Sunday,29th, May, 2011. In the morning I packed up my bags, showered had breakfast then waited outside the hostel for James. I spoke to James yesterday and we arranged for me to stay at his house for a week.
He lives a few minutes drive out-of-town. James arrived at about ten in a large jeep. I jumped in ”hello Tim, My name is James” he said as we shook hands ”and this is Cameron” He said as he pointed to the young man sitting in the back seat. ”James and Cameron” I thought to myself. James was a 30 something man with a shaved head and thin trendy glasses, Cameron, like many of the youths I have seen in NZ was emulating the american gangsta look. Baggy jeans, baggy tops with a short rimmed baseball cap. After introductions James drove us just out of Ohakune and taking a right off the small road we pulled up into his house. A large two-story house with a big garden. It slopped down to a long pond with ducks scooting around. Two large dogs bound towards the car as we pulled up and a peacock stood still by the front door ”yes he has been quite sick recently, he hasn’t eaten anything for days” James said as he saw he looking at the peacock. ” there are many wild ones around here, I almost ran over one the other day” James carried on.
Peacocks have never crossed my mind as being wild, more the sort of animal you would see in a national trust park or in a wild life zoo or park. I asked James if the peacock was aggressive ” no there are not at all, but we had turkeys once and the turkey cocks are very agressive”
James showed me around the garden, a wild but controlled area, silver birch, evergreens and all the other bushes and tree of which I cannot name dotted around the place. I was shown inside the house, a neat and tidy place with a big shiny kitchen, a long black marble surface running opposite the touch screen operated hot plates. The first thing I thought was ” I will be spending half my time cleaning the black marble when I cook” It was so shiny that even the smallest bit of dirt would show up. My room was a small place looking out to the back of the garden.
After a chat I paid my rent and after unpacking I went on the internet. I called Shaz my new boss for the snow making and asked her where we should meet in the morning, she texted me the name of the street.
I decided to go down to town and buy some food for lunch the next day, as I exited the house a strong smell of weed wafted up my nose, standing outside with beers and spliff in hand were James and Cameron. James looked surprised and a little worried ”sorry we are just having a cheeky one” he explained. I told him I didn’t mind and I joined then both as they looked out through the gap in the trees at the end of the garden to the view of Mt Ruapehu in the distance. ”it’s a strange place you know Tim, its a ski area but there is only snow on the mountain and the surrounding area only gets snow a few times over the season, obtain the mountain is covered in mist so you cannot see it. You could be mistaken in thinking it wasnt a ski area on a day like that” James said as we all watched the mountain.
I walked along the main road into town, past a field full of large black bulls and cows.One young bull standing next to the fence bolted away when I walked past the field, when he was a safe distance away he turned to face me, I was thankful of the fence between us. As I usually do when there are only bovines and not humans around I let out a communicative ”MOOOO!” to the cows. Just before town a long white bungalow came up, half swallowed in a dark patch of trees and bushes, outside the house an old tired looking labrador dog lay on the ground and barked at me with a wagging tail. A big woolly sheep stared at me as I past by the house and by a weeping willow a shawn lamb with a triangular metal necklace munched on the grass. In town I bought some beef and vegetables and on the walk back a thin mist wove its way around the hills like a snake. The dog barked again still not moving, the sheep in the triangle was now watching me and the large black cows were stood still and together.
The rest of the day was spent relaxing. I took some photos of the garden, of the two handsome dogs and lay in bed wondering about what tomorrow my first day of work would involve.