Saturday, March 03, 2007


Valerie and John's directions were faultless. We arrived at their house after a twenty minute drive from Auckland Airport. This is our third house swap, but our first where it is someone's main home, the others were holiday homes - at Noosa in Queensland and at Dunsborough in Western Australia. It is delightful, and I know we are going to be very comfortable here. There is a pretty secluded front garden with a swimming pool and the rear garden slopes down to a tree filled valley with views across to the distant hills. I am sat at the breakfast bar with its glass topped bay window facing the golden end of summer grass in the fields. What a view.

I'm not sure I could do what Valerie and John are doing though, they have moved into a self contained unit, their office space, at the back of their house while we are here. It must be so weird for them to see someone else in their territory, I know I would worry constantly about what the interlopers were doing. They are used to it though, they have run the New Zealand branch of HomeLink International for many years. I don't feel guilty about turfing them out so to speak as I know they had a great time in my house in England. We've enjoyed meeting all our swappers and feel relaxed about exchanging houses with them - but then it is out of sight, out of mind for us, or perhaps another saying is more appropriate - what the eye doesn't see, the heart doesn't feel! Territory is such a strange thing.

We have had a very idle first day. It has been wonderful just to chill out, gather our wits a little, its also been good to have a quiet day because news from both home fronts is distressing. SiLs father has died in Australia, he'd had a long innings and went peacefully, relatively quickly. When we saw him last October we both thought he was in fine form and still had that twinkle in his eye. The English news is absolutely awful too; my nephew has fallen off a roof and fractured the base of his skull, he is intensive care. And my 80 year old mother is due to have an operation nearby in the same hospital next week, if it doesn't get rescheduled again.

And here we are at the other side of the world. Thank goodness for the Internet.

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