Last trip back
One of the men who was adapting Honey Cottage to become the smoko room for the toilers in the vineyard - being planted - said - "You can't go back."
What was he talking about?
I was back.
Me and my mate Theresa were back. For the day.
Having a look at what my place was becoming. Without me.
One last look. And then I can walk away. I can.
The big house
A charming old place. One portion built in the 1890's - one grander portion added in the 1920s.
It was empty too. The whole ecosystem of the secret valley had collapsed.
We stopped to have a look.
Miranda strolled across the lawn, looked up at the serenely beautiful mansion and said - "So this is Honey Cottage!"
I screamed with laughter. I nearly wet myself.
I said - "Miranda, if I had been living here I would have called it Honey Palace!"
So we back in the car, down the track, to what had been my little shack.
The house was empty and silent
The grass had grown.
I think my cousin Miranda was with me. I think she might have taken the photo.
She was curious. I wanted to have a look at how the place was doing without me. So we went past the old cemetery, turned in off the gravel road, across the cattle stop, and down the drive to the big house. Waiura.
Because every little workman's cottage, has (or had) a big house which is/was its reason for being.
Into the Woods
And the park they had planted round the grand old homestead had come to maturity although no one lived there any more. Oaks and elms. An avenue of poplars.
Then you would come to the site of the house.
Some stone steps leading nowhere and one out building.
I never paused because a cook had died in the first fire - she jumped from her room on the third floor - and the place always felt unhappy.
The daffodils had done ...
... just what they like to do. Colonised themselves.
Gotta have daffs in a big old English style wood.
It had been there so long that I hardly ever wondered what the country would have looked like before the Pakeha arrived.
Historic Shearing Shed
So I took Theresa on the walk over the river.
You cross the swingbridge to get to the site of the big old house that had burned down in the 1890s(?) It had been rebuilt but burned down again in the 1920s. It wasn't rebuilt. Maybe because they thought the site was unlucky. Maybe because the depression was biting and they couldn't afford to.
The shearing shed is all that is left of that grandeur.
I know I had to leave ...
... I had to leave - but honest to God.
Watching the workmen doing their visigoth thing made me feel odd.
I had owned this place.
Because no one wanted it.
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