Peace and quiet

I will arise, and go now, and go to Taranaki
And a small cabin dwell in there, of pine and fibro made

No. Just doesn’t quite work.

I am however, going to Taranaki for a few days. My parents have been squandering my inheritance, as they ought to do, and they have bought themselves a back country bush block. That’s a farm block with a lot of forest on it, for non-Kiwi readers. It has a bit of grazing land, which is leased to a neighbouring farmer, but most of the block is bush (forest), and regenerating bush. There are various conservation covenants in place, and Mum and Dad are trapping and poisoning the pests (possums, stoats, weasels). There doesn’t seem to be any deer on the place, and the goats are kept under control by the leaseholder. So the native bush is thriving, and with it, the native birds.

There’s a building on the property: Mum calls it a bach and Dad calls it a lodge. The latter is perhaps an exaggeration – there are three small bedrooms, with bunk beds, a kitchen and living room, and basic bathroom facilities. They cook on the wood-fired coal range, which also heats the hot water cylinder. Water comes from rain water tanks: if the tanks run dry – not particularly likely in Taranaki – then it’s a matter of getting water brought in by tanker.

There is nothing to be heard save the birds, and the livestock. There are no streetlights, or indeed lights of any sort, so the stars are brilliant. Lovely.

My three little city girls love going there. They are especially looking forward to seeing the spring lambs, although there’s a good chance that the lambs will be docked while we are there. That should shatter a few of their illusions.


There is no electricity. There is no telephone. There is no mobile phone coverage at the house. There is one hill over the other side of the valley that you can climb up to get high enough to make a cell phone call, but only if you face in the right direction, and hold your tongue in a certain position.

So it is extraordinarily quiet and peaceful. And that’s why it makes me think of The Lake Isle of Innisfree, by W. B. Yeats.

I WILL arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the mourning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

I will enjoy my few days of peace and quiet. Expect to hear from me again on about Thursday.


4 responses to “Peace and quiet

  1. Hi, I surfed here from the Richard Dawkins site. I love that Years poem. My aunt, who lives on a remote farm in central Ireland, quotes it all the time. Another favorite of hers (and mine), also by Yeats, is The Stolen Child:

    Come away, o human child
    To the waters and the wild
    With a fairy hand in hand
    For the world’s more full of weeping
    Than you can understand

  2. Gorgeous, gorgeous post.

  3. Lovely post – I felt like I was visiting the lodge in person.

  4. It sounds marvellous! Happy birthday to you – great that you have come home.