Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Travels - in which we visit an error and find ourselves in a time warp

On Saturday I went on a drive with Mum and her husband, Dave. On the way we passed through Rangiora where I visited something I've wanted to visit ever since I found out it was located (relatively) close to Mum's house. It was perhaps a little weird, but not really.

I made Dave drop Mum and I off at the Anglican Cemetery in Rangiora where New Zealand poet Ursula Bethell is buried so I could see her grave and put some flowers from Mum's garden on it (Bethell was an avid gardener and wrote much of her poetry about her garden in the Cashmere Hills in Christchurch so I thought it was only right I took her some flowers). I studied Bethell in an English Literature paper at university but most of the research I did on her was for an essay I wrote on her relationship with her companion Effie Pollen for one of my Gender and Women's Studies papers. Did I agree with recent arguments that the relationship was a lesbian one? You'd have to read my essay to find out....

Anyway, I wasn't going to mention my grave visiting time but today while looking at my photos I noticed something I hadn't when I was at the cemetery. Her name is spelled incorrectly on the plaque! There's an extra 'U' in 'Ursula'. I'm not the first person to have noticed as I Googled it and the mistake is noted in a newsletter of the International Institute of Modern Letters but I've emailed the Waimakariri District Council anyway to ask who arranged for the plaque (as it doesn't look like the original one). If it was the Council then surely they should get it fixed. Her parents' shared grave is located directly behind hers and they have the same style plaque, but thankfully their names are spelled correctly as far as I can tell.

And yes, I did wonder if it was a bit improper to take a photo of the grave, but then I thought, hey, I took a photo of Shakespeare's grave so I'm sure Bethell would be happy that she was afforded similar treatment to Shakespeare.

After appeasing my grave request, Mum, Dave and I carried on to visit some of their friends who have just bought a farm in Springfield. On the way we stopped in Oxford at Jo Seager's cafe and I got a hot chocolate that is unlike any I have had before.

You tip the chocolate buttons and chocolate sauce into the hot milk and stir it up. Its an interactive hot chocolate! It's also very yum.

Oxford also has a cool wee shop called Emma's at Oxford that is housed in a former hall built in the Art Deco style (I'm pretty sure it is Art Deco anyway). It has a great curved stage inside and lots of lovely books.

The house on the farm that Mum and Dave's friends have bought also has it's own particular style. The original rooms of the house retain some beautiful carpet (I told them that if they pull it up I'll have it...not sure what I'd do with it, but I love it).

Bedroom One (my favourite of the two)

Bedroom Two

Many of the rooms in the house are additions that were built in the 1970s. And they haven't been touched since then...

The wallpaper in the bathroom and the laundry were favourites - apparently it is being painted over ASAP.

And every room had its own special crocheted lampshade. Mum and I said if they soaked the lampshades in some Napisan (some of them are a bit dirty after 40 years hanging from the ceiling) and sold them on TradeMe someone would surely love them!

Now I am back in Wellington, where the temperature indicates that summer is truly over in this part of New Zealand.

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