Friday, May 26, 2017

'Big wheels keep on turning'---a year from the bedlam!

It's hard to believe, but this old dude has now been a year in Thames. Yes, just on a year ago, I left the 'big smoke,' I left the big wheel,' that is Auckland and found a new place, one steeped in history and immersed in beauty.
I look back at my 55 years in Auckland with mixed feelings. Of course, I have many happy memories of that city, that grew from 460,000 people when we first arrived in 1960, to a huge city (from the NZ perspective) of about 1.5 million people. The changed in other ways. It became a  very diverse city, rich in the many cultures, but one that is in danger of choking in its own growth. NZers love affair with cars is perhaps the reason and building more highways is just not going to alleviate that issue anytime soon.
I left behind many friends in the city across the water. I know they are still there and with the social media connections that did not exist way back, it feels like they are right next door. So, I did not have to say goodbye, more like, pop in, either online or in person. Hey---it can be a faster journey to Thames from the southern reaches of the city than it is in rush 'hour' (more like hours!) for people in the far-flung suburbs to reach Central Auckland.
I do not work full-time now. I reached that magic age, whereby one gets back a little from the State in the form of Superannuation. Yes, it is hard to live on and expect to be able to spend on ones every 'wants,' but with a little bit of work---one day a week,' I feel like I have about the same spending power I had whilst paying a mortgage in Auckland. I never realised until I released that debt, just how much of a hold it had on me, limiting me in so many ways. I believe that many Aucklanders are in a delicate financial position, re the mortgages and rents they pay, that go way above a comfortable level, causing them to live from payday to payday. I wonder how many have loaded debt onto their mortgages and credit cards in the belief that 'things will improve.'
I walk a great deal in this beautiful area, backed by hauntingly lovely hills, streams and kissed by the Firth of Thames. Stones of a myriad of colours festoon the beaches, with glimpses of Kauri Gum, carried down the rain filled streams after a storm, to be discovered on my walks. Along with the driftwood, I have plans for these gifts of nature. Watch this space!
I fill my non-working days with walking, writing, voluntary work, reading, preserving the produce from my garden, looking after the chooks and and have absolutrly no guilt in losing myself in 'condersations;' that come out of meeting peolle in  the streets and cafes of Thames, to the pont that I often forget where I have parked my car!
Perdy, my special Jack Russell has made her own 'splash,' becoming well-known as a hero dog who saves people and maki g friends with anyone who stoops to pat her. yes, she escapes from time to time, giving me heart flutters (Not joking here!) but contributing to my life and helping me to make friends, just as she did in Auckland.
When I look back o this year that has passed so quickly, I wonder where the time went. I know I can't be called a 'local.' and will always be a JAR (Just another refugee!) but I am well content with the decision to live here---on the Coast,' in the place that dreamed of---for a few years, before I actually listened to those creams.
I have not forgotten Auckland and I shall visit in my little blue Hyundai for as long as the drive does not consume me with too much dread. You can help me keep the links, by dropping in, to sample the good stuff from my garden and the kitchen, perhaps taking away a polished stone from the Coast, representing my new life and maybe---the promise of a 'new direction,' for you.

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