So on Friday while poor hubby was still labouring at work, the sun decided to shine in the gorgeous village of Island Bay, so my young son and I headed to the beach. It was just lovely! The beach is notorious for having rather chilly water, but this didnt deter any of the little children and after awhile, even my 7 year old stripped off and went diving into the azure blue water. Mum and Nanna stayed nice and dry on the hot sand!
I know I have mentioned Island Bay in Wellington quite a bit, but it really is a gorgeous wee seaside village with the most delightful blend of families and cultures. There is a fairly large Italian community and as I child I would play with the Italian children and spend time at their homes, which I think is where my love of cooking first began. I can remember one wonderful family - the Iovine's whose home on Trent Street was always so warm and welcoming. Mrs Iovine would make the most amazing Italian dishes - she even made her own mozarella cheese at a time when it was hard to buy in New Zealand. The thing I adored about these dear people was their passion for life, their exuberance and their love of their family and friends - magnifico!
This painting below is one of my favourites, from the fabulous artist Rita Angus. It is titled 'Boats, Island Bay' and I just adore its child-like depiction of the boats from this very special fishing village:
Alas the good weather was not to last and as luck would have it once the weekend arrived, so did the chilly weather! It was the perfect excuse to get all cosy inside and introduce my 7 year old son to one of my favourite childhood authors; Joyce Lankester Brisley, who wrote the magical 'Milly Molly Mandy' stories about the childhood adventures of a little girl growing up in a quintessential English village. Although Joyce Lankester Brisley had these stories published in 1925, the adventures of Milly Molly Mandy have a timelessness about them due to their simplicity. They range from tales about visiting the seaside, growing a garden or getting a lovely new bedroom (my favourite!).
Oh how I longed to grow up in an English country village like Milly Molly Mandy did! My own little corner of the world as a child was rather more suburban New Zealand with the nearest shop being miles away up a giant hill (or so it felt like at the time when I was sent on errands to buy bread or milk). The grass is always greener! It was a joy to travel back in time to my childhood and share that bliss with my lovely son, so thank you Joyce Lankester Brisley! I dont think I ever really want to grow up...
It’s good to be sitting still
And it’s good to be running wild,
And it’s good to be by yourself alone
or with another child
And whether the child’s grown up
Or whether the child is small
So long as it really is a Child
It doesn’t matter at all.