Sunday, October 17, 2010

Home Again! Friends with a Magic Rainbow!

A coffee machine in a little country store in Huia near Auckland.

It is now Tuesday, and I got home Saturday evening. I am long overdue to post something on my blog, but there has been, and still is, a lot to sort out.

It is a bit disconcerting being home at Waikouaiti Old Post Office. If things had gone according to plan, I would probably be in Arkansas at this moment. I have been doing my best to make all this turn out for the good, rather than allow myself to get all depressed and sad, but I did have a few "wobbles" this morning which I managed to cure by going for an hour's walk. I am finding walking enormously helpful, both for body and for the mind, and I do recommend it!

Laura had to work at the local shop this weekend, so I sat in our gallery on Sunday afternoon. It did feel a little odd being open to the public. Some people think I am in America still, and others have caught up with what happened. I keep having to explain things.

We managed a quieter sort of a day yesterday, and had some lunch together at our local cafe. I have been desperately tired really, and it was good having a few hours just unwinding a bit.

A huge thank you to Ruth, Ralph, Alexander, and Charlotte who welcomed me into their family when I was in Auckland so unexpectedly.

Ruth and Charlotte

I really don't know how I would have sorted out the mess that I was in if Ruth and Ralph hadn't rescued me from my airport hotel. I was in no state to travel anywhere for a few days, and I was fairly deaf too.

Alex and a cushion "floating"

I was never made to feel a nuisance, and, even when I got well enough to have left them and begun my journey home, they encouraged me to stay longer and see the Portage Ceramics Awards exhibition at Lopdell House.

Charlotte flying through the air with the greatest of ease!

We had fun too, and the children proved that even gravity can be overcome! I still smile when I think of the morning that Alex, Ralph, and I sat around the kitchen table with our various laptops, and attempted a video link up. We got some good feed back effects as our computer microphones picked up some of the broadcast sound!

Alex and Sasha (the cat aged 19.5), and.. yes, that is a bit of me too!

We also got to see some of the country.


Ralph took us out for a lovely drive to see some of the magnificent country that is to the North West of Auckland. There are stunning views over the land, and also out towards the sea.

Up in the Waitakere Ranges

It is a hilly volcanic landscape that is clad with native forest and tree ferns.

Looking towards the Lower Nihotupu Dam

Lower Nihotupu Dam

Looking toward the Manukau Heads from Huia

Nikau Palm (Rhopalostylis sapida)

Tree Fern
Magic Rainbow
Ruth and Ralph are clever people as well as being kind.., Ruth does language teaching, and Ralph has a business called Magic Rainbow. Ralph makes children's furniture, sandpits, climbing frames, and playhouses; and garden products such as potting benches, arches, arbors, compost bins, and raised garden beds; and products for workshops, such as benches and shelves. Do have a look at his website


The stay in Auckland, not only gave me the time to get better, but also provided a great opportunity to look at galleries there, and to also see more of Auckland.

Downtown Auckland seen from many miles away, the Sky Tower is a good navigation mark!

Auckland is a city with many faces! There is a lazy, languid, subtropical, sensuous, fern clad Auckland with quaint wooden houses and gardens where almost anything will grow. There is modern "cool" Auckland, of multimillion dollar houses, plate glass windows, designer plants and "hard" landscaped, low maintenance, indoor/outdoor living spaces!

For a few million, you can live like this right close to water!

There is maritime Auckland, of bays, sand, boats, yachts, Botox and tans.

The Marina is right in the heart of Downtown Auckland

There is alternative Auckland, of native trees, muesli, organic fair trade coffee, biodegradable houses, earnest joggers, Nordic walkers, and community meetings.

Man ''busking" on Queen Street, Auckland, under the Gucci sign.

Yes, there is poor Auckland as well, with overcrowding, vandalism, unemployment, bad nutrition, and bad health, but there is more good than bad in Auckland. It is, and can be, a great place.

I met real kindness in Auckland, from friends, and from complete strangers, and I will never forget it.

I left Auckland on October 11, and traveled South by bus and by train. I will write about that in my next post.


srgb said...

Welcome home Peter, I have often wondered how you were getting on, and have enjoyed reading the blogs you wrote about Auckland, yes all you say about Auckland is true, now I must make an effort to get into Lopdell House but then I say that every time I pass by.
I have been looking at my woodwork and remembering some of the things you said to me, so in short your deviation has far reaching effect.
Thanks Peter nice knowing you.
Regards Bob

Linda Starr said...

Welcome home Peter, lovely post and beautiful photos to peruse at my leisure, the tree fern frond is lucious. I'll take that house on the water as I love the modern style and the low maintenance outdoor landscaped rooms.

Peter said...

Hello Bob,
Good to hear from you. I have been meaning to send you a "hello" on your blog for a while, but seem to have been in transit for rather a long time! I am so thankful that you got in touch with me when I was in Auckland, and I did really enjoy meeting you and seeing your work. It is always a great pleasure to see good craftsmanship, and to meet someone who has a lively interest in what they are doing. It is slightly alarming to think that a visit from me might have had a "far reaching effect"!! I hope it was of an encouraging nature! Anyway, I do trust that one day in the not too distant future, we'll be able to catch up again. Best Wishes, Peter

Peter said...

Hi Linda,
You must have been sending your comment as I was replying to the one from Bob. Nice to hear from you. I know what you mean about a modern, low maintenance house... they are tempting. We seem to have spent most of our lives in old houses that have.... let's say "character"... I love tree ferns, but I just don't think we could grow them in our little frost pocket of a garden here (until global warming improves things for us! Keep on burnin' coal folks!). The kauri trees and nikau palms were really special too.

Judy Shreve said...

Glad you made it home! And your 'adopted' family looks to be so fun. Thank goodness you were able to stay with them. They seemed to make your disappointments fade.

The pictures of Auckland are wonderful - I would love to be able to travel there -- and like Linda - I'll take that house on the coast - lol.

Looking forward to reading about your actual travels south to your home.

Pat - Arkansas said...

I'm so glad you made it home safely. I've been watching your blog every day hoping for an update. Thank you!
Love your photos of Auckland and your wonderful host-children. I envy their abilities to become airborn at will.:)
I'm looking foward to the next post about your journey home.
P.S. It's raining, and a generally "yucky" day in Arkansas this morning, but the temperature is still in the 60's (F). Perhaps Fall is on its way.

Linda Fahey said...

Welcome back to the post office Peter! Quite an adventure and though it didn't go the way you originally thought; it's really quite inspiring!

best - linda

Peter said...

Hi Judy,
Being made to be "part of a family" is a very special gift, especially if you are unwell at the time! I was very,very lucky.
Hope you do manage to travel over to this side of the world, now that would be fun!

Hi Pat,
Sorry to have been so long before posting an update. I was full of good intentions for doing a "blow by blow" account of the trip, but the reality was rather different! Once I headed
South again, most of my computer time was spent huddled over the glowing screen booking the next bus or train, and doing a quick check of the mail, whilst the Internet time I had paid for ticked rapidly past. Regarding the weather....we've been sharing the same rain bucket here, but sun is out now and some birdies are singing!

Hi Linda,
Thanks for the "Welcome back", it is nice to hear from you. I have been meaning to put a link to your lovely blog off mine for a very long time... I have finally done so! I do like hopping over there when I can, and I have always loved your poetic blog title "we swim with the fishes".

Christine H S said...

Good to hear that you are safely home though I can see it must feel like an anticlimax after this unplanned and unexpected adventure. Thanks for all the great photos. Take care and I hope that you continue to improve.

Armelle said...

Hi Peter, nice to hear about.
Et de savoir que vous êtes arrivé sain et sauf à la maison. Going for a walk is good for me too, I travel a lot between the island and the mainland and.........I am tired. Anyway happy to learn potting.
Charlotte est vraiment une jolie danseuse !!! It's good to have such friends.
What a beautiful photo of the tree fern, really lovely.
Best wishes to all at home

Dad said...

Lovely blog Peter; from the heart as usual!
That tree fern photo is truly magnificent!
... so is the amazing coffee urn come to that. It was great to be able to catch you for 5 min. on your way home through Oamaru too... and, yes, walking is good for soul as well as body!

Peter said...

Hi Christine,
Lovely to hear from you. I guess things are starting to get chilly up in Scotland now as the days get shorter, it is quite a thought after me enjoying a bit of sun in Auckland!
I got my hands into some clay yesterday afternoon and started getting back into production again. When I am sitting at the wheel it is easy to forget that I have even been away at all! The trees have leaves on now though, and the kitten looks all grown up suddenly, so time has passed somewhere!

Bonjour Armelle,
Gentil d'avoir de vos nouvelles.
Le voyage est bon quand le soleil est brillant, et aussi quand il pleut ! Beaucoup de bien s'est produit, et les amis ont été aimables. J'ai également visité des galeries à Auckland, à Wellington, et à Christchurch et ai établi les marchés pour ma poterie.

Hello Dad,
I think that the coffee urn could act as a central heating plant down here, and give nice coffee too! It did look like something out of the age of steam!
I do miss tree ferns, just lovely to see so many. A 5 minutes to treasure seeing you both in Oamaru xx

ang said...

wow peter an epic journey indeed and now safely home!! happy settling back in and really you had an adventure after all just not where you expected :))

Peter said...

Hi Ang,
Nice to hear from you. Yes, some really good things happened after all. Now back starting to make pots again... that's a nice feeling too!