Lost in NZ
Wide open spaces, long sparkling deserted beaches, deep valleys and distant snow capped mountains. See why I haven’t posted for a while? I have had some weeks now in New Zealand, and it sure is GOOD to be home 🙂 I am sure many Kiwis experience this, no matter how long I am away, Aotearoa NZ is always going to be home. Its as though there is some deep connection between the essence of who I am, and the contours of the land, the colours of the landscape, and the waters that flow through and around it all. This doesnt seem to lessen over time, and everytime I come home I appreciate it more and more.
So I am not going to give you a blow by blow description of my travels, instead I am going to share with you some of the things that have excited me about being here and the special experiences that have given depth to what we have done in the last weeks.
Firstly, let me just say this. ROAD TRIPS! I have been doing quite a lot of driving around since arriving in Auckland, and I am so enjoying the NZ roads again, quite the opposite of the smooth, flat, and straight European motorways. Oh yes, here we have narrow roads, lots of ups and down hills and mountains, and of course, many many corners. Its so FUN to drive, and not feel like I am having to negoitate an obstacle course of other traffic, speed bumps, parked cars, and roundabouts. This is ‘get in yer car and drive’ country and I am really enjoying the freedom. To enhance this experience further, in our rather old and squeaky rental ,we have only the option of radio but thats ok because we are permanently tuned into The Rock and there are plenty of turn the music up and seat boogie opportunities, making even the occasional stuck behind the bigass Mac Trucks haulin logs moments quite bearable.
So some highlights and THINGY moments. Here we go. Of course there was MAJACRAFT, the visit to the mothership, complete with Glynis’s home cooking and splendiferous pudding experience, some really good hammering time for Lucca (my 5 year old) that Owen set up in a clever no-fail way to keep him busy building his own Majacraft creation, and a cool workshop tour with Andy, including of course our cooperative creation of my awesome new go-anywhere weaving tool. Which still doesnt have a proper name! Perhaps we need a little game for that, hmm, watch this space 😀
Anyway, I had an amazing time in Tauranga, we stayed right by the Mount Maunganui surf beach, which was magic for me, I am really a beach, waves, water person and this is something I have missed a lot in the Netherlands. It was lovely going to sleep at night and hearing the surf crashing in. And what a view every morning! Other travels in the area included an awesome day breathing in the freshness (re-freshness) that can only be found at the bottom of a waterfall, and witnessing the selfless and heroic rescue of a rather small bee that had somehow managed to fall into the (not very) eddying currents. Twice.
Did you know that Tauranga, the birthplace of my ‘One Wheel’ is also really close to Hobbiton? (coincidence? maybe..) Naturally, we went there. I was blown away by the detail and atmosphere of the village. I mean, its movie set, right? You expect it to be a bit, movie set-ish, fake, shallow, a bit artificial really. But what an amazing job they have really done with this set. It is totally for the tourists now, but every bit as lovely as you would hope it to be! There is an amazing vegetable garden in the village, and from that items are picked and distributed around the village, little clusters of harvested pumpkins next to the front door, just as though some mud fingered Hobbit had just set them down there and popped in for a cup of tea and elevenses. There are bunches of herbs hanging to dry, and wildflowers scattered everywhere. Even now, in winter, there is plenty of colour to see and enjoy, and photograph. Even the letter boxes were a treat, each painted differently, and reflecting the trade of the Hobbit who owned it! We visited Bag End, oohed and aahed at the incredible (fake) tree at the top of the hill, and it was all so familiar I was almost expecting Gandalf in his cart to come rattling up the lane to join us. And the culmination of the tour, a cold drink at the GREEN DRAGON! OMG. This place is stunning 🙂
We also took our road trip south, to my favourite city on the planet, Wellington. I lived in this region for a couple of years before heading over to the Netherlands, and I loved it, a lot. Its a vibrant city with plenty of cultural and creative events and activities, as well as sitting around the edge of a sparkling bay. A good weather day in Wellington cant be beaten, its magic when the sun is kissing the green hills that hug the city and the water is the bluest blue, the view across the bay from Petone beach is one that always takes my breath away. On a bad weather day, its sideways rain and cold, but even that, it has its own excitement doesnt it, especially when the destination is a cosy cafe with the best coffee ever and delicious comfort food for the windswept and hungry 🙂 We went to the top of Mount Victoria for a somewhat cloudy 360 view of the city. Awesome!
And you know… Weta Cave.. that was also a must. My dream job would involve working for Weta.. can you imagine? What a hive of creativity and innovation! My favourite quote ever comes from its founder Richard Taylor – he said once that ‘the art of innovation is to throw yourself at failure and miss’. I love that!
Yes, I fed my children to a troll.
So this is where I am going to leave you now. Since Wellington I have moved north again, with a weekend backtrack to Woodville to teach two workshops at Inspire Fibres, owned by the lovely Tracy and stuffed with her amazing stash! This is worthy of a blog post on its own, so I will be writing and posting that in the near future, because I want to share both the experience with the lovely workshop participants and my enjoyment of spending time with Tracy and her fiber space. I have some eyecandy to go with that too, naturally 🙂