Saturday, July 28, 2007

New Plymouth 28th July 2007

28 July 2007

We’re in the paper! Our picture, holding Uncle Fred’s quilts in by the banner and a full page article on Uncle Fred on page 13.

Couldn’t stop coughing when I went to bed last night. Just a nagging tickle. At 12.30am I eventually got up and got a Fisherman’s Friend and sucked on that. No problems after that.

Went into town this morning. D.C. bought a postcard and a stamp for Aunty Isabel and we bought some souvenirs for ourselves and as gifts from Puke Ariki.

Then we kind of wandered around town. D.C. wanted to buy a cheap black satchel and we were just checking out other souvenirs. D.C. found a satchel at the Warehouse, that was supposed to be $9.92, but was only $1.95 when she went through the checkout.

We’re weren’t sure what to do next, so went back to Pukekura Park and had a wander through in the opposite direction to the way we went last time. Tried to take photos of a fantail. May have got a couple. Had lunch at The Tea House again. $43 – for two stuffed chicken breasts (we liked that last time so thought we’d have it again), two hot chocolates, and we shared a kiwifruit cheesecake. Just as well we’re walking everywhere – the public transport service is supposed to be useless and I’ve only seen buses parked under the ‘air-bridge’ between the two buildings of Puke Ariki and driving along that street.

1.21pm: We’ve come back to the unit for a short time to have a cup of tea and wait until a walk starts from Puke Ariki at 2.00pm.

The pedestrian crossings in New Plymouth are different to what we’re used to. A lot of them are only a car length from intersections and so you get cars turning out of intersections and stopping so you can cross. Quite unnerving at times. Especially since some of the pedestrian crossings have signs saying “Pedestrians Give Way” which seem to be directed at pedestrians, not cars.

5.26pm: Sitting here waiting to go over the road to the Govett-Brewster to the opening of Ann Shelton’s exhibition.

We went to Puke Ariki to go on the guided tour at 1.30pm, only to discover that it started at 1.00pm. So we did it by ourselves using the book we’d bought the other day. But first we went up to check on Uncle Fred’s quilts. There had been a box added that contained Govett-Brewster invitations for tonight, and a potted biography of Uncle Fred (incorrect. It said he was born in 1904 when it was 1903 – correct on the other side of the wall. It also had phot0grapher.) Some people were admiring them and seemed quite taken by the quilts. We tried a bit of eavesdropping but couldn’t hear anything. One elderly couple were spending a long time there so I asked if they’d seen where Puke Ariki had done a bit of conservation work. They hadn’t so I pointed it out to them. Turns out he’d been to Uncle Fred’s place at Sentry Hill. We didn’t let on that we were related to Fred or that the quilts belonged to us, just said that we’d known him.

Then we went on our walk. We skipped the first few points of interest because we’d seen them earlier in the week. Then we started the Tiki Tour, having a good look around St Mary’s Pro Cathedral. What the heck is a PRO Cathedral? The mind boggles. Perhaps the oldest stone church in New Zealand, it was impressive to look around. It had a stained glass window of a Boy Scout, complete with Boy Scout Pocket knife… and God’s hands pointing at him as if miming shooting a gun. I’m sure there must be some other relevance to that.

Then we went up Marslands Hill and saw the Carillion (haven’t heard it properly yet, just in the distance) and tried to see Mount Taranaki. He’s still not co-operating. We could see his knees, but nothing else. Only a couple more days available to us, so I hope he co-operates.

Then we followed the rest of the walk, ending up back at the motel. I ironed my blouse and we got ready for Ann’s opening tonight. It’s 5.36pm so I’d better start packing up. More soon.

10.51pm: Well we are certainly doing things we’d never done before. We went to the opening of Ann’s show, which went off very well. We were treated like royalty and were introduced to numerous people (most of whom we’ve forgotten) as if we were important dignitaries, even though Ann was the star tonight. One was Douglas Lloyd-Jenkins (I think. *blush*). Ann introduced us to some of her friends as well (so she had plenty of support, which was good).

Betty and Martin Smyth came too, so we showed them about and told them about Uncle Fred. In some respects it was nice to have some nice, non-arty people with us. Not that any of the ‘arty’ ones made us feel unwelcome, it just that it’s a whole different world to what we’re used to.

The ‘powers-that-be’ kept on making sure that we were happy, had enough to drink (pineapple juice), and were happy with the way that Uncle Fred was being portrayed. We were expecting to, and would have been happy to, turn up to the opening, blend into the background (videoing it for Ann’s records, which I did anyway) and then go back to the unit again.

I videoed the opening speech (given by Rhana Davenport – the director of the gallery. Must check on these names) and she pointed out Fred’s relatives Frances and Sereena Burton. I think I must have gone as pink as my blouse and D.C. started coughing.

We were invited to the after opening dinner at PaNKaWalla (I’m not sure if I’ve got the right number of capitals there) and had our meal and drinks paid for. It’s an Indian Restaurant and everyone was served the banquet meal – entrée dishes, pompadoms, main (narn bread, rice, butter chicken, a lamb dish and a vegetarian dish – all nice and not too hot. The only thing that was too hot was the butter chicken and that was in a ‘straight from the saucepan to burn the mouth’ type of way.) Dessert was mango ice cream. I sat next to Ann, across the table from Duncan Munro and D.C. was next to me with Helen Telfor (assistant director of Govett-Brewster) opposite and Ann’s friend, Debby, who’d helped her with going through Uncle Fred’s books at our place.

We left at about 10.30pm and came home. I had a kiwifruit (not much in the way of veges in Indian cooking) and had a cup of green tea. The time is presently 11.16pm.

By the way: Uploading the photos in 'small' format makes them postage stamp sized in the blog (on my computer) instead of playing card sized, and made no difference to the size of the clicked on photo. Sorry about that folks.

No comments: