Dienstag, 1. November 2016

Chapter 7 ~ Honouring Te Horo

Morning arrives, and I get up, feeling refreshed and awake, ready for my first day of work in the region of...


Greater Wellington is the southernmost region of the north island, and is named after the capital city of Wellington. With over 500,000 people calling this place their home, Greater Wellington is the third most populous area of New Zealand, and although the vast majority of the population living in or around the city of Wellington itself, the countryside is still populated by a good number of people.


Te Horo, the place where I'm staying, is a sprawling little village of only 642 people. Officially, it is divided into Te Horo, which is closer to the mountains, and Te Horo Beach, which is located by the shore of Kapiti Coast. About 7km across, it takes one about an hour and a half to cross it on foot, and effectively cover the entire distance between the seashore and the foothills.


I'm having a great start on my first day here already, and that was only a small taste of a wonderful time, which I hereby name...

The Canine Canadian Company


My hosts this time are Ian, who stems from New Zealand, as well as Pierre, who was born in Canada. The two of them have sustained the Te Horo Lodge for several years, not as the B&B which it used to be, but rather as a large mansion and a haven for WWOOFers like me. They also have a loyal border collie by the name of Koru, who positively adds to the flair of this place.


Apart from them, there's also another WWOOFer in this place, a German girl by the name of Kathi, who helps me with the jobs of the first day.


After that first day, Kathi continues her journey, and leaves me to help Pierre an Ian on my own. We get along great, chatting, joking, playing Ecchnasi, which they find immensely immersing...


...and generally having a great time together. I might have been sceptical about doing another round of gardening at first, but the amazing time I would spend with the three of them should soon teach me better than that.

The Place


The Te Horo Lodge is a quite extensive mansion on an even larger plot of land. Pierre and Ian have maintained it for a number of years with the help of WWOOFers like me, and are currently in the process of moving to a smaller and easier to maintain property. As such, I am one of the last WWOOFers ever to stay in this fantastic place.


Alone walking up the (quite scenic) driveway already takes three minutes.



And a guided tour (by Koru) of the interior takes even longer.



Among the most prominent features are the pool...


...which is frequently guarded by one of a pair of ducks. Pierre likes to comment on that with a German phrase he picked up from another WWOOFer: "Die Ente ist zurück!" ("The duck is back!").





Eventually, I dare take a dip in it, only to find out that it's still frigidly cold around this time of the year.



There's also a comfortable movie lounge...


...and an impressive collection of artworks, including prints by Hundertwasser, but also more humorous stuff.


The gardens of the lodge feature a range of different landscapes, such as oversized orchards...


...humongous hedges...


...and tremendous trees.


When venturing outside the grounds of the Te Horo Lodge, one finds himself in a small, rural community, surrounded by farmland...


...where bridges are either single-lane...


...or entirely non-existent.


From here, there are two distinct choices. One can either head west towards the beach, or east towards the mountains. In time, I should explore both directions, but my first trip leads me to the ocean's shore.

The way there leads past the stage of one of the most popular computer games in history...


...as well as this place, which sells the natural counterpart to the oh-so-dreaded inorganic plants.


And then, there's also that...


...but in the end, I still manage to make it to the beach.


Once there, I get a nice view of a stream that appears to run into both directions at once...



...and get a view on Kapiti Island over an army of roaring waves continuously advancing on the beach.



On the way back, I notice the marks the fierce winds have left on the local foliage...


...as well as other skewed parts alongside the road.


There's also very creative fish ponds around...


...alongside very creative house number signs.


Another day's trip leads me east towards the foothills, past colourful flowerbeds...


...and a beautifully painted school building.


I only manage to climb a small hill (the others being fenced off), but it still gives me a nice look across the surrounding landscape.


I pass bunnies hiding in the tall grass...


...find more lilliput-items inside of Geocaches...


...get to see the famous shoe-fence...


...and stop by Frog Rock, located between the Enchanted Argyle Forest and the Inexplicable Valley of Lights. However, since I don't have any Mole Man Powder, there's little I can do here.


I notice that people sell all sorts of crap in these parts...


...but also that drivers are exaggeratedly considerate of pedestrians around her, pulling over all the way into the opposite lane to give me some space as they drive by (remember: here in NZ, cars are supposed to drive on the LEFT side of the road).



There's also some really idyllic places around, such as the leafy tunnel of the Totara Reserve...


...or the overgrown Badger's Croft.


The way back to the Te Horo Lodge leads me straight across some fields...


...and later on, the sky clouds over, painting the heavens with an almost surreal, flowing cloudscape.


The Job


Having to maintain a huge property, Pierre and Ian sure know how to keep me busy. On the very first day, Kathi, Koru and Kira (me), join up to clean the windows, because we are...


Working together, we get a huge amount of windows down before lunch...


...while the afternoon consists of preparing vegetable beds.


After Kathi is gone, that and other gardening tasks are my primary duties...



...during which I once again encounter Tradescantia, my old enemy.


The weather doesn't play nice on all of the days. Fortunately, there are a also number of indoor tasks that require doing, such as the ongoing crusade against dust...


...as well as polishing the floorboards with Dot's.


But yeah, the majority of my work here is - once again - cleaning, and after a week of diligently working on it, I've made great progress on the gardens all around the lodge.


And, of course, Koru is always keeping me company during my work, faithfully coming by to check and oversee the tasks I'm doing every so often.



The Food


The catering here at the Te Horo Lodge is excellent! We have wholesome breakfasts consisting of fruit, cereals and bread together with a glass of freshly prepared fruit juice...


...usually have some brunch after a few hours of work...


...before being served a tasty lunch to continue into the afternoon...


...and finally wrapping up the day with a hearty dinner, often featuring savoury mushrooms.


With Pierre being a passionate cook, it's hard for me to show off my skills. However, occasionally I do get the chance to prepare a meal and treat them to delightful cuisine such as fox style pizza, Gamm Ligeraal and chocolate chip cookies.


Just like I've taken a liking to their cooking, Pierre and Ian are also delighted with my skills, and resolve to go on a diet after I leave. As for me, I am absolutely amazed by the fantastic food I was served in this place, and am certain that I'm going to miss it dearly as I move on.

The Flair


Has this ever happened to you: You get up in the morning, open the shutters, and find a rabbit grazing on a gravel patch not ten meters away.



These long-eared lagomorphs are among New Zealand's more pesky neozoons. First introduced by European settlers in the 1830s for the purpose of sports and food, they have long since gotten out of control, and are now grazing many a native herb to the point of extinction. People are making an effort to get them "under control", but with these long-eared rodents breeding like... well... rabbits... the best they can do is maintain a sort of prolonged equilibrium.

Oh well, environmental issues non-withstanding, I like having them around. But that might just be me being a fox...

Apart from that, there are also pretty optical phenomena to be witnessed as the sun shines on in the morning, be it on the walls...


...or on the floor.


Also, can you guess what kind of plug this is?


It's a plug for plugging in a vacuum cleaner! This lodge was built with a central vacuuming system, so instead of carrying a vacuum cleaner all around the house, you just have to carry the tube and plug it into the nearest vacuum socket.


Some of the plants in the garden have a wax-like ccoating, enableing morning dew to stay on the for hours.



Oh, and speaking of the garden... Koru, stop lying down on my work. =>,<=


During my stay here, Pierre also makes a fascinating discovery: A set of Japanese cups they have actually line up to make a perfect mosaic when stacked correctly.


And on one of these days, I get a haircut from a faring barber.


The Retrospective


There really isn't much to be said here apart from:

"THIS REALLY IS THE BEST PLACE EVER!!!"

The accommodation was everything a WWOOFer could dream of and more, the food was tasty and plentiful, the atmosphere was absolutely delightful, and the facilities were top-notch. Okay, so there wasn't a lot to do around, but hey, what other place offers daily movie nights? And even though the work was mostly routine, it still felt fulfilling looking at the progress I made at the end of the day. All together, I think this might just be the best WWOOFing experience I'll ever have on my entire trip. I do not sincerely expect that I'll find another place which I'll grant ★★★★★, so, congratulations Pierre, Ian and Koru! You just rightly received the highest possible praise from the travelling fox!


The Road Ahead


I stay in this place for only a short week, and before you know it, it's time to say goodbye again.

Being the second place that has actually hosted me for the agreed time, and having been the very best place so far, I take some time to prepare a little artwork for Ian, Pierre and Koru, with which I present them on my very last day here. It might not measure up to all the professional pieces of artwork decorating their place, but they like it nonetheless.


They also ask me to write an entry in their guest book, which I gladly do (although I'm quick to reach the character limit).


The last job I perform is to tidy up my room to look like a proper lodge quarters again...


...and then it's already time to leave again. Ian takes a final picture of me and Koru...

[Image 71 Goodbye to Koru]

...before Pierre gives me a ride to the Waikanae station. From there, I get on one of the THREE (!) railroads of New Zealand...


...purchase a 6$-ticket from the conductress on the train (yes, that's still a thing around here)...


...and then, I'm on my way again!




On the road, I pass by every spellcaster's favourite station...


...and after a hour-long drive along the coastline and through valleys...


...as well as a series of tunnels, I finally arrive in Wellington...



...and take refuge in the Nomads hostel.


It'll be six days before I depart again, and until then, I have ample opportunity to explore the capital of New Zealand. I am already looking forward to the adventures I'll have in this city.

Keine Kommentare:

Kommentar veröffentlichen