The Bach

The term Bach unfamiliar to me before I got to New Zealand. It’s typically a family vacation home, sometime hand-built, always well-loved.Rainbow #5

Im waiting for my feet to thaw. They are wrapped in wool socks and as close to the fireplace as I can get them without igniting myself. If wool could melt, I’d be a grilled cheese sandwich by now. Unlike sandwiches, thawing feet is a slow process.

Our little bach in Colic Bay is an inspired bit of architecture; a spontaneous collection of house add-on’s built onto extensions of other add-ons.  Each expansions seems to hold the decor of the decade it was built. The main room a classic blend of 70’s and 80’s nostalgia, mixed musty smells and the cabin staples; fishing calendar, rocks on the window sill and homemade doilies. The rest of the rooms are a frenzied patchwork of half-finished carpentry.

Early morning the girls bustle around the kitchen, a slight scent of muscles still in the air, as the night before was a lingering seafood feast, our handpicked rewards of low tide. Subtile smiles pressed on everyone lips.

This, is a far cry from the last time I was down this way, which consisted of a bunch of men in tents. Sipping whisky, trying not to freeze, picking dinner from between the rocks, in the dark.Last time I was down this way we met Joan, in the middle of a jungle. Unobtrusive, simple and matter-a-fact, she was all too willing to discuss why a half plucked opossum was hanging from her right hand. 400$ a week, hiking trails and beating opossums to death for their fur is a good enough story. The opossum is the dread of New Zealand, as they non-native and eat everything, including each other. She shows us how she pulls the fur out, with the kind of deft skill that only happens from repetition. She shows us the snares, with deadpan enthusiasm.

Breakfast is ready. Winter surfing looks very different from the inside.

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