About Us

Let us introduce ourselves.

We are Mary-Jo & Richard, and on our second visit to NZ in 2006 we fell in love with Marlborough. To the total astonishment (and in some cases horror) of our family and friends, we somehow managed to return to the UK with a house & vineyard in our suitcase. How did that happen?!!  After selling the house in Sussex and a LOT of paperwork we emigrated nine months later with a suitcase each - minus the children but plus three dogs - knowing zero about growing grapes (to the dismay of the winery we were growing for). However, we're really fast learners, we survived, and so did the winery. The locals probably thought we were bonkers (had the same thought myself on several occasions) but we're still here and have now gained many new and valued friends. We're even on our way to becoming locals, and these days can talk tractors and wine-growing as though we're total experts.

Life is full-on now and although we no longer have the three original dogs (the last remaining one moved on at the ripe old age of 19 - we're exceptional dog owners) we now have the presence of two beloved black Labradors. The older one is Guinness...our canine lunatic, professional rabbiter, and smash-and-grab artiste par excellence. We think she's adorable too (most of the time) but usually only after we've calmed down from the latest theft/criminal act. Highly intelligent but, luckily for us, she hasn't always  "got it" when it comes to finessing her crimes. Up-ending a cake tin (complete with fruitcake) onto the kitchen floor scored major brownie points, but they were negated when she couldn't work out how to lift the tin up to steal the cake.

A word of warning - don't leave your shoes or socks lying around or they'll go "walkies". Guinness again.

And then there's the 4-years-younger Bintee. Complete cuddle freak - will flatten you with kisses given the chance - and adores EVERYONE (not always reciprocated). Busybody, zooms around at a million miles an hour on walks (would have been an excellent sniffer dog) and pretty good at coming back - apart from the one occasion when the pair of them disappeared entirely for 12 and 21 hours respectively. Panic not quite the word. Bintee eventually found 4 km away snoring under a car, all four legs sticking out. She had no idea how to get back, unlike Guinness who'd seemingly come to her senses 9 hours before. Unheard of. Facebook - the organisation we all love to hate - proved invaluable in Pets Lost & Found Marlborough!

You will meet both of them.

We have now been at Brookby Ridge for several extremely happy years (not entirely without incident, I will confess) but we're thrilled that we came all the way out here, and don't regret that momentous life-changing decision for one moment. When we go abroad and people ask us where we're from, all we have to say is "All Blacks" and we're in!

Brookby Ridge Cottage has provided us with the opportunity of meeting some wonderful guests - some of whom we have gone to stay with in their respective countries - and we look forward to meeting you.

Mary-Jo & Richard