'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Going to the Museum with Granny

In Rotorua  there is a fabulous building...

... with the kind of twiddly bits we don't see much in New Zealand.

Although these days it's an art gallery and cafe and museum, 100 years ago, it was the pride of the New Zealand Government Tourist Board, the 'South Sea Island Spa'.

Of course, at that time, the whole of New Zealand was touted as a wondrous and healthy country with: 

Magnificent Scenery, Mild and Equable Climate.
No extremes of Heat or Cold, no Droughts, no Blizzards.



Abundant Hot Mineral Springs possessing marvellous curative powers
Resident Government Medical Officers at the various Spas.
Delightful routes of travel everywhere by rail, steamer, and coach.
Ice-clad Alps.  Magnificent Sea Fiords.
Angling and Deer-stalking for the Sportsman.  Beautiful Lakes and Rivers.

there is no better country than

Back in those days people were very keen to discover quick ways to get healthy.  They could see what was inside them by opening a special stomach flap, so were always able to monitor themselves.

If you had 'racking pain and dread', New Zealand was the answer.  After a trip to CURELAND you would return home to the USA, Canada or Britain pain-free and dreadless.

You could have a variety of treatments.  The mineral water could be drunk or bathed in, electrified (undercurrent, overhead current or overhead douche), or, presumably, non electrified.

You could bathe in mud, be wrapped in hot mineral towels, and, if the fumes made you feel faint, well, that wasn't uncommon.  Just think what a nice rest your brain was having, and the how much good the hydrogen sulphide was doing for your system. 

Granny points to where an old mud bath used to be situated

There were sit-in baths, lie-in baths, and a huge variety of other 'special'  treatments.  Some of these involved nurses, doctors, glass instruments and alarm clocks.  "Ding-aling-aling-aling!  Your time is up Mr Pudding.  You have inhaled enough toxic fumes for the day."

Afterwards you sat in the 'cooling room' surrounded by others recovering from passing out during their treatments cooling down after their treatments.

The Cooling Room.

White marble pseudo-Renaissance statues of naked ladies and children promoted the body beautiful and showed you what a really long treatment at the Rotorua Bathhouse would eventually result in.

Later you might feel pain- or dread-less enough for a push in your bath chair or a stroll around the grounds.  Or maybe even a game of croquet?


  1. I'm still reeling from the phrase "overhead douche"....a game of croquet is definitely out.

    1. The croquet lawns are still in front of the Museum so, for me, is definitely on!

  2. Overhead ELECTRICAL douche, Robert.

  3. Electrifying reading!

    Some lovely photos.... I particularly liked your little panorama at the top of the post.

    Also you'll notice that the "lift your flap" self-diagnosis model has now been replaced in every hypochondriac's medicine cabinet by the power of the internet where you can now convince yourself that you have all manner of illness.

  4. Glad to excite you, A.F.

    Of course you are correct. I've learnt not to mention the G*-word to my doctor. Last time his eyes rolled so far up to heaven he could hardly focus on his 'script pad.


  5. PS. Did you spot Granny in the panorama?

  6. "Ding-aling-aling-aling! Your time is up Mr Pudding..... Don't I just know it! What I would give to be swimming in The Blue Baths at Rotorua right now.

    1. The Blue Baths - perhaps that's the 'Polynesian Pools' where I used to go. It's been ages since I was there. There are hot pools at Miranda, too.

    2. No Katherine - The Blue Baths are a restored art deco complex very close to Rotorua Museum. The Polynesian Pools are also close by. Try searching Google Images to jog your memory.

  7. The Museum is good and the food at the cafe good too. We always stop there when on our way to tournaments 'up North'.

  8. The food IS good. Granny had her first Eggs Benedict. She couldn't stop ooohhing and aaahing over it.


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