“On the Coast of Coromandel,
Where the early pumpkins grow,
In the middle of the woods.
Lived the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
Two old chairs, and half a candle,
One old jug without a handle,
These were all his worldly goods:
In the middle of the woods,
These were all the worldly goods
Of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
Of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.”
Edward Lear 1812-1888
Go back some 44 years and imagine two small Scottish children transported to the other side of the world knowing nobody. But they had been brought up on poems and nonsense rhymes rather than Nursery Rhymes and The Courtship of the Yongh-Bonghy-Bo was one of their favourites.
Imagine their delight, therefore, when a couple of weeks after arriving in this new and strange land, we discovered there is an area in New Zealand called The Coromandel.
Of course, we had to visit the area at the first possible opportunity. I think my little children expected to see the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo or at the very least The Lady Jingly Jones. Not so but what we did discover was Hot Water Beach, known forever in this family as Hot Water Bottle Beach. This is a fantastic phenomenon/ experience. Here one can dig into the sand and hot water escapes to the surface forming a hot water pool. We are told by our friends at Wikipedia ” The water, with a temperature as hot as 64°C (147°F), filters up from two underground fissures located close to each other. These natural springs can be found on the beach opposite the off-shore rocks. Visitors often dig large holes and relax and soak in the thermal water. Many visitors bring a spade and bucket with them. Spades can also be hired from the nearby surf shop.”
So the children quickly got over their initial disappointment and enjoyed a winter’s day at the beach. We returned often during the years when they were growing up.
- Edward Lear’s parrot drawings (boingboing.net)
- Stray bus to Coromandel and on to Raglan.. – Raglan, New Zealand (travelpod.com)
- Hot Water Beach (gorentals.co.nz)