Sunday, 17 February 2013

Wonderful Windy Wellington!

A brief return to Christchurch, playing with my lovely grandsons, and then off to Wellington for the Katherine Mansfield Conference.  It's called 'Masked and Unmasked' and concentrates on Katherine's love of playing parts - not just in her fiction. Katherine changed her name frequently when she was young, experimenting with different identities.  She once wrote to a friend that sometimes she felt like the proprietor of a small hotel, giving out keys to all the guests!

KM's mother of pearl brooch
 One of the reasons to be here is also to hand over the Katherine Mansfield mother-of-pearl brooch that I was given when I first started the research for the book.  It's acted like a talisman;  every time I was tempted to give up, it looked at me from the drawer and made giving up impossible.  While I had it, I had to write the biography.  The gift created an obligation.  But the book is written and out in the world now and I don't feel comfortable being in possession of such a valuable and historic object - it would also have to be sold when I die, as I have four children.  So I felt that the right thing to do was to hand it over to a museum in New Zealand that would look after it properly.  I chose the Katherine Mansfield Birthplace Trust, because they are willing to put it on display, rather than just show it to people who come along and ask.  It will be accessible to the general public, in the house on Tinakori Road where Katherine was born,  and I like that.

The next thing was to meet a group of Tuesday Poets who live in Wellington - a great evening in the Library Bar!  I'd met Tim Jones and Mary McCallum before, but it was the first time for Janis Freegard, Harvey Molloy and Helen Rickerby (who has just posted a Katherine Mansfield poem!).
Tim Jones, Janis Freegard, Harvey Molloy, Mary McCallum, Helen Rickerby, and me.
 I had a lovely time - and that was only Day One!  We got rather lost finding our way back to our room on Tinakori Road later on and were wandering around the Botanic Gardens, trying to find a way out, at midnight because we didn't have a map of Wellington.  Something for tomorrow!



3 comments:

  1. Dear Kathy. I am loving your travellers tales and the wonderful images that accompany them. Seems to me now you should have dual NZ & Cumbrian citizenship. You seem to be meeting some great people. You are THE ambassador for. KM. Wx

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  2. Oh that brooch! How beautiful it is - and how generous of you to give it to the KM Birthplace Trust so we can all see it. Did you let me look at it when I first met you, Kathleen? I have a feeling you did. In which case I feel very privileged. Love your photo of us Tuesday Poets in the booklined bar. Neil did a lovely job of that. Thank him won't you! Poor you getting lost ... looking forward to that story ...

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  3. I t was lovely to meet you, Kathleen, and I'm looking forward to seeing that beautiful brooch.

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