Finally, a revamped website that is more functional and looks great thanks to some professional help from Margarette Hasrouny in Brisbane. The old website had become impossible to update after Yahoo changed their service tools that I had been using. Luckily, Maggie had the skills to transfer the content and make it work in a new design and new platform.
Obviously, a lot has happened in the past 18 months or so – not least with the Covid pandemic that has raged around the world. We were actually in the process of finally going to be moving back to Scandinavia, at least for a couple of years. The pandemic put a stop to that and as fate would have it, we were lucky to still be in New Zealand at the time. For now, we’ll keep enjoying our time in this beautiful country and keep doing all the things we love doing here.
Aidan has kept doing his adventures, sometimes with and more often without me in tow. Early last year he was lucky to get a trip to the Chatham Islands, a Pacific Ocean archipelago 500 miles (800 km) east of New Zealand. He went with his grandmother and aunt Melanie to stay with an old friend of Melanie’s. He brought his dive gear, hoping for some good spear fishing and big crayfish, however the sea was too rough for any major missions. He still managed to gather lots of pāua (abelone) and catch some fish, which meant he brought his chilly bin back home with pāua, blue cod and a large blue moki.
We’ve naturally done our fair bit of fishing and some diving too. At the height of summer, the sharks have become a bit of a nuisance in many spots. One day out in our boat at Whangarei Heads we had three encounters in half an hour. At first Aidan pulled up a snapper and a large bronze whaler followed it up to the surface and then circled the boat. A few minutes later we turned around to see a shark that had leapt fully out of the water but didn’t manage to see what type it was. We went a bit further up the coast for Aidan to jump in with his speargun. After a few minutes he shot at a kingfish but the shot didn’t hold well and after a brief struggle on the surface the fish took off. He reloaded the gun and was looking up towards me in the boat, about to call out to me, when he suddenly put his face in the water to check what had stroked up against his fins. It was a large Mako that had come in and was looking for the injured kingfish. We had a similar situation at a different spot further up the coast, where we were staying one weekend. Again with me in the boat and this time Aidan in some quite bad visibility. He had just shot a fish that he had handed to me in the boat and was going back to shoot another. A bronze whaler came straight up to his face and he could only see it late on because of the poor visibility. That put him off any more diving that day.
On a trip with Dylan & Mark Newman to Taumarunui, King Country in the central North Island Aidan shot his first fallow deer. They also got a red deer so that was plenty of nice venison for the freezer.
Grilled Fallow deer heart w/ salsa verde, leftover rabbit ragu, Snapper ceviche, prepared Blue Moki, Rainbow trout roe.
Blackfield Alice’s sire was the Norwegian import Vårhaugens Gus (Skrubbhaugens Tellus – Vårhaugens Ira), while her female line was the old NZ lines of Berryfield, Game Ridge, Wingfield going back to the English Sharnberry.
Gortinreagh Failte was an Irish import but her sire Ballyellen Cody was by the Danish Heegårds V Kody (Sletthallens Knock Out – Heegårds Q Randi II). Kody’s litter sister Heegårds V Lill was handled by the breeder Jørgen Heegård Nielsen to win the 2008 Swedish Derby, the 2009 Danish Derby and the 2011 Danish Championship. I know Jørgen from my time in Denmark and he was the country’s top setter man even back then.
Murray got Runanset Somebody to Love from Bob Crain in Melbourne, Australia, an American indie folk singer/songwriter who names all dogs he breeds from songs. Northstream Alinghi who is the double grandmother Bob imported from me 18 years ago, at the time Aidan was born. Amazingly she’s still going! She was out of my Norwegian import Lapphaugen’s Moulin. Wingfield Will was a litter brother of my own Wingfield Warrior, again with a female line of the old NZ blood going back to Sharnberry of Captain Parlour in Yorkshire.
Bentley looks like he’s going to be a good sized, strong male and mentally very sound. He’s getting a lot of dark spots coming through his white coat. I have always preferred dogs with good pigmentation and a bit of colour. They’re less prone to skin allergies and to fall apart with rips and cuts in rough terrain, their feet in particular. Some people prefer their setters to be as white as possible. It is nice to have a naturally visible dog when they’re running big and wide. For someone like myself, who also uses my setters & pointers to a lot of duck hunting, the shiny white dog is not an advantage. Moulin that I imported from Norway was very white and certainly didn’t have the same camouflage as my other dogs. Bentley will hopefully also be a solid duck dog in addition to his primary function as an upland bird dog.
Aidan seeing Bentley at 5 1/2 weeks old, at 10 weeks old and checking out Aidan’s catch of the day at 12 weeks old.
The grand plan is that I will update this website every three months from now on. We should have plenty of adventures to report on.