Hobbs Orchard

Ask Aunty S



Dear Aunty S

My nineteen-year-old son has a cougar secret girlfriend and I have always kept my nose out of it because I thought she would get bored with him. Now she is pregnant and he is convinced it’s his as she has told him she doesn’t have a sexual relationship with her partner and only lives with him out of convenience as they have children together.

I am worried for my son as this could end up a mess.


Aunty S responds

Your son is a silly boy blinded by what she has to offer!

I doubt very much he is the father of her latest child and considering the fact your son is unemployed and lives at home, I highly doubt she will be giving up her obvious financial security to move into the back bedroom of your home with her kids.

When she does dump him, and considering your son’s obvious level of immaturity, ensure you have a bowl of candy nearby when he has a meltdown and then take him to McDonalds for a Happy Meal.

And remember at the end of the day he is just as responsible for this mess as she is.

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Ask Aunty S


Dear Aunty S

My wife doesn’t like my mother and flatly refuses to allow her to stay in our home when she visits which is once a year. I always make an excuse and take her on a trip to visit relatives with only one day back at our home before she flies out.

I have put my foot down after many years and told her my mother will stay in our home and she has told me she’ll fly out with the kids if she stays. I am sick of having to visit the relatives with her and feel I am right on this matter.

What do you think?


Aunty S responds :

Suck it in mate!

She is your mother and your responsibility.

You have a good system that has stood the test of time so why change things?

From the added info I doubt I’d let her stay in my house either if she was my mother in law and I am damn sure I wouldn’t let her around my kids.

You have a very tolerant understanding wife.

Give her a hug, apologize, and act like a man, not a spineless wonder.

Over and out.

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A great Season so far except of course for one little hiccup with the majority of our Moorpark apricots being stolen during the dead of the night back in January.

We let a few folk into the block the day before PYO, of this variety, commenced; the alarm bells rang when they came back with a good pick but mentioned there wasn’t a lot left!!!!

The Moorpark block had been well and truly picked over in the middle, leaving the perimeter intact. Our neighbours below the River block, heard nothing so it looks like it would have been an early morning raid.

As the ladders had been strategically placed throughout the block for PYO, and the gate opened, the thief and his off-sider must have had smiles a mile wide!

I have a fair idea who it is but as I have no proof at this stage, nothing can be done.


Moorparks are a sought after variety of apricot, especially now Annabel Langbein has spoken so highly of them on her TV programme.


Sadly this wasn’t our very first brush with theft; a few weeks after the death of Alex; our Haven Peaches were pinched during the dead of night.

Since then, each and every Season, we’ve had trees stripped but nothing as grand as this.


Our Orchard security cameras are used in another area for an entirely different reason so it looks like we will be forking out for a few more.

This is our third Season hosting Wwoofers and what a great bunch we’ve had once again. Fine young folk from all around the World.


The starling and magpies have been up to their old tricks once again.

Big Bertha (bird cannon/scarer) is our very effective bird control method. She works, without complaint, through the daylight hours.

She managed to fit in a wee holiday after the pears finished but is now back in action as the apple crop is being hammered.


Hercules Flat is a great area to live in, with many wonderful ex-city folk; a wonderful diverse bunch; taking up residence here.

They recognize the need for bird scarers, sprayers, frost-fighting pumps, tractors and any other machinery associated with the running of the Orchard or else there wouldn’t be an ounce of fruit on the property.


Further north there are lifestylers moaning to the media and their respective Councils demanding/lobbying changes be made to the District Plan rules in a hope they will drive the Orchardists out of business because they “are sick of the noise.” This happened to a friend of mine a few years ago. He couldn’t handle the stress and sold to a lifestyler as they just wore him down.


Thankfully these moaners are only a minority.

There are many fine folk who move to the country who embrace country living and are appalled by the shenanigans of a minority.


We ourselves had a shock a couple of months ago when a couple contacted the Police complaining we were using Big Bertha to harass them!!!


Obviously nothing came of it but what a cheek to make a false complaint!

They know fully well Bertha is used for bird control and furthermore is permitted under the Central Otago District Plan rules.

Our Orchard is only 17.5 acres and makes a ‘little toot’ sound compared with the larger Orchards.

I bet my bottom dollar they wouldn’t have taken them on!!!!!

The silly thing is, Bertha had been going for two months at that stage during daylight hours so somebody must have had a bad day and needed a bit of attention!!! Or a hug!

Now they have taken their nonsense into the public arena once again; they have inadvertently shown another one of their bullying tactics.

This is our livelihood; it’s not a hobby/lifestyle Orchard and it supports all of us so we won’t be driven out!

And as they had referred to Bertha as a shotgun many times in the past; it was such a relief to have them confirm her true identity to the Police so something positive came out it.

But Bertha is still very annoyed with them.

She’ll get used to them; we have.



Update: 1st May

Further to my post in the above blog where I describe how a false complaint was made to the Police about our ‘Bird Scarer’; well it now turns out the middle-aged couple forgot which story they were spinning and lodged a ‘Tractor Noise Complaint’ with the Council four days later, on 14 January!!

We only found out about the Complaint two days ago.

Even though the Complaint has been recorded on Council documents, thankfully we weren’t contacted as we were in the midst of a drought, our Moorparks had been stolen and we were busy picking, packing and selling our fruit varieties as they ripened!

Spare time is something we don’t have any of during the Fruit Season.

The bullies picked the best time of the year to try and disrupt us.

The ‘Award for Cleverness’ goes to them!!!

We now understand why they have been more creative in their harassment since then.

As there is never any need for us to go into this particular Council website, we would have been in the dark if it wasn’t for a certain gentleman, whom we had never met, perusing this site for information on a property along Teviot Road, when he put in our Rapid Number by mistake, as the numbers were similar, and low and behold, up popped our details.

He was going to click out but noticed the words “noise complaint” which aroused his interest.

He was shocked as it went on to say, “ Noise complaint regarding use of tractor to pump irrigation.”

He knows a bit about Orcharding so knew this was a malicious complaint as unbeknown to us, he knew of the ‘games’ the bullies had played with our livelihood both before and after Alex died.

Furthermore he knew of how they showed false concern after his death but couldn’t sustain this emotion for more than a few weeks before reversing back to their old sabotage ways, but this time they were caught by a third party.

They blamed us for their exposure and declared War!

They wouldn’t have tried this if Alex was alive!

Yesterday I told a group of supporters as to what happened back in January and was surprised to hear they all knew!

They were trying to protect us and had decided that we were to be told at the end of the Fruit Season.

They are wonderful kind folk as is our new-found friend.

We have the deepest respect for you all.


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Hi Sandra

Thanks for putting me onto The Bully, The Bullied and the Bystander by Barbara Coloroso.

Even though I have been reading your bully blogs this book gave me an added awakening and also to have a New Zealand connection in the book was a bit of a reality check.

My son has finished school and is in the workforce yet he is being bullied. I always assumed it was a kid’s thing so he was on his own with this for a year.

Your blogs show it’s not and so does all the other websites I’ve been on. Thanks for the links.

We finally validated our son’s feelings of despair last night which was long overdue, in a meeting which involved his Employer who thought something was wrong at work but was waiting for our son to talk to him. Thankfully, in this case, he had never been fooled by the Bully but knew he had a following in the workplace and was ostracizing our son but was not aware of the severity. In our case the situation is manageable, as it’s been brought to his attention.

Thanks again for your help.

You have my permission to include this in your blog.


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Ask Aunty S


Dear Aunty S

My daughter’s work colleagues are mainly middle-aged women, and are bullying her.

Every night my daughter is in tears and tells me she wants to quit but I have insisted on her returning as she worked hard for the position she is in. To see her go from a confident young woman to an emotional wreck is hard to watch.

One of the women was passed over for her job, which is why they taunt, tease and threaten her on a daily basis. They say it’s only a matter of time before she is fired.

Her doctor has put on Prozac for the short term and says she needs to see a Counsellor to help empower her.

I have always said it was a bad idea but now I realize how desperate she is.

I don’t know how to help her and feel I have let her down.

What do you think?


Aunty S responds

Don’t be too hard on yourself my dear; you are obviously a caring and concerned Mum or you wouldn’t have written to me.

Your daughter’s Doctor is a wise man; he is handling the situation correctly as Prozac should only ever be used as a short-term fix, never as a way of life.

I’m afraid these dreadful women (bullies) have tipped your daughter over the edge, but she will gain the confidence to regain control of her life, with the assistance of a good Counsellor and the love and support of her family.

Personally I would rather work with a pack of wolves than a bunch of vicious middle-aged women.

Listen to your daughter, validate her feelings and support whatever decisions she makes.

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More on Bullying – 18 March

Bullying is a form of abuse.

The bully’s main aim is to intimidate, humiliate and discredit their target/victim.

Bullies rely on character assassination, outright lies, rumours and innuendo to isolate and destroy their target/victim’s credibility and this is where the bystanders/followers fit into their game plan.

Bullies must have followers, so they deliberately cultivate people in their community who, in their eyes, are easy to manipulate. Folk who will readily accept what is said with out question; there is a prerequisite though; they must have the ability to gossip and lie.

The bully then sits back and gains gratification from seeing them do some of his dirty work.

The anger of a bully is very apparent when they try and manipulate the wrong person; who challenges what they say. Panic sets in. They will bluster even to the extent of having tears well up, to try and sway the doubter. They must preserve their image no matter what.

Being exposed is what they fear the most and will often add onto the original lie to shock folk.


Bullies are opportunists; they tend to prey on people who they perceive as a threat, dislike, or are jealous of.

Bullies also target people who are popular, hard working and well liked. The more well liked and competent they are, the bigger the threat they perceive them to be.

Bullies also target people with differences from themselves, especially those who have high morals and integrity as a bully has neither of these attributes.

Bullies are often racist and have a dislike for the handicapped members of society even though they will, in the public arena, pretend they are fine with them. Behind closed doors it’s a different matter entirely.

More on the traits of a bully next time.



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R.I.P. Joe Cocker

Joe Cocker has died.

How sad is that!!

“You are so beautiful” was my song for Alex.

From as far back as my kids can remember I would break into song after sneaking up on him and grabbing him around the waist. He only jumped the first hundred or so times but after that he became accustomed to this display of affection. I can still see Sam and Ruby’s faces full of happiness each and every time I caught Alex off guard. By the time they were teenagers I am sure they were well and truly immune to it. Thanks kids.

It could be anywhere, in the house, Fruit Stall, Orchard or on the waterfront in Queenstown. Sorry Alex, the last one did embarrass you but the tourists all smiled and took photos.

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Ask Aunty S



Dear Aunty S
My best friend is having an affair and expects me to cover for her when she meets up with him, which I do.

Her husband is really nice and is being driven mad with worry that she is cheating again.
He came round the other night crying asking if she is having another affair.
She promised last time she would never do it again.
I lied to him but my husband caught on I was lying.

He is now furious with me as my friend’s husband is his best friend.

He says if I don’t tell him the truth, he will.

What do I do?


Aunty S responds

It was bound to end in tears my dear.

Your friend should never have put you in this position so the answer is quite simple, tell her to come clean or you will.

Yes your friendship will probably be over but who needs a friend like that.

If she runs away with this new boyfriend, make sure you help your husband look after her husband as he obviously is in a lot of emotional pain.

Over and out.

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Ask Aunty S


Dear Aunty S

My Doctor put me on Prozac and sleeping pills the day after my husband died and now I feel I have lost control of my life.

I have been reading about grief and now realize what I am experiencing is a normal part of grief and as I never suffered from depression before his death I wonder why he was so keen to put me on pills because I am starting to realize all I was displaying was signs of shock and grief.

Should I still be sad after a year and what do you think of tranquillizers?

I have tried to wean myself off the Prozac but to no avail as I get anxiety attacks which I’ve never experienced in my life before.

I have started taking the sleeping pills every third night and I am actually sleeping better.

What is your opinion?


Aunty S responds:

Of course, my darling, it’s normal to feel sad a year down the track.

There is a huge difference between grief and depression.

Yes, some who grieve end up terribly depressed because loneliness takes over and sometimes those around them are insensitive to their needs.

And often financial hardship destroys the way of life they have become accustomed too hence depression sets in.

But you were handed these drugs the day after his death!!!

Give me a break!

You’d never had a depression day in your life and he hands them to you!

I could understand if you were prone to depression but you weren’t!!

Go back to your Doctor, with a trusted friend by your side, and tell him you want to come off Prozac and you require assistance.

Furthermore tell him how you are already weaning yourself off the sleeping pills and sleeping better when off them.

Talking, crying, reminiscing, are all part of the grieving process; as well as sadness, anger, fear and loneliness.

Grief is a long journey.

It is coming up three years since my husband died and there are still moments of deep sadness I have to contend with.

This is the price we pay for having happiness taken away prematurely.

Of course there should be a rule that a husband and a wife should die at a very old age together so as not to leave the other behind, but sadly this isn’t the case.

The info I have sent you on grief is the material I found the most helpful in coping with all stages of grief.

Keep me posted my dear.

I am only a click away.

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Ruby’s 20th


My gorgeous daughter Ruby turned twenty on Saturday and my MacBook crashed the same day hence I haven’t been online to tell the world how proud I am of the young woman she has become.

We had a wonderful day of celebration even though the cherries wouldn’t stop the ripening process hence it was still a work day, which made Ruby happy as it was a distraction from the reality that her Dad wasn’t here to celebrate this milestone with her.

Birthday Wishes came in all day from home and all around the world for my ‘under five foot’ darling.
The phone calls, txt messages, emails, E-cards, Facebook messages, all completed her special day.

The night before Ruby’s birthday, under the cover of darkness, our lovely friend Kirsten popped a pressie in the letterbox before decorating it as well as the fence.
What a wonderful surprise for Ruby when she went down the drive with Sam at 6am the next morning to turn the bird cannon on.


ruby birthday












Family and Friends

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