Paradise is right here

One-time mayoral candidate, rest-home activist and whitewater rafter Peter Bruce continues the holiday instalment of Heart of Marlborough, the column about what makes our region special.

A Marlborough boy born and bred, I had a wonderful childhood here. Dad brought a war-surplus aeroplane and together with the neighbourhood kids we spent our childhood pretending to fly it and dismantling it.

But I always wanted to go to those places aeroplanes fly to - Australia, London, America. Newspapers and magazines full of exciting stories and wonderful pictures from London, New York, the Grand Canyon and the Great Barrier Reef. Everything so amazing seemed to be and happen overseas.

I had to go.

Family came along and stalled the yearning to see the world but inside, the fire to go to far off places kept burning. Family grew.

Then out of the blue, the opportunity to travel and see the world materialised. This was it, my holy grail, I grabbed it with both hands and off I went. For 25 years travel was perpetual as I explored the globe and also looking for a place I felt most comfortable in.

I lived and worked in many countries seeking my Shangri La, and always New Zealand pulled me back for its magnificent natural beauty, compactness, small population and relative isolation.

My travel experiences had made me start to see things the other way around - so much tension in the world, so many people everywhere, so much despoliation of the natural environment, queues, unfriendliness, concrete - the list goes on.

So Marlborough, and Blenheim in particular, became more prominent in my mind as a place to live and work.

So when the 50 perpetual summers' travelling came to an end, it was Blenheim that was the most perfect place in the world to call home.

Call it parochialism, call it old fashioned, but we have a lifestyle that is wonderful; maybe a little naive, and lost in many other parts of the world.

Marlborough has a heart and its beat is beautiful. It's my kind of beat.

The Marlborough Express