Autumn has arrived. Well and truly. Time to prune the grape vine and the roses and to plant bulbs. Among other things.
Since February we have had a home filled to the rafters with extended family. Picture us settling down to watch TV before being interrupted by two grinning grandkids running at us, down the passage, into the living room, full bore, launching themselves like lovable missiles into our arms, chirping, “Goodnight Grandpa, goodnight Grandma”, followed up with tiny, careful, toothpaste-flavoured kisses.
They have gone now and we are still missing them. A lot. But we do have some splendid memories of their time with us. One of the many highlights, was a trip we made together down to my old stomping ground of Orepuki, the Southland town where I spent my formative years. Because my roots there stretch back to original descendants, as well as both my parents being born and bred there, it is a place that despite not having lived there for over fifty years, has never left me. I make regular pilgrimages down there, either alone or with family.
old gate framing the cemetery of my Irish great-great-grandparents, buried in Orepuki cemetery
grandchildren loved exploring the beach at Monkey Island. Note the beach pebbles, a feature of Te Waewae bay
we were lucky enough to book a ride for the kids with Orepuki Horse Treks. My horse-loving father would be proud. I’m sure he was there in spirit
my son introducing his son to one of the beautiful gentle giants
where the children had their horse ride was on farmland at the bottom of the Longwoods range, and a very familiar childhood scene for me
as is this scene taken of my son and daughter on a stony beach, looking out at a rough sea, the clouds obscuring the mountains usually visible
leaning trees such as these, also very familiar
Yes, the first day of our two-day stay, was a little stormy, but as I explained to the family, Orepuki likes to test its visitors – it waits to see if you can weather the good with the bad and will always reward you for sticking it out.
The next day the weather was perfect. Monkey Island was looking cool and some of us climbed to the top at low tide. My daughter in law wrote ‘Puki Power’ on the sand. Puki Power is a thing. I bet you did not know that. It’s a well-kept secret.
my granddaughter also added her drawing and name
There is an early morning visit to Gemstone Beach still to describe. But I will leave you with these images for now. After all, I don’t want to cause Puki Power Overload!