To get from Wellington to the Wairarapa, you drive over a range of hills called the Rimutakas.  It is a steep and windy road carved into the side of the hills.  The road has a reputation for being scary (I rather love the twists and turns).  It is sometimes closed to snow in winter and also to strong winds at other times of the year.  Here is some of that road:

The Rimutakas

Once you are at the top, you wind down the other side to the far land that you see in the horizon:


The young boy and I both breathed one word when we crested the hill and saw the land spread out beneath us:  “Home”.

The Wairarapa

It is astonishing to depart from a land of hills, shadow, wind and rain, and emerge into an environment that is possibly its exact polar opposite.

The WairarapaThe house is still completely dishevelled.  The boxes are almost all opened, but new furniture will need to be acquired to make sense of some of the jumble still on the floor.  I feel slightly overwhelmed.  This is possibly the first time in my adult life that I have a decently-sized house to live in. It is interesting to examine how that makes me feel.

We explored the garden, and to our great glee we found Features of Interest:


The young boy found the coop at the back of the vegetable patch.  The previous occupant had left the last four eggs laid!  I don’t think they are edible now, but the prospect of being able to keep chickens again is tremendously exciting!!

Some tomato plants were left.  They were very wilted and the vegetable bed very weedy.  I watered the tomatoes, and pulled out the weeds, and they are now looking slightly healthier:


We found several plum trees!


To more squeaks of happiness, I discovered the raspberry canes:


They also show signs of damage from the dry, and I will spend some time in there trying to put things right before the winter.

There are even olive trees – the Wairarapa is famous for not only good wine, but also olives and olive oil.


There are feijoa bushes (a New Zealand fruit), a peach tree and a very sorry-looking rhubarb plant.  Hopefully the rhubarb will come back to life when the rains return.  To this I may add apple and avocado trees.

There is an obvious focus on outdoor living in this part of the country…

Outdoor living

There is a large wooden deck that runs along the length of the house – half of it is covered, a necessity in this heat and sun!  There is also a separate barbeque area and an afternoon deck on the other side of the house (just in case one wants to sit in the sun all day long).

My heart is very full.  This is very much the lifestyle to which I aspired when I came back to New Zealand all those years ago.  It has taken me a while to find it.

The walks are yet to happen, but I can see some very happy exploration times for the boy and me.

And what of the knitting, you are asking?

Withywindle socks

The Withywindle socks are coming along.  Very slowly.  By the time I am done with the unpacking and sorting and running around for the day, and it is cool enough to knit, I have been so tired that I have fallen straight into bed without a stitch to show for it.

One sock is complete.  The other was half-done, until I realised I knitted it all wrong and had to rip back to the cuff. When will I learn that I cannot knit when tired?

One sock done.

I am looking forward to organising my workroom/designing space properly (I can have all my yarn, books and designing activities in one place here), and then being able to sit down with a contented sigh, and pick up my needles and knit to my heart’s content.

54 thoughts on “Astonishment

  1. OH wow. Wonderful description. My daughter lives in the Wairarapa so I know the road well. Lovely to read about it through your eyes. All the best in your new home.

  2. I thought you must be going to live in the Wairarapa from your earlier post. I was born in Greytown and lived there until I was 18 months old. Will you commute back to work? But oh, all that bounty from the land awaits you.

  3. So excited for you! Love the socks. I would love to visit New Zealand, but I know it will never happen. I enjoy seeing your beautiful country through your eyes. !

  4. Oh this is fabulous 😀 all those beautiful finds; food for your body & your spirit.

    It’s wonderful that your son is so happy too 🙂

    yaye for 2015 & a new start

    1. Absolutely. I am very glad that my son and I have the same values when it comes to where we like to live. All the best for 2015 to you too!

  5. Just think – the hardest part is behind you. You have your new home and your boy and there’s plenty of time to unpack and get settled. Your photos are gorgeous. I want to come and live with you 🙂 I’ll have to be satisfied with my fleeting visits when on shore in April on my cruise. I can’t wait to see NZ again. I dream about living there.

  6. Helen in Clareville
    Great that you have moved to the Wairarapa. Will you be joining us at the Spinners & Weavers group on a Saturday at the Wool Shed in Masterton or are you too far away?

    1. It will depend on how much time I can spare and the boy’s boredom levels, as he would have to come with me. It would be super nice to connect with the Wairarapa knitting community though!!

    1. It reminds me a bit of a the South of France – the landscape and climate very reminiscent of a holiday I had there once. Would you agree?

  7. This is a really, really beautiful place. I don’t envy you, but I am so happy that you found that and it is now yours! 🙂

    I have to say that I love to look at photographs of New Zealand landscapes (they are simply spectacular), but I don’t know whether I’d like to live there … (poiseneous animals, PLUS Huntsman spiders!!! Not a fan … 😉 )

    1. I’ve lived in New Zealand for 52 years, city and country, and haven’t come across a poisonous animal in the wild, Julia! Are you thinking of Australia?

      1. I know that a bunch of dangerous animals live in Australia – I just thought a couple of them were in NZ, too.

        And now I guess I royally embarrassed myself … I’ll go and dig a big hole to sit in. :/

      2. No worries, Julia! Geologically, New Zealand broke away from the Australian continent long enough ago that nothing nasty came along for the ride.

      3. Now there is this picture in my head … All the poisonous animals are paddling frantically to reach NZ, which is slowly but firmly drifting away … (nana, I know that is incorrect as well. 😉 )

        I didn’t want to bother anyone with my stupidity – I really beg your and everybody’s pardon. 🙂

      4. New Zealand is very fortunate in that we have only a couple of spiders with painful bites, and they are rare and seldom come across. Nothing at all compared to the rest of the world. It is easy to make that assumption about poisonous animals, and it’s the thing I love about living in the country here – you can live free from fear that something will jump out at you and hurt you. 🙂 Do not worry!

  8. The temperatures always seem to be higher up that way though – will it mean less opportunity to wear your knits? I love that you have fruit trees and vines. You must know how to garden – in my hands these things would just die faster!

    1. In summer, yes. In winter, I believe there may be more need (she says optimistically). I really am enjoying the drier climate, to my surprise. I didn’t realise how wet Wellington was until I moved away. I wouldn’t call myself a gardening expert, but I do love getting my hands in the soil and seeing things grow.

  9. Oh, I am so happy for both of you! I can hear it in your written word how you are in love with this new life and area. It is so beautiful and I wish you all the happiness and contentment as you get settled in! Happy knitting too, xoRobin

  10. I whish you all the best for the coming time in your new home. I feel very much with you, as we are going to move house soon too….
    Greetings from the other side of the planet!
    Christiane (Germany)

  11. Best of luck. It looks lovely and I can ‘hear’ in your writing excitement and contentment. What a great combination. 🙂

  12. Wow! What a wee goldmine! You new place and all it’s plants and coop and deck looks fabulous. Isn’t that view over the hill just in your bones? It’s glorious.

  13. Congrats on your move! I adore the Wairarapa and have a lot of friends over the hill so I vist often – in summer for the climate and in winter for the motorsport! Believe me, you WILL NEEEEEED your woolens! I never go over there in winter without them! I’m looking forward to some designs inspired by your new landscape 🙂

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