Song 1: Winter in July

Year in New Zealand: 12 Months 12 Songs is an audio journal of an album, that is being written song by song, month by month. Each month a new track is posted at
This is the first in a series of posts breaking down the story of each song

Duck Hunt!

It’s 8:30 am on a weekday morning, the jogging push-chair we picked up from TradeMe is loaded with Cora & lunchboxes, and Annie has her rainbow gumboots on. This can mean only one thing; it’s time for a duck hunt! 

Yes, we are all walking to school, but deep down Annie and I are hoping to see the lady duck and two gentleman ducks that often cross our path. We have adjusted our route to be slightly longer, for optimal duck spotting time. We now follow the stream an extra block, to the bridge where Annie once lost a shoe into the water.

In the United States this small babbling brook would likely be totally covered as an underground drainage route, but here it’s a beautiful suburban accent, constantly dipping beneath driveways and running away from the mountains in the distance. The ducks used to take one look at Annie and fly to safer ground; now we walk up to them and they waddle into the water and pretend she’s not there. Progress! 

After turning the corner away from the foot bridge we walk a straight path that is lined with lawn gardens. Although it is a cold July day, there are some flowers blooming. There is fog in the air and the dew brings the many hidden spiderwebs into focus.

Annie encourages me to smell the rosemary and is proud to identify flowers that I am unable to confirm nor deny the identity of. She runs through the grass, stops to lie down, and has even been known to take off her jacket to hug a tree from time to time.

We walk past the Dairy/takeaway shop, and prepare to dodge cars (real crosswalks are rare, but they provide islands of safety, so you can play Frogger with oncoming traffic).

After dropping the kids off at school, I push my empty pram to a corner supermarket that will soon be demolished to make way for a bigger, better one. I am all too aware that the moment I open my mouth it will be clear that I am not a Kiwi. My credit card doesn’t have paywave and I don’t know how to work the EFTPOS at the checkout. I always have to sign the receipt and sometimes have to show my drivers license or even my passport. 

I meet up with the head of the local music school at the cafe. Afterwards, the local vicar shows me how to work the church’s pipe organ. I ask when I can come to practice and she says the church is open for anyone to visit every weekday. “No one ever broke in an open door,” she says. “The only time anyone ever took anything from the church was when it was locked.” 

The working title for this song was “Open Door.” If only it didn’t remind me of a certain Frozen song…

Here’s the link to the song: Winter in July

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