Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sometimes you just shouldn't look back......

A couple of Sundays ago I travelled down the east coast of the South Island, New Zealand, from Nelson to Christchurch with my brother & sister in law in order to catch my flight back to Oz the next day. It had been around 28 years since I had last made this journey & to be honest I had forgotten just how *breathtaking* the scenery is. New Zealand is the youngest country on this earth after making her grand entrance by rising out of the sea, a land that has huge Mountains, beaches made of both white & black sand, unique animals & birdlife & scenery that to me is the closest you will ever get to heaven.....
So the day started off with rain it was cold & to most probably a real miserable late winter day but I loved every minute of that drive as it brought back so many happy memories of my childhood. When I was young all those years ago (hahaha) my family would drive up to a place called Blenheim for the Summer school holidays & as my Mum & Dad usually had their time off work in January I sometimes spent my birthdays away which I loved. We always stayed with friends of my folks Bob & Hazel Stagg while in Blenheim a couple who I grew to love like my second parents. Their house was built on a very large block of land which on one side had rolling lawns which led down to a river. Fruit trees were out the back, sometimes in the mornings we would go & collect muscles which Hazel would place into a huge pot of boiling water on top of the stove, real lazy hot summer days & at night the record player was turned right up & I loved to watch the adults dancing away in the lounge. Innocent days when it was still ok to smoke inside (boy was there some nicotine of them there walls) & seeing for the only time in my life the most humongous fiery red setting sun. Both Hazel & Bob are now long gone but their house is still there, such a sad run down little house with houses built where the rolling lawns use to be, even out the back has been built on.....



So on we travelled seeing the amount of vineyards where farms used to be just blew me away millions & millions of grape vines, the Cob Cottage I use to love seeing just before you get into Blenheim, the hills towering on both sides of the road dotted with sheep which really got me wondering how on earth they got up such rugged country, the lambs in the paddocks surely born too early to survive the cold winds, but survive they do, & seeing my favourite black faced white bodied sheep just pure joy. (Yep I have to admit here I'm a big lover of sheep!) Then round a bend in the road & my breath is taken away by the sight of the hills still capped with snow, how I had forgotten their beauty even on this overcast day is just beyond me, I couldn't take my eyes off them....








Varying off the highway we went in search of our Great Grandmothers (Nan as us kids called her, an amazing Lady who lived to be quite a few years over 100 & who I adored to visit each summer) home in Hapuku, became lost, rang our Mum to find we were nowhere near where we were supposed to be, finally finding it & also finding it was a lot closer to the sea than either of us remembered as kids, Shirlene & I laughing our heads off as we stumbled over the cattle grate at the front of the driveway in high heeled boots, holding on to each other in case our foot caught, taking that walk down the driveway, hoping another piece of my past wasn't left rundown, a smile as I see although not as grand as that home once was it still had a small piece of the large wrap around veranda standing, a new coat of paint, boxes in rooms waiting for the new owners to unpack, the stables out back still standing, as was the huge hedge out the front, the little house my Great Aunt & Uncle used to live in, gardens although also not as grand but making a comeback, & I felt that these people whoever they are would hopefully restore her back to her former beauty. Walking on further down the back we found a large pond someone had put in down the back & that this which was once where my Mum used to ride my Nans horse *Janetta* was now up for sale. Oh to have the money to buy this little plot of land, this little piece of my families memories....



No one was home the day we came to visit which was a shame as I would have loved to have seen inside again, what I could see through the French doors & windows still seemed the same just had new paint on the walls...



So down the road a ways we go to where my Great Aunty Lily used to live, a gorgeous little cottage which was once I think if my memory serves me right painted a pale blue & white, the house that from a very early age decided for me I just had to one day own my own little Cottage, & there before me was the second shock of the day... what stood there now was the same house but painted a hideous green & also in great need of some TLC... sometimes you just shouldn't look back.....





Back onto the highway with the sea *right there beside you* I searched for the roadside stalls I remembered where you could buy Crayfish for $1 each, no longer there but I bet if they were the $1 price tag wouldn't be, stopping to see the Sea lions on the rocks & wondering how on earth the ones in swimming weren't pounded onto the rocks, then driving into Kaikoura for a spot of lunch. So tell me did you have Fish & Chips wrapped in Newspaper when you were a kid??? I know I did & the thrill of ordering mouth watering *Groper & Chips* was only out weighed by finding them wrapped in Newspaper when cooked. I think there were a few fellow customers there that day that wondered about the sanity of the Lady squealing with delight - another cherished memory. Looking for my Great Aunty Pearl & Uncle Bob's home which we mixed the street up & thought had been pulled down but found out from my Mum when I got back that it was still standing one street over from where we were looking, maybe I was spared another rundown house to witness, who knows. Also missing seeing our only surviving relative in Kaikoura, our Great Aunty Dorie who is now in her nineties nearly blind & living by herself, a Lady I would dearly have loved to have seen just once more....

Driving over the Hundalea's the hills that as a child I would always *throw up in the back seat of the car* & laughing to myself that they really were nothing to get sick over, on & on until with night falling I catch the sight of the Summit Hills surrounding Christchurch, the twinkling lights of this beautiful City, my City where I was born & brought up for the first 16 years of my life, a City I have loved, still do but now find it too cold in winter to ever be able to live there again, & sadly I realise that this very special journey is coming to an end, that tomorrow brings an 3.45am rise to get to the Airport & then a very long day of travel until I finally arrive back in Coffs at 10.30pm that night, but it also shows me how giving my brother & sister in law are, they too rise at 3.45am, take me to the Airport & then have a long day of work in front of them. The flight back always sees me in tears, leaving my family is always gut wrenching & although this visit was not under good circumstances that days travel I will always cherish & now realise ok so somethings have changed my memories never will....


Wishing you all a great day.....












6 comments:

Rebecca said...

Beautiful, heart-sent memories my friend. How I loved reading about the things you carry in your heart.

I've learned some important lessons this year about life and the living of it... Life is SHORT...and the days we are given by the Most High speed away at a breaking pace. Best we make of it all we can while we can...

Blessings to you~ I felt I was along for your journey..

Love~Rebecca

A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...

What a gorgeous Poignant post!
Hmmmm....Makes you stop and think alttle.

Gail McCormack said...

Hi Lyn

I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed this post!

Maybe it's the age I'm at, or the people around me that are failing in health, but I certainly am starting to stop and think about LIFE!

xo

Sarah said...

Hi Lyn,
What a great post....I could almost see the faces of the family you talk about so lovingly.
You my dear should consider writing a memoir, it would be a great read, this I know for sure!
~S~

Tanza said...

Hi Lyn,
This is all soo beautiful !! It is fun, and sometimes sad to travel down memory lane !! I LoVed the scenery and the sweet homes !! I'm soo happy to see you back.. Thanks for stopping in, and hoping and praying all is going well with you and yours !!
Have a sweet day~
~tea~xo

chicroses said...

Just discovered your blog. You said you are a lover of sheep. I am also. I used to raise them and I always only had pets. Now Im off to read along with your journey to those houses. If you want to take a peek at my blog. I have painted a sign with roses. Sally