The Kindness of Strangers

Yesterday we had the most amazing day at Redbank Estate when friends – who up until a few months ago were strangers (at least to me they were) – drove up from the South Island to gift us the most beautiful piece of greenstone. Weighing in at over 400 kilograms, they had to transport the rock during the day, otherwise the headlights of the ute would have been pointing at the sky. Friends from Wellington were coming over to help with the celebrations, and also Colin’s sons and their families.

Mum joined in, plus we invited Archdeacon May Croft to bless the greenstone, and stay for lunch. Her husband, Peter, unfortunately couldn’t come because he had a wine tasting (they have a vineyard, Crofts). There was plenty of wine tasting went on here too, plus beer tasting. And swallowing.

As usual, I started preparations for the kai several days ago (weeks ago, in my head) and roasted two whole fillets of beef, smoked two large sides of salmon, eggs with thyme, served with focaccia and another bread the name of which I cannot recall. And salad, of course, don’t forget the ubiquitous salad.

Raylee, from Colin’s chambers, took care of the desserts – mixed berry frangipani tart and a cheesecake, made by her husband Geoff.

The crew bringing the sculpture up from the West Coast are all miners – West Coasters through and through, and what they don’t know about mining is not worth knowing. I showed them pieces of greenstone jewellery I have, and they knew exactly which part of the South Island these were mined from.

One of them, Patrick, is a gold miner. He said an ounce of gold is about the size of the ten cent piece, and slightly thicker, then he asked me to guess how big an area this ounce would cover if you could flatten it out to as thin as possible. As big as this dining table? I answered, figuring I was exaggerating. No. An acre of land! Reminds me of the line in the John Donne poem – “And gold to airy thinness beat.”

Rowan was here at the vineyard, supervising wire raisers, so he got on the forklift and help hoist this giant piece of beauty into place, on our front verandah.  I will let the photos tell the rest of the story:



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