A Noel Guthrie Acrylic on canvas

A Noel Guthrie Acrylic on canvas
The Cockabully Hunters --- from an original painting by Noel Guthrie

Monday, 20 February 2017

There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza.

From a grayscale watercolour by Noel Guthrie

This bucket hanging on the post reminds me of a story when I was working in Fairlie for a building firm by the name of Carlton Bros during the 1950s.
I had been there for a couple of years I suppose when a new apprentice started work.
Several members of the Carlton family worked in the firm, one, in particular, was John Carlton, or Darkie was his nickname.  He was a joker in the pack, just couldn't help himself.  He loved a bit of harmless fun,
A new apprentice, like most of us at the tender age of 15 were gullible and caught by one of Darkie's jokes, at one time or other.
This day, during our morning tea break, Darkie asked the new young bloke if he would pop over to the Canterbury Farmers Co-op, machinery dept and get four gallons of free air and tell Bernie Welch the manager to charge it up..  Eager to please, this lad goes on his way,
Arriving at the Machinery Dept, he told Bernie, that Darkie had sent him over for four gallons of free air and to just charge it up to the firm.  Bernie almost wet himself on the spot, not able contain his laughter, he rushed out the back.
Returning with tears still in his eyes, he said come with me lad.  Putting the air hose in the empty four-gallon kerosene tin he squirted air into it.  Should be enough in there now lad he said, quickly screwing on the cap.  The young fella asked if it was very heavy?  Bernie dashed back in the shop before he began a bout of uncontrollable laughter.
Whistling his favourite tune 'White Sports Coat'  that young bloke never gave it another thought that Darkie may be playing a joke on him. He had to laugh at his own gullibility
when it dawned on him, he'd been had.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

The Fourth Holy Innocent.

Church of the Holy Innocents. 
Mt Peel.

From a watercolour sketch 
by Noel Guthrie  1994

Several years ago, and for the very first time, I took the opportunity to enter this small stone Church of the Holy Innocents, at Mt Peel, along the western corner of South Canterbury.
Even though I was alone, apart from a friendly fantail flitting between the high portals, the sense that I had company and a feeling of peace, was quite overpowering.
All around me, I saw history recorded in some shape or form.  The extraordinary stained glass windows, as well as those polished memorial plaques adorning the wall.

In the small graveyard outside, etched in stone, were the names of those who have gone before.  For some, only an unmarked rock, inscribed their passing.
Prior to the erection of this Church at Mt Peel, Mr J. A. B. Acland, a runholder and lay preacher at the time, conducted services several times a year in the Mt Peel homestead.
As I understand, an entry in Mr Acland's diary records a service conducted on the 10th December 1868, in which he wrote.
        'Read the last of the Bishop of New Zealand's four sermons.   At the time, I am sorry to say,     Lang,(a neighbour) went to sleep, though he tried to disprove it by reading the middle part of the sermon, as the concluding sentences.'

I wonder how many of us have guilty of that little transgression from time to time.

At the base of Big Mt Peel and on the rise overlooking the deceptive Rangitata River, Emily Acland laid the foundation stone for this Church on the 14th December 1868.
 Plans of the Church, previously drawn in true Gothic architecture by Mr Ashworth of  Exeter, England, were a gift of the Rev. P. Acland, Vicar of Broardclyst and sub-Dean of Exeter Cathedral.
William Brassington of Christchurch won the contract to construct this church for a cost of four hundred and eighty-six pounds, eight shillings and sixpence, although the bell tower design was changed, to suit an alternative design submitted by Mrs Acland.

Quarried limestone used in the construction, was taken from a site at Mt Somers and carted across the  Rangitata River by bullock dray.  Other stone used in the project was collected from the Rangitata River flats.
Substantial Gothic portals, handcrafted of Totara timber, support an attractive handcrafted ceiling of New Zealand native Totara and Matai.  Other hand-hewn furniture and fitting, also of native timbers, provide the simple necessities for up to eighty or more worshippers, to share in this tranquil setting.

In a letter written by Rev.L.L.Brown, after the consecration of this little Church on December 12th, 1869, he described the origin of its name.  One passage of his letter brought forth a surge of emotion within me, where he wrote,

          'The name, Church of the Holy Innocents, was chosen because there were three infant children, Emily Dyke Acland, Helen Irvine and Abner Clough, lay buried in the hillside.
On the day this church was consecrated, a solemn spot caught my eye.  In a hedged enclosure, I saw a small wooden cross at the head of a little mound of earth, the soil recently disturbed.
This was the grave of the fourth holy innocent, Robert Irvine, who died in August 1869.

Services up until around 1921 were held only four or five times each year.  Offerings collected, usually went to the Mission Funds, such as St Savours Orphanage or the Maori Girls School.
Yet it appears that this small Church lay quiet for some years, prior to 1947, when a notice in the 'Churchman', advised parishioners that services were to begin again.
At a centenary of the Church of the holy innocents, held on the 28th December 1969, it was Simon Acland, a great grandson of the pioneer and founder of this Church, who, in delivering his sermon he quoted.
           'They had their share of suffering, disappointments and hardship, but they also had a vision and it rested with their faith in Jesus Christ.
They didn't plan, plant or build, just for themselves, they did it for the happiness and fulfilment of others.'
This small church at Mt Peel, to me at least, epitomises strength and a vision, of those settlers who braved almost intolerable elements, so that we, their descendants may live our lives in peace.                                                                          

In the nick

How many can remember getting around like this at the beach or 
at the river when they were little.

A black and white watercolour on paper
by Noel Guthrie.
280mm x 180mm

Monday, 6 February 2017

The Boat Shed

I am taking the opportunity to display some of my original art over the next few weeks.

This scene of an old boat shed at Lake Alexandrina in the Mackenzie took my fancy some time ago, so I painted it.
As far as I can remember it was coming into mid-autumn. Many of the willow trees along the lake edge had previously been pruned and had sprouted again.
I sketched the scene and took a photograph for future reference.
The painting was acrylic on canvas,   600 x 450
The original painting was sold not long after it was completed, however, prints can still be made available.

Hope you enjoy.

Noel G