Price of ev­ery­thing, value of noth­ing

Central Otago Mirror - - CONVERSATIONS -

Os­car Wilde once wrote some­thing about peo­ple who know the price of ev­ery­thing and the value of noth­ing. I was younger when I first heard the quote and didn’t fully ap­pre­ci­ate its ac­cu­racy. In to­day’s in­creas­ingly ma­te­ri­al­ist world it cer­tainly rings true.

The last time I was at my fam­ily’s hol­i­day house by the beach a friend came over to drink wine in the sun. She took it upon her­self to of­fer ad­vice about how she thought the house could be ren­o­vated and its mar­ket value in­creased.

The ideas ranged from bi-fold doors to com­pletely ren­o­vat­ing the kitchen to splash­ing out on new fur­ni­ture. She meant well but I took um­brage.

For me, the point of a hol­i­day house is that it’s a place to un­wind.

The age of the fur­ni­ture and the fact that ev­ery­thing about the house be­longs to an­other decade is im­ma­te­rial.

In the clas­sic Aus­tralian film, ‘‘The Cas­tle’’, the fam­ily have a hol­i­day house in Bon­nie Doon.

Dar­ryl Ker­ri­gan, the lead char­ac­ter proudly pro­claims ‘‘how’s the seren­ity’’ when­ever he’s there.

It says it all and clearly the seren­ity he was talk­ing about had noth­ing to do with the prop­erty’s value.

There’s a word in te reo that’s not easy to trans­late into English. That word is tu­ran­gawae­wae.

The lit­eral def­i­ni­tion is the place your feet stand, but it’s gen­er­ally used to re­fer to the place where you feel you be­long, the place that has your heart.

That is what the beach house has been to me for as long as I can re­mem­ber.

It’s where I’ve laughed and cried through­out my life. It’s where I’ve felt both great joy and im­mense sad­ness.

It’s a place I think of with love. In the win­ter the fire goes on and hearty meals are cooked. In the sum­mer, it’s sal­ads and steaks.

We can walk to the beach at one of end of the street.

If we walk to the other end of the street and around the corner there’s some shops.

What mat­ters of course is the fish and chip shop and the dairy that sells ice cream.

I’m the first to ad­mit that a hol­i­day house is a lux­ury most of the pop­u­la­tion don’t have.

But my fam­ily is lucky enough to have a beach house and we love it, just the way it is.

We don’t want a house that could fea­ture in House &

Gar­den.

We could make nu­mer­ous changes but then it wouldn’t have the same vibe.

No mat­ter how much you spend on fur­ni­ture and kitchen de­sign­ers, you can’t buy that feel­ing of be­long­ing. Some­thing is ei­ther your tu­ran­gawae­wae or it is not. It comes from his­tory and emo­tion not a shop­ping cat­a­logue.

For us it’s an idyl­lic place to en­joy long week­ends and sum­mer hol­i­days.

I never think about the mar­ket value or the lack of bifold doors. It’s about peace and tran­quil­lity, and memories.

You can’t put a price on that but it’s in­cred­i­bly valu­able.

What’s your tu­ran­gawae­wae? ❚ Queen­stown’s Sin­gle Girl is look­ing for true love. Con­tact her via mir­ror@stuff.co.nz

CARYS MONTEATH

We don’t want a house that could fea­ture in House & Gar­den.

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