SheepForgive me for the title of this post – all will become clear soon enough. (And no, it doesn’t involve velcro gloves or any such thing, but did you really expect a visit to New Zealand to involve absolutely no mention of these beasts? After all there are something like 40 million sheep (compare to 4 million humans) in the country.)

Now I know that, for most of us, sheep are nothing particularly special. They are just sheep – rather stupid animals good for two things: wool and the pot (nice with a bit of the old mint sauce). That is, unless you happen to be female and from Los Angeles. Two of our companions on the caving expedition were such characters, and upon sighting their first wool-laden quadrupeds promptly burst into a chorus of shrieks which resolved after a moment for near-unconscious translation into “Oh my Gawd! They’re so cute! Stopthevan!Stopthevan! I just gotta take a photo” You’d think that they’d never seen a sheep before, which I suppose they may well not have – I’ve no idea whether sheep farming is Big Business in California or not. So we sat there in the minibus for ten minutes while they chased sheep around the karsts. I kept hoping they’d scare one so badly that it would fall down a pot-hole, but it didn’t happen. Now that would’ve been real entertainment. Sigh.