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