Our FB friends – the Littles (Tane, Rachel, Ava, Ruby & Tilly)
Latitude 42°51’S Longitude 171°1’E is moo cow country. At its heart Kowhitirangi and the next Face Book friends visited, the Littles – Rachel, Tane, Ava, Ruby and Tilly.
The connection, BClaire and Rachel were once Ansett New Zealand work colleagues and have always denied contributing to the collapse of that airline company! More amusing was the fact our bed used for the two nights stay was one I had when flatting before BClaire and I moved in together … it fortunately hadn’t collapsed after all these years and both connections made for entertaining reminiscing conversations.
Rapport with children comes naturally for us. Tilly who is three soon introduced us to her imaginary friends Lauren and Jacob; Everest the dog; and Sparky her horse. By the end of the weekend, I was riding Sparky! They so know how to forget the worries of life through play. What became a worry though was how Tilly had her bags packed ready and waiting at the door all weekend to return back home with us. Creative thinking was certainly required so as not to disappoint this young mind’s imagination.
Driving the 32 odd kilometres back into Hokitika to watch Ava and Ruby bounce around a netball court exposed us to the mountainous backdrop of the Alps. Their splendour houses Lake Kaniere (the largest lake in Westland) and the Hokitika Gorge where Tilly and I dropped rocks from a swing bridge to count the time it takes for the splash below – 3 seconds. More time playing as kids mostly.
Hokitika was a creation of the West Coast gold rush. But sadly, the district is home to a memorial that commemorates lives lost in the Koiterangi Incident, further up the valley. In the afternoon of Wednesday 8 October 1941 the quiet surroundings at this location was interrupted by the unstable rampage of local farmer Stanley Graham. He un-leased a fury to permanently etch him in the annals of crime as the first mass murderer in New Zealand’s history and subsequently, the country’s largest and manhunt.
Tane frequently disappearing onto rain sodden pasture to attend his herd that was on the cusp of calving as BClaire and Rachel gossiped a load more, allowed for some time illustrating with Ava and Ruby in-between taking Sparky for a gallop up and down the hallway with Tilly.
The little time spent in the Littles company reminded us of how better we should be at connecting in the person.
It should be MORE often … or before you know it, Sparky may become a figment of no-one’s imagination!