Troubador From the Auld Rock to a Hard Place

Released: 28/11/2019

ISBN: 9781838591755

Format: Paperback

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From the Auld Rock to a Hard Place


It’s 1874 and a group of Shetlanders embark on a life-changing journey to New Zealand in search of a better life. Jamie and Catherine are deeply in love and about to be married. But their plans are thwarted by a selfish, unstable aristocrat who has designs on Jamie.

Jamie and Catherine must suffer a new life living side-by-side, but forbidden from being together. Joe, Jamie’s brother, must contend with being married to a woman he loves, while in the knowledge that Catherine’s heart still belongs elsewhere.

Arriving in New Zealand and challenged with new suffering and exploitation, will their love prevail against all odds?

'From the Auld Rock to a Hard Place' is my first novel. It is historical fiction based on fact. It is the story of a group of Shetlanders who emigrated to Karamea in the north of New Zealand's South Island. The Nelson Provincial Government was inadequately prepared for the arrival of the emigrants. Consequently their first two years were very difficult.

I am positing snippets about Shetland and Karamea on my facebook page WendyCheyne.

26 October 2019

The Auld Rock is on track to be released on 28 November - it will be wonderful to see the result of so much hard work.

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Wendy Cheyne

I was born in Cardiff. Educated at Palmerston Infants, Cadoxton Junior Mixed, Barry Girls' Grammar School. My family emigrated to New Zealand where my education continued at Roxburgh DHS, Avonside Girls'. As a mature student I studied at Canterbury University where, eventually, I graduated with a BA in French and American Studies.

Work career has veered from banking, working in the egg factory, counter lunches at the old Dominion Hotel to secretarial work at the University of Canterbury. I have also worked in Quality Assurance at Tip Top.

Ten years on a life style block at West Melton saw me as part-time shepherd, chief blueberry picker, chief in charge of egg production (120 free range hen) and managing director of a jam and pickle business.

Writing - I have worked as a volunteer on two local papers.

26 October 2019

I entered this poem into the Heritage Writers’ Awards and was fortunate to be awarded the runner up award. The members of the local writers’ committee were asked to submit a poem and a short story. I had never considered writing poetry, having no knowledge of the skill required for this genre of writing.

Hiraeth is a Welsh word which translates as a longing for that which no longer exists.


ix weeks we sailed

in a dream of eternal journeying

When the cry came

Land ahoy

The dream ended

A new home

But how dear the old one

Clear blue skies, shining sun

Red roofed houses clung to green hills

As nests of wasps

A new home

But how dear the old one

Strange names – Pet One?

No Pet Own EE

The same language

Different meanings

A new home

But how dear the old one

We journey on

A ferry to board

Woken at six with tea and bread and butter

The practice in this country?

A new home

But how dear the old one

A train journey

Kindly women offer food at every stop

Spaghetti sandwiches?

The practice in this country?

Sulphur laden smoke stings ones eyes

Head aches and stomach hurts

All new

But how dear the things well known

The journey’s not done?

A bus ride? How far?

We don’t know.

An ancient bus

Unsealed roads winding around steep hills

Scary drops into deep ravines

Mam bites her lip and hangs on to Da

Where are we going?

To a new home

But how dear the old one

Day’s almost gone, journey’s end

Our new home

A black building

Creosoted sheds one long and two short

Three stools, four beds. two tables

Made from broken pallets - box wood

A new home

But how dear the old one

Wendy Cheyne

Passport photograph - usually dreadful - this one not so.

Taken at a niece's wedding several years ago.
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