A BRIT IN THE BOONIES
By Helen Leggatt
Copyright 2012 by Helen Leggatt
This book contains a collection of humorous short articles from writer and British expat Helen Leggatt. They first appeared as a column in the Malvern News, a local newspaper distributed in rural Canterbury, New Zealand.
The twenty short articles document her observations of everyday life in the Kiwi countryside while learning to live in a new country. Discover her cock-ups and successes, misunderstandings and steep learning curves. From housing to horticulture and jam to jandals, even the mundane can be a hurdle for a Brit in the Boonies.
I remember pressing my nose against the window as we flew over the Southern Alps for the first time. “Ah yes, this is just as I imagined it would be,” I sighed as the snowy tips made way for the lush green blanket of the Canterbury Plains. But it didn’t “hit” me; perhaps I had to land first.
The free-flowing, glistening and efficient airport bolstered my expectations as I flung open the doors and sucked in a lung of fresh, clean New Zealand air. I expected it to hit me there and then. But it didn’t.
The taxi ferried us through suburbs stuffed to the gills with mock-tudor mansions and roman-pillared monstrosities. Confusion set in. What were humungous concrete castles with grass verges for gardens and six foot fences for vistas doing in Godzone? Who dares to be so ostentatious in Godzone at the expense of infinite views and space? This isn’t the 1950’s British backwater we’d been dreaming about where society was classless, driving was courteous and money an after-thought.