Unlike last year, this year’s Easter in Christchurch was a quieter affair with only a handful of us taking part in various activities. That’s not to say that it wasn’t a great weekend, of course, I had a wonderful time. A low key long weekend was just what I was needing after months of stress and being far too busy at work.
You’ll have to forgive my lack of photographs – my camera decided to stop working a couple of weeks earlier so I only had my phone on hand to take pictures. Plus, my usual ‘unofficial photographers’ weren’t attending so I couldn’t bother them.
Originally, the plan had been to replicate last year but, with Easter falling so close to Anzac Day and a lot of people heading out of town, the weekend was scaled back.
Of all the out-of-towners who came last year I was the only one. In fact, we joked that it was sort of my fault that anything happened over the weekend at all since I had excitedly bought plane tickets back in November. Yeah… sorry not sorry 😂 I had a lovely weekend.
I landed in Christchurch on Friday afternoon and had time after checking in to get myself ready. I decided that it might be fun to record my transformation from the 21st Century to the 19th.
A taxi picked me up and dropped me at Edan’s and we caught an Uber to Ferrymead Heritage Park. We had gone out early so that Edan could get the cottage sorted for the evening, lighting the fires and the coal range so we could have cups of tea, and heat up any of the food for supper that needed it. It was really interesting to watch him get the range lit and get it ready to be used. I’ve seen it being used before but never how it gets started.
He also told me some of the ‘behind the scenes trivia’ about how the film crew for The Stolen used the cottage, which now, of course, means that I’m going to have to go back and watch the first part of that movie. I had watched it after being down last Easter and had recognised the parlour and bedroom in it but, not being as familiar with it as those who volunteer in the cottage, there was a lot I didn’t notice.
I also went for a wander around outside and was very glad that I had made myself a new cape as the early evening air had a slight chill to it. Some of the buildings were still open so I investigated a couple that I hadn’t been into last year such as the Barbers (Edan told me later that the figure in the chair is actually Prince Charles!)
Back inside, the cottage was getting quite cosy and warm thanks to the fires so I could set my cape aside. I told Edan that I had spotted a few rabbits while I had been outside (very appropriate for Easter, I thought), and suggested that Ferrymead needed a couple of cats. Edan said that there was a cat who pretty much lived at the park and was often found sleeping in the theatre. On hearing this, I hoped that I would have a chance to meet Jimmy the Theatre Cat sometime that weekend.
Kathleen arrived and busied herself with setting everything up for the magic lantern show she would be putting on for us.
We were also joined that evening by Diane, Jill, and a friend of Edan’s from work.
As the others arrived, we sipped on a glass of wine and stood in the kitchen, conversing until it appeared obvious that no one else was going to arrive (a couple of our number had let Edan know that they couldn’t make it, others forgot).
We made ourselves comfortable in the parlour and Kathleen began the magic lantern show. She has a few magic lanterns, has been collecting slides for years, and has built up quite an impressive number.
Afterwards, we migrated to the dining room for supper. The conversation was varied and bounced from the Oamaru Heritage Celebrations, McLean Mansion and Riccarton House (both impressive historic buildings in Christchurch), the best places to buy gloves, to the order of jam and cream on scones, among many other topics.
As the evening wrapped up, we said goodbye to those who had other plans for the remainder of the weekend, and ‘see you later’ to those planning to make it (or try to) to other events/activities. Kathleen was kind enough to drop me back at my motel and it was lovely having a chat with her on the way.
On Saturday I had the chance to sleep in a little bit before getting myself ready. I opted for a bit more of a ‘casual look’ with the skirt from the evening before, shirtwaist, a corselet belt, and the straw boater that I had altered. As the forecast was predicting rain around midday, I made sure to arm myself with my umbrella (which sort of matched, colourwise).
My shirtwaist had got a little crumpled in my suitcase but, not a problem, my room had an iron and ironing board stashed in the wardrobe. I clearly wasn’t paying attention to where I set up though because I accidentally set off the smoke detector with the steam… 🙄
Because I was staying close to Hagley Park and the Botanic Gardens I could walk down to meet everyone. I met quite a few passersby along the way who either smiled at me, gave me a compliment, or, in just a couple of cases, looked at me as if I probably should be committed?
On reaching the gardens, I approached the bridge over the river which had a few people standing on it.
‘See, there she is!’ A girl told her mother as I started walking towards them. She had spotted me earlier and, as her mother told me, thought I ‘was a fashion lady’.
I made a slight detour in the Gardens towards a particular path that runs alongside the river. I used to walk that path a lot when I lived in Christchurch and had always wanted to walk it while dressed historically. I felt quite pleased with myself for checking that of my (rather extensive) list of things that I want to do while in Victorian clothing.
Edan messaged me to tell me that the earliest available time to go punting was at 2pm so our time until then was free. He told me that they would wait for me at the front of the Gardens so I changed course. When I saw the fence of the Gardens I was absolutely blown away by just how extensive the memorial wall for the victims and families from the terrorist attack that happened a month earlier. The love and support displayed – and the messages – were incredible to see.
As I walked past the wall of flowers and messages, I saw Edan and the others standing around waiting and made my way down to say hello. Edan and I were the only two from the day before, and we were joined by Lily and Arthur, and Bob.
As we had some time to fill in, we ended up driving into the city to take a look at the gathering of Volkswagens Edan had spotted on his way in. It was a national event, so there were quite a lot of vehicles. While not my thing, I was happy to wander around with the others and then I saw it.
A Tardis Beetle. And not just a bug painted like the Tardis, oh no, inside the car was a myriad of different items linked to different Doctors. Everything from a fez, bow tie, converse sneakers, fish fingers and custard, sunglasses, to four or five sonic screwdrivers. And, a sensor by the front bumper set off different sound bytes such as the Tardis takeoff. I definitely had a little geeking out moment…
When we were done with the cars we walked to the Old Government Building to have some lunch at OGB. The building has been restored after the earthquake and looks stunning inside.
We sat at a table indoors, by the window where we could see the trams running by and also, over the course of lunch, watch some rather bemused faces peer at us as pedestrians passed the building.
We arrived at the boat shed early and sat by the punts to wait. Arthur looked over the one he had built and decided that that would be the one we would go on. As we waited, we watched as another punt returned and the tourists onboard looked excited to see us all dressed up.
That punt was emptied and filled with another group of passengers and then it was our turn. As our number would have meant a half-filled boat, we were joined by a family who sat in the front two seats. Edan and I sat in the middle, with Lily and Arthur behind, and Bob sat at the back. Sitting in the middle, I discovered, was more comfortable than being seated at the front as I was last year.
Our punter was a rather cheerful Frenchman who spouted little bits of information along the way. The river was a little busy with other people on the water, kayaking, along with the ducks and geese. But, just to sit and float along was so utterly relaxing I was quite disappointed when we turned and started the journey back.
To be continued…