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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 9 (December 1, 1934)

Holiday Cottage

Holiday Cottage.

In the early summer last year, Mary and I spent a most delightful fortnight. We enjoyed all the comforts of home plus the delights of new scenes, new people and a new occupation, our postal address remaining the same and our purses being but slightly depleted. Mary was the prime mover in the affair, while I was adviser-in-chief and general support.

It all commenced with the discussion of holiday plans. Mary, plus husband and two babes, usually spends the Christmas and New Year vacation at some popular holiday resort where Dave has a fine time boating or swimming or tennising, while Mary spends anxious days keeping baby John and three-years-old Ann up to an impossible standard of neatness and behaviour. Neither Mary nor Ann nor baby John really enjoy this type of holiday—the strain is too great.

“I'm not trying it again,” said Mary. “Not until the children are older, anyway. We're going to holiday-make by ourselves, where my children can't disturb other guests and where they can play round happily and become grubby if they wish. I'm going house-hunting. I want a sea-side cottage where we can go for week-ends throughout the year and where I can ask any of my friends who don't mind children. I've talked it over with Jack's sister. She and Ted and her three are thrilled about the idea and longing to be invited. I've planned it all. Everybody takes turns at household chores, including the men. They pretend to grumble but they really love messing round with meals occasionally. And we'll go out there and relax, and eat and sleep and laze and breathe deep breaths of fresh air and come back to town ready for anything! There! Are you on? Are you coming hunting for Holiday Cottage?”

I was on. And that's how we spent our marvellous fortnight—scanning House Agents' notices, interviewing said agents, careering off gaily with an address and a key and a lunch-basket to some bay where we hopefully expected to find our ideal cottage. Wonder of wonders, the weather held good. Several times we took the children with us, but mostly we left them with Syb. (Mary's sister-in-law) who is certainly going to be a welcome week-end guest. For we found our cottage! After many disappointments and ever-hopeful settings-out next day, we found it! I musn't tell you where it is, but the bay is sheltered, the sea-swimming is quite safe and our cottage (I've page 61 adopted it, you see) basks in the sun all day. In front there is a tiny patch of lawn and three shade-trees. The living-room has a large open fireplace for winter comfort. At the back is quite a neat little lean-to kitchen (Mary has spent time and thought and money on that kitchen). On each side of the central living-room is a bedroom, one of them with two bunks and room for two more. Doors from living-room and bed-rooms open on to a wide verandah with sliding windows. I'll admit at once that it was the verandah which won our hearts. At a rush week-end we have had five stretchers comfortably on that verandah.

The furnishing is very simple. An old dressing-table, enamelled pale green, matches the window and wardrobe curtains in the principal bedroom. A sheep skin rug, dyed pale green and made by a clever cousin who belongs to a Women's Institute, is the only floor covering. The floor boards are stained a pleasant brown.

The living-room has a linoleum square with stained surround (very easy to keep clean despite the sand that is “tracked in”), an old morris-couch heaped with gay cushions, odd chairs, some of them dating twenty years back, a side-board with the ornate “top-dressing” of mirror and shelves removed and quite resembling a modern buffet, a small glass-fronted corner cupboard, a gate-leg table and two card-tables (for bridge, or extra company at meal times, or al fresco feasts on the lawn).

Furnishing, you see, was not an expensive item. Friends who are keen to come out are often asked to bring their own stretchers and cutlery.
Lake Manapouri, South Island, New Zealand. (Rly. Publicity photo.)

Lake Manapouri, South Island, New Zealand. (Rly. Publicity photo.)

Mary is at present contemplating giving herself a Christmas present of gay linen cloths for Holiday Cottage.

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