Sunday, 14 March 2010


It was noisy in the morning. The gravel pit across the river was in full operation at 7 am with trucks loading up. I was cold. I didn't want to emerge from my cocoon of sleeping bag and duvet but of course nature calls. Ate some breakfast and then drove where the sun was shining to evaporate the condensation and do my writing.
Found another library but not open so did some writing over a chai in a local cafe. Turned out I shoulda gone online too, no wifi at the library, "try the coffee shop across the way" So back to South library in Cashmere. There I contacted a fellow at MensTrust, and when I got there found a number of men's and women's organizations all under one roof. Gordon and I had a good chat, I collected some pamphlets and flyers with info on the various possibilities for men's support. Unfortunately funding is drying up here too. Gordon talks about the connections and working relationships between men and women in the domestic violence field. How supportive some women's organizations are/were in creating support networks. He tells me a warrior brother lives in his community and that I am welcome to come to stay the night. Serendipity! Robina had told us about this community- Heartwood, and here I am! There are a few residences here, two official houses. One is a large brick mansion, Chippenham one of the oldest in Christchurch built in 1860. Lots of gardens, a few fruit trees and many buildings. I am entertained by Dave who is the historian and has lived here the longest. Unfortunately I miss about a third of what he is saying, he is listening to some tapes talking nonstop and making dinner. Ursula from France originally and Sheena an Australian architecture student join us. Also connect with John a fellow warrior who tells me about the other part of the community, land wise out in Oxford.
The Gypsy Fair is in town so in the morning I arrange to drive Dave to work nearby. Unfortunately the van has other ideas and refuses to start. We push it out onto the street and the battery dies. Dave borrows a car (he is now going to be late) And I look up repair places in the phonebook. John and Thomas come out and push me down the street. It starts and I head off to not finding the fair. Go to library (this pattern keeps emerging!) where I research possible camera repair places and Skype with Elke, Nicolette does a cameo appearance. Load some photos, write, then back downtown. Camera guy tells me it is an easy fix but I will need to get it done on Monday or Tuesday in Wellington...Locates the gypsy fair and off I am again. House trucks galore, imported cottons and the usual stuff. Some locally made handicrafts, leatherwork and the kids perform on stilts and with flaming batons (not at the same time) a couple of fortune tellers, Madame Feather and pony rides. I move on after fingering a few items and choosing not to buy. Head back to Heartwood having decided to visit the farm-Cricklegrass. Dave calls and sets it up. Drive the longest straight road in NZ to get there. 18miles. He described it as ramshackle, oh yeah.
Old buildings, neglected gardens and orchards, chooks and a milking cow. Paul makes me welcome. Certainly work is being done; gardening, milking the cow plus there are 5 kids here. Two young boys are target practicing with pellet rifles in the scrub. I do an explore and meet Briar, mother of two of the girls, living in her bus on the edge of the property. From Vancouver originally we talk awhile. She doesn't seem to mix much with the folks in the farmhouse although her eldest daughter spends most of her time there.
I was invited for dinner so bring my Monkey Wizard Stout from Motueka and share with Paul, Paul and Louis wwoofers from England and France respectively. I wash up after when eldest son goes to town to hang out with his mates, Paul returns with ice cream, scrumpie and more beer.
Mother Meghan, not well, emerges later and helps me get online. The evenings entertainment a Mike Meyers movie with a cameo by Deepak Chopra.
They offer me a bed, great offer but mossies and leg cramps plague me.
In the morning a red sky, I do my writing. Eldest daughter off to work at hospital, Madeline and I eat breakfast together. I call the ferry, work out the miscommunication and Meghan shows me some books. They are off to an auction, heritage animals, chooks and cattle in Christchurch. I say my goodbyes and promise to keep in touch.

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