Day 272...Wild Westerlies

At midnight, and then often through the early hours of this Sunday morning, I woke, got up, wandered about, listened to the rain and the wind, put some wood on my fire and then, curled up happily and went back to sleep. Most of you will be now saying “How can you be happy when you woke that many times during the night?”. Well, I am one lucky person when it comes to sleep. I don’t seem to need quite as much as most and I find it kind of fun to be awake in the wee, small hours of the morning, listening to the weather pass overhead; very happy that I’m not trying to weigh down my tent in this kind of weather but rather, to be able to stoke a fire during the night. It is something that will always be a joy. 

As I lie curled up in my sleeping bag, I think of my close friend Sheena who could also be up and about at this crazy hour. She too, is from the hospitality world and sometimes, she too is up most of the night. Somehow I manage to resist sending her a "Hello" text. But before too long, I do get up, wrap up warm and sit and finish reading one of my beautiful books (“Song of the Old Tides" by Barry Brailsford).

As the wind blew the rain horizontal for most of the early hours of this morning, I headed out after my chicken duties, to clean the inside of Cuzzie. She so needed a lot of TLC, not a lot I can do about the outside but at least she is now carrying around way less sand dust and gravel inside! As I cleaned, I made myself a mug of coffee or two and drank them while working away. I even greased all the door hinges and sliding doors as the sea spray, dust and mud need to be constantly battled against. Once this was done, I felt a little better. My OCD cleaning fix having been settled, I grabbed some lunch and headed up to collect Mary for a couple of beach recces. But alas, the winds were actually so strong, it really wasn’t advisable to be out driving on these exposed roads in a camper-van that has two kayaks on top of it. It would be an accident waiting to happen. We decided to leave it until another day. Probably not a great idea to have my roof racks and kayaks ripped off the top of Cuzzie due to winds as strong as 60+ knots (about 115kms an hour)!

I head back down to my little cottage and go about my art work and a little more knitting. Then I have to get outside, so I head down to the beach. Now, you have to laugh a little at me, for even considering a thirty-minute hike. The air looks misty, but it isn’t mist, it’s sand being blown all the way from the beach, up the valleys and over the farmland. At times, I wish I’d had sunglasses on to protect my eyes from the sand!! At times, the wind was blowing so strongly that I actually couldn’t walk forwards! I just had to stand and lean into the gust until it relented. At other times, I had to turn my back into the wind and driving sand and just wait!! In the end, I did eventually get to the beach. The noise was like a huge, fighter jet flying overhead. My ears ached, both from the noise and from the cold wind, even with my hat pulled firmly down! I stood, leaning into the wind, trying to absorb the ferocity of this weather. It’s really intense, and completely crazy; the West Coast on an entirely different level.

My little mates were on the beach today. Like me, the resident pair of oyster-catchers stood bracing themselves against the wind. I don't think they dared fly today otherwise they would have been blown off-course and dumped ignominiously into the dunes in a crumpled mess of sand and feathers! Incidentally, they did actually manage to fly but not very far. I turned and headed back. Despite the wind and the sea spray, and albeit covered in sand, I did feel better for my time on the beach because the wind managed to blow away some of my crazy thoughts and feelings. But to be honest, I was more than happy to return and get on with the rest of my afternoon and early evening, including dinner with the family (whitebait fritters) and time to chat. I trust everyone has survived this windy New Zealand Sunday and, perhaps like me, has had an adventure down on the beach.

My smiles today:
At last I located the chickens nest! Fresh eggs back on the menu!
The incredible force of Mother Nature. But now, she’s totally out of control.
I’ve been sand-blasted so much, it’s even in my hair!
Me, being knee-capped by the weather.

My thoughts today:
This journey makes me realise so much. It’s easy to let dust gather, to let sand and debris obscure our vision and to bury the dreams we hold deep inside. Yet, it’s never too late to reclaim our life.
Thanks to "The Song of the old Tides".

Until tomorrow, from Red. Ma Te Wa.

These two are on this beach every day.

These two are on this beach every day.

Sea Foam being blown up the sand dunes.

Sea Foam being blown up the sand dunes.

Manuka looking like black lace in the skies.

Manuka looking like black lace in the skies.