By Farah Bode
A home away from home…is what my stay at the quaint little home in Rangiora, Christchurch-Canterbury was all about.
A pretty ordinary day…dotted with simple pleasures that was enough to put a smile on my lips…leave me with a warm toasty feeling. A day which leaves you with a feeling of being complete. A day which, whilst I write this blog post, makes me realize that it is indeed simple pleasures – being in the warm folds of a family, going about routine chores – that makes life a treat!
My day kick started with a big smile from Margaret who met me at Christchurch International Airport. A grandmotherly like figure – warm smiles and hugs, she opened her arms and welcomed me into her home and her heart with a single smile.
Forty minutes later, we were at her lovely home in a small town called Rangiora (approx. population 11,000).
(Rangiora Township is small but has all the conveniences of a town without the crowds and traffic jams. The rest of the town is only homes and farmlands. A picture perfect little town which is every Wanderers dream destination…)
Stepping into her warm abode was a treat to every gourmand’s senses. Freshly baked cakes and cookies welcomed me…and well, just when you think you can get away with a nibble here and there…a nibble turns into a bite…a bite turns into a big bite and before you know it – the decadent delights are polished off the table – which earns me a big smile from my hostess.
A cuppa tea later, we set out in her SUV to the milking station, and en route picked up Bob, her husband.
The milking station was nothing like I imagined it to be. Sure, it smelt like a cow stable back in India, but it was completely mechanized as far as the operations were concerned.
All the cows get herded into a staging area feeding into the rotary milking platform which holds around 50 cows at a time. The machine spins and loads/unloads cows at a pretty brisk pace. One time around is the amount of time needed to finish milking each cow. So once they reach the end, the milking cups automatically fall off and the cow steps out, heading back to a pasture. Farms have as many as 800 cows so it is a lot of planning & hard work, in spite of all the automation.
Wow…Impressive is the adjective I use for want of any better word. A world removed from the cow sheds of India!
And a little later after exploring their farm and basking in the lush verdant beauty, we headed out to one of their son’s homes.
Margaret & Bob have a huge family (17 grand children!) The family tree is chronicled through the many pictures Margaret has put up in their home (much like my wall at home). It was interesting to be a part of their routine and listen to the children talk about their day. At which point, it really made me realize that life is full of simple pleasures – the pitter patter of children running about, the warm hearth, the soft tinkling laughter of Margaret, the warm smiles from Bob and his son and how, in their own way, they enveloped me so easily into their fold.
Came home to a dinner of succulent roast lamb & vegetables (beans, carrot & cauliflower) and spent some time chatting after dinner. By 7:45 pm I was ready to call it a day!
The quaint little heaven they call home is just perfect – the heater making the room warm and toasty…and my bed was inviting.
A long but lovely day that reminded me of simpler childhood holidays (Bob & Margaret are the quintessential grandparents – they pampered me to bits!)
I’ve always believed that every Wandering has its own feel – but a homestay is something that I definitely recommend in New Zealand for those who want to experience the peace & quiet of the local life here and leave with a warm, fuzzy feeling!
More on my Wanderings soon….
Rangiora was occupied by Maori for several hundred years before the arrival of Europeans. The beauty of the area and the potential for grazing lands inspired a Canterbury surveyor, Charles Obins Torlesse, to build the first dwelling in the town in 1851. The main industries in the area are lamb production, dairying, fruit growing and mixed farming. Southern hemisphere truffles are a new specialty crop. The town has several interesting museums and some wonderful heritage buildings, including one of Canterbury’s oldest wooden churches. The beaches of Pegasus Bay are within easy reach and the nearby rivers are popular for fishing and walking.
About our Wanderer – Farah Bode: When she gets time from travelling (or getting people to travel),
Farah enjoys music, interior designing, dancing and shopping in the bustling streets of Crawford Market, Mumbai. Some of her previous conquests include Canada, US, Philippines, Kenya, France and Italy.