Up early today, and out towards the south Wairarapa coast to Whangaimoana, the glorious home of Jacquie and Alastair Sutherland. Every year Jacquie throws open her fields of daffodils to be gathered to raise money for the Cancer Society. This Friday, it’s Daffodil Day. You buy a plastic daffodil, or your office may have already ordered fresh daffodils to be delivered. And those fresh daffodils arrive in your office by way of a human chain of volunteering spirit, beginning with people like Jacquie, through her friends who, like me, delighted in each other’s company while we picked buckets and buckets of daffodils, to the volunteers in Carterton who sort the daffs into bunches whence they are couriered, for free, to the big smoke for distribution.
All of us these days know someone who has been touched by cancer. Some of us have had a brush with the big C, many of us have lost dear friends. So I thought of my great friend Lyn Fitness while I picked these beautiful flowers this morning. She died just over a year ago, and I miss her so, so much. She’d have loved to be here with us, laughing as we were surrounded by the precious scent of these cheerful blooms:
Afterwards, it was muffins, coffee and delicious lemon cake in the kitchen of Jacquie’s lovely historic home:
I first encountered this place when, about four years ago, Colin took me away for a mystery weekend for my birthday, in February. We still lived in Wellington then, and it was a marvellous treat to spend the weekend in The Coach House. Jacquie is a marvellously generous host (you get some of her delicious lemon cake) and guests can roam the farm, or walk along the road and down to the beach.(It’s dangerous, don’t swim).
So if you’re looking for somewhere neat to stay in the Wairarapa, choose Whangaimoana.
And just because this week’s poem seems to be Wordsworth’s Ode, I’ve chosen something different. Partly because I’m feeling blue, as Colin’s in Rotorua for a three-day case, then in Auckland for a two-day case, and also because I miss Lyn.
Flower-Gathering by Robert Frost.
I left you in the morning,
And in the morning glow,
You walked a way beside me
To make me sad to go.
Do you know me in the gloaming,
Gaunt and dusty gray with roaming?
Are you dumb because you know me not,
Or dumb because you know?
All for me? And not a question
For the faded flowers gay
That could take me from beside you
For the ages of a day?
They are yours, and be the measure
Of their worth for you to treasure,
The measure of the little while
That I’ve been long away.