Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Tree Hugger

I love this tree. It's in our front garden. I think it's a Robinia. The leaves range from deep mustard yellow to the creamiest, mint green. Wherever you are in the living room, dining room or sitting outside the front of the house you can see the gorgeous thing waving its branches in the breeze. Knowing that the tree belongs to us makes me feel very grown up. More grown up than being a Mum or a wife or paying a mortgage. Apart from the fact that it can stand alone as a thing of beauty it is quite special because the spit of land upon which Mount Maunganui resides is made entirely of sand so these sorts of trees are few and far between. There are more Norfolk Pines than you could shake a stick at and plenty of palm trees. My tree knocks the spots off all arboresque competition however and I adore it. It reminds me of home. I miss the countryside in Britain. I'm thinking of skinny, never ending, windy roads surrounded by ancient, leafy woods and fringed with cows parsley. Rambling old pubs with low ceilings, wooden beams and locals at the bar. Where we live in New Zealand is pretty distant from that picture. We live on a beautiful beach (see the pic at the top of my blog) in a town which boomed in the eighties. I think it would be fair to say that Mount Maunganui is not the jewel in New Zealand's architectural crown. During my first year here I could think of nothing but the gorgeous, chocolate box villages at home nestled into my beloved English countryside. I grew increasingly irritated looking at the houses here at the Mount and had no interest in the one we bought whatsoever. During a conversation with my cousin in England who is planning to move to Australia with her Aussie husband, she said that the one thing she would not do would be to compare Australia to England. I gulped and blushed as I realised that I had been doing exactly that for the last year. Coming back to NZ I found it so much easier to enjoy the place for what it really has to offer instead of what it lacked. When I walk through our streets now I am interested in why the houses were built as they were, think of the generations of families who have been here a long time and seen their sparsely populated idyll mushroom into the busy, tourist hotspot it is today. I'm becoming rather attached to the house we live in. The husband tore it back to a shell and lovingly built a new house house to cater for our growing brood.

I'm writing this today because I was looking at the title of Iota's blog which is called 'Not wrong, just different'. She moved to America as a Brit and was wary of her reactions to a new place. It seems that I could have benefited from reading that a couple of years ago. The other reason I'm writing it is because I'm really enjoying feeling positive about New Zealand and feeling lucky to love Blighty so much but be given an opportunity to enjoy a different country too. On the note of positivity I shall leave you with this little anecdote.

Not one hour before typing this I was trawling twin1 and twin2 round the supermarket. At the checkout the homely Farah Fawcett lovely told me how lucky I was to have twins. I agreed and asked her if she had any children. She said she had had four children, then her husband left her and ended up looking after 8 children as her oldest daughter had a baby at home and 2 cousins came to live with them plus a boyfriend as there was so much trouble in the cousins' families. She fed them all on $60 per week. Let me tell you she looked beautiful, perky and happy. She said "well it never did me any harm looking after them all'. I looked at her name badge and she's called Miel which means honey in French. What a legend of a lady.

1 comment:

  1. oh photo number 4! be still by beating heart...how i wish i was laying on a blanket looking up at that view! what a tree. i can totally see how you fell in love with it. funny how we have a eucalyptus in our garden that we adore that i guess is more from your side of the world. it is big and strong and has the craziest gnarled peeling bark from which peeks out the smoothest and delicately coloured trunk. we cut a lot of it down last year and it's been keeping us warm on the woodstove this winter. we are a family of dorky tree fans. my grandad turns the most beautiful pieces of art from various bits of wood that have come in to our lives...i'll do you a show and tell one day!

    so much to respond to in your post today. and lots to go away and ponder. i'm glad you're finding the balance with enjoying life in nz...it can take time and distance to reflect and see the good stuff. and you know we can always send you blighty fixes when you need them : )


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