(Above: David & the chooks, Henny and Penny on our side lawn at McKenzie Bay!)
Leaving McKenzie Bay had torn at our hearts because we both loved the place.It was like a bit of paradise tucked away among the hills, overlooking the ocean.
There was always something new going on in the harbour, cruise liners coming up the channel, pilot whales swimmig right up under our feet as we stood on the ocean bank opposite the earth embankment. One day I chased a pod of pilot whales around the bay for about a mile, then they turned out to sea and I walked back the way that I had come, to my tree-lined home. When I got home, David had, scolded me for running all that way, but hey! I was enjoying myself ! He could be such a stodge, sometimes, my husband!! OK, I had only been out of hospital for 4 months during which I had slept from 16 to 18 hours each day for 3 of those months: but I was sure that a little jogging wasn’t going to do any damage. I had carefully dug up and repotted all the plants which we had bought for the multi-level gardens around the house. That broke my heart too, because they were all in full bloom or fruit.
Once in the city. there was no looking back. I could walk round the block to my doctor, who needed to keep an eye on my heart condition. At 1st Avenue, the library was just across the Japanese bridge and through the park which were both at the end of the Avenue. The city centre was about 5 minutes further on.
Elim Church buildings were about a 7 minute walk in the opposite direction to the city, so everything I needed was within a 5 to 10 minute walk of where we lived. There were no gardens here. Everything was concrete there was a lawn out front, with a low concrete wall – and opposite us was a house with a low, white picket fence. I remember making a note of that because it looked familiar, but I couldn’t remember where I’d seen it, before!
David began doing a farm-trainning scheme at some place on the outskirts of the city, while I managed the house, continued with the family research that I had undertaken to do, at the library – and took care of our. 3 cats. Trina, TC and Evie. We had lost Midge in McKenzie Bay, when he had gone walkabout – and not come home.
The mid-north winter set in, and it was freezing in Whangarei city. How I longed for the warmth of living by the ocean! May, June and around the middle of July, the really bad weather struck the mid-north. David and I were watching the news one night, the news reader was talking about an extremely bad landslide which had taken out a hill and done extensive damage to a house in McKenzie Bay, Northland.
My skin became cold & clammy and immediately, even before they showed the pictures, I knew that it had been “our house!!” Apparently, the road was impassable but there was nothing that they could do because they feared another landslide! Then the pictures came up, there was my Master bedroom back-wall, with the bottom half of a giant poplar tree sticking through it. That wall, my bed had been resting against. If we had been there still – I would have been fast asleep in that bed when the tree had come through! I began to shake and cry. David and I held each other as we watched pictures of the horrific damage.
All I could think was, “Thank you Lord, for getting us out of there when you did.” We watched Veila and Asher who were the owners of the house, being interviewed.
Asher and the children had been in the house when the landslide had begun, but they’d promptly got out and gone to a friends house, before the whole hillside had come down. It took me a while to recover from seeing that lot on National television, and even as I type this entry, tears have sprung up, as I recall that time. After the news had ended, we received a call from Davids’ Mum in Wellington. ” Wasn’t that your house?” she asked. The next day, I got all the news papers and cut out the articles about the landslide. None of my decendants are going to be allowed to forget how the Lord will warn & protect them from danger. I have them now, folded into the back of my photograph albums, and one day – when I am able to I will scan the pictures ontocomputer as a semi-permanent record of this dramatic event/ happening on our journey.
TBC – Emmi