I’m Looking Over

Two sunflowers lasted the distance and the wind to reward us with their sunny faces at the bottom of the steps.

A walk along the Karetai track, to the spot where a few years ago now, our son M and daughter-in-law K got married. Everyone was a lot younger back then. But the somewhat impressive view has remained the same.

From the top of the track, we looked down over Boulder Beach where it is possible at sundown to see penguins coming in from the ocean to return to their cliffside *possies. Access to the beach is closed for the breeding season: November until the end of February. *Kiwi for ‘positions’.

Looking out over the Pacific towards Chile. The day was still, calm and sunny. Just like on the day of the wedding. Such calmness is relatively rare on this clifftop.

A seat on which to to survey the view.

I’m looking over not a four-leafed, but a red clover, friend of farmers and bees and a flower that takes me right back to the paddocks of my childhood. Plus the song. You know the one? Crimson and clover / Over and over, by Tommy James & The Shondells. Ah, yes. We were a lot younger back then.

Stone walls on the road in.

Heading back.

Over the weekend Robert went to a school reunion at this school – Otago Boys. It was a reunion for the hostel he boarded at while in the last two years of high school. A Queenstown boy moving into the city of Dunedin. We had both moved to Dunedin at the same time, but didn’t know each other back then.

At the time I was a student at the Teachers College flatting in a flat on London Street. Outside my bedroom window early Sunday mornings, I’d sometimes be woken by the low voices and tramp of many feet as a group of young men from the Campbell House high school hostel marched past my street-side bedroom window. At some stage I learned that this noisy group of males were making their way down the hill to attend the church service at Knox – compulsory for the boarders back then. Little did I know that one of those school boys was my future husband. We met three years later in Invercargill, when he was 20 and I was 21.

Robert outside Otago Boys High School. The view shows part of Dunedin city and harbour. Note the brown hills. Our current drought conditions turning what are normally emerald green hills, honey brown.

View over rooftops to the bottom end of the harbour. Right background is where we live – somewhere there in the distance and closer to the ocean.

Part of the reunion for Robert was to track down his late father’s oil painting of Campbell House – the hostel where Robert boarded, but which now no longer exists. The painting had been donated to the school by his Dad (artist Alan D. Cooke) in 1971.

We successfully tracked it down, finding it in the new hostel’s McLeod Room – which seemed appropriate because Robert’s late mother’s maiden surname was McLeod.

Recently we had occasion to drive past this paddock of sunflowers. It was raining that day and so the flowers were a cheerful sight. Seems weird to say this, but at the moment a rainy day is proving to be a rare event on the east coast of the South Island. Unlike in the north where they’ve suffered devastating cyclonic floods.

Very Dr Zhivago

I have just finished writing a book review which took ages and after I’ve posted this, I want to get back to my Te Reo course. I am at present learning (or trying to learn) to tell the time in Te Reo. People, it’s tricky,

Reading: Guest List by Lucy Foley. Kind of Agatha Christie but more jumpy in that the plot keeps being interrupted by multiple character points of view. However, it’s gripping enough to keep me invested. This will not be a *dnf. (*Did not finish.)

Watching: Random Netflix movies, murder mysteries on Acorn TV and Under the Vines on TVOne.

Listening: To my personal Muttonbird Tree House Spotify playlist, Mostly Country, Americana and Folk … Hoping the music inspires and motivates me to get a move on with my third Murihiku novel. So far it’s all half-formed ideas and notes, without much actually written. Hoping that this will change in a week’s time when I go away for a solo 3-day writer retreat.