Thursday, August 23, 2007

Lunch At Abbottslee

Yesterday morning dawned grey and chilly so it was quite a feat to get up early to go to Otane. This time however I remembered to take my reference photo to work from although in the event I chatted that much to Glenys who was sitting next to me that I got very little done. Gina picked me up at 9.30am accompanied by Gaye her mother in law (and my landlady's) who lives down the end of my road. Gaye is a wonderful artist although she kept this fact quiet when I first met her in March.

Around 16 people turned up to the art group. I was lucky to get last week's position at a table with my back to the sun. Glenys was working on drawings to my left and Martina on her rose painting on an easel to my right.

We knew that our painting time was limited as we were going to lunch at 12 in Waipawa. That didn't stop the chat until Marie who runs the group reminded us that we would need to leave at 11.45am to reach the tearooms (by then it was 11.05am). The room went deathly quiet as everyone guiltily resumed their work.

Tom has finally finished his wonderful fishing boats painting that he has been working on for weeks. I have been amazed at how he transformed a black and white photo he took 50 years ago into a finely detailed colour painting. He was kind enough to take a photo so my brother Richard (an ex fisherman) could see it.

There was quite a bit of discussion about The Festival at Pukeora in Waipukurau which we're preparing work for. Martina is very nervous about entering her paintings and asked how I was going to get mine there on the 3rd. When I told her I would post it she said no she couldn't allow that, she would pick me up and we'd go to Waipukurau together. She lives twenty minutes away from me in Onga Onga (the historic village) in a house truck. I couldn't believe her kindness.

At 11.45am we put our supplies away and Gina, Gaye and I drove the back route into Waipawa. We took a brief detour as she wanted to show where her friend lives on a lifestyle block and I was totally astonished to see it was the block my parents had looked at about 12 years ago. It's mightily changed now as there has been alot of subdivision work going on around it.

We arrived at Abbottslee Tearooms just as the sun disappeared behind ominous looking clouds. Abbottslee is a Waipawa landmark being a beautiful old white house with traditional wrap around verandas, amazing woodwork and 12 foot high ceilings. It is set like a jewel in sweeping grounds full of old fashioned flowers. The lady in charge of the buffet helped me select vegetarian dishes and I ended up with two roast spuds, mashed carrot and parsnip with macaroni and cheese. I also had to get a large slice of chocolate cake. All that with a cup of tea came to just $11!

We went into the large dining room (we worked out three rooms had been knocked into one) and after Gina made them rearrange the furniture so we could all sit together we had an animated chat with Betty (a very interesting artist who lives on a farm near me) plus the tutor from the US, Donna Dahm, who was telling us about her trip to Antarctica. The air was scented with the rich smell of the daphne flowers that were displayed on nearly every table.

On the way home Gaye invited us in for a quick cup of tea. I had the pleasure of meeting Gina's donkey Yersef (I have got the spelling wrong I'm sure) and her two pet sheep that she grazes on Gaye's small block of land. Gaye lent me seven spiritual books (yes have met yet another kindred spirit here) to go along with the 11 library books I checked out on Tuesday. We sat in front of the heater with Gina's two ginger cats for a while before braving the cold again. I got home at 3pm and rushed around feeding everyone so I could hunker down inside. I was so tired in the evening that I fell asleep for an hour but this lovely day took my mind of losing Piper and recharged my batteries again.

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