Gypsy Jottings #6
“I began to realise how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed. Embrace it with both arms. Hug it. Love it. And, above all, become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good.” (Roald Dahl)
I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DID this summer just past (before the rains began). But Robyn and I grabbed a couple of weeks with friends, and enjoyed a leisurely motorhome meander through Hawkes Bay and the Wairarapa.
- We sunned ourselves (when the wind wasn’t blowing) down the southeast coast of the North Island – at choice spots (like Te Awanga, Kairakau, Porangahau, Castle Point and Cape Palliser).
- We did some serious bird-spotting at Cape Kidnappers and Mt Bruce.
- We spent a reflective moment in the tiny town of Tinui (site of the world’s first Anzac Day Service in 1916).
- We took photos of the metres-long road-sign and tried in vain to pronounce the world’s second longest place-name: ‘Taumatawhakatangihanga …’ etc etc etc – loosely translated as “the place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as ‘landeater’, played his flute to his loved one.” (Phew!)
- We drank coffee, walked streets, sampled history and soaked up ambience in one small town after another (like Waipawa, Waipukurau, Dannevirke, Eketahuna, Masterton, Carterton, Greytown, Featherston, Martinborough).
- I devoured a novel about the 100 Years War (1300s and 1400s), savagely fought between the English and French.
- We took in two heart-warming movies (grab the DVD if you haven’t seen them already): ‘Collateral Beauty’ – which reviewers hated but we all loved, featuring Will Smith, Keira Knightley, Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren … and ‘Lion’ – the scary, wonderful, tearful, hopeful, real-world story of a little lost boy, Saroo.
- And, in one historic main street, we gazed in astonishment at a giant eucalyptus tree …
YES, I’VE SEEN TREES THAT WERE older and bigger. But it was this tree’s STORY that caught my attention. You see, back in 1856, Wairarapa settler, Samuel Oates, spent three exhausting days lugging a wheelbarrow full of goods and gum-tree seedlings all the way from Wellington. On the way, pushing that old wheelbarrow, he walked up and over a mountainous dirt track through the treacherous Rimutakas. And one of those seedlings survived.
Today that gum-tree still stands, mighty and massive, in front of St Luke’s Anglican Church, Greytown. An amazing sight, for sure … and an equally amazing story!
We read similar stories beneath faded photos on walls and in museums throughout this vast east-of-Wellington region. And I was forced to concede that the early immigrants, the men and women who turned this untamed wilderness into what it eventually became, were tough and committed and courageous. They weren’t scared of hard work. And the principle they operated on seemed to be: Nothing worth doing is ever achieved without effort and sacrifice!
Worth remembering, eh?
JOHN & ROBYN
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