Dif­fer­ent takes on ‘peace and quiet’

North Taranaki Midweek - - MEANWHILE, OUTSIDE AUCKLAND - RACHAEL KELLY

The creep usu­ally be­gins on a Fri­day night, as the sun is go­ing down. The town is wo­ken from its win­ter hi­ber­na­tion by the first in a pro­ces­sion of ve­hi­cles fil­ter­ing into the vil­lage.

They’re packed to the gun­nels with tired par­ents who have fin­ished work, gone home to hastily pack the car, and hit the open road. The kids have fin­ished school for the week and been squashed into the back seat among as­sorted pil­lows, bags and the fam­ily dog.

The trip has been a slow one there’s plenty of traf­fic and it’s all head­ing to the same place. And they’re tow­ing a trailer or a car­a­van, which doesn’t help.

There’s bar­be­cues, couches and bikes - al­ways a pink one with tas­sels on the han­dle­bars.

They’re off to the crib, or the batch as they call it fur­ther north, to open it up for sum­mer.

As soon as day­light sav­ing be­gins or the rivers open for the sea­son, an in­flux of loop­ies, as the lo­cals call them, ar­rive in town.

Loop­ies, be­cause you’d have to be a bit loopy to come here for a hol­i­day, they reckon.

A steady pro­ces­sion of packed ve­hi­cles hits the main street on Satur­day morn­ing. There’s no driv­ing your mo­bil­ity scooter down the mid­dle of the street to get the pa­per from the shop any­more, and you have to take ex­tra care if you’re mov­ing a mob of sheep into an­other pad­dock.

Blokes check over the flaky paint and de­ter­mine that THIS year, they’ll get the brushes out.

Kids are let loose on bikes and told to be home when the street lights come on. The serenity is stolen as mums and dads fi­nally get the lawn­mower started and tame the lawn, mow­ing a wicket down the mid­dle for a game of back­yard cricket later.

Trees and over­grown hedges are trimmed and an or­derly queue forms at the town’s green waste, where peo­ple have a yarn with the neigh­bours down the road they haven’t seen for a cou­ple of months.

Per­haps slightly sur­prised at the bar­rage of cus­tomers, the shop­keeper runs out of pies and starts mi­crowav­ing them in batches to stash in the warmer.

Fifty-cent mix­tures are in hot sup­ply and they run out of ice blocks in the af­ter­noon when the day heats up.

Play­ground equip­ment which has sat in the rain, un­used for months, squeaks its way back into life as kids swing and slide.

Some­one re­alises they for­got to fill the gas bot­tle, but it’s a forty minute trip to the near­est ser­vice sta­tion to get it filled so it might have to be fish and chips from the shop out on the deck for tea. There’s new faces at the pub. Un­aware, they take over the leaner that the old bug­gers have sat at ev­ery day for the last 20 years hav­ing their four o’clock pint, forc­ing them to move.

They don’t un­der­stand why peo­ple come here for a hol­i­day, so they ask one of the fish­er­men at the bar.

‘‘It’s the peace and quiet,’’ he re­marks.

If only he was here in win­ter.

Lo­cals don’t un­der­stand why peo­ple come here for hol­i­days.

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