A year of meeting new people and revisiting good friends and family on a short 6 week trip to the UK and Europe. The work of getting Horopito finished, fully functioning and comfortable was all completed before I left for the UK in July 2009. In May on a trip to Horopito with a group of wwoofers and friends we arrived as usual just before midnight, but overnight they was a huge early season dump of soft wet fluffy snow – so we woke to silence – no rumbling of Auckland bound trucks and looked out for the first time for me of a totally monochrome Horopito – a still windless landscape enveloped in snow about 25cm deep, so still every fence strand and tree branch was draped in white.
Just before I headed off to the UK we joined friends at a remote beach settlement Tora for a mid-winter weekend celebration, a wonderful escape into rural coastal bliss with great company.
It was good to see my mother in Exeter again after two years - she and my stepfather John both in good health and happy in their eighties. I organised several trips away from Exeter the first a week up to Chester and back through Birmingham and Hereford to visit John and his mother, then to Chester to see Rob – we did several short tramping trips in Wales around Langollen and to Worlds End and saw my first digitally projected film (Harry Potter). Then through pretty Hereford villages to see Adam, and hear him play “Koromiko” a short piece of harp music composed staying with us in Wellington, and finally to catch up with Fragz and Steve – sleeping in Fragz’s stock room amongst the old foggy style gents clothing he sells over the internet.
Back to Exeter for a few days then off via a party in London to Berlin to visit Andrew who was a wwoofer with us a few years ago – the hot continental summer weather of Berlin was a great. He and his partner had just moved into a new but old 1920’s apartment with an agreement with the landlord to redecorate... we spent most of the week boiling water and splashing it over the walls to loosen the grip of the colourful layers of old wallpaper that we then tediously scraped off. We did escape to climb up to the old American spy base tower coated in wonderful graffiti, and swim in the nearby lakes.
To Exeter again then to Edinburgh to catch a week of the Fringe and stay with James in his amazing and elegant flat overlooking the large open space below Edinburgh Castle – The Meadows. The on an overnight bus to London then Exeter before heading off again to south west Wales to be part the annual Queer Pagan Summer Camp in a field near Camarthen and to meet Paul who I had met years before in of those large multinational flats he managed in central Barcelona. Then back to NZ (with an unscheduled detour to Sydney) with two heavy bags full of new 2CV car parts (the 2CV had blown a cylinder and was out of commission temporarily).
In early September our house celebrated its 40th birthday party, with the architect Roger Walker joining in our celebrations, Then in October we all three of us when to Australia for the annual paragliding competition at Canungra, Queensland. Andy and I left early in order to get to the Glitter Ball party on 31 Oct – an amazing annual queer pagan party organised by a group of radical faeries living on a communal property – Faerieland in northern NSW near Nimbin. We had met Sparkle in NZ at Autumn Farm, and he invited us to come stay on the commune before and after the party. We met some amazing people including Sam and Leon who were also visiting from Sydney for the party. They invited us to travel back with them back to Sydney and we ended up spending an amazing week with Sam. Even in early November we had hot summer weather with Sam and his friends taking us to hang out on beaches, in cafes and to see the annual outdoor beach sculpture exhibition – all in stark contrast to Wellington at that time of year.
In early December Andy and I joined a caving expedition out of Nelson to Mt Arthur – to an area about the Nettlebed Cave system that drains a large chunk of the Mt Arthur tops. Oz Patterson an old caving friend of mine organised the trip... we helicoptered in with Sid Deekers who’s been flying cavers into the mountains for at least two decades... he dropped us of at the Villia Maria campsite just above the bushline with all our food, caving and camping gear... but we had waited nearly two days to have the cloud clear enough for him to get in to land...
Had a busy summer with friends and homestay guests... also managed to replace the toilet in the upstairs bathroom, and with help from wwoofers continue the basement construction.
In December Andy and I got to finally see Avatar – two years after we extras – I’m clearly seem in the first 10min of the film running down the spaceship ramp but more clearly in the scenes of the Colonel lecturing the new arrivals to the planet , his war on the Na’vi – we are also both in the canteen scene also near the beginning of the film. I saw is four times – in 2D, 3D (twice) and IMAX.
Kris celebrated his 50th birthday (actually on 1st January) in late February with a big family and friends weekend gathering at Tora – a very remote beachside location on the eastern side of the lower North Island – a tsunami caused by a big earthquake in Chile arrived while we watched from the veranda on the Sunday morning – nothing very dramatic but a morning of sealevel rising and falling like the high and low tides but changing every 10-15 mins.
Tama was back in NZ recently, great seeing him day to day and meeting his new partner Aimee. He’s off cycling in Mongolia with his friend Tom, from Moron to Moron.
We made our second pilgrimage to WOMAD again in March this year... introducing our friend Sam from Sydney – and all thoroughly enjoying the setting, weather and two days of great music.
We have a new letterbox design thanks to one of our woofers Max, a German artist and musicman and a brand new set of access steps up the side of the house thanks to two French wwoofers Benjamin and Mathieu. We also have a new family member ‘Summer’ a male ginger cat who’s 3 yrs old who we are looking after while Kris’s son Theo is in the UK with his two mums.