Continuing on from Part 1…
Once we returned to the boat sheds Edan and I said see you later to Lily, Arthur, and Bob. We walked through the Gardens to Cunningham House, which is a Victorian conservatory with lots of plants that made me feel very small!
We hadn’t walked very far when we happened upon some people who got quite excited to see us (I’m quite sure one of them actually called us ‘real people’). They asked to have photos with us, which we were happy to do, and then continued on our way (once I got a couple of photos sitting on the seat).
After making a loop, we walked up the steps to walk around the second level. As someone struggling to keep a half-dead catnip plant alive I was in absolute awe of the collection of plants. I can definitely see the appeal too, for Victorians who went visiting conservatories too, to see exotic plants not found in their own gardens.
From Cunningham House, we wandered through the other conservatories. We looked at the collection of cacti and the collection of carnivorous plants too, wondering just what method was employed to feed them.
After a visit to the Fern House, Edan and I parted ways and I walked back to my motel. As on my walk in the morning, I was met by smiles or odd glances, and a couple of questions as to why I was dressed up as well.
I had a couple of hours to put my feet up and relax before getting ready for the games night. Which, pretty much involved losing my hat and adding a tie. And my cape too, to keep warm in transit.
Arthur and Lily picked me up and gave me a ride out to Ferrymead. When we got out there we walked through down the street to the railway station. I was a little ahead of Lily and Arthur and when I walked inside I found Edan setting up a game of solitaire for himself while a gorgeous fluffy tabby cat supervised.
It was Jimmy the Theatre Cat! He had come into the station for some warmth and company. I was thrilled to meet him and to get lots of cuddles over course of the evening. He was most generous in sharing his time with all of us.
Jill, from the previous evening also arrived and we sat about enjoying some supper and conversing for some time before actually getting to the games portion of the evening.
We played Rummy, which I did terribly in, and then attempted a modern game called Picture This (or perhaps it was called Picture That?). That game involved looking at a very zoomed in image of part of an object and trying to guess what it was. I did much better in this game and easily guessed a few objects, such as a thimble and a needle (I wonder why? 😉
At the end of the evening, as everyone started packing up, Jimmy decided that he was going to have a snooze on my lap. I think it was a desperate attempt to get someone to stay behind and keep him company overnight. Despite his best intentions, I eventually had to move him and say goodbye.
I got up early on Sunday to get myself dressed and ready to catch a taxi to Edan’s. I wore my eggplant skirt and my new bodice (that I had only finished fussing with a few days earlier). I wasn’t sure what the weather was going to do but it looked like it would be a good day to take my muff with me.
Edan and I caught another Uber out to Ferrymead Heritage Park. When we arrived the stall holders and food truck owners had just started setting up. We were to be stationed in the – well – the railway station, on stamp duty for the Great Easter Egg Hunt that the park was hosting.
We dropped our things off in the station and walked down to feed the chickens and try and dissuade the ducks from stealing their food. I definitely think that the fluffy, ruffled chickens were my favourite.
Edan had a couple of errands to run and the cup of coffee I had made myself was too hot to drink so I decided to go for a wander. I didn’t see any rabbits but I saw several pukekos. As I walked up the street one of the stall holders approached me, thinking that I was the organiser because I was ‘so nicely dressed’.
Back at the railway station I sat down with my coffee and waited. It didn’t take too long before the first children, armed with their maps and accompanied by their parents arrived.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure how interacting with lots and lots of children and spending the day stamping maps would go but pretty quickly I discovered that it was really quite fun.
To start with, there would be a gap between giving out stamps so I had a chance to sit and watch people passing by. From my vantage point, I could see the mini donut flag and after a while, my self-control went out the window and when Edan was about to head back out, I asked him if he could buy some for me.
A minute later about ten children turned up and I was so busy stamping everyone’s maps that I didn’t even notice him returning with the donuts and departing again. All I know is that I turned around after the mass of children left to see the bag sitting on the table. It was near impossible to pop just one mini donut in my mouth before one or more children came to the station. Eventually, I was able to eat them though – the donuts that is, not the children…
I think that I either delighted, terrified, or bewildered the children who came to get their stamps. Some would spot the number outside and come running to the door, pause and disappear, returning with their parents in tow. A few turned incredibly shy and their parents or siblings had to hand over their maps for a stamp.
I can’t remember how many parents asked to take photos of their kids with me and I was happy to oblige. And, I accidentally startled a couple of people who thought that I was a mannequin (and then consequently moved). I was even told by one girl that I looked like a princess 😊
I was having such a great time that I kept delaying taking a break, even after Lily, Arthur, and Bob arrived and offered to let me take one. Eventually, though, I decided that I should because I didn’t want to miss out on taking at least one tram ride.
The tram we were going to catch was full so we headed into Currah Cottage while we waited for the next one. There were a couple of Friends of Ferrymead people in the kitchen so we hung out for a little bit before trying again to catch a tram.
The next one was less occupied and we chose to sit inside. It was windy at times that day and I had already successfully lost my hat earlier in the morning so I didn’t want to try do it again. We took the tram down to where it meets the other train station and decided to hop off and take the train back.
I was quite disappointed that the steam train wasn’t running that day and a more ‘modern’ one was. It was nowhere near as nice as it was riding the steam train as we had done the previous year but, at least it would get us back to the railway station directly.
As the train pulled up the driver handed something to the lady at the station. She explained to us how the two stations communicated with each other and showed us how the machine worked. It was rather fascinating as I had never wondered how different stations used to coordinate and make sure that only the correct train was on the correct track before.
The carriage was quite full but the conductor was able to spot two spare seats for us so we boarded and enjoyed the trip back towards the main part of the park.
By then only the occasional child would turn up for a stamp as most had already finished the hunt (and, no doubt, also finished the egg too). We ended up sitting around the table talking until 4 o’clock rolled around and we could see the stallholders starting to pack up.
We packed up and tidied up, before making our way back towards Curragh Cottage. Once we were all sorted the conversation turned to dinner and should we go out somewhere for a meal as a nice way to end the weekend’s events?
Being quite a fan of ending a weekend of events with a nice dinner (it’s quite a tradition with some of my friends at the end of the Heritage Celebrations in Oamaru), I was all for it. And it seemed that everyone else was in agreement too. So, we hopped in our cars and headed for the Speights Ale House not far from where my motel was (so that it was then easier to get rid of me? 😜
We had a lovely dinner and talked about what might happen next Easter, as well as many other things. Eventually, our plates were all emptied and it became time to pay and depart. Lily, Arthur, and Edan dropped me off at the motel and we all said goodbye and how lovely it was to have spent Easter with everyone.
If I had any complaints about the weekend it was that it went by far too quickly. While it was a shame that not more people were able to attend the various events it was still an incredibly lovely time and I think that being quite a low-key weekend was what I needed because life and work have been rather hectic and stressful lately. Once again, Edan did a fantastic job and I cannot pick my favourite part of the weekend (always a good sign). And, I am looking forward to whatever next Easter might bring.