1 EAGLETON NOTES: Normality

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Saturday, 6 February 2016

Normality

I had rather intended this stay in New Zealand to be a combination of catching up with The Family and my friends both here in Hawkes Bay and elsewhere in the country; a safari with Pauline via seeing Gareth in Auckland (he flew the same route as I did and arrived yesterday); some croquet with a tournament in Tauranga; and then do all sorts of things that I haven't done as a tourist because I was only a tourist for a relatively short while back in 2005. Living in a place and being a tourist are entirely different things. One may experience more as a tourist in terms of quantity but for quality of experience nothing beats living in a place.

However with the alterations in the arrangements next week because Pauline had to go to Australia I have suddenly just picked up where I left off nearly two years ago. I cannot believe that I've been away that long. Sitting chatting to people today at croquet it was as if I'd just been away for my usual six months. There were however lots of new people and it was a bit odd not knowing everyone and not being known by many.

Playing croquet after two years absence from the game was strange. Almost everything was second nature but in reality my games today consisted of general mediocrity interspersed with flashes of sheer incompetence. However after having run a hoop from about 20 yards to win a game one stranger did tell me that I showed promise for a newcomer.  Hmmm.

Arriving in New Zealand now is the most slick operation I've ever encountered at an airport. I was off the plane and out of the terminal in somewhere around 15 minutes: everything is automated. The downside? No cheery border control officer to wish you an enjoyable stay. Then what is for me always one of the most emotional of moments: leaving the International Terminal and stepping into the heat of a sunny day (in 11 years I have never arrived on a wet day) and walking to the Domestic Terminal. Why I didn't take a photo of the tree-lined beautiful parts of that walk to show you I have no idea. 

Then the flight to Napier which is the same flying time as my first flight of the journey from Stornoway to Glasgow:



28 comments:

  1. Ah, those emotional moments at or shortly after arriving where we love to be! For me, it is boarding the Transpennine Express from Manchester Airport to Leeds. Then, and only then, does my Yorkshire holiday truly begin for me each year.

    As for being a tourist v living in a place, I have deliberately done (and still do) many touristy things in and around Ludwigsburg. Not only when we have visitors to show round, but also because I am really interested and make an effort in taking time out of my everyday life to do such things, visit the sights and so on. But I know how easily it can happen when you live somewhere all the time and you think you can go there anytime you want - and end up never going.

    The "newcomer" comment about your croquet playing made me smile :-)

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    1. Meike I still do tourist things up to a point but it took me years before I went to see the gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers. One thing about New Zealand is the huge distannces one needs to cover to get from place to place. For me Napier is the centre of New Zealand but there are very many New Zealanders (probably the great majority) who regard it as an isolated out-of-the-way place which they are never likely to see. Unlike, for example, Taupo or Rotorua is not a place you travel through to get anywhere.

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  2. Those aerial photos are wonderful! As I know that you know those views so well from before, I can well imagine them stirring the emotions of homecoming :) I agree living (belonging) in a place and being a tourist are different things. Although like Meike, I quite often play tourist in my own town as well; especially in summer.

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    1. Monica I think I see more of the Island from a tourist aspect because I show so many visitor around.

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  3. Lovely to see the green rolling hills in your aerial photos. How long are you planning to stay in NZ? It must be so nice catching up with family and long time friends after an extended time away.

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    1. Lynda I shall be here until mid April. It is good catching up but, oddly, it's as if I've hardly been away at all. Modern communication plays a large part in making the world smaller.

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    2. Lynda it's been pointed out that I got my month wrong. I'm here until the middle of March not April. It was obviously wishful thinking!

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  4. I was, like Monica, thinking of you with homecoming feelings gazing at aerial views. I'm pleased New Zealand says home for you.

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    1. Kate there will always be a large part of my heart here.

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  5. Welcome home, Graham. As you know, I would have much preferred not to have this trip to Oz. A safari lost is no little thing! Enjoy the croquet!

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    1. Thank you Pauline. I'm sad that we won't have time together this year, even sadder that I won't see the dam. But saddest of all is the reason and my thoughts have been and are with you.

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  6. Love your description of the croquet game. And I must say, New Zealand looks just as beautiful as I'd always imagined it must be. Have a wonderful time and enjoy the sunshine. xoxo DeeDee

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    1. DeeDee those photos don't even begin to show how beautiful this country is. I hope that by the end of the next 6 weeks you will have an even better idea.

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  7. It's always great to hear your description of New Zealand.

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  8. Love your photos from the plane. I love New Zealand, although I have never seen it.

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    1. Knowing the things that you love, Kay, I know you would love New Zealand.

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  9. To fly above the earth, looking down upon our world below. It was something our ancestors could only dream about. To be up there where the birds fly. To me it is still magical.

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    1. YP you have expressed the situation perfectly: it is magical.

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  10. I love flying, but can't stand long flights. We play Croquet here every summer, but I'm afraid that rather a lot of cheating happens.

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    1. You play croquet Cro? I must pay a visit to your commune although I'd probably be better not declaring that I am a referee as well as a player.

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    2. Of course he plays croquet - that's what Cro is short for.

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  11. You're out playing croquet already...very good.
    By the time you really get settled back in to the game that stranger will be put to shame...imagine commenting about you showing promise for a newcomer...show him GB!!!

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    1. Virginia I'm back in harness and feel like I've never left the lawns - well mentally although I still have a bit of a way to got to play to my low handicaps.

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  12. So glad you're enjoying your stay, Graham. Think of us over here, with storm Imogen imminent, and storm Henry just departed....

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    1. Frances I feel for you I really do but I can't pretend that I'd rather have the warmth here.

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  13. I love that last photo, Graham. It is true...living for a time in a place; getting to know people and for them to know you enables one to learn so much more about the place and the inhabitants than being a tourist standing on the outside looking in does.

    I've never been a traveller as such...and always used to say if I was going to travel I wanted to be able to do it over a long tim, not just in spurts of a couple or so weeks etc. I'd want to be able to spend a fair amount of time amongst the "natives"...getting to know them and their way of living. I'll never do either now. I'm a stay-put reader of the travels of others...and enjoy reading about their travels. :)

    The Kiwis are some of the most welcoming folk around.

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    1. Many apologies Lee but I've not looked at my Blog for several days: life got in the way. If truth be told I'm not a real traveller either it's just that people I love seem to live a long way away from my home base.

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