Dropped out in Godzone










… and LOVING it even more.


A South African’s and “exile Kiwi’s” light-hearted look at life in laid-back, provincial New Zealand. Eventually life in “Sleepy Hollow” became so quiet that we decided to write a book about it… although there were one or two adventures from time to time.

A new immigrant family’s view of rural ‘Godzone’ and culture shock after arriving from a large city in South Africa to start a new lifestyle … with a rather drastic change of pace on the other side of the world. Now six years later, no, now twenty-five, I take it all for granted…

and appreciate it even more.

Nothing much happens over there. The headline in a major capital city was

‘golf-ball thrown at police constable’.”

– comments by British entertainer Julian Cleary on a recent visit to “Godzone”.

And that’s in a “metropolis”. Just wait till he gets to “Sleepy Hollow” and sees

the “local rag” in “Sleepy Hollow”!




Chapter One: Arrival and Settling in

Chapter Two: Early Days

Chapter Three: Consolidation and Early Impressions

Chapter Four: “My Business Empire”

Chapter Five: The Housing Experience

Chapter Six: I love to live by the Seaside

Chapter Seven: Restlessness and Reflections

Chapter Eight: Some General Observations about “Sleepy Hollow”

Chapter Nine: Observations of “Godzone” by an “outsider”

Chapter Ten: The “Sleepy Hollow” Sporting scene

Chapter Eleven: Our varied activities

Chapter Twelve: My Experiences with some fellow Countrymen

Chapter “Lucky” Thirteen: Summary and The Final Word



The abbreviation “SH” is used to denote the city of “Sleepy Hollow”. The name is made up, but the place is certainly real. All names in this short book (other than our own ones) have been changed to avoid any embarrassment. The only embarrassment might be the authors’ at writing this.

I must say that these accounts were my initial impressions and were written after about three years here. When I wrote this I was very socially isolated in writing my various books. Now another three years later, I have felt very much at home here. Whilst my initial impressions and observations have not changed much (if at all), I have met many wonderful people here who have reached out and made me feel very


Thank you to the good, kind people of SH who have opened their hearts to me, even though I’m a “newie” and will probably never be a real “Sleepy Hollowite”, my descendants not having arrived on the first ship to hit these “sleepy shores”.



This manuscript is dedicated to small town dwellers throughout the world. Savour and appreciate the experience out of “the rat race” of large cities – it is certainly something precious. I would like to thank my dear wife Gill for giving me the opportunity and financial support to indulge in the creative endeavour of writing. You had faith in me all along – far more than I ever did. And thanks for writing a substantial part of this manuscript. You came up with the title and it was your idea

to write this work. You’re certainly a very talented person!

Thanks to my beloved boys, G and S who bring me so much happiness. Seeing you grow and develop and loving you makes the journey that is life so interesting.

Especially thanks to “Sleepy Hollow” (where nothing much happens)* for giving me the peace of mind and tranquillity to think clearly and write. New Zealand is a wonderful beautiful country to inspire writers.

* Not true some years later. Two sensational murders in two weeks. If this can happen in SH, what is the world coming to!

Also to my close friends scattered throughout the world who always said I should write a book: this is what we have been up to in recent years… so DON’T expect a letter.

I thank God, my Creator for the spark inside me which inspired me to write, and I truly believe we all have a gift, a touch of genius that lies in the human spirit, which is the spark within all of us, just waiting to be lit.*

* In some of my later and more serious works, I have developed this theme.



Five years ago my wife Gill felt compelled because of a series of traumatic and unavoidable circumstances to return to her home town in New Zealand. She had been away about 15 years first doing her nursing training in another NZ city, then working in England, where she met me, then living in South Africa with ‘yours truly’. I won’t go into the rather bizarre set of circumstances now, because that can be the subject of another book. All I will say is that it was a very stressful time of our lives.

Either fortunately or unfortunately, I was also dragged along with our twin boys Gareth and Sean. We were powerless to withstand this irresistible force of human nature. I was shot in the posterior by an anaethetised dart and when I woke up I found myself in “Sleepy Hollow”. The boys were six at the time and already seasoned jet-setters around the world, unlike their “poor” parents. These are the

circumstances which led to our adventures into the unknown, far, far away from ‘civilisation’.

This manuscript is our account of our experiences, impressions and life “down under” – on the other side of the world from vibrant and colourful South Africa, “the beloved country”…




A new immigrant’s impressions of life in provincial New Zealand (after coming
from a large city in South Africa) … and there were one or two rather funny
adventures,  nay escapades in “Sleepy Hollow” from time to time.
     “Dropped Out In Godzone” is an original and agreeable piece of work. The picture
it gives of New Zealand- to one who has never been there- has a ring of complete
authenticity. The feeling of the country is relaxed, and perhaps rather unstimulating,
but we get an overall impression from the writer that he views his time there with
some affection, and above all with tolerance.”
     This book breathes a natural humour and kindliness, which is what gives it the
individual character that is so appealing. Autobiography has a particular value as a
literary form. It is a shared kind of writing and I’ll continue to bang the drum.It is unusual to encounter two such different manuscripts from the same author.
Both (THE END OF THE LINE is the other book) have quality and share an easy and
assured writing style that is a pleasure to read. Both of these short books are of
first rate quality.”From http://www.lulu.com/shop/ray-and-gill-carruthers/dropped-out-in-godzone/ebook/product-17468417.htmland
Don’t worry about the world ending today.
It’s already tomorrow in scenic and tranquil ‘little’ New Zealand
Dropped out is available at Amazon




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