The Long Journey….North!
above: This is the Island, from one of the 3 hills on which our land is sited!
Ten days after David and I had been married, we left Wellington and made our way North with 2 daughters, all of our clothes and blankets, and the 5 cats we’d moved to Wellington, with. The only difference between our journey To Wellington and this journey Away from the city, was that David and I were married. From experience, I knew that this was going to take sometime to work it’s way into our collective as well as our individual, conciousness. (being double instead of single, I mean, and wearing another name!)
First off, we headed up state h/way 1 and changed to state h/way 4 at the south end of the National Park divide, then headed for Taumarunui, where we planned to stop at my sister Js’ place. It was a nice visit, but we didn’t like the town so much. Too dark and dingey!! So, we moved on to Raglan in the Waikato – and there we visited Davids’ sister M. His dad and stepmother were visiting from Brisbane, Australia, they had been waiting for us. On Christmas Day, we drove to Auckland just 2 hours away, where we stayed with my Mum. It was here in Papakura that David confessed, he had no idea where we were going! I was almost 42 and here I was being dragged around the country by a man who Didn’t have a plan!!
(If anyone knows me well, they know that I hate to do anything, without having a plan! Heck, even baking a cake requires a plan, or we wind up with a very expensive omlette!)
But, we also had 2 semi-adult daughters, 5 cats and all of our stuff to think about! It’s laughable now, but if we had to do it all over again: I think we probably would! I had Not even considered marrying David, previous to his proposal, for the obvious reasons. He was really young in his life experience, as you would be at 27yrs; but my knees grew weak just looking at him, and he was a gentle man as well as being a gentleman in private and in public!! We figured, I am a teacher, and he was prepared to be an excellent student! This was do-able!!
We finally moved up to Whangarei, out on the east coast, to the “Island”, where our family has about 22 acres of land. It was New Years day when we arrived. Two of my brothers and a sister had already built their homes out there. Almost everyone came back to the ‘island,’ for new year, so we set up our tent, the girls, Sonna and Nads put their stuff in my sisters’ house ’cause that’s where they were going to sleep: then we all went swimming in the ocean.
The Pacific.) Every day was warm and gorgeous. We practically lived in our swimsuits and all of us, including David became “brown little berries.” Each day was spent swimming or diving for sea urchins, (kina) mussels, and (paua) abalone – fishing for schnapper, john dory and kahawai, off the rocks. The Summer months went on and on until in April, the lengthening shadows told us that the weather was turning. By this time we were staying in the house of a brother who was living in Oz. (Australia) for a while.
All four of us had to spend sometime, trying to work out, what we wanted to do, and where we wanted to do it. The girls were both doing courses in Art History, by correspondence. We had got a post box at the Post Office in the village some 15 km away.
(NOTE: To readers, these homes on the island, have water storage tanks the water is channelled from the roof, it’s rain water. We had outdoor showers between canvas curtains, only gas stoves where the gas comes in large bottles which are refilled every fortnight, for around $12 to $15 each. No electricity, except the Generator which powers the washing machines, once a week – and they are run by a petroleum engine, and of course, the ever present, long- drop loos. There was very little leisure time, we had television sets, but we had to choose our programmes carefully as the ‘tellys’ were operating off of old, recharged car batteries, and we wanted to be sure that there was enough “juice” to see us through our chosen programme. I know, it sounds a little like the” Swiss Family Robinson” meets “McGiver” and that was exactly how it felt sometimes! A totally different life from living in Wellington city, but certainly much healthier for us!
TBC – Emmi