Two Princesses, A party and Lucy Brown has no idea what’s about to happen. 

Damen and Amy give us their bed

We traversed the Waiheke waters and slept in a magical bed where I didn’t awake from peaceful slumber until 7.30am each day. Last one up! We breakfasted on sugar free berry pancakes with bacon, yoghurt and coffee, made by someone else…definitely Spoilt!
We had come laden with sand and all the stuff to make a hen run to help Damen and Amy reign in their way ward hens. Like teenagers they were stretching their wings, disturbing the neighbours peace and laying eggs wildly nilly. Saturday night however was earmarked for a barn dance. Have you got a square dancing skirt ready? Amy enquired the day before. “Ummm, no”. I answered and went first to the dress up box. Putting on an elastic waisted red number I resembled the plump top twin before I remembered my operation skirt. Kept during the recent declutter for its elastic waist but tiered, it was what Mum used for her knee operation and again later after her hip operation. Easy to slip over your head when leaving the hospital, I used it when I had my toe operation, it has since been dubbed my ‘operation skirt’.

Dancing  dresses on and ready to party. 

I hunted out some tulle and found a nice long length left from Johny and Sarah’s wedding after making the wedding parties dresses. Lucky I’m a hoarder I mused, as I gathered and stitched it to the hem of a petticoat. A quick change after we arrived and a bacon and egg pie into a calico bag and we were ready. The two little girls a picture of princess-ness in their finery. They looked just gorgeous. It was a little like stepping back in time as families arrived with salads and casseroles, dressed in their hats n boots and in true Waiheke style, some looking like they might be wearing pyjamas. They gathered together, shared dinner, laughed a lot and danced, barn dance style.  

Take your partner and doe see doe…

Sunday however was set aside for a garden safari that raised money for a Jassey Dean trust. Set up after Jassy Dean, a young girl, passed away the trust raises money to support families with children facing illness. A wonderful thing to support, but buying a ticket was no hardship. Giving us a whole day of visiting gardens open for the weekend so the public can sticky beak their court yards, expansive sea views and BBQ areas. Some quaint little cottages been in the family for 35 years, and some fancy new builds that blow you away with the size and money spent on landscaping alone. The generosity of families opening up their private spaces is heartwarming. From Granny and Grandpa, to rich listers just invested in an expansive winery with a house to match your lotto dreams.
My favourite by far was a garden without lawn. Every inch of the hill with coastal winds was planted. Micro climates achieved with clever planting and winding paths that take you past stakes and stakes of bean tepees and a citrus grove, a kumara patch and row after row of tomatoes along with every other kind of vegetable you can imagine. 
They had made a glass house out of pre-loved Windows and it was the stuff of a Gardeners dream. I sent Tara a pic and could imagine her drooling over it. It housed stacks of seedlings just peeking from their seed raising trays ready to be snipped for salads or let grow on into adulthood. The glass house extended into trellising of peas and grapes and ended in a fig tree. In the centre section of the glass house was a rocking chair and an old wood burner with a book, waiting for someone to return and simply sit on a day too cold to garden. 

My dream glasshouse Gilbert’s going to build. Ahem…

Looking up the hill we spied a sixties caravan complete with blue flagged awning and comfy deck chairs. Further up still, a pergola, with built in and cushioned seating. This was surrounded by the delicate perfume of jasmine and grasses that would catch the passing breeze to sway gently. Oh these guys had it all and they knew what they were doing. I could have stayed there all day. “I love it, I gushed. I want it! Gilbert? Do you hear me? I want it!”Hmmm, is he listening to me?

Lucy Brown has no idea she’s about to be reined in. 

The next day the boys hammered in harmony and before long a new hen run was ready and as we pondered how to get Lucy Brown in, the most difficult of the three, she wandered in to lay an egg! Wow. That was lucky. No.2 followed soon after and no.3 was lured in with food as easy as pie. I gave hen whisperer secrets which included, ‘don’t let them out for a week’v as I dug up a cubic metre of compost and turned into a new area with instructions on setting up the veg garden. My hand is strapped and digging is no fun as the brace makes sure I don’t misuse my hand while the tendons are healing. “I’m only on half speed”, I apologised as I stretched my fingers and contemplated removing the annoying thing. 
A quick shower and on the ferry home I said to Gilbert. “I want the garden, and the pergola, and the glasshouse. Actually I want several caravans, then when the kids come to stay they can sleep in the caravans. It will be so cool. We can site them around the property”. Hmmm, we tossed that idea around as we rode the ferry home. “You know what will happen, surmised Gilbert. Some of the kids will go to bed early and they will have to go sit there in case they wake up and if they only get slept in twice a year they will be filled with cobwebs, white tails and cockroaches and everybody will come screaming back to sleep inside and the bloody things will rust away in the paddock and be a pain in the arse to get rid of”. He’s got a point there… “OK. I conceded. So what about the glasshouse then?”

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