Micha Johansen waxes lyrical about a road that evokes fond memories of her childhood.

About halfway between our farm in Eke and my parents’ lifestyle block in Waipuk is my favourite road in the world. Referred to by me as ‘my road’, this mostly unsealed road has my favourite house in the world, ‘granny’s house’. The house where my mother’s parents lived before retiring to Napier. The house where my mother and uncle were raised, and where my uncle lived for 65 years before he retired. The house where there was a tyre swing in the tree, Cape Cod chairs on the verandah, an old lanolin-infused shearing shed, meringues in the cupboard, and it was always summer. Despite attempts to instil some reality into my obsession (it may be a bit wetter, and colder than I remember), nothing can alter my childhood fantasy memories.

Like all grand romance stories, my road and I have many detractors. Firstly there is TJ. This man just does not get it, despite my waxing lyrical about how wonderful my road is. In the past four years of back and forth to my parents’ place, TJ has succumbed to my ‘let’s go down my road’ once. Once! Sure, we had to negotiate a mob of sheep, but other than that the sun was out and it was so beautiful and I was so happy. I remember his relief when we got back on the sealed road, but he’d get used to my road in no time – he races dirt track for heaven’s sake. Despite my love for my road, TJ has zero plans to ever buy, live on, or holiday home there, EVER.

And then there is my mother. Always the voice of reason, even though she has fond memories and stories of the road, and house, she also has no plans to buy it for me, should it come back on the market. It’s looking like I need a Lotto win, or some big side hustles. She tells me that the house has been renovated so it won’t evoke the same memories that we had. But I say phooey! The garage, about the only bit you can see from the road, looks exactly the same to me. These days Mum and Dad only travel on my road from west to east, because if they do meet another vehicle, they’d rather drive into a bank than over one, but I love my road so I’m excited to drive it, albeit very sedately, in either direction.

My last trip on my road was just prior to the New Year. On Christmas Day TJ and I dropped seven calves off to Mum and Dad to graze, until they run out of grass. Dad’s first comment was ‘can’t I get a nice line?’ That’d be ‘no, Dad. We sell those ones, you get the rubbishy extras’. He has already renamed Ethan to Eaton, as in ‘he’ll be good eatin’. Of course TJ was rapt to be delivering calves, as it meant towing a trailer, therefore travelling via my road was off the cards. A few days after Christmas I texted Mum to see if she wanted me to bring a pie over for her birthday lunch, which was actually more a ploy for the opportunity to have a tiki tour over my road. Luckily the timing was just right because one of the calves had slipped under a fence and was now in with the neighbours two-year-old angus steers, and they needed a hand to get him back.

My mother is very much about equality. I have witnessed her telling bank managers that her job was ‘farmer’ not ‘farmer’s wife’ and they’d better correct their paperwork pronto, yet the look on her face when I turned up sans TJ to get this calf back was priceless. Apparently we can’t do anything remotely hard without him. Fortunately Mum was proven wrong. Before I could come up with an alternative plan Dad cut through the seven-wire fence and I scooted the escaped calf back into the right property. Getting the calf back was the easy bit, the hard bit was reconnecting the fence because Dad has forgotten more fencing skills than most people ever learn, and I’m about as much help as tits on a bull, unless it involves a hammer and staples. However the three of us eventually got it all done, and we walked away pretty proud of ourselves.

And what was my reward for this? Driving back home, with a detour along ‘my road’.