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Sue Heggie
New Zealand

Sue Heggie was born in Dunedin in 1956 to parents from ‘home”. Her father was Scottish but came to NZ when he was 4. He met his wife at Wick during the war as she was in the WAFS. Sue’s mother came to NZ by boat when engaged to Sue’s father. On her arrival he drove her to Roxburgh to live, and Sue recalls her mother saying she thought she had come to the end of the world.

Sue remembers receiving parcels of second hand clothes from Britain from her cousins who went to boarding school and these seemed like something from the Crystal Annual to her. The family’s only magazine subscription was the Northumberland News. Sue went on to become an English teacher and was relieved to discover Janet Frame who wrote about creeks and bush rather than meadows and forests. “I was shaped by my childhood at the family crib down the Otago Peninsula at a time when OSH didn’t impinge on our lives.”

crossed cultures - special issue
Map of France

We are moving to France
For six months.

I have highlighted the place
in orange on the map. Only
twenty houses, no patisseries,
no romantic tabac, no school at
4 rue de L’Ecole, just people
and we hope, children.

We are moving to France
For six months.

Past Perpignan, Quillan and Puivert,
Where there is a castle and a café,
open in the summer and some Australians.
There is a market for the locals and La Poste.
We are going in winter.

We are moving to France
For six months.

The photograph of our converted barn
off the net is grainy and black
and white, like an image from the last war.
I see thin men in striped pyjamas.

We are moving to France
For six months.

The walls are two feet thick,
Too thick for ears,
shuttered and grey-stoned.
Silence then inside except
for soft voices. A child and
a mother speaking in Anglais,
fluent and fearful.

We are driving into the map
in our Renault on the wrong side of the
world, getting smaller and smaller as we zero in on Campgast.
past Quillan, Puivert and the Australians.

Neither of us knows a soul or any French
beyond s’il vous plait and ca va monsieur,
our exchanges timid and polite.

Nous allons demenager a France
Pendant six mois.

We don’t know any French.
our foreign tongues are tied.


The beds are rumpled and
restless and all askew.

A foreigner might think it
an excess of snails and wine
or the hot summer nights
or even late night frenzied
fete dancing.

But I know it is because
we are going back to a place
I can’t bring myself to call

Featured Artist Fiona Holding