I used google translate in the hope that it would find the correct Māori words for
"there is magic in this place"
(although I will confess that when I pasted the answer back in, and asked her to detect the language,
Granny Google came up with 🌸 Hawaiian)
there IS magic in this place
...the place being the wonderful garden in the lovely Lud Valley that Judy and Michael Keylock have been opening (along with their hearts) for over seven years now, to let me play with leaves and words, paper and cloth while Chloe cooks up the most delicious food.
we eat the food that has been grown in the garden while making colour from leaves that drift underfoot.
there is a particularly special plant, Griselinia littoralis, that doesn't get a mention in any of the traditional New Zealand dye books...but contains a rather fabulous colour (first discovered thanks to my friend Rachelle, who bundled leaves from it during a class I taught in the Whitireia Summer School at Kapiti in 2009). cooked in water it turns the colour of tea...but bundled it delivers the sweetest pink.
only two species occur in Aotearoa, with a further five in South America.
sometimes they are epiphytes and live on a friend. rumour has it they arrived with the Māori (apparently a decoction of the bark could be of use against venereal disease. hmm.)
at the end of each day I went to my favourite place (in the whirled) for a swim. there's something about diving into cold water and bursting up into air again that makes me feel like a new woman.
and that experience is not only fabulous, but free!
wandering in the Suter Gallery on my way to the airport, I encountered a painting of Huria Matenga who looks astonishingly like my maternal grandmother
even flying in and out is a wonderful experience, as the land and the sea unfold below
though it's so very hard to leave.
which is why there four of us made sure to find a time that suited us all for a return, which looks like being in the third week of April next year (when we can once again have an open fire)