Camped out in a back-packers’ hostel in Sihanoukhville (not the best experience) and fondly remembering Wellington and the Katherine Mansfield Conference, which now seems very remote and civilised in comparison to what’s around me here! Wellington is a fantastic city. We had three wonderful days of packed activity and intense discussions carried on over some great meals
Neil and I were staying in the historic Shepherd’s Arms on Tinakori Road close to the house where Katherine was born, and walked every morning over to the university through the Botanic Gardens. They are very beautiful and the views of the city and the harbour are genuinely breathtaking. We got lost walking back on the first night we were there and ended up stumbling around in the dark gardens at midnight trying to find a way out!
|Botanic Gardens at Thornden|
Another highlight was a performance of cello music by one of New Zealand’s earliest composers - Arnold Trowell - the twin brother of Garnett, who was the father of Katherine’s illegitimate baby.
One of my favourites is Katherine’s passport - a sad record of how many times she changed countries in the last couple of years of her life in her desperate search for health.
We tried to stay on in Wellington for an extra day to fit in all the things we hadn’t managed to do while we were there, but the hotel couldn’t give us another night. So we decided to go back to Christchurch via ferry and train, slipping out of the harbour on a cloudy Monday morning aboard the Kaitaki, which used to be a cross-channel ferry called the Pride of Cherbourg and is now plying the Cook Strait instead! I felt quite sad as I watched the city disappear over the horizon and wondered when I'd manage to get back there again.