The Boss heads west

Charmed by rain, The Boss and The Chief Inspector have headed to a new start at Hokitika, Charlotte Rietveld writes.

In Home Block5 Minutes

Charmed by rain, The Boss and The Chief Inspector have headed to a new start at Hokitika, Charlotte Rietveld writes.

AFTER 50 YEARS IT HAS FINALLY happened. The Boss has flown the coop.

Technically it’s just a holiday house, but his holidays are breeding like bureaucrats. Residing just an hour inland from Christchurch, I was quite sure my parents’ long-awaited choice of holiday home would err on illustrious – Akaroa is the logical spot, Wanaka at a push.

How wrong I was. After a seriously wet year onfarm, it seems my father is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome and has insisted on a house in Hokitika.

Previously considering an afternoon in Christchurch a big day out, The Boss now thinks nothing of a stint hitting the hay in the neighbouring province. True to his sheep farmer instincts, he’ll happily head into the breeze, battling a classic Rakaia Gorge gale nor’wester to arrive at its source, a Hokitika downpour.

Abandoned and bewildered, I have assured myself the novelty will soon wear off and Middle Rock’s most productive labour unit will return. The real estate agent’s number has remained on the Samsung’s speed dial as I eagerly await a relist. It wasn’t until his favourite Swanny headed westwards that it dawned there was no bright-line risk here.

Since then I have adopted a sophisticated psychological theory known as the limping seagull strategy. Aiming to exhibit endearing vulnerability, I have presented The Boss with glaring farm managerial omissions and oversights. Diarising tailing of the rams, maps proposing fences across the main road and schedules of stockpiled scrap metal sell-downs have failed to raise alarm. Short of stitching ‘Help! Stay!’ into the swede sow-down, I am unsure of what more I can do. It seems the gold-card carrying chariot has bolted.

But spare a thought for The Chief Inspector in all this. Happily at home gardening, she was forcibly uprooted and transplanted into the daunting world of setting up house in her 70s. Not, it transpired, that a free rein was allowed. Do keep in mind that The Chief Inspector is not to be messed with, but these were unprecedented times; The Boss had discovered Briscoes. No Breville beater nor Scanpan pot was safe in this man-raid. Despite failing to register 1000 of his wife’s historical haircuts, it turned out The Boss was quite the stickler when it came to bakeware, napery and serveware standards.

With porcelain purchased and possession date looming, the pack-up ultramarathon began. Commandeering a covered trailer, this was a multi-day event involving various disciplines. Most certainly not a team sport, we the mere support crew were banished to the sidelines as the trailer Tetris unfolded. No square inch was spared as Briscoes boxes, bikes, beds and barbecues were retentively squeezed into self-locking formation. Duly qualifying for automatic entry into the world champs of packing, The Boss was heartily satisfied.

After 50 years inland immersed in tussocks, matagouri, hills and gales, he was off to the Coast where a seaside stroll was rewarded with fresh coffee and colourful characters along the way. We have fortunately since lured him back to his main residence, with legendary work rate intact. But I am quite sure the coastwards pull will remain strong. For anyone passing by or perhaps looking for an illustrious holiday home of their own, feel free to join The Boss in a Hokitika purchase. You’ll never buy better.