4 November. We arrive last night. Our good friend Debby picks us up at the airport, in unusually blustery weather, the clouds and wind dissipating as we drive over the crest of Marble Mountain and look down into Golden Bay. Cloud wisps hang around the Kahurangi peaks as we descend into the valley. After 24 hours of flights and airports and layovers, we were buzzed. In the valley, coming across the flat paddocks of Upper Takaka, it’s early spring. New lambs were out with their mums on the grass –iridescent green in contrast the the half-dead northeast US to early, vibrant spring here). Town is bustling, Debby says every Friday the locals come in, a tradition. Turning right onto Motupipi Street, then left around the dairy factory, then up our familiar hill, all looks the same. Rounding the last bend, the pohutukawa, “the New Zealand Christmas tree” with its late December brillient red flowers, was just budding out. But the clematis flowingoff the deck is always our trumpet home, glory in white.