Sunday, 22 April 2018

At The Back of the House

I have decided to keep blogging here, along with a permanent link to my website ...

The back of this house reminds me of someone no longer with us. He lived for his garden and kept the back of the house looking as good as the front. Here there were secret shadows and leafy corners with tiny violet-type flowers; small orchids and rock plants hidden under sheltering fern leaves, or tucked under mossy humus (for those who took time to look for them). Those plants are not there any more, possibly because there is no-one to notice any more. No-one to point them out. I miss the tiny, startling-blue eyes of these flowers. And the gardener who planted them there to be noticed, or not.

This place that I love is a place that everyone all over the world, loves. Because it is a place that everyone all over the world loves, it has become crowded and commercialised. Capitalism reigns here in Queenstown, New Zealand.

However, if you are lucky enough to have somewhere that is home in this tourist resort; somewhere where you do not have to enter into the madness of tacky tourist gee-gaws; it is still possible to simply lift your eyes to the mountains, or to breathe in the cool, fresh-air fumes of a lake that sits in the lap of those mountains; a lake so deep and snow-fed, the sun will never warm.

And in autumn, the views are extra specially vibrant ...

When we visited last, tui were loudly announcing their presence in this tree and others. Too quick for a phone camera, I didn't even try to capture them. I was just happy to hear their melodic song, striking as deep as sun on to moss.

Queenstown is a ski resort, so eyes and noses are turned skywards for the snow ...

Meanwhile ... at the back of the house ...

roses still bloom

and quiet flowers wait to be noticed.


Avus said...

Welcome back to Blogland, Kay. Your "resurrection" has led me to also resurrect my own blog after over a year's sabbatical.

Thanks for that.

Roderick Robinson said...

Alas, during our only visit to Queenstown (in fact we stayed in Arrowtown) the gee-gaws predominated. I can only remember walking hurriedly back to where we'd parked the car, wanting to lie prone at the homestay and work on my diary. A sad confession.

But then ski resorts out of season (ie, without snow) can be hideous. Touring France we drove up into the Pyrenees and came upon an entirely deserted ski resort - small and forlorn. It seemed to have been located in a gravel quarry. On this occasion industrial squalor predominated.

The Queenstown disappointment was of course not typical, there was beauty round every corner in NZ. Eventually if you keep a travel diary your descriptive powers are tested to the limit. On our second of three visits I established Port Underwood as the gauge against which all other wonderful spots would be measured. That was about 15 years ago and I realise, with some sorrow, that I am now too old to drive a car on the dirt road north from PU to Picton. But then perhaps it now has a tarmac surface.

All these blog resurrections! Where is Stanley Spencer when you need him?

Kay Cooke said...

Avus: This is good news indeed!

Kay Cooke said...

Roderick: I've yet to see Port Underwood. Robert and I plan to explore more of our country once he's retired. At present with a son overseas we spend any money we can scratch together on travelling to Europe to catch up with grandchildren. But we're not complaining. There is a lot of NZ we haven't seen yet (especially in the North Island). Upon your recommendation, Port Underwood will go on to our list.

Roderick Robinson said...

Hope you make it to PU. Of course this was nearly 20 years ago and things may be different. As hardened New Zealanders you won't be put off by the sign at the Picton end:

Narrow winding gravel road 25 km.
Travel time 1¼ hr to Blenheim
Caravans not recommended
Heavy vehicles not recommended

! Logging trucks next 17 km

Nor by these extracts from my diary: coastal road hard to spot on atlas... up (with petrol gauge showing zero) and down (gauge now quarter full)... heartstopping vistas of adjacent Sound if driver dare snatch a glimpse... tiny villages where road is tarmac-ed for a few hundred yards... grim collection of white crosses with what looked like children's names... wondered whether I should reverse down Rausches' driveway so I could come out on to gravel road forwards; good job I didn't, driveway is probably half a mile.

Clocking Out

 I have been neglecting this blog for some months. I think perhaps I should face facts and accept that it is indeed time to retire this blog...