal would enjoy that.
Nicky took us to her holiday place at Matarangi on the Coromandel coast for the weekend. This is right near to Mercury Bay where Captain Cook first came to New Zealand to observe the transit of the planet Mercury in 1769. She has two caravans and a shed and a “utility shed” (which is a small shed with a shower, loo and a sink in it) on her “section” (New Zealand-speak for plot). It is a really lovely part of the world – on a beach of wonderful white sand and lots of amazing shells and seabirds, And lots and lots of dogs too – like this vertically challenged dachshund that rolled over on its back for the Alpha Male to tickle.
Dougal would fit in in New Zealand because the dogs and people are rather solemn, but I think your shrieking and crazy ways would not go down well here!
Here is the Alpha M and Nicky and Richard, a friend of Nicky’s who lives in a big house on the beach, having a New Year’s glass of New Zealand champagne at Matarangi. Our caravan is in the background. Richard used to have an Airedale who flew helicopters with him (there is a photo of her in his house). He has always had terriers so you would have got on very well with him.
Still seen no sign of the monstrous Taniwha, so hope to be back in Cape Town on Wednesday. I gather Philip has arrived safely in Johannesburg. So look after Simon for me, and see you very soon.
Lots of love from the FL xx
PS. Look who is watching tv with the Alpha M as I write this letter! Jeffrey the Cat!

14 January 2010

The Wedding and the All Whites

Dear Coco
I really do miss you and Dougal very much. We have four more days left here, and will be home early on Wednesday 20th. I confess I am looking forward to being home again. New Zealand is lovely, but it is not home! Here is a photo of the beautiful bride - Emma and the bridegroom - Shaun - with William and Nicola, and Timothy (William and Emma's half brother). The Alpha Male gave a good speech - although he referred to the "All Whites" team that was coming to South Africa to play in the World Cup and we are not too sure if any of the guests knew what he meant as most Kiwis only know about rugby
although they have these amazing buried soccer balls on their beaches!
Today we went to the Auckland Botanical Gardens and they are not as snooty as Kirstenbosch and allow dogs in the garden. In some parts they need to be on the lead, but in others they are allowed to run free.
Tomorrow we are going to the Coromandel coast to stay in Nicola's
bach which is what kiwis call holiday cottages.
Be good Coco, and I look forward to seeing you and Doog on Wednesday.
love the FL xx

11 January 2010

Soggy South Island

Dear Coco
We have now completed our tour of New Zealand’s beautiful (I think, we didn’t see much of it in the rain!) South Island. There are many things that would have interested you and Dougal – like this sculpture of a lonely sheepdog on the edge of a glacial lake at Tekapo where the water is too heavy with sediment to swim or boat on. There are lots of sheep here, and lots of sheepdogs too.
At our accommodation in Twizel near Mount Cook, this cat tried to escape the chilly weather here and come back to South Africa with us…. In New Zealand they have this terrible water monster called a Taniwha (pronounced Tanniefah). Here is an old Maori rock painting of it in the middle of the bundu (or the wopwops as they say in Kiwi language). We were rather afraid we might run into one as there is lots and lots of water here - beautiful big lakes, swamps and bogs, hundreds of rivers and streams and the sea is never far away ...but we only saw these seals at the Otago Peninsula along with lots of sea gulls, albatrosses, sea lions (!) and penguins...and these dolphins that came and swam with our boat in Milford Sound - luckily no taniwhas.
We are now on North Island again, and tomorrow I will write again. Hope all is well, and that you are not barking too much and annoying the neighbours.
lots of love from the food lady and the alpha male xx

03 January 2010

Walkies in Wellington

Dear Coco
New Zealand can be quite eccentric. This boot is at the entrance to a town called Taihape on the way to Wellington - and it calls itself the Gumboot Throwing Capital of the World! Can you spot Teddy on the boot?
We got to Wellington where we stayed with Lydia and Jan, Richard and Xander and two cats in a wonderfully comfy house. We went for a walk and you can see it is quite an orderly place. Here is a controlled - just! - Jack Russel on a walk high above Lydia and Jan's house which in right on the sea. You and Doog would love it. And here we are : Lydia, Nicky and the Alpha M on the walk.
We went into Wellington and we saw this display about a dog called Paddy the Wanderer who used to live at the harbour and the people around there would take turns to pay his licence - as I said, Wellington is an orderly and most civilized place.
Must dash now so will continue when I next get an Internet connection.
With love from the FL xx

Giant dogs and geysers

Dear Coco
This giant dog about to lick the Alpha Male reminded me just how much I am missing you and Dougal. It was part of a shop on the way to Rotarua which is a really weird place with hissing steam vents, bubbling boiling mud and huge geysers that shoot water up into the air when a bit of soap powder is thrown into the hole. Here is Nicky and the AM watching a geyser shooting water up into the air.
The next day we did a long walk across a volcano - the Tongariro Crossing but it rained from start to finish. Here are the AM and Nicky looking very alpine at the start, and here they are walking along the top of a sulphurous volcano, and I even managed to photograph some flowers like this green hood orchid Pteryostylis.
Will write soon with more news of dogs in New Zealand.
lots of love
the Foodlady xx