Reminiscences

REMINISCENCES

Cecil

– Remembers riding down to and over the Tuki Tuki river to find the cave(s) where workers found the moa’s egg, on Craggy Range, just the other side of the river, I think. It/they was/were big enough for her to feel uncomfortable about being inside and she decided not to explore too far.
(Grandpa put together the egg and the skeleton).
– As told me in Nov 2013, Grannie’s family toast, which she used to always give at Christmas:

Here’s to them that we love
And here’s to them that loves us
And here’s to them that loves them that we love
And to them that loves them that loves us!

– Her great friends Bill and Diana Wilmott (Christchurch)
Early days at the HB Museum:
Grandpa was the first chairman, in the 1930’s. Mr Bestall was or became his 2iC, and probably took over from Grandpa when he retired. During the war Gr drove in to the museum once a week to keep it open.
Moa remains: these were brought to Grandpa in sacks, and Cecil remembers the front steps at Te Puna being littered with these bones after they had been washed and put out in the sun to dry. He then sorted them into their types/species. While he was assembling the skeleton for the museum, Grannie had to paint a picture of a moa also for the museum.

The Felkins:
Cecil remembers Miss Felkin, with a fat bulldog? And I think it was Mrs Felkin who used to invite people over to see their Christmas tree and crib with animals; by candlelight and the swinging of incense with an ‘incantation’ of some sort. She apparently gave the incense holder to Mrs Joe Williams, who not being ‘high’ church swung it and said sth [something] like north south east west bless us all. (Other notes I made was Cecil saying that Mrs Moore (artist John Moore’s mother), a nice, not so serious person compared with others like Reg Gardener, Dr Felkin etc., swung the incense-burner and said ‘North, south, east west.. now we’re all happy!’. Cecil approved of her as she was lighter than the “nutters” who lived around that area (Felkins, Gardeners, etc.) She (Mrs Moore) lived opposite Duart in a house with a black roof. I thought she lived

on the corner of Duart and Gillean. Maybe she (or Miss Moore and/or John) did later when I was growing up.

The first National Party meeting in HB was held at Te Puna. Cecil became a foundation member!!! At the elections Gran was heard to say about Mrs Moore “She voted for Labour! And such a nice woman!”

Miss Felkin, the companion/cook/housekeeper etc told Cecil that God tells the fairies what sort of leaves their plants should grow. No, Miss Fenton was the companion etc. Miss Felkin was obviously family!

Eleanor Adkins lived in the Whare Ra cottage – before moving to her (now Greenwood Rd) house, no [number] (check) (previously Ellison Rd after the Ellisons who lived at Te Puna. Remember that a cottage on the other side of the road (no [number], to check) was built of wood from the end of the passage and a spare room from Te Puna which is why that back end of Te Puna was a little blunt. I think it was built for an Ellison son who was slightly disabled. Note: Check with Cecil. Certainly, all the lemon trees were planted at Te Puna to provide him with an income. Getting back to Eleanor Adkins: she worked in leather as well as doing exquisite jewellery. Miss Manson lived in the Whare Ra cottage when I was growing up. She was a dressmaker.

Earlier life – Haunton Hall – a school for daughters of gentlemen farmers. Then St Stephens College in Folkeston – Cecil and Catharine boarding (8-9 years old) Cecil for a year, then to NZ as day-girls. (??) Legh – Malvern College till 11-12 years old.
Grandpa’s family came from Wootten-under-Edge in Gloucestershire.
Catharine was born there (?)Check with Cecil. Cecil was born at Appleby Magna in Leicester.
Mum, Legh and Janet were all born at Courtenay in north of Vancouver Island – hospital was probably in Victoria in the south of the island. Grandpa was involved with a boating group on Lake Okinagen.
The family left in 1915. How many years in BC?

Notes on Nancy, my mother:

She went to Wellington (Upper Hutt) to a fundamentalist family to learn poultry farming! (were poultry farmers so hard to find??) They prayed for “the sinful one among us”. Cecil remembers her sitting on a window-seat with a cushion between herself and the little boy, who said “I’m in heaven; you’re in hell! Very matter-of-fact about it. Back at Te Puna, the far side of the stone-house (the back room where Bernard later kept all his things?) became the incubator room, and the far left of the garage became the brooder-room.

Later on, to Wellington where she flatted and learned floristry; then opened a shop on the Havelock side of the side-street by the Masonic Hotel in Napier – it was called “Bluebird Flowers’

She had a riding accident at some stage – had concussion – was in bed for a month or two. She also had a bad fall over an unmarked ski jump – hospital – rheumatic fever – weakened heart and therefore didn’t survive my birth. This is a new theory to me. I was always told that she had haemorrhaged to death.

Nancy also lived in Wlg [Wellington] at some stage selling lovely linen from China, Florence etc – to French, German consulates – when about 22 years old. N was 9 ½ years older than Cecil. She had been ‘finished’ is the right word? In Vevey, Lausanne for a year, living in the Avenue des Cerissiers. Spoke French fluently and sounded French (cf Legh after a year) – (who maybe didn’t have an ear??). She played the piano, and composed. (News to me, I’ve never seen any of her music), Janet was interested in singing.

Cecil didn’t see Nancy while pregnant because she was studying in Wlg, and Catharine said if Cecil went to Te Puna, she wouldn’t, (!) Plus you had to get a permit to travel more than 50 miles during the war.

Original digital file

FowlerC866_Reminiscences.pdf

Format of the original

Computer document

Additional information

Collated by the daughter of Nancy, Cecil’s sister

Accession number

866/1291/37761

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