It 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:
The 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 Continue reading →
My niece Melissa was born when I was 19 years old and working in Queenstown, just before I headed to Australia. I remember queuing up to use the pay phone in downtown Queenstown so I could ring home and find out whether my sister’s baby had been born. That’s how you kept in touch before mobile phones. I was very excited to be an aunty for the first time. I had been diligently knitting a baby jacket and booties in a soft mint green. In those days you had no idea of what sex the baby would be so mint green was a safe colour, appropriate for either a boy or a girl. For some reason I thought that the beautiful and delicate layette should be finished with a hard dark brown ribbon. Maybe this was my clumsy gesture towards hoping that Continue reading →
I left New Zealand when I was 19 years old, my first experience of running away. Since then I have tried to come back every two or three years to see my family. Each time I feel compelled to reach out and touch the ghost of my childhood and wonder whether others have similar experiences. I devour chocolate fish and pineapple lumps, (New Zealand confectionary delights), candy floss, mixed lollies sold in paper bags, hokey pokey ice creams, spearmint milkshakes which must be served in an icy cold aluminium container and for a savoury dish, bacon and egg pie with sliced tomato on top. I could buy these in Australia but somehow it would be traitorous to eat them there.
Then there is the drive past the family home, sold when my mother died 15 years ago, Continue reading →
Cycling shouldn’t just be about sweat and spinning wheels across the pavement. We mamil’s (middle-aged men in lycra) are far more couth than that!
The idea of a Prawn and Pinot ride came to me last Easter, when I recognised that our favourite route not only included the parklands and foreshore of Moreton Bay, but went right past the moorings of the Moreton Bay prawn trawler fleet on Cabbage Tree Creek.
Since that time I have enjoyed the experience on three occasions. The latest was yesterday on Continue reading →