Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Just a simple twist of Fate

Jussi recently posted a wonderful description of her time in Christchurch and her solo travels through the back roads of Banks Peninsula. For me her description of the area and the places she went was so evocative it bought tears to my eyes.

The last time I was in Christchurch was to visit my Mum - she had just been placed into a home and this photo is the last time she recognised me. It was June 2001 and even though it was only six o'clock in the evening it was dark and foggy outside. I was only there for a few days so when I wasn't visiting Mum and making sure she was comfortable I drove around Christchurch and the Peninsula.

I visited Ferrymead - a Railway Museum full of old Steam Engines and other sorts of paraphernalia that keeps Train Enthusiasts like me happy (it runs in the family). The place was pretty deserted because it was in the middle of winter and it was foggy and cold but this suited my mood.

Even the prospect of fresh Bluff Oysters from the Lyttleton Fish and Chip shop didn't really raise my spirits much. I felt a bit guilty eating them knowing how much Mum loved them.

Mum died on Armistice Day that year and once again I travelled over to Christchurch with the family. We stayed at Diamond Harbour - a tiny little village on the Peninsula and it was again a cold and foggy day. Akaroa, the town that Jussi went to, is 'over the hill' from Diamond Harbour but the 'windy roads up and down steep hillsides' she describes are true of the entire area. It is an extinct volcano after all.

I suppose I was a little surprised at how intense my reaction was to her post - it is probably a credit to her writing skills - but I'm glad it created a chance to remember and reflect.


Grandma Flea said...

My heart goes out to you. I know those feelings well and you described the relationship between place and memory so beautifully.

Shirley said...

Awww, Kate - I understand. I moved to Oamaru only because I couldn't afford to make my lifestyle change AND keep living on Banks Peninsula. I love the place.

jussi said...

I don't know what to say Kate, the place is bittersweet for you, maybe it's because it is so small, but NZ brings a not always welcome nostalgia - remember the movie "Vigil" the fog and the dampness, memories can weigh you down in this place.

On a completely different note, and hopefully not triggering any more memories...Flash asked if you know Kevin Cawley - lighting designer from NZ, I couldn't find your email address, sorry to put this in your comments.