A chill breeze took some of the pleasure from the sunny day.
In the city, the Bluebridge ferry “Straitsman” was at her berth, surrounded by lesser vessels, tugs and trawlers.
The fishing vessels that berth in the inner city are a motley lot. They range from decrepit impounded Japanese trawlers, to smaller local boats in various states of repair. This particular wharf is one of the few outside of the port’s security fence. Here you can stand and gaze at the workings of real sea-going vessels rather than the polished wood and cabinetry of the hobby boats in the marina. These are scruffy but honest boats. Having spent my entire working life in warm, well-lit offices, I am always intrigued by the ruggedness of the people who sail in them.
Later in the day, when the wind had dropped I had a look at Pauatahanui. Despite the apparent calm, the water was still ruffled and uninteresting. The sun still shone, so I walked up the driveway of historic St Alban’s Anglican church at Pauatahanui. This is the church that you can see above the village and it was looking smart and clean.
However the real interest here is in the historic graveyard. It seems to be a state of benign neglect, with many wildflowers and weeds. Some of the fences surrounding graves are rotting or rusting as the case may be. A deliberate policy of planting heritage roses in the cemetery adds some seasonal colour, but most of them are rambling varieties so they contribute in their way to the wildness of the place.
Thomas Gray’s elegy related to an older, and probably more disciplined churchyard on the other side of the world, yet I am sure that he could have written it here too:
“Yet even these bones from insult to protect
Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.”*
It’s a restful place.
- “Elegy written in a country churchyard” by Thomas Gray