Old charm cap­ti­vates

Jane and Bill Teas­dale live in a cute cot­tage close to town in Nel­son. vis­ited them at home.

The Dominion Post - - Property Market -

JANE Teas­dale met her hus­band Bill in Spain when she in­ter­vened in what looked to her like an in­no­cent Amer­i­can be­ing scammed by a naughty lo­cal.

Bill was get­ting his shoes ‘‘cleaned’’ in the old shoe-shine scam where the scam­mer paints one shoe and then charges ex­tra to get them back to the same colour. Jane had a word with the mis­cre­ant, and says she’s been look­ing af­ter Bill ever since.

Bill, a quiet Amer­i­can, orig­i­nally from Con­necti­cut, gen­tly smiles and continues to read the paper. Theirs has been nearly half a century of mar­riage, and to­day they live in a pe­tite old cot­tage in Nel­son, far-re­moved from the cars, plane and large home of the US.

The cot­tage dates back to the 1860s, built by a sol­dier for his fam­ily of nine when he was dis­patched to fight in the Taranaki wars and ever since it’s had own­ers who have stayed long and loved the cot­tage.

‘‘The cot­tage was saved by Sarah Smale,’’ Jane says about Ms Smale, a nurse who can’t stop her­self look­ing af­ter old homes.

‘‘She saved it from de­mo­li­tion, how good is that. We love it, it’s fan­tas­tic, tiny, two bed­rooms, one dou­ble and one sin­gle so that means we have one guest at a time and that’s enough.’’

It seems the his­tory is as colourful as the cot­tage it­self, soft pas­tel pink, with crisp white picket fenc­ing and an abun­dance of flow­ers that hide much of the cot­tage from street view.

In 1929, at the time of the Murchi­son earthquake, Nessie Scholfield, a for­mer owner of the cot­tage, moved in with her mother and made it her home for the next 60 years, only leav­ing to move into care.

‘‘When I bought it, it had a dirt floor in the bath­room and pip­ing along the top of the ground,’’ says Sarah. ‘‘Nessie had stuffed plas­tic bags in the holes of the walls and there were masses of holes.

‘‘I think when Nessie moved out seven bales of plas­tic bags and news­pa­per were re­moved.’’

It took Sarah a year to care­fully re­store the cot­tage to a stan­dard ap­proved by the His­toric Places Trust, a labour of love with many a fraught mo­ment and much brow rub­bing when it seemed near im­pos­si­ble to find a so­lu­tion to a dilemma. But the re­sult is charm­ing.

When Jane and Bill first saw the cot­tage, they were mes­merised.

‘‘We were driv­ing down the road when I no­ticed this charm­ing pink cot­tage, ‘‘ Jane says.

‘‘I thought ‘oh that’s lovely’, and then I no­ticed a real es­tate sign. I said ‘Bill, back up’.’’

The cou­ple wanted to buy on the first visit, but the cot­tage was go­ing to auc­tion and im­me­di­ate pur­chase wasn’t pos­si­ble. An­other cou­ple bought at auc­tion and the Teas­dales moved on.

‘‘But I never re­ally did for­get about the cot­tage, so when I got an email from our son in Wash­ing­ton DC to say it was back on the mar­ket and on the in­ter­net I said ‘Bill, we’re get­ting in the car right now and go­ing to Nel­son’.’’

They bought, sold their own Di­a­mond Har­bour home in Banks Penin­sula within a day, and moved to Nel­son.

‘‘Well, Bill likes walk­ing, he walks to town, I don’t know what he does down there, sits on a park bench, has a cof­fee, reads the paper maybe, while I help friends out.’’

Jane has some favourite do­mes­tic chores.

‘‘I’m one of those sorts who loves iron­ing, I love ironed pil­low cases or a pressed shirt – I know it sounds a bit silly but that’s what I am.

‘‘And gar­den­ing, es­pe­cially roses, wher­ever there’s a space in the gar­den I’ll plant a rose.’’

The cou­ple raised their three kids in the United States around Bill’s home­town where he worked as a po­di­a­trist with client cases rang­ing from sim­ple main­te­nance to ma­jor surgery.


Ram­bling roses: The 1860s cot­tage, tucked in be­hind a mass of roses and tra­di­tional picket fence.

Back in time: The lounge with orig­i­nal fea­ture place and mir­ror above.

Glo­ri­ous hue: Pot­ted colour and ce­ramic trea­sures.

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