Misty misty and the curious case of the missing shoe

On Friday Bundy and i headed north to his and Dizz’s place in Kohukohu up in the Hokianga and my word it was an adventure. A very scenic drive was topped off with the arrival at their cottage.

As it was getting dark i couldn’t quite appreciate just how pretty the village was but i would soon discover that the next morning. James and i made a beeline for the Waterline Cafe for dinner and stopped to pick up his friend Adam on the way.

After some fine English beer and wonderful dinner of monk fish prepared by Johnny and Kate who own Waterline, we settled down for the evening with some of the colourful characters that inhabit the village and i discussed things with Adam as wide ranging as the Thatcher years, literature and new media, whether the Metropolitan Police is institutionally racist and the romance of train journeys. It was a fine evening!

When Johnny and Kate shut the cafe for the night,we opened up the Cragganmore and relaxed even further and us Brits swapped stories of the old country. We then decided to visit the local pub and soon after two sisters, Annette and May joined us for some beer and some rounds of pool.

At 1am the pub finally got round to shutting and we wandered through the village, out onto the jetty and then decided to take up Johnny and Kate’s invitation to go back to theirs for a nightcap. We asked for tea but got a large serving of Cragganmore again; things were going distinctly fuzzy and weird…

…but not as weird as a missing shoe.

When we got to Johnny and Kate’s house, we all politely removed our shoes and left them outside. However ,when it got to 3am and we decided to all leave, May went outside to find only one of her shoes. If you leave a pair of your shoes outside a house, its only right and fair to expect to see them both again when you get outside; but no, May only had one shoe left. We all searched high and low but to no avail. We even questioned whether the dog had taken them, but he didn’t shed any more light on the mystery. Curious indeed…

So, Kate did the decent thing and gave May one of her shoes to borrow so she could walk back to the car. We did point out that Kate would then have an unequal pair of her own, but she said it was OK as she only had one shoe from that pair anyway; clearly the shoe thief had struck before! Seeing as the village only has 150 people, i don’t think it would be too hard to track down the miscreant…

So, James and i escorted the two sisters to their car and then wandered the short distance back to the cottage for some well earned sleep. Sadly, only 5 hours later i was wide awake and when i looked out of the window to see the wonderful view that earns Kohukohu its name of “misty misty”.

Kohukohu; such a beautiful place…but take care with your shoes.


Out west and up north

I have departed from staying with Nige and Suzie and am now back out in West Auckland with my good friends Ian and Sarah. It’s good to see them again as its been 2 years since i last saw them when they were in White Plains in New York.

In addition, i am heading up north to Hokianga with Bundy on Friday for the night. It will be just like our road trips of old…maybe we will have Frank Sinatra, Avril Lavigne and Vanessa Carlton along for the ride like we used to?!!

Adventures in Narnia

The sun has shone for the last few days which has been great because i have been in Narnia.

Well, not literally…but i have been in the Coromandel and i went to the beautiful Cathedral Cove.

If you have seen the film The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, the scene where the Pevensie children return to the ruined Cair Paravel was shot at Cathedral Cove.

The filmmakers chose the location because of the tunnel like arch, which echoed the train tunnel the children go into before being summoned back into Narnia.
Even thought i have been there before ands swum in the beautiful turquoise waters, it still is quite an experience to make the walk through the gigantic stone arch and onto the beach.
As Nigel and i went on a Friday, the area was blessedly quiet with only a few people visiting, so it meant that we were able to spend some really quiet reflective time there, just enjoying the scenery and silence.

We met a lovely Italian couple Edorado and Stephania who were planning to move to New Zealand and it was nice to be able to share thoughts and feelings on moving to another country. It was also good as Nigel, being a recruitment consultant, was able to recommend contacts for them to talk to about work. I think it was just one of the moments when God put some people in your path for you to talk to and encourage.
Nige and i were based in Tairua, which is a pretty little town not far from Cathedral Cove, and Hot Water Beach and the area is a popular holiday destination noted for game fishing, diving, and surfing at the nearby Ocean Beach.
Nigel and i were staying in a hired bach close to the centre of town and it was a 5 minute walk to the beach, which i have to say was stunning and had very good surf indeed.

We spent most of Saturday there just enjoying the fine weather that we had for 2 of the 3 days there. Poeple were out walking their dogs, surfing, flying kites, taking pictures, playing with their kids. It was just one of those days that you don’t forget….

It has to be said though, that Tairua is VERY quiet.

I mean, i know that outside of the big cities most places in NZ pack up for the night about 9pm and Tairua was no exception. Put it this way, one bar was open on Thursday night, 2 on Friday and 3 were open on Saturday! Th only things open were the general store and petrol station. A hive of activity, Tairua is not…

However, it is not without its charm due to the wonderful inlet, harbour, beach and Mt Paku (which was steeper than Nige and i thought!) and the locals were very friendly indeed. We had a great night watching the All Blacks v Australia rugby match on Saturday night and it seemed that the whole town was in there…in reality, they probably were!

In addition, some guys from Suburbs RFC in Auckland were down playing Tairua RFC over the weekend and they certainly know how to create an impression. Lets just say, i know now why i don’t play social rugby!!

So despite the sore arms from 3 hours of kayaking round the harbour, the sore legs from traipsing up Mt Paku (the view was worth it though) and the slightly sore head from Saturday night at Punters Bar with the rugby watching locals, more importantly, it was great to be away, to be in God’s creation and just…well…be.

I had a strong sense over the time of God just wanting me to just be; to not try and figure anything out right now, to not ask to many questions about what will happen over the next few months, but just to enjoy his presence and grace. So, that is what I’m going to do over the next few days….

Arriving in Auckland

So i am here, safe and well in upside down land although still pretty whacked from jet lag. The flights over went pretty quick and it was brilliant to fly the new A380 Airbus. I have to say that i agree with Singapore Airlines being a 5 star airline -the service was brilliant.

I did have some nice time in transit at Singapore’s Changi Airport and had a wonderful shower and enjoyed the butterfly garden and orchid garden. It made the 25 hours on aircraft almost bearable…almost..but not quite!

I’m enjoying staying with Nigel and Suzie in Onehunga/One Tree Hill which is lovely and it has a nice little community feel to it.

I even managed a 4 mile run yesterday that included running up One Tree Hill which is very steep indeed. The view from the top over the whole of Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf was worth it though and i feel better for having done some exercise.

Tonight I’m off to see my good friend Lyndsay who i used to work with Add Momentum and now lives here I’m sure it will be another quality night out like we used to have in Bristol!! I also get to meet her Kiwi boyfriend so i will have to run the rule over him and make sure he is good enough for Lynds…. 🙂

Nige and i are off to Tairua in the Coromandel tomorrow for a few days of boys time on the Pacific Coast which should be great and then I’m staying with my good friends Ian and Sarah in West Auckland for the week after that..it will be good to hang out in the Westside again and i really did enjoy living there a few years go.

Anyway, I’m alive and well and despite it being cold here, at least the sun is out…so I’m happy!

Stepping out into the unknown

Well, it seems ages since I left Add Momentum, Bristol Vineyard and Horfield and its has been a time of transition ever since.

A few days in Cornwall with good friends, some family time here in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, some trips to London for long overdue catch ups with mates and it brings me to this point…

…of stepping out into the unknown.

After nearly 5 years at Add Momentum, i decided to quit. I have packed up my stuff and tomorrow evening i will step onto a Singapore Airlines A380 bound for New Zealand.

I have 6 months to see what God will do. Either (as i hope and believe) NZ is where He wants me to be and He will enable me to stay long term; or in 6 months time i will be back in the UK, without a job, a home or any money.

I have lots of people who are for me in this and back me 100% of the way and are expectant, like me, about what God will do.

I also have a few dissenting voices; I can see that giving up a job in the middle of the worst post-war recession and moving 12,000 miles to another country without a job in place, may seem absurd and foolish to some, but what’s the point in having faith if you don’t live it out in action?

I may not know what will happen, but i have to put myself into God’s hands and trust that He has my best intentions in mind, wherever that is and whatever that looks like. I have to live in such a way, that God is able to do even more than i could possibly ask or imagine. It is both scary and exciting in equal measure.

“The reality of naked trust is the life of a pilgrim who leaves what is nailed down, obvious, and secure, and walks into the unknown without any rational explanation to justify the decision or guarantee the future. Why? Because God has signalled the movement and offered it his presence and promise.”

Brennan Manning