By the seashore is where we were for a month ending just last week.
And we were also bachsitting.
Housesitting is what we have been occupying ourselves for the last few years, and we thought why not carry it on in New Zealand. And we did. Well, our last assignment just happened to be very different from previous ones, even though it’s not readily recognisable as a bach, it’s still a bach at heart, and home to those that own it. So there we were bachsitting. Not forgetting the unforgettable felines whose home it is, Mumbo and her daughter Pippy whom we cared for while their human family were on holiday.
On the verge of Extinction?
What I am referring to when I write “bach”? It’s the much loved mid-20th-century batten and fibrolite holiday home. Nowadays, it can be anything from a converted railway carriage to a mansion.
A bach was once symbolic of a Kiwi way of life.
The late New Zealand novelist Nigel Cox, writing in New Zealand Geographic more than two decades ago, said that the classic form was rough as guts: an outdoor dunny, galvanised iron water tank, fibrolite exterior, unlined interior, exposed rafters and wiring, bare timber floors, paua shells on shelves, little piles of playing cards, a shelf of well-thumbed paperbacks. But most of all, the good old Kiwi bach was built on the cheap and was utilitarian to its fibro soul.
Days of summer past
Drenched in ladlefuls of nostalgia.
No luxury in the bedroom with the usual lumpy mattresses, the magazines and books of years ago, most out of date, but what these modest properties lacked in sophistication, they made up for in character.
Hot waterside days, balmy, barbecue-scented evenings, sunscreen when we remembered to slop it on.
Food served between BBQ meals was homemade biscuits, and lemonade drinks to wash down those biscuits. Ice-creams to fuel the collecting of natural resources, which were shattered from our beds to the living areas. This meant sandy sheets and the sound of shells hitting the wooden floor throughout the night.
During the long summer days wet towels, togs and sand on the floor, discarded board games, piles of jandals at the door and us kids, lots and lots of kids.
Beach memories are usually collected during summer though we had collected a few winter ones by the time we left the Coromandel.
A few snippets of our Coromandel beach memories:
Exploring the Coast
Watching the ever-changing sea
Enjoying zillions of beach walks
Being impressed by staunch dog walkers out in all weathers [secretly thankful that this bachsit had only 2 felines], shell collecting and really all sorts of beach activities. Most requiring movement at a brisker pace. Not forgetting to add the need for more clothing. No thoughts of a mid-winter swim entering our minds at all.
In the middle of my romantic reverie lies our time bachsitting in an Iconic Kiwi Bach.