Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Special place between Kahoe and Kaitaia, October 2010

Those of you who have been following this blog will remember the 2 weeks we spent at Tania’s place. Well, while we were there, Tania suggested that we visit a good friend of hers named Maureen, when we were in the area. Once again, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Tania for some extremely good advice. Maureen has a charming bespoke home, set into the hills around the northern tip of Northland. Kohumaru Road is between Kahoe and Manganui, exactly 11.58kms from Highway number 10. The road itself is unsealed and put paid to another inner tube on Mel’s bike, but to be fair, it was well worth the hassle of fixing a puncture as our time there was nothing short of exquisite. We spent too short a time there and we were both sorry to leave after a few days WWOOOFing and enjoying fine wine and great company.

Kohumaru Road gently winds its way up into the hills, flanked by a combination of native trees and shrubs, as well as those which have migrated from other countries and which seem to do very well in this winterless environment. An example of this is the great swathes of Scottish Gorse bushes which are a real pest to local land owners. On our way up to the Maureen's, Mel spotted a Kingfisher, of which there are many and there were glimpses of another import, the pheasant, whose familiar call can be heard all over the countryside. As we neared the homestead, we were greeted by a couple of rather angry Jack Russells, keen to ward us off their land, they chased out from behind a live bamboo hedge, another common sight we have come to appreciate along the way. Finally, as the road disappeared around a sharp corner, we arrived at Maureen’s, welcomed by the lady herself and two dogs, Corkie and Smudge. We were shown to our mezzanine bedroom, strategically built to get a full quota of heat from the wood burning stove below. The views from the windows are of endless mountains, evergreen, stretching away and looking for all the world like crushed velvet.

The usual WWOOFing jobs such as weeding, landscaping and washing-up were no hardship, given the rewards were so much greater. We enjoyed endless tea, coffee; home baked biscuits, ginger bread with butter, fine cheeses, gourmet food and as previously stated, the odd glass or two of red wine.

Also, special mention should go to Jake the cat. Mel shares an incredible bond with all felines, just like her mother, Johanna. Mel says that even the most grumpy cat is enchanting and on most occasions, she has them purring in her arms before too long. Jake is a black and white coated moggy, with a cute little white moustache. His relationship with the dogs is contrasting; he is very vocal with Corkie and wary of Smudge as he always seems to be after her food. Mel spent a lot of time cuddling Jake. We are both agreed that when we have a house again one day, cats will coexist again with us.

During our time there, we were able to meet Tina and Gail, both of whom live close enough to be reassuring in there presence, though far enough away not to be invasive. Gail was very hospitable, and in exchange for a day’s labour, we were treated to a lovely dinner at her place, which is surrounded by 62 acres of native bush. Gail and Maurine were both great company and the day we left, Gail insisted that we go and stay with her daughter in Rawene, where we should be in a few days.

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