We’re visiting Marlborough wine country, about 100km from Nelson. Finally our dream of bicycling through the Marlborough vines is about to come true. But first, before checking in to our accommodation, we’re visiting Lake Timara Lodge, a beautiful 4-bedroomed historic homestead. The usual kerfuffle occurs at the gates intercom. I’m hissing out instructions to Michael about which button to press, when I’m struck with a dreadful thought – I hope we’re not being heard through the intercom by the staff at lodge headquarters. Such thoughts fly from my head as the gates slowly part allowing us access into this magnificent 600-acre property. Think massive rosebeds, lakes, hilly knolls and private seating arrangements, some of which only two can share – a giant English Garden really.

Debra is showing us through the Lodge today and she is standing at the beautiful entranceway to greet us. At this level, I expect olde world courtesy but it still gives me immense pleasure when it happens. Guests choose Timara specifically for it’s gourmet & wine experience and host and chef, Louis Schindler, has worked for some of the finest Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe. I actually did a cooking class with him some years ago. Don’t think I’ll mention it though -it was not my finest hour. With a property like Timara, some of what you pay for is dining on your terms, so for example, if you don’t want to sit with other guests or you prefer to have another room available or a special menu, it will happen. Whatever your heart desires. Sigh.

I love the smell of the old wood featured throughout this house – reminds me of Christmas, spices and candle wax. The four suites are individually named and reflect their location in the lodge. I’ll have the Garden Suite thank you. Should I sully my reputation by jumping on the superking bed? No, such beautiful white bedlinen deserves respect. Michael and I mutter instructions to each other about angles and light, until Debra steps in and kindly offers to take a photo for us and you know what, it actually turns out to be the best one.

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