Blog | Jillian Sullivan - Part 2

Ida Valley Musings Autumn 2020 Thursday 26 March

Swallows wings outstretched and the sky grey. A band of light over the dark ranges. The road across the paddocks empty. Day one. Yesterday, Mike next door drove up on his ride on and mowed the drive – the stalky dock and yarrow, the tangled rye grass. I gave him a thumbs up, yelled out […]

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teaching america 2019 2

Teaching memories America 2019

Now I’m home from teaching in America, back to snow on the hills, the fire going and writing in gloves, I have time to reflect on what it means to teach in that country. There’s the gap between my experience of America – always summer, watching fireflies from the porch with friends on balmy evenings, […]

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central otago late winter

Cycling Central Otago – Day 22: Late winter, Ida Valley

Months, again, again, since I’d been on the bike. But maybe today. Today was fine, still, a late winter’s afternoon with the light pale on the hills. I said to Bartali when we were in the car, I’d like to bike to the cemetery, I think I could do that. The minute I opened the […]

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otago bike riding

Cycling Central Otago – Day 21: Spring and Floods

It takes Spring and a flood to get me cycling. How long had it been since I’d ridden my bike? Months. So much building work, travelling, teaching, deadlines. But now with the sun out after the flood and the whole valley tingling with energy – the sheep being shifted on Rough Ridge, the lucerne being […]

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otago winter

Cycling Central Otago – Day 20: Hoar Frost

Willows in Ida Valley It’s possibly the coldest day in the valley and Bartali and I are of one accord. We need to cycle through the hoar frost. Otherwise how would we know how it felt? Actually, that might be my reason; Bartali wants to keep training, frost or no frost. We head up the […]

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cycling central otago day 19

Cycling Central Otago – Day 19: Sun

Sun, how missed in a country valley. It hasn’t been a year for wildflowers. The blue vipers bugloss straggled on through summer, but it’s the white yarrow now that dominates the verges as we cycle past. At a distance their massed planting are frothy and bright. Up close the flowers are delicate and airy. And […]

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autumn otago bike

Cycling Central Otago – Day 18: Autumn Inspiration

Rain and sun, rain and sun ad infinitum – a recipe for autumn and mushrooms. When I’d left the valley two weeks ago it was golden with drought, and now I’m back to a greenness so rich the lambs are belly deep in lucerne and my potato patch rejuvenated and flush with white flowers. Bartali […]

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cycling central otago day 16

Cycling Central Otago – Day 17: Golden Days

We are cycling through summer. In the paddocks the foggy grass and cocksfoot are tasselled and downy as wheat. Bartali and I head up Hills Creek Road, over the bridge the farmers patched up while waiting for the council. The evidence of flood still lies in the tangled branches in the fencelines, though below us […]

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otago cycling rail trail

Cycling Central Otago – Day 16: On the trail

The Ida Burn is bank to bank again, snow melt and the rain that fell last night. We take our mountain bikes for a change, interested to check the state of the creeks, and head down the rail trail. Just out of the village there’s a pear tree in full white blossom. Its fragrance perfumes […]

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jillian sullivan strawbale house

Cycling Central Otago – Day 15: Firewood

When you live in the coldest valley in New Zealand (-21 degrees last year) firewood is a big priority. A neighbour, Pete, came over with his log splitter and my bike stayed put till every golden log was split and stacked against my lime washed walls. Firewood laps the house I’d lost my confidence a […]

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