Thursday, 9 March 2017

reira he makutu i roto i tenei wahi

I cheated.
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)

forgive me. 

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 the 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)


  1. How gorgeous - every bit of it - each photo depicting a kind of nourishment ... with those landscapes something akin to Tomales/Bodega X50 ;>)

  2. this brings a glow to my heart as I feel the same way about New Zealand now. one question as I make some moves toward my almost forgotten dye that tin foil wrapped around the bundles of pink...? And if it is...what effect does that have on the color. forgive me as I've forgotten if I ever knew.

    1. It was just a means of protecting bundles of paper...which can so easily become porridge if mistreated. Aluminium foil can also brighten yellows, but only when it has become distressed after multiple uses.

  3. 'Twas a wonderful few days at the Lud wasn't it? Sadly the end of next April will be taken up in the Northern Hemisphere, so I doubt I will join you there . . . another time though, as New Zealand is certainly a place to return to again and again. x Thank you India for being the nudge I needed to get there!!