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KENT HOUSE: the Rectory, Schoolroom and Glebe.

  When we were allowed by the Ashley Residents' Comittee in late 1982  to begin holding services in the Church ( see Historical Notes ) ,  we then had to look around for somewhere nearby to live. Fortunately, or providentially, late in 1983 an agent managed to persuade the owner to sell me the whole of his land, adjacent to the Church on the Eastern side, for about $43,000 for the lot, which was in several titles. There was not much left of my parents' legacy, but we had enough to buy a relocatable house on the road to Ashley Forest, and John Fairbrass began on the removal and finishing work. Although legacy money  kept dribbling in and somehow enabling us to continue so that the house was ready to be occupied in December 1984, the cost of renovations required me to sell the two houses in Dunedin. The deposit on one paid the builders' bills with a little over, and the payments on both houses provided an income of $300 a fortnight, and with some relief teaching Mother Julia, Elisabeth and I managed to survive until 1988, when an interruption of mortgage payments forced us to ask for the dole. We were quite surprised to find our income doubled!

 A number of people had talked over the preceding years about forming a community around a country Church, so we rather hoped that the multiple sections would soon be filled by settlers wishing to form a congregation at Ashley. The first of our disappointments was to find that this was, in fact, just talk. No Orthodox person has in fact in the ensuing 15 years ever seriously offered to settle on the land. So we had to find a use for the land in the meantime, and began to form an orchard, gardens, a vineyard, and poultry runs. We kept Saanen goats on chains anchored in the ground, and milked them and made feta cheese and drank the milk and gave them away to those who were interested. At times we had altogether some 20 fowls, some geese, ducks, and turkeys,
recently some guinea fowl and pheasants, and even a pair of lawn-mowing sheep for a while.

   The next two photos show a little of what we had to do to get started at Ashley. The first view is from the East end of the bare land which I bought in 1983. The Church is hidden behind the clump of trees in the backbround. On the left at the back you see the near corner of the built-up housing area. Our land is defined by the green of recent mowing for hay. As you see, when we bought it the land was entirely bare.

fieldrt       Fieldlft
  [right]                                                                                                                        [left]

  Below the view is taken some ten years later from a point much closer to the house in the  middle of the vegetable gardens The schoolroom is just out of sight on the left foreground..
Housert     Houselft

[right]                                                                                                                     [left]

    You will see that the images are marked right and left. They are reversed so as to be able to be viewed in 3-D without lenses, by looking at your nose (crossing your eyes) so that your right eye sees the [right] view at the left, and vice versa. The image is not full size, but the size and grain of the monitor do not permit that.

  We have had some help in developing the gardens. In 1987 Hilary Wilson approached us with a proposal to run an Access course on organic gardening, and this ran for some months on the eastern part of the land. In 1993 we began a Community Task Force project to grow food for the  Rangiora Helping Hand  food bank, and this ran until 1999. Since then some people on Community servcie have helped us.

 Eventually we shall have to consider how to manage this estate in our retirement. We had hoped to sell sections to people interested in worshipping with us in the Church. However in 1997 we were so much in need of money that we sold 2 sections (half an acre) to the Shivas family for $25,000 each. We may have to sell more.


  The section (one half-acre) with the street numbers 59, 61 is on one title with the quarter-acre section the house is on (street number 47). It would therefore require a subdivision to sell it. However, all or part of that area could be leased. It has a water-tank, fed from the stock water supply to the whole property. The sections No's 55 and 57, on the other hand, are unencumbered, although comparatively low lying, and it will be seen that a (usually dry) drain runs through them, with a duckpond next to the drive on 57. We should still prefer to receive offers from people interested in the Church community, but would consider others.

Since I wrote the above, we have twice had interest shown in our half-acre No. 59-61; but on both occasions the cost of adjusting the titles and the other costs have meant we could not expect the market price. The land will now probably be held during our lifetime and until a sewage scheme is installed in the area. We now think we should expand enclosures and tree- plantings so that stock are contained and maintenance is less onerous.

 From time to time we have had house guests, retreatants, and boarders. There were usually 2 free double bedrooms in the Rectory, and there was other space in the schoolroom. One solution to our declining ability to manage the land might be to have a boarder who would pay a reduced tariff in return for some daily chores. This happened for a time, but we have now
made an office in one bedroom and the schoolroom is waiting to be tidied. We are now just the two of us, but one guest bedroom is still there for visitors / retreatants.

 Father Jack:

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