Warming my heart by the fire of a long burning friendship

P1070897It is such a rich experience to stay in a friends’ home, rather than in the anonymous blandness of a hotel. Friends delight in introducing you to the best of their world, the places that mean the most to them and the people who give meaning to their day to day lives.

We have just spent four nights with our friends Suzanne and Darryl in Puketurua, a tiny place in the middle of the North Island, New Zealand. I met Suzanne and Darryl when I was about 18 years old, with my ex-husband. Our relationship was full of the laughter, passion and intensity of two young couples in love and at the threshold of their lives. Over the last forty years we have only seen them a handful of times, nonetheless they have embraced Steven and when we catch up it’s as if we saw them yesterday.

Here are four of the diamonds from their lives that they shared with us:

P1070808The Table on the Deck: We ate all meals in this beautiful rural vista, fresh country food accompanied by the sound of cows lowing. These were joyous meals full of laughter and great conversation. Despite some tough times this couple has maintained a great passion for life, and each other. Suzanne and Darryl reckon that lethargy and joylessness kill you so you better get off your arse, do something and have fun while doing it. No space for complaints or whinging at this table.

P1070868P1070853The Blue Springs, Te Waihou: “We’ll do a bit of a walk” they said, “just an hour or so by a spring”. What an understatement. The Blue Springs were shockingly beautiful. Crystal clear blue waters with mesmerising vivid green plants that drift in the current. I understand Coca Cola holds 90% of the water rights, and the Spring supplies 70% of the countries bottled water.

P1070887The Mystery Tour: We’ll take you up to see our friends place, you’ll like it there. Their friends Phil and Karen have an idyllic spot which they call home. Previously a trout hatchery, they have their own private spring of crystal clear, icy cold water, so cold our feet hurt when we dangled them in. Breathtakingly beautiful.

P1070882The day was accompanied by two gorgeous Blue Healer, Border Collie cross dogs with stunning mottled coats and a ginger kitten who snuggled up to them, homemade shortbread biscuits, New Zealand wine, great company and a perfect summer’s day. Bliss.


The Rhubarb Café:

Rhubarb Cafe
Rhubarb Cafe

We had a couple of trips to the Rhubarb Café in Arapuni for great coffee and more laughs with the owners Louise and Bryan.  Delicious food delivered with down to earth New Zealand customer service, served on old fashioned Formica tables, just like mum used to have. An unexpected find.


After four days with Suzanne and Daryl my heart was warmed by the fire of this wonderful long burning friendship.

10 thoughts on “Warming my heart by the fire of a long burning friendship

  1. Gail Reid 07/03/2015 / 5:36 pm

    Love the story and love the title of this blog! Why stop there?! Love New Zealand and Love you! Photos of the springs rival Croatia. Looking forward to hearing more tales from you and most definitely Not Forgotten.

    • Anne 07/03/2015 / 8:52 pm

      Yep there is a lot of lovin going on!

  2. Anonymous 07/03/2015 / 9:29 pm

    Sounds amazing and yet it seems it just how your friends are lucky enough to live. Sounds and looks idyllic to me…see you soon!

    • Anne 08/03/2015 / 5:14 am

      I think our friends are good at a ha noticing and appreciating what they have in their lives.

  3. Peter Corcoran 08/03/2015 / 7:21 am

    Sounds great!!
    Hope you passed on my good wishes!!

    • Anne 08/03/2015 / 2:03 pm

      Certainly did

  4. Bev 09/03/2015 / 10:15 am

    Beautiful story about my sister and brother in law and the gorgeous area they live in,Alway good hosts.Look forward to reading more about your adventures.

    • Anne 09/03/2015 / 4:19 pm

      Thank you Bev. It’s easy to write about such wonderful people and places. Glad you are joining us on our journey.

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