Posts Tagged ‘change’

There are men in trees outside my window. Strapping young men, swinging from the branches in the rain, wielding chainsaws, systematically disposing of one of the macrocarpas at the corner of our driveway. One of the features I’ve always loved about our house is the presence of these four giant trees, sheltering us from the cold and strong southerlies. There used to be another tree directly south, but a former neighbour took that out about 15 years ago. Now the neighbours below us have decided to remove the tree at the corner. It was necessary, I will admit that. A huge branch extended out over the roof of their house, and especially the room their daughter occupies. They lived in fear that something might go wrong in one of Wellington’s storms. Not to mention that as the tree grew, it was starting to lift our concrete driveway, cantilevered out from the hill. It had to go. And so yesterday, today, and probably the rest of the week at least, I sit in my office, and listen  to the high-pitched noise of the chainsaws and the great roar of the mulcher machine that chews these enormous branches, and I cringe as they drop, bit by bit, great logs of wood that must weigh a tonne on our poor little driveway, shaking the house, but hopefully not the driveway supports.

And so the view out my office window changes day by day. Though to be honest, it is the changed view through these windows (below) that I will notice more often.  And I worry about the tui.  Did they have nests in that tree?  I do hope not.


The view from my bedroom


Our house and driveway, and my lovely trees, less some of the branches in the first photo. It is the tree on the far left that will soon disappear

trees 1

And bit by bit, the tree comes down

Change can be good. But this makes me feel that too many things are changing at the moment.   Little things, and big things, good things and bad things. Changing technology. The drought has broken, and autumn has chased summer away.  Employment situations are changing, and that is scary.  Elderly parents are deteriorating, and need more care.  And we’re getting older too. So right now, my husband and I are forced into embracing the belief that change can be good. But it also brings some sadness at what we’re losing.

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy;
for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves;
we must die to one life before we can enter another.”            

                                                           Anatole France

But I guess we have to heed  the words of Bowie,

turn and face the strange.
Ch-ch-ch-changes …”


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I’m not going back. We visited in March 2008, again at Christmas 2010/11, and now February 2012. This time it wasn’t really our choice. My niece decided to get married in Phuket, and we weren’t letting the rest of the family go without us! But you know, revisiting places can be tough. It’ll be a while before I can face it again.

We first visited Thailand together Christmas 1988 (give or take a year – my memory fails me). We flew in to Phuket, and stayed at Patong Beach. Phuket was only just opening up in those days. We stayed in the one hotel (still the ONLY hotel) on the beach – there were a few across the road though – and there was only the street parallel to the beach, and one other turning off diagonally with a few bars and restaurants. I remember the beach was wide and deep and had perfectly white sand. The sea was warm – so delightfully warm – and swimming every day was a delight. We enjoyed dinner that first night at a restaurant right on the beach – we tossed off our jandals and buried our feet in the sand, as we shared a whole fish. A perfect introduction to Thailand for my husband. Patong Beach was beautiful, pristine, and serene.

This is Patong Beach now.

Can you hear me screaming?

Words can’t express my horror. It looks like something on the Costa del Sol. But this is my beloved Thailand, not a crass Spanish beach! There is nothing – NOTHING – like this in New Zealand. Or I think Australia, or the Pacific. I have no idea about beaches in the US. Most of the people on this beach are Europeans. You can tell by all the men in Speedos, and women in bikinis, regardless of their shape. (My sister called it “The place where you will always find someone who looks worse in a bathing suit than you.”) We, in the Southern Hemisphere – or perhaps the New World – don’t know how lucky we are to have space. Space to go to the beach and to enjoy privacy, or at the very least not to have complete strangers just a few feet away.

Looking at Patong Beach in 2012 made me want to cry.

PS. I have to note we didn’t stay in Patong, but about 45 minutes away, in a very peaceful spot, and it was great.

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