In honour of the winter solstice my human carer; Debbie decided to hold a midwinter party at the Robert Lodge in one of the basins on the Mt Robert ridge.

I was looking forward to a romp in the snow a rare event since I had taken up residence in Nelson.

stigger friends reduced

The prospect of some frolics in the snow must have excited many as 17 humans and several other animal species had gathered at the lodge by mid- afternoon on Saturday 20th June. The deputy carer had even managed to bring a small tree up the hill.

tree carrier 1

I watched with interest as Debbie, David and Thomas festooned the small den (alcove) where I had taken up residence with a few friends; avian (Nestor Kea), feline (Tiger), sea mammals (Sealy, Lizzie McNess) and Willy aka Kleines Schweinchen, and decorated the tree. Some restless humans went for a walk as the daylight faded and others started preparing the evening meal and some arcane liquid which I’m told was ignited outside the lodge, perhaps it was thought I might get overexcited during this ritual, certainly the three juvenile humans were sufficiently excited that they had to burn off energy in a futile attempt to fill in the neighbouring water hole by throwing rocks into it.

flame maker

The time came for the evening meal to be served I was disappointed to find there was no raw meat for me, someone had smoked the only item that might have interested me and I found this taste to not be to my liking. I contented myself with sniffing out the collection of gifts now around the tree beside me. Alas I could find nothing that smelled of meat there either. The time came to distribute the gifts and everyone gathered around the alcove and the rules of the game were explained.

There seemed to be some strange rules as the various chocolate gifts that were unwrapped seemed to cause undue excitement among the juveniles who quickly decided to manipulate the rules to ensure they got the maximum theobromine dose they could; a pity that I’m allergic to this compound as it seems to be a powerfully addictive substance to the humans. Nestor Kea confided to me that even he was attracted to this substance but he had found in attempting to get this delicacy he had found himself in danger too often and had decided to no longer pursue this delicacy.

It was now time for me to sleep for the night but I believe that there were other sweet delights and more of the mulled wine consumed as the evening passed.

Disappointed with the lack of snow in the area I decided to sulk on the next day and many of the humans left to climb the peak almost directly south of the hut. The humans must have strange naming habits as all I could make out from the discussion was 1715m. Why not Mt. Tigris? Actually it was so cold that even though I normally revel in the cold I felt quite happy in the relative warmth of the lodge.

groupie on ridge

When all had returned there was a frantic clean -up of the lodge and I was bundled up for the trip back down the hill. I was just a little miffed that the way that I was secured meant that I was left looking at the scenery side on so to speak. However Debbie did manage to find the only patch of snow greater than a square metre in the whole area so I was able to have a little quiet time in my element.

stiggers snow patch

Debbie H (Head Porter and organiser), Scott, Mathis (assistant porter) & Philéas B (assistant porter), Michele C (chauffeur), Sibyl H (I still have not seen a kea), Marianne H (chief cook), Mary H, Anne L, Leah (Providore of sweet treats) & Thomas P (decoration assistant),  Peter P (chicken smoker), Brian R (Lodge maintenance officer and Chief guide), Ray S (Deputy Porter, tree carrier and Photographer), Nina S (Mulled wine maker), Maaike van H (Attaché for Ulan Bator), David C (Organiser of Dessert and Scribe).