I saw elephants in New Zealand, at Birdwoods, strolling across the frosty grass. It felt strangely right, to see them in Havelock North, at the home/gallery/cafe/shop, of Zimbabwean friends of mine, Louise and Bruce Stobart.
At the end of June 2022, I spent three days with them, surrounded by art and hospitality. It was fascinating and wonderful, and full of bounce, despite the low ebb of tourists and seasonal workers that winter. New Zealand had just re-opened its borders post-pandemic and, like everywhere else, was trying to adjust to a new reality.
My memories of my stay, are of laughter, of greenery, and of art. And for me, what added that little extra, was the white waddle of the ducks beneath the trees as they went about their day, ignoring the visitors, the masterpieces, and the gentle bongs of the giant windchime. Every so often they would splash into the pond, unphased by the lifesize metal crocodile who kept watch by the fountain. I hope they, and all at Birdwoods, have had a good summer.
(‘Snow Queen‘ below is by Zimbabwean sculptor, Lovemore Bonjisi. She may since have found new owners, but she looked completely at home in the Birdwoods garden, surrounded by other Zimbabwean carvings and sculptures).
Here is a link to Birdwoods with more information
Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023