I have whanau out in the English Countryside, and since I often feel like I'm a million miles from home, having family to visit is an absolute treat. So last weekend I went out to Somerset for a few days. And it was brilliant. It was a weekend of watching storms roll in, or eating my weight (and more!) in home cooked meals. It was a weekend of hanging out with the dogs, and having small plastic objects placed at feet in the hopes that I'd throw it, or big eyes under tables, with chins on knees and paws on feet with the hope that perhaps I might feed my carrot to the little mouths waiting for such treats.
It was an introduction to gardening. Of digging out ground elder and wearing gumboots and getting my knees dirty. It was about willing that the feijoa tree will live, and planting strawberries. It was about feeding the chickens, and spotting a slow worm, and watching the deer that lives in the field down the bottom of the garden. It was about getting stung by stinging nettles, and (frantically) learning what doc leaf looks like. About wondering where the swallows are nesting the barn, and listening to sparrows feed their young in the nest above the kitchen window.
(Slow worm on the spade. Deer is that tiny brown blob in the top left quadrant).
It was a weekend of driving through narrow green lanes to fetch cooking oil, about driving fast in Betty, about building doors and holding bits of wood in place. It was about hanging out in the shed, with tools littered around your feet, with a blazing fire smoking out the room and a chemical reaction changing oil into diesel.
It was a weekend of sleeping in, and visiting the local pub (where there is no bar) and sitting outside to eat lunch. It was about pouring over navigational sea maps to see where past ships had sailed, and hearing about how a very established couple once met when they were younger. It was about watching Louis XIV + Palace of Versailles documentaries, and sleeping on the couch with heavy pups. It was about afternoon gin + tonics, and chocolate cheesecake and fruit crumble. And apple cake.
It was a good weekend. A brilliant weekend. I'm going to go back, I think.