I feel really strange; a combination of sadness, nostalgia and a sense of gratitude. The bach has gone. After being in my cousin’s family for more than 40 years, it has finally been sold. I may get a chance to see it and stay once more before the actual handover, but that depends on availability. I won’t be the only one wanting to say goodbye.
The bach has been an inspiration for me. The bach is where Coastal yarns began, my first published book. I remember sitting there one cold morning while my sister made breakfast and looked out the window to Kapiti Island. It loomed mysteriously in the distance, beckoning me in a way I cannot describe.
I was aware of some of its history and later found out a connection between the island and my cousin. At the time of that visit, I was working on another book and had stayed at then bach as it was a convenient and cheap place to stay so that I could commute to Wellington to see my editor for another book---a work still in progress. Whilst the breakfast was being prepared, I began writing. I had no title and no real idea. It flowed. I put myself in the position of a man staying at the bach. He owned it with his wife and had been visiting the bach for many years and gradually his wife stopped accompanying him. You can read the rest and the other stories by contacting me direct. (email@example.com)
I only wrote about three pages that morning and later in the day I visited my editor. I mentioned that I had started to write a short story and she asked to see it. She was silent while I sipped form very long white rum, lime and soda, watching the planes land at the Wellington Airport. We were in here sun room high up in the hills near the airport.
She was impressed and encouraged me to continue. A few days later I had completed the first story, ‘Connected,’ and had come up with the idea of a compilation of short stories, based around the NZ Coastline. Thus, ‘Coastal Yarns was born. I will be re-launching it with a few additions and I will publish it myself this time. That’s another story.
It feels like I am avoiding talking more about the bach. There is a sense of pain, knowing that I won’t be able to spend time there again. I understand the circumstances for its sale, but that doesn’t make it easier. I am not sure if my wonderfully generous cousin (she never charged me anything like what she could have charged) will ever read this blog, but if she does, I would want to convey my sincere thanks for the opportunity she gave me--- staying there; sometimes alone and at others with my sister.
The bach was and always will be an inspiration to me. It is part of my psyche. It is my special place. I would not change much if it was mine. It is just so perfect as it is. It represents part of Kiwiana, unchanging and timeless. It is the way we imagine NZ the way it used to be. It makes you forget the busy highway leading into Wellington just over the rise. The magnificent hills to the East, frame the tiny settlement that has long been an escape on the Kapiti Coast for Wellingtonians and increasingly for other parts of NZ.
I hope its residents resist the urge to carve up the sections that many baches occupy--- but the inevitable march of ‘progress’ began years ago. The beach houses that resemble mansions are slowly taking over.
For me, the bach will always be there. Even if they take it away, or mote likely bring it to the ground--- it will still be there in my mind---- forever.