Back in Wetville

I admired the vegetable gardens and orchards at Kemp House and the Stone Store in Kerikeri and at Pompallier House in Russell. I ate local red peppers and we all admired the views at Pagoda Lodge where we camped. We spent time at the marae and the Treaty House at Waitangi and walked part way to Haruru Falls. It was all superb and I recommend it.



In Auckland we had a marvellous time. It became apparent rather quickly that we could not all see and do and visit everything and everyone we dreamed of. We stayed with family in Albany Heights which was lovely so long as you didn't go near the soulless hell which is the Albany Mega Centre. We spent a lot of time on the motorway it seemed, but also managed to enjoy lots of friend and family visits and time at the zoo and Kelly Tarlton's. My favourite place of the Auckland trip was picnicking at Bastion Point.

Christmas itself started most pleasantly. It ended with a nightmarish event of present giving, not so much a ritual as a bun fight of present giving competitiveness. Or something like that. All year I aim to reduce and reuse and generally step lightly on this earth (and I am no model saint on this, but I try) and then in fell swoop it all seems wasted as the four of us were rained on with pieces of plastic and other oil-derived objects which we do not need, rained in such a fashion that I cannot even identify who gave the children what. At least that is over for twelve months and we won't be in Auckland for late December again for a long long time.

Now we are home and it is blowing and raining and the garden looks most wild. Everywhere there are plants laying sideways - globe artichokes, jerusalem artichokes, tomatoes, celery and garlic. The plants which I put in not long before I left look fantastic, not dried up as I feared but thriving as they were too small to blow over and apparently it rained 16 inches while we were gone. The nieghbours have erected a six foot fence to give them more privacy while we were gone. For the moment, the rusty waist high fence remains on our side of the concrete posts. Sometime I would like to replace it with trellis and grow things to cover the ugly new fence. It isn't top of my sometime list - with January all at home together in front of us I have many many things I would like to do or for Favourite Handyman to do. More to come on that.

By the height of the grass, it is clear that there was sun while we were gone. By the lack of even green tomatoes, it is clear that there wasn't lots and lots of it. The blueberries have disappeared, probably taken by birds as I didn't cover the bush with netting. But the birds have not found the blackcurrants and they are ripe and beautiful. I haven't told anyone else - my own antioxidant bushes for as long as possible. They are nice enough to eat, raw and unadorned by any sweetener. There is one zucchini ready and some lettuces. But January lays ahead of us yet. I won't harvest the garlic until late January, when a drier period should have improved its keeping qualities.

I managed to read three books on holiday, totally spoilt by my favourite out law who gave me the biggest holiday from laundry and meal preparation that I have had since I became a parent. I read A Short History of Paradise by Norman Bilborough which was pleasant holiday reading, a romp through hippy commune life set where my grandparents currently live, which is something of a stark contrast in lifestyles. Then another Alexander McCall Smith novel, this one called something about chocolate and most enjoyable. Finally an Anne Tyler novel, Digging to America, which was very good and reminded me how good Tyler is. I'd stopped reading her a few years back as it all seemed a bit samey in terms of intensive relationships but Digging to America was fantastic and I'm starting again when I've paid my library fines.

On the flight up I got a Lifestyle Block magazine and found wonderful, inspirational pieces of fibre art profiled in it. The link to see them online is here.

I've been reading Jeffrey Paparoa Holman's book of poems, Flood Damage. I got it out and then lost it and now I am reading it with relish in the full knowledge that tomorrow it must go back to the library and will cost me almost as much as if I had bought it directly from the shop. Holman has his own blog which I am looking forward to reading more slowly. For the moment, taking the liberty of assuming it is okay to reproduce one of his Flood Damage poems here, this is:

T-bar clothesline, Okarito.

a T-bar bearing
the lichen of centuries: his bush socks
soaked last night
in beer-sweat
buried in his boots
in the pub,

her wet panties
pissed in fright
when the back door
locked to keep him
out for the night
caves in, and-

O, Christ!

something she can't
scrub out is in her.

Teatowels flap naval
signals, double bed sheets
spinnaker belly: tacking, the rusty
centre bolt shrieks. Bellbirds
toll the flax, herons stalk
the creek; eels grow tusks
in the black lagoon

and it's marvellous drying weather.

Comments

syeds said…
Letters


Hi the article is very informative it's fantastic. Thank you very much for sharing.

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