Sunday, April 05, 2015

Bungalow town

Do you know where bungalow town is? It is bounded on the north by the Hape Rivulet, on the east by a view of the cemetery, on the west by a stream with an unpronounceable—and unspellable —name, the first syllable of which rhymes with cow, and on the south by everywhere else. Bungalow town is a delightful suburb. It is here where you can see houses of the genus Bungalow in the greatest profusion and most charming variety. They seem to be contending with each other in vaunting their attractions. You come upon one that takes your fancy, and causes you to break the tenth commandment, but as you continue your peregrinations you see others, and still others, for which you would sooner fracture the aforesaid commitment. It was all very well for old Moses to tell us not to covet another's, goods, but then he had no experience of Bungalow town, or he would surely have modified the restriction. The bungalows of Bungalow town are not all homes of the idle rich, as one might suppose. They belong to those who earn their bread by the labour of their hands, the sweat of their brow, or the working of the grey matter which we are told it [sic] our brain. They take a justifiable pride in their homes, do these bungalows. Go around Bungalow town in the early morning before the milk has been delivered, and you will see energetic residents stripped to their singlets, industriously digging in their gardens. Or go along again after dark, and you will perhaps come across them with lanterns chasing the festive snail arid the slimy voracious slug, consigning each to a well deserved doom. You will also, if you are observant, come upon a rose garden, presided over by the genius who instruct the young bunglers— no Bungaloites—in all things they should know here below. In addition to this he also inculcates the duty of keeping honour bright. Genius did I say? Yea, verily, for a genius is one who has an infinite capacity for taking pains, and who can cultivate the Queen of flowers successfully if he does not? But this-is a digression, a wandering in rosy walks and flowery by-paths, inexcusable when bungalows are the subject of discussion. But what is a bungalow? Turn to that good friend the dictionary, and we find the word to be one of Bengali origin, "Bangalah," a residence of a single floor, and surrounded by a verandah. Simplicity itself! But not so the bungalows of Bungalow town. Here the, verandah gives place to fanciful ornamentation, pillars uphold projecting caves, capes, and promontories jut out in unexpected places, and where verandahs should be, you find broad outdoor rooms. Elaboration is the key note, sometimes resulting in a pleasing production, at others presenting a grotesque appearance. If a bungalow should be what the dictionary tells us, is not the name as applied to the fanciful specimens of architecture under notice just a bungle? But there what of that? Shut up the dictionary, and accept the fact that the bungalows of Bungalow town are a pleasing feature of Thames architecture, all the more or so by contrast with the common or garden variety of dwelling to be met with everywhere else.

"Bungalow Town." 
Thames Star
22 September 1916, 8.

1 comment:

Stephen Stratford said...

"Vaunting their attractions". Splendid. We don't get that fancy talk in the Waikato Times.