In early 2001 and early 2002 I visited New Zealand for the Sounds of Summer symposium, travelling with Daffyd. On both occasions, we met up with the Archwizard, the Wizard of New Zealand, Daffyd’s mentor who has been a fixture at the Sounds of Summer,
On both occasions, we travelled to, and stayed at, the Wizard’s house in Christchurch. I got to see the Wizard doing his thing in Cathedral square.
The house was the sort of residence a wizard ought to have. A rambling, two-storey colonial mansion made of wood, nestled in a large garden with a creek running through it. The house was full of memorabilia – art (particularly C18th and C19th prints), mementoes particularly on the wizardly theme, a huge vinyl record collection that seemed to be everywhere. In the drive was the Wizard’s famous ‘two-rears’ VW beetle.
The house was a warm and comforting place, both old-time and other-worldly. It seemed rooted in place, belonging to where it was as if had set down deep roots, and yet a haven that was apart from what was around it.
During my second visit, the Wizard talking about doing a Prospero, and hanging up his staff. A plan he later put into action.
It was my firm intention to stay with the Wizard and his lady in Christchurch in their wonderful residence on the way. The Wizard himself was very keen.
I won’t be able to do that. The house was destroyed by arson. They effectively lost everything. A haven of wonder was destroyed.
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