From the Editor - May 2011
Sally wears a top from Browns, Remuera; Photographed by Jane Ussher; Make-up by Debbie Clark
Here’s a perfect gift for Mother’s Day. Our new special edition celebrates the warm, lived-in country style that we’re all loving at the moment. Beautifully illustrated, it’ll inspire you to add a touch of country calm to the spaces inside your home. And there are dozens of delicious recipes. On sale now for $15.30 or visit mags4gifts.co.nz.
Wallace the cat sleeps on a chair bought in pieces and restored for an elegant capital-city cottage (see page 56 of the May 2011 issue). Among the fabulous finds on our shopping pages is another contented cat (page 38).
Never has a rubbish truck been so inspiring. Six days after the quake our Christchurch columnist Lee Suckling, who lives in Sumner, put his family’s rubbish bins (full of broken glassware) at the gate, not really expecting them to be collected. The next day the rubbish was gone and Lee was infused with optimism: “It’s a major tragedy, but the rubbish man has come, for goodness sake!” He got on the phone to me, zealous about his city’s fighting spirit.
“Pleeease don’t cancel Urban Eye [our regular update on new Christchurch stores, galleries and cafes],” he begged. “There are still good things happening here. It’s not like you see on TV.” We gave him his way and some extra space. See page 162.
Lee’s story got me thinking about hardship and how, in small doses, it can be a very positive thing. When you get something back after not having it for a while, you really appreciate it. Like Lee’s wondrous rubbish collection. Toughing it out for reward is common among our homeowners: Alli Smith and Glyn Williams, for example, spent weeks with only building paper between them and a Wellington winter while renovating their city cottage (page 56). But the tactic works only if there is a somewhat predictable end to the hardship. If the goalposts are moved (or, worse, removed) it can be soul-sapping.
When my son Ben was about eight we did the Routeburn Track. Day one was cold and wet and Ben was miserable. “Look,” we told him, pointing at the warm golden lights of the hut twinkling in the dusk, “that’s where we are going.” Trouble is, it wasn’t our hut. We plodded on past it into the darkness. Ben wept.
Right now, two months after the quake, seems a good time to remember that for many Christchurch homeowners the normal go-for-the-goalpost tactics of home building and renovation don’t apply. As well as getting the positive stories, Lee talked to people facing the double whammy of losing homes and businesses. For them there is no clear end to the hardship, no clear goal, just the need to go on and on. That is something much harder.
Our Christchurch letter writer Elizabeth Jane Woods, who has lost her home, finds it helps to hunker down with her family and friends. She’s planning a “resolution dinner” where, she says, they will “reaffirm our friendship, support each other in our resolve and probably drink far too much wine”. See page 17.
I liked Elizabeth’s message of solidarity, liked having it in this Mother’s Day issue along with the inspiring homes and gardens. It reminds us that, sometimes, stopping and enjoying the people in our homes is even more important than working on them.
|Story: Sally Duggan|
Photographer: Jane Ussher