McLeans Mansion

Historic mansion to be bulldozed reports The Press today.

This slightly spooky architectural jewel McLeans Mansion (also know as Holly Lea) has an interesting history:

The Mansion was a departure from the accustomed work of the architects, England Brothers, and it was an unusual design among Christchurch’s large homes — when built it was reputed to be the largest wooden residence in New Zealand. The most remarkable thing about the Mansion is surely that it was built for a 78 year-old bachelor and that it was used as a private residence for only 13 years.

McLeans Mansion, 387 Manchester Street, Christchurch ca. 1900
McLeans Mansion, 387 Manchester Street, Christchurch ca. 1900

Messy can be Fun

The nights are getting shorter now we are past the longest day, but there are many more days ahead of driving home from work in the dark, closing the curtains in the late afternoon, and having your children stuck inside on wet and cold days.

The school holidays are also fast approaching, so maybe now is a good time to plan ways get the kids creating, learning new skills and having fun with crafts and activities.

My boys always seemed to have some kind of obsession on the go, be it paper airplanes, origami, painting or making vast cities made of Lego. We lived overseas in a sixth floor apartment and one of their enduring joys was to make parachutes for their action men, launch them over the stair well and then run down the circular stairs to retrieve them. I always tried to let them just go for it, and not to see the mess. It’s hard, as a parent to quantify what they learn from these activities, but problem solving, improved fine motor skills and just plain fun must be in there somewhere.

I remember when my kids were little, we always seem to have play dough in a plastic container, and I actually enjoyed making a big potful on the stove with them. Here’s a good basic recipe for play dough .

I have fond memories of time spent with my grandparents learning skills such as knitting, crochet and baking as well as getting into my cabinet maker granddad’s shed making endless egg cups on the lathe (with his close supervision), or playing scrabble with my other granddad, whose love of words I credit hugely for my own.

Activities such as these also create lasting memories for your children, and I find now, when we get together for coffee, my 20 something boys fondly talk about the parachutes or paper airplanes and the fun involved.

Winter is a great time to get stuck in, get messy, learn and experiment and there’s a multitude of resources at Christchurch City Libraries.

Are there fun activities you enjoy with your children, or had fun with when they or you were little?

The Maori Council meeting at Little River: Picturing Canterbury

The Maori Council meeting at Little River, Banks Peninsula 1902
The Maori Council meeting at Little River, Banks Peninsula 1902: “Pictured are: the Hon. James Carroll (Native Minister), the Hon. H.K. Taiaroa, MLC, Messrs Wi Pere and Parata, MHRS. and the delegates representing the South Islands pahs “