Sunday, March 16, 2014

New Zealand Day 34: Off to Blenheim

After our two nights at the Top 10 in Richmond (which had free wifi, but only a moderately awesome playground), we packed ourselves up again and crammed everything into the car. We drove just up the road into Nelson proper for the Saturday morning farmers' market. It was outstanding!

The market was perhaps three or four times the size of the summer market in Concord, with a huge variety of vendors: fruit and veggies (it's harvest time here and they appear to grow strawberries all summer long), honey, olive oil, bread, several food trucks, several coffee trucks, as well as stalls with clothes, bags, candles, stained glass, metal and woodwork, pottery, painting, and jewelry. There were buskers, including a pair of high school aged girls playing the violin and a younger girl, perhaps nine or ten, playing violin while her brother played guitar. B was enchanted with the violin players. (Yes, she really does love the violin. She hates it when I give her any sort of correction during practice, but she loves playing and learning new music. She'd just rather do it without the involvement of her annoying parents!)

We stocked up on food supplies and also did some browsing in the crafty part of the market. I've been looking for a replacement for the shoulder bag I got in Vieques six years ago, which is disintegrating on this trip! There were several different options and I eventually decided on a purple felt bag, big enough to hold iPad, phone, wallet, and camera comfortably. There was one large enough for a computer but I decided it was too unwieldy.

I'm quite pleased with it!

I also came away with this adorable laptop cover. It's Dartmouth green and has a cute little owl and is upcycled could I resist?

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I woke up on Friday with a painful right shoulder, which actually got quite a bit worse through the day. I was up in the middle of the night to ice it and it was still feeling pretty bad this morning. I was even having trouble lifting it up in certain positions.

I noticed as we were going through the market that there were two massage therapists there who were signing people up for short chair massages. After checking with one of them that she'd be willing to work on me with an acute issue (it helped to be able to say that I was a primary care doctor and that I thought it was muscle-related rather than a nerve thing coming from my neck!) I signed up for a ten minute massage.

I'm so glad that I did. She found a huge bunch of knots ringing my shoulder and was able to really get in there and loosen them up. It was not the most comfortable ten minutes of my life, but when she was done I had much more comfortable range of motion. Whew!

It was also the most adventurous massage of my life—NZ is bracing for the arrival of rain and wind from a cyclone out to sea, and the winds arrived in full force during the last hour of the market. You can see that the massage therapist's tent was in pieces by the time we finished!

Actually, she slipped several of the walls down before we even started so that the wind could just whip through instead of fighting against the canvas.

Once we were done at the market, we stopped at The Free House pub for a drink and a picnic lunch (they let you bring your own food in). The bread, cheese, and heirloom tomatoes from the market were amazing. The hard cider wasn't that great...I think I got spoiled by all the delicious ones at the brewery yesterday!

Then it was time to head for Blenheim. With the bad weather on the way, where better to go but the wineries of Marlborough?

I tried to keep my shoulder limber in the car and was able to do even more stretching once we arrived at the Top 10. Yes, Alex and I were not big fans of the Top 10 parks when we were campervanning because they are expensive-ish and often the powered sites are pretty close together, but they've been working out well for us now that we have a car because they always have a decent playground and they also have the sort of basic rooms that we want. If we weren't traveling with a 5 year old I think I'd be trying to find independent motels and B&B's, but this is getting the job done for now, and we've joined the Top 10 Club so we get a discount at each place. The other great feature is that some of the Top 10's (including this one in Blenheim) have a whirlpool, and Top 10 Club members get to use it for free. This was a big plus for my shoulder tonight!

Tomorrow, we shall wine.

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