Last week in Chianti we were lucky enough to dine in style at Osteria Il Papavero in the hills above Gaiole in Chianti.
We visited Il Papavero with our friends Dani and Olga two years ago and thoroughly enjoyed the food, wine and company and when we discussed a dinner venue this time there was no doubt – it was Il Papavero again.
This is not a restaurant that gets “passing trade” as it is located in the hamlet of Barbischio – high in the hills above Gaiole in Chianti. The views are expansive and on a warm summers night there is seating inside and out.
It helps that Dani and Olga are regular customers so we were greeted like locals. We discovered that following our last visit we had become part of Tuscan legend as one of our party (you know who you are Jean) was the only person who has ever ordered one of Papavero’s steaks “ben cotta” – well done. Two years after that, it was still remembered.
Despite this we were allowed in and enjoyed a great night.
The wonderful thing about Papavero is that their menu is supplemented by as many special dishes again, all produced using local produce that is seasonally available. So last night we had everything from anchovies and pesto through to Calamari shaped pasta with pork and olives. All washed down with fine wine and finished with a local digestivo.
Presenting two photos that you can only take when you’ve got the time. And that’s the great thing about holidays, you have the time.
The dog shot involved two tired girls and Jean acting as a wrangler behind me. It took about 30 shots to get the one I was looking for with Poppie staring down the lens and Bella on guard.
The moon rising over Nelson shot took time because I had no tripod and the shutter speed had to be quick enough to ensure a sharp shot but still have a reasonable depth of field. In the end I pushed the ISO to 800 and managed to hand-hold the camera steady for 1/30th of a second exposure. Then it was into Photoshop for some cropping, colour balancing and exposure work.
It’s great to have time for all this faffing about.
As the holiday season comes to its inevitable end, the team at our place want to thank all our friends and family for a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Whether it was spending time together in Wellington on Christmas Day or catching up in Auckland for a few days, it was a great holiday break. Thank you all.
As they say in Italy – Buon Natale e felice anno nuovo.
It’s been a few years since I’ve spent time in the Sounds. Or in this case Kaiuma Bay in Pelorus Sound. It was June’s 70th birthday and a family weekend away to celebrate. After flying from Wellington to Nelson we … Continue reading →
Last weekend the family travelled to Nelson for a family birthday. Bella had her first flight while Poppie clocked up a few more miles for her frequent flyer account.
Moving the four of us is a military operation involving 2 suitcases, 2 dog cages, 2 cabin bags and, of course, us.
As always Nelson was warm and sunny – most of the time – and inviting. The birthday boy was turning 3 so Saturday was spent in the company of other 3 year olds of all ages. Vast amounts of sugar were consumed in a short space of time with the resulting laughter, tears, fun and chaos of a kids party.
By the end of the day the house resembled a toy shop with a strong “Cars” influence.
We arrived back home Monday afternoon with two tired dogs who immediately fell asleep on the bed. The humans weren’t far behind them.
Our little puppy who used to fit in the palm of our hands is now a gangly 18 week old teenager with a mind of her own.
We’ve had a dog trainer come in and help us to wrangle her into line. She’s much better behaved but still has those moments of total abandon when she laps the couch repeatedly at full speed with no regard for anything in her way – whether it be me or Poppie or any piece of furniture that she runs into as her turning circle increases.
In the last couple of weeks she has worked out how to jump up on our bed and Poppie’s last haven of peace and quiet is now gone. But Bella seems to know that the bed is not a place to misbehave and it’s not unusual to find them both side by side, surrounded by their toys, sound asleep.
Today was a landmark day for Bella. For the first time she summed up the courage to go down our stairs.
Up until today we always knew that if Bella was upstairs, that’s where she would stay – largely out of trouble. And Poppie knew that to escape the constant ambushes all she had to do was head downstairs.
This morning Bella turned up downstairs unannounced. Clearly nowhere in the house is safe anymore.
At 12 weeks, Bella is learning a huge amount. She now understands and responds to her name, knows where and when to line up for a meal and understands what the word “no” means. She is starting to pay attention to Jean and I but clearly her role model is Poppie. Whatever Poppie does, Bella copies and wherever Poppie goes the wee girl isn’t far behind.
I managed to capture Bella’s second stair descent on video.
After a week we are starting to get a routine going. The routine is Bella chewing everything while we spend huge amounts of time outside trying to get her to “go toilet”.
Already the mats are looking a little ragged around the edges and feet – any feet – are fair game for chewing and chasing.
Our slightly chewed Poppie – ears and tail mainly – has worked out that height is the answer. Bella can’t jump up on to couches or beds yet so Poppie spends a lot of time on the bed or the couch – much to Bella’s disgust.
Everywhere I look the last 12 months are being reviewed – news, sports, politics – the best of, the worst of – clearly this is the time of year for reflection. Never being one to miss a trend, here’s our … Continue reading →
Making use of a Beatles song title seemed the most appropriate way to herald the arrival of the good weather at Pohara – and hopefully the start of a long hot summer break.
I got the chance to head out around the coast yesterday with a camera and accompanied by my photographic assistant to take a few shots. Although we’ve been to Pohara a couple of times in the past, this is the first time I’ve really had the chance to discover the coast. It really is worth seeing.
As I write this the rest of the team are at the beach swimming, jet skiing, building sand castles and soaking up the sun. Just like when we were kids – except for the jet skiing bit of course.
The umbrella drys under blue sky
The coast to the east of Pohara
An unusual land mark
The photographers assistant at work
Pohara Beach stretches into the distance
Daisies cling to a cliff face
A man clings to a cliff face …
No, it’s actually a climber
The wind drives waves to the shore
The coast looking towards Abel Tasman National Park
The view from our place to the sea – missing the sea because of the mist and rain
After weeks of glorious weather the day we arrive in Pohara the rain started. Well in truth, the rain started in Nelson and followed us over the Takaka Hill. The hill is a challenging drive in fine weather but with a mix of rain and mist it becomes doubly exciting – particularly as the traffic includes numerous camper vans and cars towing boats. It’s only the raw power of the mighty Falcon ute that means we can keep up a decent pace.
We arrived at “our place” for the next few days with light rain falling. Somewhere in the recesses of my brain I recall that, according to Maori mythology, rain is seen as tears of the gods which is good luck.
Hopefully good luck that brings fewer tears and more sun over the next few days.
On Christmas Day we flew from Wellington to Nelson to spend time with Jean’s family as part of our Christmas break. Mike, our brother-in-law, kindly lent us his spare car to get around.
But this wasn’t your usual “spare car”, it was a 2005 Ford Falcon FPV 320 Boss ute. Now I’m not an expert on Australian muscle cars and all I know is that it goes like stink and the best way to drive is with the window down listening to the V8 in action.
I’m sure at least one of my lovely readers can provide more information about the car – you know who you are.
For the next week or so we are on the road – heading south for a traditional kiwi Christmas break. A few days with relatives in Nelson and then on to Pohara, a small seaside village nestled at the base of Golden Bay, at the top of the South Island.
There is a whole mix of friends and relatives descending on Pohara – by my rough count 5 rellies, 12 friends, Jean, me and Poppie. That’s 14 adults, 5 children and one dog. Nothing more to do than relax, eat and drink. It should be a great few days.