The kitchen in Barry and Colleen Boston's Ararimu home is warm and comforting. A long, scrubbed wooden table stretches the length of the room and has a view over an English style garden, lovely even in the spring mist.
In the corner a Stanley wood fired cooker burns, its heat filling the kitchen with ease. "We put it in about 14 years ago," Colleen says as she fills the teapot with water boiled on the range.
"I'd grown up with one and wanted to put one in, then we came across Broadys at the Fieldays."
The stocky burner - referred to as ‘just Stanley' by the Bostons - sits in a custom built alcove, lined with bricks the couple had collected over time. "And lugged from place to place," Barry adds with a laugh.
As well as helping warm the house (in the living room is a small Stanley wood burner Colleen calls the Baby Broady), the Stanley heats the wetback and is used for all the couples cooking.
"People are often surprised when they realise we have no other cooker," Colleen says. "But I think it's quite nice to have that slower rate of living, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. You get up in the morning, get the stove going, put the kettle on and go and have your shower. When you get out of the shower, the kettle is boiling."
"And food tastes so different. It's not dried out and has more flavour," Barry adds. Indeed the couple do all of their cooking on the Stanley - year round. Summer simply means not having the range going all day unless they want it for a particular reason. Cooking on the cooker is no more difficult than with an electric stove according to Colleen. "Some things can be little trickier - like a fruit cake or a pavlova - but really its about learning to manage the heat ," Colleen says. Barry agrees and points out that it really is more about learning how to maintain the heat as stable as possible. "You've got to learn how to drive them." If the range is too hot, according to Barry, simply add wood and close things down. The added wood helps to slow the heat. The couple may be retired but they are very active competing in marathons, cycling, and horse riding. "I don't sit on my bottom all day - but the cooking is no more difficult or slow. Veggies can be done in a flash," Colleen says. "Besides you do the things you need to do," she adds with a shrug. "It gives a body and soul some peace."
Colleen and Barry could not be happier with the cooker - or with Broadys. "In this day and age there are not that many businesses where you get service like you do at Broadys," Barry says "Richard Steele, who has sadly passed away, used to look after us and he was one of the world's gentlemen. John Lintott is the same. They look after their customers and always go the extra mile."
- Stanley Donard