When we moved to New Zealand I longed for the people and places of my early childhood; the walks along the River Tamar with catkins and pussy willow, the fields with red poppies, the Cornish coves, the beach at Looe with red valerian hanging from the craggy walls along the way, tall banks of primroses as high as a young eye could see, running with friends through the stinging nettles and seeking the curative dock leaves, striding through fields of long grasses hiding grass snakes, watching out for vipers on the village green, being loved by aunties and uncles who spoiled me with sweets and trips to every Father Christmas in town, and grandpa, who knew the best cure for a wasp sting was to read Alice in Wonderland. He gave me the book to read, passed down now through four generations. These were all the people and places I thought would always be there.
New Zealand was at the far end of the world, surrounded by ocean. I felt orphaned, alone, even though I had parents and brothers and sisters.
Then, after many years, I grew accustomed to Wellington and its bays, journeys around the coastline at the foot of steep hills, running up the Church St steps, along The Terrace, climbing hundreds of steps to houses perched on the hillsides to share music with friends.
And then another move, this time to Auckland, always feeling joy on the return to Wellington as the plane plunged to land between the hills, over the sea and rocks approaching the runway. And now a garden where family and friends meet, a bay tree hedge and olive trees to sling the hammock in summer, a haven created, anywhere in the world, where family and friends come together.