NZ Organic Wine Awards: 'Sustainable Vineyard of the Year 2024' plus 2 Gold and 2 Silver Medals. Full details

Life at Home and Abroad

How deeply irritating is it when one comes across those that refer to themselves in the 3rd person? Particularly on a blog? Even more so when they have reduced their name to a single word? And so it is here on these pages, which sometimes go strangely silent for weeks, months at a time.

Why? Because that idle, gormless third-person self -- referential Proprietor -- has been doing anything but tending to those tasks (hardly onerous) that call for attention.

Look at him sprawled, ungainly on the couch, whining feeble excuses: "Please, I can only type with one finger. I'll be at it all day. I have to learn my lines. The rugby starts soon. I'm hungry. I might faint. The dog needs a walk. Again. Coffee. For pity's sake, coffee. I am expecting a call. From the White House. I am alcohol deprived. Don’t you understand? I haven’t had a drink since last night. Probably."

Pathetic indeed.

So let us stir the vile slug, and try manfully to get this show on the road again. Catch up with the blizzard of interesting stuff that has been happening in the world of  Two Paddocks while the Proprietor has been moaning on the couch.

Well , not entirely on the couch. The old bludger has been seen on the party circuit in Toronto, particularly during the Film Festival this month.

He strongly recommends (now isn't that just plain annoying, that 3rd person thing) the following movies (should have seen more, but there were parties to go to – priorities):

Beautiful Kate     Harry Brown The Boys are Back Triage

And of course Daybreakers, featuring the old chancer himself, and starring Ethan Hawke  and the excellent Willem Defoe, who was there in 3D real time, in person. Daybreakers was shown to a fabulous, vocal audience in Midnight Madness. Loved it.

And look , in the Proprietor’s defense, parties are not entirely silly. When else do you get to catch up with old friends, and make new ones? And what’s life without a pal or two to help you on the way?

Among other friends this year in Toronto: Michael Caine (who incidentally gave a completely hilarious one and a half hour talk on his life in film) Bryan Brown , Rachel Ward -- now a superb director, Emily Mortimer, Clive Owen, Geoffrey Rush, Ernie Dingo, Romola Garai, the Spierigs, Fred Schepisi, Rob Lowe, Brendan Gleeson, Terry Gilliam, et al . What pleasure there is in banter and mild mutual abuse. The Proprietor feels privileged indeed to breathe the same air, etc.

And then, while we are on this shameless name dropping run, the other thing the Proprietor has been up to is his other life as rock groupie. In town recently; the marvelous Ben Harper, with a great new band -- nicest man in the world -- and of course there was the Proprietor backstage grazing brazenly on the catering. Similarly with U2 -- the  360 Tour is astounding, and not to be missed on any account by anyone who loves music, and spectacle. U2 were kind enough to take the Proprietor to  a second show in Boston, on their plane, and God love them for that. What a phenomenon they are. And from Dublin. But you knew that already.

One other thing, among many in this vastly underrated city not to be missed is Caribana, Toronto's annual Caribbean Carnival Festival. If you like to be among some 10,000 dancing women wearing just a few feathers among them (and who wouldn’t) then this is for you.

And finally , surprisingly, the Proprietor has been at work on  Happy Town, 8 hours for ABC.

This show is devised and produced by an extraordinary trio: Scott Rosenberg, Andre Nemec, and Josh Applebaum -- clever , hilarious maniacs. It should be very original and edgy television. It features the friendliest, most delightful cast possible:  Geoff Stults, Lauren German, Amy Acker, Abe Benrubi, Ben Schnetzer, Frances Conroy, Jay Paulsen, M. C. Gainey, Sara Gadon, Robert Wisdom, the fully licensed Steven Weber, and more . All, as they say in my pub, as funny as a fight. On a HiDef screen somewhere adjacent to your sitting room in the late winter/spring . Hold on to your hat, if you are wearing one. And give up smoking -- they say it's bad for you.

But hang on, that’s enough of this blatant and utterly disgraceful name dropping -- back to the real world, for God's sake. Here goes...

News from H.Q.

Well lets see, what has  been happening while the iron fist of  the Proprietor has been missing, if not missed?

  • First of all, we are inordinately proud of Mike Wing, our vineyard manager, who this winter won Young Viticulturalist of the Year  in our region, and followed this triumph by taking second place at the Nationals in Hawkes Bay. Number 2 in the entire country, a land positively festering with young viticulturalists! We are so proud the rest of us almost want to share some of the limelight ourselves. Except that no one would believe us. Let us say this however, Mike continues to more than justify the faith shown in him on his appointment. Good on you Mike.
  • We are sick to death of being punished by early frosts at Redbank. Last year we lost our entire crop of Pinot there. (The Riesling was fine with water frost protection.) So we have undergone a massive and expensive installation of an overhead water system. We have propellers already, but at -5°C (brutal) they proved inadequate. This has been a big bullet to bite, and a lot of work, but with a vineyard as good and as loved as this, it made no sense to lose any more of the beautiful grapes we grow there. Not a moment too soon; it looks like the boys will be frost fighting next week.
  • We are not solely interested in grape growing at Redbank, we also grow lavender, saffron, sheep, apricots, pine nuts, tomatoes, truffles (attempting to anyway) old breed apples, olives, figs, rosemary, etc. etc. And we grow things just because we like them.  We love trees. And why not -- they might even save the planet. Every year we plant more, replace those lost, and every year the place looks more beautiful than ever. This year we planted more cypress -- the Proprietor loves nothing more than an avenue of cypress -- fruit trees, oak, and about ten varieties of natives in a part of the property which will be bush one day. We have also planted two shelter belts of poplar at Gibbston and Alex (Last Chance and First Paddock).

Over and out. The single digit can take no more.

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TWO PADDOCKS LTD.
PO Box 506
Alexandra 9340
Central Otago
New Zealand

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