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Our Retro Paradise

For as long as I can remember, we have ventured to our family bach in the Marlborough Sounds every summer to relax amongst the native bush, sunflower wall paper and red vinyl chairs. I kid you not, this is the retro décor that greets us every summer and something we all love. It’s truly like stepping back in time. I even have the photos’ of a number of the bach walls to prove it. Of course, the sunflower wallpaper features brightly in the bathroom. You can’t help but smile every time you step foot in the shower!

Since moving home, we no longer have to wait for our once-a-year trip to our little slice of retro paradise. It’s close enough to make a weekend sojourn feel like a week. There’s nothing to do but walk, fish, swim, eat and read and it’s perfect. The Bach cupboards even house those tiny 80’s style wines glasses that show just how much our serving sizes have increased over the years. Until recently I did all of my ‘Bach baking’ with a hand beater in a big silver pot. However, you’ll be pleased to know we’ve upgraded to a baking set complete with measuring cups and an electric beater. Although sometimes I still prefer to use the hand beater and pot – it just feels like a better fit at the Bach!

The Bach is such an escape, there is no internet or cell phone coverage but an old dusty Britannica set is at the ready when a debate gets heated and we need to look up a fact or piece of history. A morning coffee on the deck or a long lingering brunch or lunch in the sun is sure to be accompanied by the resident Tui’s prancing about from bush to bush pecking nectar. The Tui’s and Bellbirds also make the most blissful alarm. If only they could be my wakeup call every day of the year. The array of birds is one of the pleasures of being entirely surrounded by native forest.

One of my fondest memories of the Bach when I was little was getting up early to go fishing with dad and granddad and then coming home with fresh flounder and devouring a whole fried flounder for breakfast. Unfortunately we didn’t experience the gift of flounder last weekend. Despite our best efforts and a 7-hour fishing expedition on Saturday, we came home with no fish – completely empty handed. Of course, I was hugely optimistic and didn’t pack any protein for Saturday night’s dinner so we foraged around in the Bach freezer and found some wild pork sausages to accompany baked potatoes and Tamalemana coleslaw. If you haven’t tried this amazing slaw, then you must. Monica’s guacamole and the handmade fried corn tortilla chips are equally delicious. They were the perfect nibbly bit on Friday night upon arrival to our patterned wall odyssey.

It’s amazing to think that Marlborough boasts 20% of New Zealand’s coastline, with majority of that lying within the Marlborough Sounds. We are so very lucky to live so close to such a special and idyllic place. We just to need to make sure we make the most of it and enjoy its endless bounties and beauty more often. Sometimes, it’s important to live simply and remember that we don’t need mod cons or fancy surrounds to make us happy. Plenty of fresh air, a see breeze and fresh fish is all that’s needed and our Bach is that place for me. I’ll always remember a little saying that adorned my nana and granddad’s toilet door (of all places) and it read ‘Happiness is wanting what you have, not having what you want’…If only I was this wise in my younger years!

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