Sights, Delights & Highlights

A stay with my sister means walks on the beach with her dog

across rippled sand

and catching the sight of the sun slipping away into the east


the storm-strewn skeleton of a snapper

a lone bone

perfectly attired oyster catchers

a log wearing a necklace of barnacles

and good company.


My sister has a square of land

with flowers

and trees (this is a lemonwood planted by Robert and me five years ago; botanical name – pittosporum eugenioides)

apple blossom (my favourite kind)



roses red

and roses white.


Sis had to work – unlike some of us, she has yet to arrive at retirement age – but being a kind sister, she gave us the lend of her car so that we could take ourselves off on tiki tours

such as to Sansom’s cute cake shop that sells cream horns

to the sound of old-timey music on the radio

and offers old-fashioned home baking – the kind of food we dare not eat more than one helping of for fear of indigestion we haven’t enough peppermints to offset.

My day is always complete if I happen across a kiore moana; a seahorse; of some variety

or a herb tea – such as this one at the Herb Farm Cafe in Ashhurst.

Small rural towns

contain things that catch the corner of your eye

such as a bull in the town of Bulls. After all, if a town has been named Bulls, there is surely an obligation to allude to that fact at every turn. And they have well and truly proved that this is possi-bull.

My best attempt at an inscruta-bull pose.

Historic railway stations will never fail to be a draw card for me. Brought up with the sound of a steam engine’s arrival and departure in the small southern town of my childhood, I cannot resist the nostalgia of an old railway station platform that smells of historic cigarette smoke, damp concrete and human relief.

Ghosts of steam trains past thundering through.

The novelty of a working windmill in the middle of a small town called Foxton in the middle of Aotearoa, also irresistible. What? No foxes?

Foxton was once a river port. Wouldn’t a canal boat be just the ticket here? Except you wouldn’t be able to go far. No locks, you see. And locks are the key (ahem) to riverboat travel.


It was a thoroughly enjoyable and relaxing time with my sister.

Catching up with my oldest mokopuna in Wellington one evening, well, that was just the icing on the cake. Of the caramel slice variety, along with a cup of tea, on Cuba Street.

Back home again now. But not for long.


Writer from Dunedin, New Zealand.

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