Thank goodness for rural bliss

If we didn’t have our little slice of heaven, I’d be begging to move offshore to live. New Zealand – at least the more vocal sector – seems to have become extremely punitive, harsh, and vitriolic of late.

If it’s not Tony Veitch, it’s Winston Peters, and we don’t give up until these people’s faces are well and truly wiped in the mud. I’m not saying they’re pure as the driven snow, but there are processes to deal with the allegations made against them, and that doesn’t include a witch hunt in the media, whipped up by those with big political ambitions, be that in the world of government or the corporate arena.

Were we always like this? I don’t think so. I remember political “scandals” like the chap who’d had a few too many, was caught on camera, used the excuse he was hyperglycaemic, leading to Tom Scott coining the phrase “hyperglycaemic as a newt”. I don’t recall an hysterical press gallery hounding this man until he, figuratively speaking, blew his brains out.

It just makes me sick to my stomach that we seem to be losing any semblance of empathy; any recognition that these are human beings we are dealing with. Maybe I’ve gone soft, but I am not ashamed of that. I’d rather be an old softie, than a cynical brute.

That said, there’s nothing like good old-fashioned physical labour to lighten the soul. Colin spent the day in the winery, with his saw and his drill, making another set of barrel racks out of macrocarpa. They look fine.

I spent the day in the garden, planting more lupins and mustard, to nourish the earth, and some more radishes. Spring is truly on its way, as I realised yesterday when I saw the willow trees with their fresh, green, cheerful new leaves. So the ground will be warming up (albeit in fits and starts) and even though we’re bound to have a few more frosts, I can start planting again.

Come winter’s close, it will be time to put away the gumboots and get out the much maligned crocs (though I do keep mine close by all year round for quick trips to the shed). When I lined up the gumboots just now, at the door, I remembered a lovely piece I once read, I think it was in The Listener. It was in reply to someone who’d been complaining about the untidy heap of gumboots she tripped over every time she stepped out the back door. She was constantly nagging her children to place their gumboots tidily (or bumgoots as my youngest used to call them), which of course children never do because they’re so eager to rush inside. The response, from an older and wiser woman, was to rejoice in the fact that there was still a conglomeration of gumboots at her door, because before too long she will wake up and the only gumboots left will be those of her husband and herself. All the children will have grown up and left home.

Sadly true, as I look at our array – black each for Colin and me; a leaky green psychodelic pair for me (given to me as a wedding present from Anna and Andy), and the lovely red tangata whenua style gumboots I bought for Tracey to wear when she was out here from Montreal. Now they’re for the grown up children who visit.

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