'The time has come,' this blogger said,
'To think of journeyings:
Of shoes — and clothes — and luggage-bags —
Of cameras — and things —
And how the sea is to be crossed —
And whether planes have wings.'
(With many apologies to Lewis Carroll)
Like the Royal Standard this coaster, a gift from Friend Who Knows Too Much when I first came to The Cottage, comes out as soon as I arrive and is put away when I leave. Today I put it away in my luggage and not in The Cupboard.
Tomorrow I set sail (metaphorically) for Scotland and my 'other' home and my 'other' life. The sad news is that I shall be leaving The Family and The Cottage and my New Zealand life for the last time as a place that I call home. My Godwit days are over.
Unfortunately the blood counts of the cells that are my cancer indicator have trebled in each of the last three three-monthly blood tests. A doubling in six months is apparently regarded as a Bad Thing. The oncologist will want to keep an eye on me so that he can decide which is the optimum time to re-start the treatment. It can't cure but can delay but is only efficacious for a limited period so timing is all important.
I shall miss:
The Family: Wendy and Martin and Jamie, David, Fraser and Catriona. They will always be my Family now but, like so many blood families, we will be apart and next time I come it will be for a visit and not to live. I have been fortunate to see Catriona (who was 4 when I made the promise to her to return for her 5th birthday) grow into a young lady and attend all her school prize-givings.
My New Zealand friends who have grown in number over the years. Many have been as a result of croquet my love of which came from a chance bout of curiosity when I poked my nose over a hedge at the Marewa Croquet Club and Jayne called me in, put a mallet in my hand, told me to hit a ball and hours later was praying that I would go home. Many of those friendships will endure the separation and some will just fade into the graveyard of time. This is Colleen and Jayne (whose face is hidden by her brolly) playing a serious game of croquet in the rain.
The Cottage. It has been a haven and a heaven.
Constant summers. I haven't seen a winter since 2005/6 in Scotland. I really do not like the cold. So next October when I would be planning my usual journey to the warmth of New Zealand I shall be putting on my winter woollies and cranking up the central heating.
The Handbag. I bought the Mazda MX5 in 2006 for 6 months of open topped fun in the sun. Eight years and many thousands of kilometres later it has today been handed over to a dealer to sell for me.
Croquet. From that day in 2006 when I first held a croquet mallet until today I have had the most wonderful and rewarding time. I've had moments at tournaments when I could have seen the game far enough but they have been rare and ceased after a 'good talking to' one day by one of the Croquet Ladies. They are a bunch of friends with whom I have travelled all over the country to compete. I shall miss the camaraderie and the fun. I shall miss the trips to to the Veterans Tournament at Dannevirke and the week of AC at the Palmerston North Clubs each year.
The hills of Hawkes Bay. There is something about the shape and light of these hills that will for ever be etched on my soul (for want of a better saying).
Of course nothing in life can be allowed to be completely negative and playing the Glad Game:
I shall see more of my blood family and my friends in the UK and the mainland of Europe (including Braigha):
And Gaz is getting married and building a house on the Island:
I shall see daffodils again.
A friend and I hope to spend more time going to the theatre and concerts in Glasgow.
There will hopefully be opportunities to see snow. I never thought I would miss it but I do. I long to replicate some of the fabulous photos I have taken many years ago of places like the Lake District and Scotland in the sun and the snow. It's an idyllic view which has little in common with the reality of trying to get around and the problems that snow creates.
Living in six-monthly periods in two countries has given me a wonderful life with opportunities that few could dream about. They have been amongst the happiest of my life. However there is a certain strain in living this way and in particular the last month in each country seems to be geared around the next departure. Okay I appreciate that it's a strain many would be happy to have to achieve the life-style but doing without it will be good.
I started writing this weeks ago in the hope that it would be honed and complete by today. In reality when I rose just after 6am this morning there was just a few notes and the rhyme. So I will doubtless think of many things that I could have said and added to what will hopefully not be the very last post on this blog but perhaps would have been a more fitting tribute to its demise. I hope that I shall eventually do a post to summarise my life in a country I was very happy to call my home.
In the meantime I hope that those of you who have become such a part of my life over the last years will continue to join me at Eagleton Notes.