Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Last week I was scratching through a drawer searching in vain for something very important – something so important that I can’t recall for the life of me what it was, now.  But I did unearth a cache of lovely old postcards.  My favouriteis this one with a clock on it where the sender drew in the time they were expecting to meet the recipient. 

How strange it seems that such lengths had to be gone to in order to arrange a meeting!  We would just email, text or call on our mobile phone if we needed to do that.  And how many clues about the life of the sender we can glean from the message on the back, but more questions are posed than are answered.  It offers a fascinating chance to speculate about the sender and his/her life.  I love the way she (because I am convinced we have a "she" here) had problems with her fountain pen and quite a big blob of ink has made a bit of a mess. 

It seems as though the writer of the message must have been a travelling performer, who was appearing in Thames and coming to Auckland for the a new show.  The fact that she travelled to Auckland by sea rather than road seems surprising to us now but presumably sea travel was faster than going by road, so this must have been quite some time ago.  Then there is the idea that she was bringing one of her company home with her to stay with her family.  Was she a black sheep and slightly raffish of reputation if she performed on stage?  Or was she the shining star of the family, of whom they were all very proud and possibly dropped her name casually into conversation because of her fame?  Thames is quite near to Shoestring Cottage and we sometimes go there – its main claim to fame now is that it has the longest straight stretch main street in the country at 1600 metres but at one time after the gold rush in the 1870s it was a thriving and prosperous town and still is very picturesque and retains a lot of its quaint old Victorian buildings. 

To go by sea to Auckland and come ashore at the ferry buildings (still at the port and near where I live in Auckland central) seems so romantic and leisurely.  I see that the postcard is addressed to 43 Boston Road in Auckland, which is not far out of the CBD but I think there is no longer a house there, the area is mainly shops and commercial premises.  Next time I am going that way I must remember to have a look and see if by some remote chance the house is still standing.  As for the Tivoli Theatre, it was in Karangahape Road (still a slightly “edgy” part of town and always raffish), opened in 1913 and closed in 1977.  It was demolished in 1980 and the Sheraton Hotel development is now on the site. 

I suppose looking back and speculating about the life of somebody who lived in the past always allows us to put a rosy glow on things, but from this distance it looks fascinating anyway and probably it is better not to know the full story, but to be able to imagine one of your own. 

Now usually gardeners say, “I wish you could have seen the garden last week, it was a picture!” but for once I am not in this group, I find myself thinking that I can hardly wait for next week because so many blossoms are ready to open and there are one or two things bursting through the earth which I can’t identify (though I am sure I must have planted them at some stage).
 This rose was already in the garden at Shoestring when we moved in.  I think it is Compassion.  It has a beautiful form with very reflexed outer petals, and a good scent too. 
 Another rose I haven't identified as yet - any ideas?
 One more mystery rose which has appreciated compost and coffee grounds, has returned to life and is romping along the front fence now
 I love these "pinks" which were so often depicted in Elizabethan embroidery.  The scent is so strong and the markings intricate and fascinating
This colour combination is accidental but perfect all the same.  Such intense colours together epitomize spring time in the garden - they almost make your eyes water.

Yet another iris has opened this week and once again it is a different one, excellent!  This one has more subtle and soft shades than the first two and I fear it may be in for an upheaval and a move once it has finished flowering as I suspect it could do even better in a sunny spot – I just have to find a rare piece of earth with no close neighbours to provide strong competition. 

No painting this weekend, for once we had a rest and even went for a soak in a private spa pool on Saturday night, what luxury.  We will have to get back into the swing of things soon or we could lose interest in painting altogether – after all it’s not the most enjoyable of pastimes but the end results are worthwhile. 

The bounty of the season isn’t confined to Shoestring – look at these strawberries growing on the balcony at our apartment high in the sky!  Not really enough for a feast but a little taste all the same.  Luckily the birds show no interest in them, city birds more interested in bread than berries.  

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