Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mr Shoestring Goes On A Road Trip

Last weekend and early this week Mr Shoestring and I went on a road trip to Palmerston North, Wanganui and New Plymouth taking in the sights along the way and of course venturing into any thrift shops we happened to spy.  Well my dears, what a veritable treasure trove of delights we came home with.  The car was bursting at the seams and we were very pleased with ourselves. 

In Wanganui we visited Virginia Lake where there is a winter garden 
The deco facade of the Winter Gardens at Virginia Lake

As a child I used to visit the winter gardens in the grounds of the Auckland Museum and was always fascinated by a similar (albeit larger, grander) wishing well there where the fish could swim right through an underwater tunnel and it has always been my secret ambition to one day have something similar myself.  Luckily Mr Shoestring took a look at the fountain and declared that it would be fairly simple to create something like that, so I have high hopes that one day (after all the other more pressing jobs are completed) my dreams may come true. 

The weather was a disappointment, sadly we had solid rain except for the last day of our journey.  At the gardens at Virginia Lake we saw these poor bedraggled birds in the aviary.  There were flocks of wild birds hovering around the outside of the aviary, probably hopeful of entering briefly and getting a free birdy lunch.
As the rain came bucketing down even the most colourful birds couldn't look cheerful

But look at these lovely babies in their nesting box

There were many empty commercial buildings in the provincial towns and it was a pity to see them with their proud lettering marking their original names and the years of their construction, only to see them neglected and unloved.  

In one town we were standing in the middle of the road gazing up at the facades of two particularly lovely buildings which had large signs advertising that they were for mortgagee sale.  A passing motorist stopped and told us that they were empty and being sold because since the Christchurch earthquake there would need to be strengthening work done, which was prohibitively expensive.  I suspect this will be happening all round the country and that many lovely buildings will be lost to us for this reason. 
 This building might have been opened in time for the 1934 Olympic games, now it is empty
 Imperialism is frowned upon, but once not so
 Better to be a Moral brother than an Immoral brother anyway

The highlight of the trip was a visit to Tupare in New Plymouth.  This was originally a private estate with construction of the house and garden beginning in 1932 and the house is a Chapman Taylor gem in the arts and crafts movement style.  Sadly the house was closed, but peering through the windows we could make out the built in hand made furniture.  The house has the cosy and intimate feeling of some others of this era and style and we will definitely return one day for a look at the inside. 

Even the front door is a work of art

Peeping in the windows we could see the built in adzed furniture.  

The garden design was inspirational.  As we had driven around the country I had admired gardens on elevated sites but the garden at Tupare is nestled into a hillside with the plantings flowing down the slopes onto the flat land beside a river which adds sound to the garden.  It feels as if the garden is cradled in an enormous unseen hand.  I have to confess though that I experienced a wicked thrill to notice some onion weed blossoming among the bluebells and a few holes in the emerging hostas where the slugs had had a bit of a nibble.  I wonder if all gardeners take secret pleasure in observing the trials and tribulations of other gardeners?

Even the onion weed looks attractive at Tupare

Among the many and varied treasures we discovered on our travels was this pair of lovely navy suede and kid gloves and the pleated handbag perfect for next summer’s art deco weekend. 

Finally, after a bit of a drought in the last few months, we found another masterpiece to add to the landscape collection - $3, thank you kindly Red Cross.  Probably the best find on the art deco clothing front from my perspective was this lace jacket in a shade I think of as Wallis blue after it was popularised by Mrs Simpson in the 30s. 

The jewellery haul was excellent – pearls in their original container
"Pompadour Pearls - Pearls For a Princess"

  Marquisite earrings

This vase hasn't photographed well but it has lovely glowing colours and would look good with zinnias in autumn

A baby version of another jug we use at Shoestring

A very unusual pink and gold vase, it may be a mission to find some flowers to suit it!

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