We have excellent neighbours.
Erika and Siegfried, the 163 year olds and the Famous Reporters from across the road in the Fatherland.
And these folk from Mapua:
Frank (2nd from left) and Lynn (far right) and Jan (left) and Don (2nd from right).
Lynn’s a Perry from Mapua (her brother Honk’s got the garage, the other brother’s doing the welding work on Steve Fullmer’s new kiln), Frank’s been there since 1961 and Don and Jan are relative newcomers after finishing farming in North Canterbury.
Don’s worried about the horses that some other neighbours are grazing on our land.
“I don’t like horses” he says ” Cattle and sheep are good, but I don’t like horses”
Everytime I see him: “John, I’m not happy about those horses. They’ll ruin your pasture…”
Frank’s the sort of guy who comes home and tells his new wife that they’ve bought a pig farm together with a house inhabited by chickens and rats, he’s just made a log splitter from spare bits, he’s got a 1930 concrete mixer and a Porsche 968, he’s just wrecked his pick-up (“The towbar was THIS FAR from my nose…”) which he’s going to rebuild, he builds houses (in Germany and Samoa, despite having left school at 14 and thus wasn’t allowed to do an apprenticeship. At various times, he appears to have owned and sold large chunks of Mapua and he tells these wild tales which you just KNOW can’t be true (gold-mining, owning this, building that) and them you look at Lynn and she gives you a resigned look and a nod and you know that it IS true.
And Lynn’s got the driest sense of humour imaginable. I called her up and told them that we have some guys coming over to do a topographic survey.
“So I shouldn’t shoot them, then?” she says.
Frank would have probably bellowed:
“Too late, boy!” (He calls me “boy”. I’m 6 years younger than he is….) “Too late. I set the dogs on them, but one got away….”