Kowhainui has in­door mar­ket

Whanganui Midweek - - NEWS -

JOAN: Kowhainui is such a very vi­brant place. I used to en­joy go­ing there to en­ter­tain the res­i­dents as one of the RSA “Golden Girls”. The build­ing is light and airy, ev­ery­thing is smart and full of colour and the staff are very spe­cial. They ra­di­ate a hap­pi­ness that com­mu­ni­cates it­self to those liv­ing there and the many visi­tors.

I was de­lighted to be there twice last week. The first time was to be part of the au­di­ence for “Shirley's Tap­pers”, a group of which I love be­ing part. Hav­ing been in the UK for a while I didn't feel ca­pa­ble of join­ing in but it was great to watch the colour­ful per­for­mance and see peo­ple en­joy­ing the tap­ping and the vivid cos­tumes. I re­ally en­joyed the com­pany of those I sat among. They made me wel­come and we shared chat and laughter.

Last Satur­day Kowhainui held a mar­ket.The pro­ceeds will be put to­wards their recre­ation and ac­tiv­ity pro­gramme. The mar­ket took place in­doors which was a bless­ing as it rained quite heav­ily. Again that “buzzy” at­mos­phere. It was ob­vi­ous that a large num­ber of peo­ple had gone to a lot to trou­ble to of­fer many, var­ied stalls. By the time Mike and I got there, the bak­ing had been sold but ap­petis­ing hot scones and cof­fee were there for the tak­ing. Once again, what I shall re­mem­ber are the smil­ing faces of those in­volved. It was a good morn­ing.

I wish to send love to one of the “Golden Girls” who now lives at Kowhainui. She is a fun, beau­ti­ful lady who danced with joy and ra­di­ance. An­nie McGin­ity can no longer en­ter­tain oth­ers as she used to. She, how­ever, re­tains all her warmth, sense of hu­mour and kind ways. I love her and am grate­ful to have shared some won­der­ful times with her.

MIKE: Each year since 2012, with one ex­cep­tion, we have spent a month in the north-east of Eng­land, stay­ing with Joan's sis­ter. One of our reg­u­lar rit­u­als is a pil­grim­age to the city of Durham, where I lived for four years dur­ing my time at univer­sity. For three of them I was res­i­dent in Hat­field Col­lege, a mere stone's throw from the cathe­dral. Our an­nual vis­its there, 60 years since those hal­cyon days, are in­vari­ably tinged with a cer­tain nos­tal­gia. “School days are the hap­pi­est days of your life” is an oft-heard ax­iom. I would agree, with a cou­ple of mi­nor al­ter­ations, chang­ing “school” to “univer­sity” and “hap­pi­est” to “most care­free”. Wan­der­ing across Palace Green, a large rec­tan­gle of grass, sur­rounded on all sides by ven­er­a­ble stone build­ings, we are faced by the mag­nif­i­cence of the loom­ing cathe­dral, “the world's great­est Nor­man build­ing”, ac­cord­ing to a knowl­edge­able source. We ap­proach the main en­trance, a huge tim­ber door, the fright­en­ing face of a sanc­tu­ary knocker star­ing at the visi­tors. On en­ter­ing, it is hard not to gasp at the sheer enor­mity of the pil­lars, tow­er­ing to the roof. They are of enor­mous girth, yet in ex­quis­ite pro­por­tion to the scale of the nave, the cross­vaulted roof and the rose win­dow. The clois­ters used to pro­vide peace and tran­quil mo­ments for the monks. Nowa­days they serve the same pur­pose for a colony of bats, nestled in the nooks and cran­nies of the ceil­ing beams. Their rear ends may some­times be seen pro­trud­ing from their bed­rooms, and oc­ca­sion­ally, even in day­light, they can be spot­ted wing­ing their way along the cor­ri­dors. Last year Joan en­gaged in con­ver­sa­tion with a bat man (small B !), who was ob­serv­ing their habits. Since then she has been an on-line mem­ber of the Durham Bat Group.

In the cathe­dral it­self, be­hind the choir stalls, lies the “pi­eta” of Fenwick Law­son, a lo­cal sculp­tor. Fash­ioned of wood and metal, it is of Christ and his sor­row­ing mother. It is a re­mark­able rep­re­sen­ta­tion, a truly mov­ing im­age. The whole Durham ex­pe­ri­ence is so re­ward­ing. A few years ago we went with friends from Whanganui. I turned round in time to see Bob walk into the body of the church. You of­ten hear “his jaw dropped in amaze­ment”. It did! He stood, stock-still, for a while — no wonder! Well, ac­tu­ally, yes! An in­cred­i­ble wonder!

JOAN: Mike and I went up­stairs at the i-Site to see the lat­est Sar­jeant Gallery ex­hi­bi­tion, cu­rated there by Jes­sica Kidd. I have to ad­mit that the i-Site it­self is so much more user-friendly, in­for­ma­tive and invit­ing than in its early days, when I used to find it quite bar­ren. I still wish the cafe´ faced the river and that the front en­trance was more im­pos­ing. How­ever, in­for­ma­tion is clearly and at­trac­tively shown and lo­cal brochures are colour­ful and in­ter­est­ing. There are some su­per gifts to ad­mire, and in­clude some good ideas for Christ­mas presents for fam­ily and friends abroad.

The present ex­hi­bi­tion is en­ti­tled In The Hand and of­fers work by a group of artists linked by hav­ing made their work by hand and which in­cludes copies of items we use with our hands!

Madeleine Child had cre­ated par­rots. Two of them were fea­tured in a case in the down­stairs foyer and I en­joyed their colour and zany poses. Tessa Laird has cre­ated small books which look as if you could flick over the pages — but were solid and ap­peared most at­trac­tive as a col­lec­tion. I was most pleased by Lau­ren Lysaght‘s neck­laces. Based on type­writer keys(!) they were chunky but would look gor­geous.

Oc­tavia Cook did “eyes”. Each piece was well spaced, so clearly seen, and their va­ri­ety was fas­ci­nat­ing. Richard Parker showed some of his Sig­nal Dishes. Small and pat­terned in many var­ied colours and shapes, they can be laid alone or in clus­ters on a flat sur­face or on a wall. Cho­sen in­stinc­tively, they could pro­nounce your own per­son­al­ity in what you chose. Nice!

Orig­i­nally owned and cho­sen by Rick Rudd, exquisitely made and so per­fectly matched in shades and shapes by Rick's pro­fes­sional eye for beauty, a group of small boxes were my favourite. They were ac­quired by the Gallery in 1999. It is so sat­is­fy­ing to see fine ex­am­ples of the Sar­jeant Col­lec­tion.

mjstreet@xtra.co.nz

PIC­TURE / JOAN STREET

Some of the boxes cho­sen by Rick Rudd now in In The Hand in the Sar­jeant Gallery.

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