A place I love by Wyn Hoadley
Wyn Hoadley has, over the years, been writing memoir vignettes for her daughter, son and granddaughter in answer to questions about her life. She joined Deborah’s class because she wanted a memoir writing group that would support her resolve to bring these pieces, and others not yet written, together into one or two coherent manuscripts.
I walk up the wooden stairs, happily, no need to consciously relax, it just happens; even the drive over from Auckland is no effort. My friends think it’s an unusual choice: a bach above a shop in the middle of the main street of a small town. Not so small actually. It boasts the longest main street in New Zealand and a surprisingly good golf course. There’s plenty to do but we prefer to just be there, to read, ride our bikes, watch TV or videos, and drink some wine which we buy at the liquor store across the road. In the early evenings familiar smells of frying hoki from a nearby takeaway, and the aroma of crushed cardamom from the Indian restaurant downstairs, waft up temptingly. It’s a place where we can relax; both of us very protective of this luxury. An old faded couch and patterned curtains, items relocated from our Auckland home, to be reused or rediscovered, add contentment, cosiness, and comfort. And the high scrim-covered walls are perfect for our paintings and artwork.
On Saturday mornings there’s the street market in Grahamstown and we look around for bargains. A pottery bowl, an out-of-print book, a plastic toy once loved by a baby long ago. Steve buys his favourite Anzac biscuits and we have a latte with bagels and jam. Later we’ll walk to the bird hide. We see rich colonies of migrant waders and shore birds on mudflats camouflaged by mangroves - stilts, oyster catchers, godwits, gulls and terns, waders called knots, and others whose names I don’t yet know. We watch from the bird hide built by local Forest and Bird members with a Rainbow Warrior grant from the French Government. The little narrow-gauge railway line which runs along the coastline is charming. We walk to the tiny station and take a ten-minute ride on one of the miniature trains. It costs only a dollar. For our grandchildren it’s a delight. They shriek with joy, happy flushed faces, eyes sparkling. We spend our summer holidays in the place I love, when the weather is warm and the bush is dry, when the water is clear and the pohutukawa trees have bloomed. All too soon, down the wooden stairs, slowly, it’s time to leave …
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