Lismore, New Zealand

Lismore, New Zealand

Tuesday 11 August 2020

The featured image above is near Farewell Spit in the north of the south island, one of my favourite places.

A FaceTime meeting with Helen of Mòr Media. A few years ago, when I was in search of a sliver of visibility and had given up on the paramilitary wing of the patriarchy known as publishing, I suddenly realised I had what I wanted on my doorstep and fortunately she agreed to ‘handle’ me. Three books later she has further agreed to redesign this website which has been sitting abandoned since, with her help, I produced it in 2017.

Not a great sleep; I appear to have cracked a rib on the right-hand side. I remember two days ago that my paddleboard bashed it a little and I thought nothing of it as it didn’t drown me. However, I did feel some pain yesterday and in bed it was impossible to move without intense stabbings. Time will heal it. About three plus weeks. Will go a little easy on yoga that uses that bit.

Met and engaged Amy, the enterprising window cleaner who has taken up the post after several requests and the loss of Andy, the earlier window cleaner. She goes about on her bike with a bucket and ladder and is just one of the enterprising persons Sarah and Yorick have introduced to the island—workaways—who then fall in love with the place and sometimes each other, and stay. I suspect they fall in love with Sarah and Yorick as well. Sarah runs Mogwaii Design, a textile business, and together they have built the most lovely house at Ballimackillichan where Sarah’s great-grandparents had a croft, I believe. Huge ongoing access problems have meant they have spent quite a time in court. Still not over as I type.

My lovely niece, the adjective is apt, Rebecca has resurrected her clothing line under the new name Mary. EthicalClothing. I have ordered some trousers, as her stuff already adorns my wardrobe, and who knows when I will ever get back to New Zealand to pick them up myself. If ever. Apart from COVID-19 there is a huge issue round flying. She and her sister Anna had several shops but are now fully online. They are two of Anthony James Dowling‘s three adorable and talented daughters. Sadly Tony, my oldest brother, died in 2012. I was most fortunate to have seen him a few weeks before.

Having Family in New Zealand is far from ideal. I so miss seeing them all growing up. Or just seeing them. Liosaich know this and have always known it as several went there, by choice or force, in the nineteenth century. Unimaginable. The Lismore name pops up everywhere.

These days, New Zealand has three Liosach settlers, and a great many others have visited, whereas I am now the only New Zealander resident in Lismore. The late Tony and Cristall Lutyens moved here in the 1990s and their daughters, three of whom live in New Zealand, often visited.

I certainly know the gulf that being so far from family opens especially now that flying is not an option. And I will want it to be more environmentally friendly before I take to the air again. We have, though, on previous visits, been able to visit Sara Black and her partner Devon in Petone, Iain Livingstone and his partner Hamish in Auckland and George and Ruth MacColl with their children Archie and Bel in Blenheim. I watched Sara grow up at Baligrundle where Norma and Gilleasbuig raised their three children, Eòghan, Sara and Colin. We saw her for the first time in Paraparaumu and then in Petone with her partner Devon, and it was always a delight.

Iain Livingstone is the older son of the late Dorothy and John Livingstone Balure. They need a separate long entry and will get one. Dorothy’s aunt was the Mrs Carmichael, from Point farm, who built our house. Dorothy used to visit her there. That’s how she and John met. Iain lives in Auckland with his partner Hamish, and we spent a very pleasant evening there on our last visit in 2018.

George MacColl is the middle son of Archie and Ina of Ballimackillichan and Balnagown. He met Ruth Cameron while she was working as a nurse in Fort William, and they now live near Blenheim with two lovely children, Archie and Bel, and some bullocks. One of my favourite parts of NZ.

Today’s tip: Laugh all day. (Not at folk: that’s cruel.) Be appropriate. In the final analysis life is a hoot. However, we do experience many things that do not provoke laughter initially. Sometimes, quite a lot of time is needed, maybe centuries, for things to become funny and some will never become funny, but let horrors know who is boss. Cry too. Weep even. Your eyes need that.