Woman Time

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I’ve just spent the past while with my mother, Ruth. Its been a special time for us. We had the most fantastic day yesterday when we drove to Akaroa and Governors Bay. It was a day that really brought home how much incredible talent and passion for art there is in New Zealand. Our first stop was Little River Gallery. We enjoyed Merv Sarson and Shelia Brown’s exhibition there very much. Merv’s Wading Heron remained my favourite peice of the show but Mum loved his Swallows and Sheila’s various birds on the wing. It seemed flight was the impromptu theme for the gallery with birds eggs and bird nest haired bronze busts on display in the rest of the space. Together, it all worked really well. I loved seeing more work by Sam Mahon too – he is an incredibly multi talented guy. No doubt a lot of Cantabrians will recognise this work of his:

One day I hope to be able to have something by him; he is definitely with Merv and Craig Fletcher in my group of favourite local artists. Little River Gallery was well worth the visit.

Just over the hill from Little River we had a near death experience as tourists in a little red car swerved down a side road, then right back onto the main road again in front of us, without indicating or pausing to look. Some blue words were spoken and, as they continued to drive erratically, I pulled off a side road of our own and headed for French Farm figuring that the road to a nice vineyard was vastly preferable to a one way trip to the after life. French farm looked as beautiful as ever but we didn’t really enjoy it. We were offered a table that was full of dish rags and chalk and black boards when we commented a seat would be appreciated. We did have a small tasting but only stayed ten minutes even after firmly taking seats in the restaurant. I hope they pick up their game again; I had remember it fondly from a previous visit. In Akaroa, as is customary, we drove about choosing our favourite cute house to imagine living in. We both settled on this one for our imaginary life:

We ate a bite at a nice cafe and went for a long walk that eventually took us to Tully House. Mum may be becoming clucky. She purchased this set and matching bib with a little bandannaed pirate shaped rattle that quacked like a duck:

I got some beautiful French sheets and six embroidered pillow cases to go with them. We continued to exercise using the rule of the day: at any place marked studio, gallery, exhibition or antique we stopped. So we saw some work by Svletlana Orinko who recently came to look about the cottage and Craig Fletcher (his work is shown). Awesome:

We headed out of Akaroa and, as soon as the road got mountainous, nearly rear ended the same little red car. Its occupants had parked directly in the middle of the road, around a blind corner in a 100 km per hour zone, to look at a map. I suspect that’s one pair of tourists that may not survive their visit. I was pretty chuffed with my skills when it came to avoiding them. We drove over the pass between Birdlings Flat and Governors Bay. I was pleasantly surprised by how nice the road was, and how short a time the trip took, because it meant that when we reached She Chocolaterie for our Chocolate Tasting Class we had time for a tasting platter ahead of the class.  We feasted on lovely breads, mediterranean vegetables, salmon, dips, cheeses and more. I was glad this was a tasting platter entree though because, of course, chocolate was the focus of the night. We were ushered into the room behind the main restaurant where O’Sean was playing the violin soulfully to welcome us. Everyone was given a bowl full of chilli scented Mayan hot chocolate to drink and it immediately caused Mum to melt into chocolate ecstasy. Then Oonagh, She’s elfin chocolatier, took the stage. With small movies and lots of hands on fun, Oonagh took us on a journey through the history of chocolate, its making, tasting techniques, and more.  We rubbed chocolate between our fingers, tasted coco butter (though you’re not really meant to), licked fingers clean, double dipped and giggled. By the end of the night, cheaper chocolate delivered in a blind tasting made me feel squiffy as I learned to detect the film of fat it left on the tongue. As promised, this night has changed chocolate for me forever. By the time we wound up with tasting plates of She’s delicious creations I was in chocolate rapture and ready to drop from fullness at the same time.  We wombled happily home and ended up pyjama-ed in the same bed talking about the experience. There were two things I was not prepared for from the night. One was that having shared the richness of the chocolate and the journey together, Mum and I came away feeling closer, though I can’t explain exactly how as we’ve always been close. The other was how the chocolate affected me creatively; I woke up early and  had an absolute outpouring of imagined scenes for ”Somewhere Else.” I feel full of inspiration to write. Oonagh talked often about the magic of chocolate and I can only attribute these things to just that. I now want to find a supply of roasted cacao beans, which we tried at She, to add to my daily breakfast as a great soul food for nurturing that writing spirit and as a health food. Hopefully, the good folk at She might be able to help me out.

Thanks to them for a lovely night.

2 Responses to “Woman Time”

  1. Pia Says:

    Yay for chocolate tasting! That’s seriously awesome. 🙂 I love high quality chocolate, though I must admit I’ve never done an official tasting. I can’t eat ‘cadburys’ anymore unless I’m really really desperate.

  2. lubie Says:

    Ohhhhh arrrrrrrrrrrrr! that little suit is Gorgeous!! 🙂

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