Wednesday, January 09, 2008


When you live in Auckland, you really do need to escape it at regular intervals. There is nothing like arriving at one's destination and the first thing to marvel at, is the silence. Silence! What luxury there is in stillness and quiet. After a few days away, one almost dreads going back.

One thing I must say – and this may surprise some – is that I do not approve of the current trend of the modern holiday home.

When I was but a small Miss Smith, the well-heeled family bach was a far more casual affair. They were large and comfortable, but the kind of place we children could run wild, and track sand indoors without someone shrieking that we were ruining the carpet. Sunny days we only returned to the house for meals and sleep. Rainy days were spent playing board-games (somehow most of the pieces and rulebooks would have wandered off, which meant amusing substitutes were invented), charades, and violent games of hide-and-seek. I don't remember there being any televisions.

New Year's Eve parties were the only times the women dressed up and rolled out the gowns and the heels, soon discarded for dancing (the heels, I mean, not the gowns. Well, possibly the gowns too, but that would have been after I was sent to bed). One lived in a glorious state of feral-gentility.

Now – no matter how far one goes, it rather feels like the city came along for the ride. The 'baches' are not much dissimilar from city homes – looking like they were packaged up and air-lifted in from Parnell. I don't see the point. Baches should be to escape, not recreate, the city.

I saw a small girl on the beach attempting to make a sand-castle, attired in a fetching Trelise Cooper Kids sun-dress. "Sophie!" her mother called with a sharp tone. "You'll get your dress dirty."

God. New Money People are so dreary.


Oswald Bastable said...

Welcome back!

Ah- for the days when getting to the beach was a mission and the cars of the unwashed- if they had them- were not up to such trips!

Anonymous said...

Agree about the designer bach problem, Omaha sounds like my idea of Holidays from Hell. Mind you, I blame the precursor 1980s Pauanui types, all I can remember is having various Private School mothers yelling like demented shrews because "Andrew left some fish bait out on the front lawn where everyone could see it" or that "Sarah had drunk all the Miami Wine Coolers" and as Pauanui was a 'dry' area it would mean a show-off trip in the very (then)hip BMW (the Chase/Equiticorp shares were doing well)to purchase said wine coolers in near-by Tairua.

As for all these little brats wearing Trelise Cooper Kids - it also sends shudders up my osteoporotic spine. I have an aquaintance who spits about one of my brats being at a Private School, allegedly he will grow up not being a 'real' person and a 'Fair-go Kiwi'. All the time this father boasts to me how his three yr old daughter has 20 Trelise Cooper Kids dresses, only buys her orthotically correct snazzy shoes at $100+ a pair, drives her around in a Mercedes 4 Wheel Drive and feeds her an organic diet and he has hung a Shane Cotton painting in her room so she appreciates art. Yes,but, apparently my kid is going to hell dressed in Hallensteins,barefoot; sucking a popsicle whilst attending a deadly Private School?
Cheers, sally

George said...

Dear Mrs Smith, your description of the traditional batch has evoked very pleasant memories. Thank you. The bach of my childhood is best described as a wooden tent. We rarely had a bath, tank water was precious and it seemed superfluous when you spent most of the day in the surf. The sand on the painted wooden floor, beach towels drying on a line propped with a forked piece of manuka, the struggle to keep ants out of the safe--all part of the beauty of the time at the bay.
We were so lucky.

Mrs Smith said...

Hilarious Sally - anyway, I went to a deadly private school, and I turned out just marvellously.

V. lucky indeed, George. I think those days are gone.