History and Places
Patrick Maisey’s home is a true labour of love. He built it himself, using locally sourced materials, in a prime spot at the end of a peninsula in the Tasman district that has been in his family for generations.
Not surprisingly, the place means an enormous amount to Maisey, his partner Christine Boswijk and their family. The house has grown gradually over time as work commitments and the mood allowed.
Today it’s a substantial build, able to house the blended family of 14 when they are all together at Christmas.
Design features include wrought iron around the balcony and doors opening to verandas and pockets of garden.
“We will start by picking our own homegrown cherries with the grandchildren on Christmas Eve and always gather around the long table to eat on Christmas Day,” says Christine Boswijk.
There are three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a massive living dining space and huge farmhouse kitchen. An adjacent structure of similar proportions allows the artist pair to pursue their individual passions – Christine in ceramics and sculpture and Patrick in the restoration of old cars.
The house has been developed in three stages including a second level with master bedroom and en suite.
“It’s perfect for Patrick,” says Boswijk. “He can get out of bed, look through the telescope and check on his boat moored at Mapua and then go to his workshop and the classic cars.”
While the house design has been Maisey’s preserve (with help from a draughtsman friend and then Nelson architect John Palmer), Boswijk had input too. She is quick to point out her walk- in wardrobe and dressing area in the angle of the roof pitch.
There’s plenty of quirky and distinctive detail to the property. A daughter’s former partner crafted steel porthole window frames and old wharf supports, hand positioned by Patrick and helpers using a block and tackle, form the main structure of the build. The clay exterior wall in the living area, added seven years ago, has a huge open fire and French doors in the new addition have created indoor-outdoor flow to the pond, water feature and view over the estuary.
“We have two planes- the vertical of the mountains and the horizontal of the sea. We have unbelievable light and life in this environment,” Boswijk says.
The house is about functionality – everything has to have a purpose and a use, so it doesn’t become a relic of the past. The house and surrounds continue to develop, a canvas for two artists.
Life of sheer luxury on the water
As your eyes stretch up its bright white flanks, 15 passenger decks high, past the encased yellow lifeboats, up to the angled funnels 64 metres above, you begin to feel very small.
You get a sense of how insignificant those people on Southampton docks in 1912 must have felt approaching Titanic. Except this ship is nearly 50 metres longer than Titanic and three times as heavy.
The Voyager is one of the 10 biggest ships in the world. If it was stood on its bow it would be taller than the Eiffel Tower.
It is just 8 metres shorter than New York’s Chrysler building. It was the biggest cruise ship in the world when delivered in 1999 and cost US$500 million to build.
Once inside, it becomes obvious why people refer to this as a floating town.
It houses 5020 people and has all the facilities you would expect to find in a small town. There is a medical centre, shopping arcade, basketball court, swimming pools, mini-golf course. It even has its own postcode.
But there are facilities you wouldn’t typically find in a small town: An ice-skating rink, 1200-seat theatre, 14 bars, clubs and lounges, casino, art gallery, climbing wall, inline skating track, and a three-storey restaurant which accommodates 1800 at one sitting.
It is the details which make Voyager an experience.
The three tiers of the restaurant are stylishly interlinked with curling staircases of ornate black wrought iron topped with polished wood. A grand piano sits on the middle tier and gently serenades diners as they eat.
Each area of the ship is designed by a different architect and visually refreshing as a result. For those of a forgetful disposition, there’s even a carpeted floor panel in each lift which is changed daily to tell you what day it is.
Strolling around you find yourself craning your neck at cathedral ceilings high above, marvelling at the scale.
The ship’s dimensions are not the only massive statistics though; there’s the food consumption. There are 105,000 meals prepared each week and within that 28,000kg of eggs, 30,000kg of fresh vegetables, 18,000 slices of pizza and 30,000 litres of ice cream.
The food and drink is endless and, if the guilt kicks in, you can burn off those extra calories in the gym. Its curved serried ranks of steppers, bikes, rowing machines and running machines stare out to sea. And, if you have to be running for 30 minutes getting nowhere, there can’t be many better views.
It is easy to be impressed with the Voyager but taking in the panoramic scenery from the bridge is a reminder of just what a stunning place this is we call home. Here I meet the Voyager’s charismatic Norwegian captain, Charles Teige, who is of the same opinion.
“New Zealand has the most beautiful ports in the world, there is no doubt about that. I grew up in the Norwegian fjords and the landscape is very similar but we don’t have such fantastic weather.”
Garrulous and gregarious with a ready smile, he makes the perfect ship’s captain. He is not averse to a one-liner either.
“We have upgraded the casino because of the Chinese guests and on this leg, with so many Australians joining us, we’ve had to make sure we have enough beverage on board.”
As we chat, our conversation is interlaced with references to “biggest”, “largest”, “first”.
The Voyager was a groundbreaker in the cruise ship industry when launched, redefining the rules.
“Even if it’s one of the biggest cruise ships in the world, it’s easy to find your way around,” says Teige.
I’m not so sure about this though. I think it would take me a while to get acquainted with the labyrinth of corridors. And the number of craning passenger heads we encountered, looking back and forth bemusedly, would seem to bear testament to that point. But if you did get lost it would scarcely matter, with 1200 smiling staff members (from 60 different countries) you’re never far from assistance.
The ship is in the midst of a 14-night cruise, including stops in Sydney, Auckland, Tauranga, Napier, Dunedin and Melbourne. Those on board this trip include 1500 Australians and 65 New Zealanders.
The Voyager will remain in Australasia until March, offering a range of cruises. A two-night sampler cruise out of Sydney, Australia, costs $476, while a 14-night New Zealand and South Pacific Cruise is $3143.
Her affable Scandinavian skipper has been in charge of the Voyager for 10 years.
“Of course, everybody thinks it’s easy to be a captain,” he smiles, “but it’s 5020 people and a US$650 million ship, so it’s a big responsibility. You’re just like the mayor of a small city.”
The most difficult part of his job is not, as you might expect, manoeuvring such a vast ship into difficult harbours. It is, he says, all the small organisational matters that need to be undertaken when coming into a new port; jobs where he is forced to rely on others outside the ship’s staff.
Not that he has had a problem in New Zealand.
“Small details can make for big delays,” he says.
“I have to say though, both in Australia and New Zealand, you deliver what you promise. You go to other places in the world, like Italy, it’s not always the case. But from the morning everything here has been excellent, tug boat, gangways, everything.”
If Teige is not the world’s happiest man in his job, he does a very good impression of it. He is energetic, enthusiastic and his stream of chatter is not interrupted by too many breaths.
“Every morning I come to my job I see the sun coming up and see these wonderful views.” he says, casting a blue-blazered arm out towards Mauao.
“I don’t have to sit in a car battling traffic for hours and I get to navigate these beautiful waters,” he says.
“Of course, sometimes I have to work shoreside on projects. Every time I do, I’m longing to get back to my ship.”
Bucket List Adventure: ‘Shrek’ the halls at Opryland this Christmas
Breaking bread with an ogre or sluicing down a 20-foot chute of solid ice may not be on your holiday bucket list – but you can bet it’s on your kids’ and grandkids’ wish list, along with the chance to earn Honorary Ogre cred and hobnob with their favorite green swamp dweller.
Gaylord Opryland’s “A Country Christmas” event has returned to Nashville for the 29th year, bringing with it Shrek, Princess Fiona and the whole cast from the swamp in the kingdom of Far Far Away. There’ll be dancin’ in the streets, feasting with the world’s most famous ogre and lots of other “green” themed holiday fun. Also back is the Gaylord’s jaw-dropping world of ICE!, a magical frozen playland carved from 2 million pounds of ice. This year, for the first time, ICE! is all about DreamWorks’ “Shrek the Halls,” and is it ever impressive.
It’s hard to believe these frozen tableaux – where the temps hover at a brisk 9 degrees and visitors must snap themselves into oompa-loompa type parkas for the journey – are mere steps from the tropical warmth within Opryland’s lushly planted atriums. Here, the dense green foliage, compliments of thousands of ornamental plants, get a seasonal pop of color from a profusion of deep red poinsettias and creamy white anthuriums, along with thousands upon thousands of twinkle lights, miles of beribboned and be-wreathed garland and a ceiling-scraping Christmas tree dazzling with shiny packages, baubles and stuffed teddy bears.
As irresistible as kids will find the hotel for its “Shrektacular” amenities, their parents will love it for its crisp and comfy guestrooms and suites (nearly 3,000 of them), many with black wrought iron balconies overlooking the gardens, fountains, waterfalls and river that flows through the nine acres of gardens. This, plus an array of restaurants – burgers-and-fries casual, “outdoor” cafes meandering beneath the glassed rooftop, an upscale steak house tucked into an antebellum mansion and more – please the big people in the party.
And the activities? Inexhaustible. The list includes everything from retail shops, ice cream parlor and coffee klatches to the chummy Library Lounge perched on Delta Island – for ordering up martinis, not checking out books – to the spa and fitness center to the roaring fireplaces in the Magnolia lobby where musicians entertain to the seasonal shows that overtake the hotel like an out-of-control snowball.
Second Rejection for Hotel Cape Charles
Glass balcony walls at Hotel Cape Charles lend a modern look not in keeping with the Town’s historic character, says the Historic District Review Board.
By DORIE SOUTHERN
Cape Charles Historic District Review Board on November 20 rejected for the second time the balcony treatment at the newly renovated Hotel Cape Charles. The hotel is operating on a temporary occupancy certificate, and the Town will not grant a permanent certificate until the hotel meets the historic standards.
Board chairman Russ Dunton said the Board’s decision is final, and that the developer can either change the balconies to conform to the original approved plan or appeal the Board’s decision to Town Council. “Town Council is bound by the Historic District Guidelines just as we are,” he added.
Dunton emphasized that the Board did not want to be unreasonable. He also acknowledged that the developer had spent a lot of money on the building, and that many people like its modern look. “But it’s our job to make sure that historic properties in town maintain their character,” he said.
The Board did make some concessions to the building’s modern alterations: They allowed the glass on the third floor in place of a railing, and they accepted the modern light fixtures. They also agreed to overlook the developer’s failure to install decorative wrought iron on the ground floor as originally promised. But the Board could not accept the glass balconies on the second floor.
The issue was first raised when developer David Gammino attended the Board’s September 18 meeting and apologized for not sticking to the original plan as approved by the Board. At the time, Gammino blamed “a rapidly changing business plan” for not keeping the Town informed about architectural changes. At first, he intended only to do “a light remodel” of the old, defunct hotel.
But, “we came to the conclusion that reopening the hotel in its existing configuration would be a disservice to the Town of Cape Charles and limit the hotel’s demographic appeal,” he wrote. That’s when the budget soared from $500,000 for updates to over $2 million for a major overhaul.
In 2006, when the building was known as Cape Charles Hotel, owner Richard Wagner completed a renovation and received over $2 million historic tax credits. The hotel later went bankrupt and was sold after being stripped of its hardware and fixtures. Gammino bought the building – in complete disrepair — from the bank for $500,000. He did not request any historic tax credits.
The original plans submitted by Gammino, and approved by the Board, called for wrought-iron railings, and that is what the Board wants now.
At the September meeting, Gammino argued that wrought iron would ruin the look of the building as well as add tremendous expense. The glass panels had cost $60,000. “We don’t have the money to make that kind of change. We are $800,000 over budget already,” he said.
Gammino ultimately agreed to have his architect submit a revision, and that’s what the Board reviewed last week. The proposed modification was to add a wooden rail around the perimeter of each section of glass on the second-floor balconies.
That didn’t satisfy the Board. They want both vertical and horizontal railings, to offset the current open aspect of clear glass.
Cape Charles Town Planner Tom Bonadeo suggested that installing half a dozen black aluminum railings like these sold at Lowe’s could solve the problem at Hotel Cape Charles.
Town Planner Tom Bonadeo said that he looked on the Internet and found aluminum railings at Lowe’s for $66 for a six-foot section. Only six sections of railing would be needed, which would be a low-cost fix, he said.
In other business, the Board accepted plans for bathrooms at the southeast corner of Central Park. The restrooms were designed by California architectural firm Green Cottage to complement the sewer pumping station on the northeast corner of the park.
A $37,000 contract has been approved for Q S Construction to do the work. The building will feature tube skylights in place of windows. The bathrooms will not be heated and will be closed during the winter.
The Board approved the historic rehabilitation plans submitted for the house at 4 Tazewell Avenue. The plans were previously approved by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, making the house eligible for tax credits.
Chairman Dutton told the Wave that the Board does not try to second-guess the state DHR, which has very strict standards for historic rehabilitation.
Echoes Of Spanish Jewry
by Hilary Larson
Salamanca is one of Europe’s original college towns — the University of Salamanca, founded in the 12th century, is the oldest institution of higher learning in Spain — and despite the foreign students and myriad tourists, the city’s medieval lanes and ancient porticoes retain a feel of hushed antiquity. Scrupulously restored, not a speck of grime in sight, the sand-colored buildings look today as they must have in the time of Cervantes and Cortés, both of whom studied here.
I was also a Salmantina, as residents are called, for a summer once, and it was with some curiosity that I revisited the city of about 175,000 as winter closed in. High on the central Spanish plateau, Salamanca has a harsh desert climate, with a sharp chill at dusk and frigid, starry nights. From the edge of town, you can see across the Tormes River to the countryside beyond, a sandy expanse punctuated by dark-green trees.
Before the Inquisition and subsequent Jewish expulsion, Salamanca was also a seat of Jewish learning. Fray Luís de León, the poet-priest whose iconic statue greets visitors at the University gate, was a noted Hebrew scholar and the descendant of Jewish conversos (forcibly converted Spanish Jews). The gentle, mystical translator of the first Spanish version of the “Song of Songs” was at one point dragged off by the Inquisition for heresy; he spent several years imprisoned before returning to his beloved classroom.
For nearly a millennium, the university itself has been Salamanca’s raison d’être and its grandest single sight. Students and tour groups swarm under the gaze of Fray Luís, past which you enter a hushed palace of Old World academia: tranquil courtyards and colonnaded patios, wrought-iron gates and domed chapels. Across the centuries, the lofty edifices speak to the intellectual ambition of this place, which aspired to be a temple for higher thought as Europe struggled out of its Dark Ages.
Much of the Old Town is a visual tribute to Spain’s so-called Golden Age, which extended from the 15th to the 17th centuries, when the country was at the zenith of its power and achievement. In the pleasant pedestrian streets between the university and the Plaza Mayor, ornate baroque façades beckon at every turn, many of them churches and convents of note.
Everyone winds up on the Plaza Mayor, without a doubt one of Spain’s grandest public spaces. Sprinkled with cafés, tourists and pigeons, the square is rivaled in grandeur only by its Madrid counterpart; it remains the quintessential Salamanca meeting spot, as it was in the time of Fray Luís and, later, Miguel de Unamuno.
By day, the sun blazes against one imperial façade, while another lies in shadow across a vast horizontal plane; it’s like something out of De Chirico. By night, the stately porticoes and columns are bathed in a golden glow, their shadowy walkways all the more romantic.
Salamanca is typically a day trip from Madrid, but two nearby towns, Hervás and Béjar, are another worthwhile detour, offering glimpses into the lost world of Spanish Jewry. With a car, you can explore both in a single day: the towns are only a few miles apart on the same road, about an hour south of Salamanca.
Otherwise-nondescript Béjar (pronounced BAY-har) is home to the David Melul Jewish Museum, a fascinating place named for its founding benefactor and housed in a 15th-century casita. Open only Thursdays through Saturdays and by appointment, the museum is dedicated to the region’s particular Jewish heritage.
Exhibits on three floors spotlight the heyday of medieval Spanish-Jewish culture, with its traditions, social life and rituals, and the persistence across centuries and geographical borders of Ladino, a Spanish-Jewish dialect still heard in places.
A large section is dedicated to the lives of Castilian conversos and expulsados after 1492, including bejaranos in the diaspora. A few years ago, the town hosted an international meeting of Jews with last names of Behar, Bejar, Bejarano, and the like.
Just across the border in Extremadura is Hervás. Listed on Spain’s Sephardic Jewish Heritage route, Hervás is a sleepy, whitewashed village with more than a little flavor left over from its Moorish days.
Adobe buildings with tile roofs crowd along steep cobblestoned alleys in the Alijama, the well-preserved medieval Jewish quarter that is the town’s main attraction. Nobody can say which buildings on Calle de Sinagoga may have been used for worship and which were the homes of Jewish doctors, merchants and winemakers. But with its mossy stone archways over the burbling Ambroz River, mountains looming in the background, Hervás is wonderfully picturesque.