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Living in God's Own

Heading for a writer’s conference in Auckland, I was sitting in my plane seat, buckled in, high above New Zealand and eating my complimentary cookie and drinking my tea – no such thing as alcohol on the trips to and from the provinces. Looking out the window – nothing else to do, I get travel sick if I attempt to read – it was easy to see why the East Coast is so isolated.

The hills surrounding the city looked dark and forbidding even on a sunny day. The road through these takes around two hours at the speed I travel, and are, at best, character forming. Then to reach Auckland there is another five hours of driving – including frequent stops for comfort and food.

Easy to see why I plumped for the plane – plumped is such a lovely word, don’t you think.

When we had passed The Bay of Plenty – Cook was rude when he called our bay, Poverty Bay and theirs The Bay of Plenty – I could see the Coromandel Peninsula ahead. The bay was almost free of clouds but the land was covered in white clumps of fluff. The Maori name for New Zealand, Aotearoa, Land of the Long White Cloud, was a more apt and poetic naming than Cook’s attempts.

It must be said, though, both sets of adventurers must have been courageous and very curious to have undertaken such trips without the certainty of what they would find.

I am quite happy to limit my adventures to journeys where I am pretty certain of the reception I’ll receive at the other end, and that there will be a comfortable bed, good food and congenial company waiting for me.

I do miss my dog, Barnaby though. But know after the compulsory ten minutes of telling me off for leaving him, there will be a warm welcome when I return.

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