Tag Archives: pete mcgregor

more like a home

September 30, 2012

Pohangina Valley Dawn

Phil hangs out in the kitchen, always in the same place. I only noticed him there last week, hanging off the wall, low down. This morning I stooped to check him out and he stretched a long, thin leg towards me then drew it back. He was sucking the juice out of a small fly.

Perhaps it was a stroke of luck I hadn’t named the black, bristly wild pig who lived in the back paddock after someone had caught him near Shannon. Only the size of a small dog when he first arrived, he grew rapidly and grew friendly just as fast. He’d run laps around the paddock, going hell-for-leather apparently for the sheer fun of it. When I opened my back door he’d come bolting over to fence, squealing and grunting, and I’d go over and scratch him behind the ears; he’d squint his little eyes and stand perfectly still, drooling slightly. Even when he was almost a full-grown boar he loved his scratch.

I came back from an overnight trip to a hut in the Ruahine to find him gone, nothing left except a black bristly tail and a pool of blood in the killing tray. I think it would have been harder if I’d named him, the same way I now can’t sweep Phil away in a bout of weekend cleaning. Phil’s relatives occupy other corners too, and I don’t begrudge them the space. The house seems more like a home when it’s not just mine.


Pete lives in the Pohangina Valley, on the edge of the Ruahine range in Aotearoa/New Zealand’s North Island. His primary blog, Pohanginapete, is about travelling, thinking, mountains and mountaineering, photography, Aotearoa-NZ, natural history, people, a wee bit of politics, life in general and a swag of other stuff. It has lots of photos, too. The Ruins of the Moment is Pete’s photoblog

pohangina valley

June 1, 2012

About 8:30 a.m.
The occasional drip of condensation from the novalite roof onto the verandah. A bird’s feet as it patters across the roof; a dull thump as corrugated iron expands in the morning sun and strains against the nails that fasten it to the rafters. A starling sings — perhaps the same bird that ran in short bursts across the roof. The quiet, continuous sigh of the laptop’s fan , interspersed with intermittent disc activity. I brew tea.

Shortly before nine:
The squeal as the gate next door opens; the crunch of boots on the gravel driveway. The dogs go ape. Soon after, a moment’s pounding of pads on the verandah, the dull scratch of blunt claws. The idiot pup — gifted the energy of its spaniel father as compensation for its peanut-sized brain — barks at god-knows-what. For all I know, it hears its own voice and thinks it’s someone else so barks back. A few minutes later Trev’s yelling. The spaniel appears to have vanished — searching for a brain, perhaps? Like son, like father.

Ten o’clock:
A plane crosses the sky, a magpie warbles. The dogs, back in their kennels, have gone quiet, resigned to another day of boredom broken only by the possibility of the cat sauntering from the hay shed to the house. When he does, he takes his time, sometimes stopping to wash his face where he’s most obvious to the ballistic dogs.

I brew more tea, feel the warmth.


Pete lives in the Pohangina Valley, on the edge of the Ruahine range in Aotearoa/New Zealand’s North Island. His primary blog, Pohanginapete, is about travelling, thinking, mountains and mountaineering, photography, Aotearoa-NZ, natural history, people, a wee bit of politics, life in general and a swag of other stuff. It has lots of photos, too. The Ruins of the Moment is Pete’s photoblog