Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Moving North

Am doing much better now, have spent a few days in Wellington, doing the tourist thing and getting myself back together. An amazing contrast to the countryside and South Island of New Zealand with the bustle of a large town, high rises and 24hour living, multi cultural events and more shops and galleries than i knew what to do with. Spent my time visiting the botanic gardens, wandering the streets checking out art galleries and exhibitions enjoying the harbour views, watching the world go by in the sunshine and most of a day in the National Museum being fascinated by Maori artifacts, the history of immigrants, geology and natural history exhibits.

Have headed north now, up the east coast to Hawkes Bay, to stay with Graham and Annie on their citrus orchard on the outskirts of Wairoa. I met up with Graham just outside Wellington at a market selling a range of home produce and some bought in stuff too. We moved and set up stall in another town about 45minutes north until mid afternoon before heading off to his parents for a few pints and to stay overnight.

The drive north took over 8hours, he does it every fortnight, picking up fresh produce from nurseries on the way for the shop back at the nursery. A complete mad house, with 5 dogs, 3 cats, coutless chickens and roosters, a goose, 3 pigs and a cockatoo that comes to see whats going on whenever he can.

Have been here a couple of days now and am relaxing into the way of life quite effortlessly. Yesterday building some raised beds and fencing them off from the chickens for a veggie gardens and today inspecting bee hives in full apiarist gear and extracting honey for sale at the market. Annie has already filled the garden area with seedlings even though it is autumn, as things continue to grow right through the winter here.

This afternoon Graham showed me some of the local area and we stopped of at a hot springs for a soak in the hot baths way out in the bush. Think its going to be a good week here.....

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Up in the Hills

Have been having some amazing walks between the frantic search for jobs and other things that have been going on.

The building on the left is Clarence House, where i have been staying with Terry for the last couple of months whilst at Autumn Farm, enough room for a big double bed and space to put our belongings. We used the guest kitchen and bath house and all the other communal facilities on site, with the choice of interacting with the other guests as little or much as we desired. Quite different from the HelpX ing that i'd been doing before.

We've been out most mornings that we've been here for a gut busting walk up the steep sides of the valleys in the region. Exploring old gold country and a restored hydro electric scheme that was recently reopened, way up into the mountains where the view goes on for hours and hours without the smallest hint of civilization, just trees and rivers and rocks and amazingly clear skys, unless its raining, obviously. And the sound of the birds, most of which are so different to those back home.

Afternoons of trawling through the papers looking for jobs, writing letters and completing application forms or lying in the sun with a good book.

Haven't been to the pictures so frequently ever. Now that its getting dark in the evenings, theres not much else to do. Takaka has a great little cimena where you can get a cup of tea before the performance - in a mug of course, and relax on an old sofa with a pile of bean bags to make yourself comfortable. Intermission with ice creams and great adverts for local businesses on screen, real homely.

The grim reality of it all......

Well, where do i start?

I have been on an incredible emotional and physical journey over the last couple of weeks and have fallen out at the other end a bit battered and numb from the experience, but i am OK.

The job hunting went well, with plenty of interviews and exciting prospects for the future, Terry and i travelled over 1750km to half the towns in the South Island for jobs and catching up with his friends too.

It was fun but quite intense at the same time, meeting new people and preparing for interviews and constantly travelling the country. It all came to a head one night after i had been sitting with a great group of Terrys friends having a wonderful meal and chatting. I had a huge wave of home sickness and missed all my friends and the comfortable feeling and the familiarity of home. Also waiting for calls on a couple of jobs that didn't come through and hearing that a good friend here was not well all compounded into an seemingly insurmountable challenge. I lost it in my head and didn't know what to do or how to sort anything out, my whole life became mixed up and confusing. On reflection, now that my head is clearer, depression had hit me hard and frighteningly fast.

I determinedly pushed forwards for a couple of days before it became far too much and i needed to lighten the load. In my anxious state i dropped everything, my search for work, my dreams of staying in New Zealand, most of my interest in day to day life and the thought of being in a relationship was too huge and i decided to leave it all and return to England.

Terry was brilliant, though i hated him for quite a while, which must have been very difficult for him. He made me face the situation and realise what was going on and encouraged me to get some help. I visited a great doctor who discussed my predicament calmly and efficiently and helped put my mind at ease hugely, the pills are also working a treat too. I was concerned about them to start with, but believe that until i get home, they are the best way of helping me through the day.

A week later, now that i have left Terry and Autumn Farm and travelled to Wellington, i am feeling in control of myself for the first time. I know that i must take it steady and not be too hard on myself. I shall be taking it one day at a time for a while, finding enjoyable things to do and see and making the most of my time here.

I am not going to make any big decisions to cut my journey short for the time being, just see how it goes and how i feel. My flights can be rearranged at a moments notice should i change my mind so that is not a bother.

Please please please dont worry about me now, it was all rather scary, but i am feeling much calmer, happier and in control of myself now. My trip has returned to the journey that it started out to be and i'm looking forward to moving on.

Mmmm Wellington, the windy city, though its hot and sunny today. The botanic gardens are just up the road and the huge national museum in the other direction if the weather changes later on. Then somewhere new to do some gardening in a few days i think.

Monday, April 07, 2008


Just a quick update as i am running between lawyers and job interviews for the next couple of days. Have been busy with research and application forms and getting close to a wonderful man that i met at Autumn Farm a few weeks ago.

Everything seems to be falling into place at the moment and it is all hugely exciting. I have burst the bubble a couple of times and it still all feels good, will just have to wait and see on all fronts what is in store.

Will provide a better account of the last couple of weeks in a day or so time, just thought i should let you all know that i am alive and kicking and missing you all.