My Beach in New Zealand

The photograph below doesn't really capture why I might feel passionate about this particular beach here in New Zealand and it's frustrating because Long beach is so definitely my beach.

My 17-year-old niece, the lovely Georgia, drove us out there yesterday and finally, it felt like I had returned ... completely returned.

Long Beach is located over the back of Dunedin city - turn left just before Port Chalmers, climb up into the hills and drive towards the east coast a while.

The sun was out, as was the tide, and the beach was like all of my favourite beaches here ... almost empty.

Cooper, the happy hound, fulfilled his role and chased the tennis ball endlessly.  And that was me, looking  like the happiest little kid ... just quietly wandering along the waters edge. 

The yellow lupins were in full-bloom and, honestly, they would have to be my favourite flower.  They have this delicate scent that, when mixed with the smell of the sea, is as close to heaven as I can get.

We sat in the sun out there on the beach, simply breathing in the best of New Zealand's air - 2 lovely nieces, my sister and brother-in-law, and the Belgian bloke too - just enjoying being there, back on that beach I love so well.

A New Post on the Antwerp page

There has been a real sense of storing impressions ... of really looking, as I walk city streets in these days before flying back home to New Zealand ...

This is the opening to a new blog post I wrote for Fans of Flanders, and posted on my Antwerp page but even as I write this here, I'm thinking maybe I need to create a New Zealand page.

I'll leave you with another image from New Zealand photographer, and good friend, David Wall.

Must finish packing ... tot later.


How do I write of these days ... ?

It's been like that ... and with New Zealand looming up in front of me, I'm kind of lost in these days.

There are things I want to do to wrap up the time spent with 4 incredible women on the photography workshop in Genova, Italy. 

And there are things I must do before arriving in New Zealand next week.

And then there are the things to do Now ... between returning from Italy and leaving for the 'uttermost ends of the earth'. (An inscription I remember reading on a world war one memorial to New Zealand soldiers who died in Turkey ... they came from the uttermost ends of the earth.) 

New Zealand is 12 hours ahead of Belgium and it's summer there ... meanwhile Antwerp is disappearing into the fog and freezing of November.

I am digging out summer clothes even as I have winter clothes repaired and readied for my return in  January.

I am so deeply deeply saddened by the deaths of so many Palestinians but that is my facebook self and not for here, in this politically-free zone.

We have someone to take care of our house.  And all is organised in terms of travel bookings.

I have some of the best people I've ever known waiting for us to arrive in New Zealand.  I'll see my sister for the first time in 8 years.  My dad too.  One of my brothers, and my beloved Auntie Coral.  I will take that Belgian bloke on a road trip round the South Island so that he knows me in the context of the place I was born ... so different to where I am now.  I love that 2000km drive, past so many different beaches, stopping to visit with Hunter and Clare in Fiordland, with Rozanna and David in Marlborough, catching up with Dave and Jude, Corryl, with Abe, with my nieces who are 8 years older.  With my ex-mother-in-law, the one that I kept and who stayed with us a summer or two ago.  With my sister-in-law, Sue, whom I adore.  I will see nieces, old friends, and people I have loved since forever.

Fiona ... she is the friend of myth and legend.   Surely the best kind of friend you could dream of finding in a lifetime, friends since we were 13 ... she and her kiwi  bloke have found us a car. 

I can't wait to see all that has changed and revisit those things that have remained the same ... but I will, as there's 23 hours in the air before I get to see them all.

Peter and Christine ... how do I write of what good people they are ... they're waiting to meet us in Auckland and wanted to drive us through the North Island to their home in Wellington.

My cup overflows.

Can you tell?

These days are extreme.  Just a few more then I fly to the country pictured below.  David Wall took this photograph.  I love his work, so much and this ... it's New Zealand.  I'm looking forward to going home.  It's been far too long.


Going Home ... and Missy Higgins.

I found the music of Missy Higgins today, just after finding an old favourite of mine ... Paul Kelly's song, Midnight Rain, via youtube.  I've been searching for it online for years.

He sang with Missy and, curious, I went wandering through her world and found Everyone's Waiting ...see the clip below.

And I watched it and remembered swimming in New Zealand's oceans.  I remembered how good it felt to walk my dogs on the beaches.  I remembered startling one of my favourite dogs out on Long Beach, in Dunedin, when I ran into the surf with her ... fully clothed, one day when I just needed to swim.

Then I hit replay and listened while I wrote to a friend.  Not seeing the flim clip, I heard the familar roar of the surf, the crackle and slosh of the sea ... and something clicked, in my soul perhaps.

And I cracked open a spare moleskin notebook I had here. 

I wrote New Zealand there on its front page, and started a list.

- find a copy of the movie 'In My Father's Den'.

- swim in the sea

- stand and walk in the surf, (photograph that to bring back to Europe when I leave).

And finally, so long after booking the tickets, I let my mind sift through the possibilities ... sunrises with coffee, outside, someplace beautiful.

Seeing my nieces, the Georgia and Katie creatures, who were 8 years younger when I left and now, well ... they're both teenagers. 

And my much-loved favourite sister, Sandra, and my dad ... and one of my brothers, Steve, will be over from Australia.

There might be sunsets and wine, and long conversations ... with friends, like Dave and Jude, Christine and Peter, Fiona and Barry and others ...  but I talk of them here.

Anyway, I'll be letting this song of Missy's take me home in the meanwhile ... and maybe I'll play up loud as we wander New Zealand ... letting Home sink back into my bones and fill me again.