It started with hello

‘A tactile representation of a beautiful species’

‘A tactile representation of a beautiful species’

A spotted eagle ray makes a striking statement alongside this pool. Pictures supplied
Andy’s graceful eagle is on sale at Heathrow’s T5 Gallery for £12,000.
Mick Baerselman arriving at our place . . . 30 years after his father.
Picture by Paul Rickard
A seahorse on sale at the Coastal Gallery in Lymington with a price tag of £10,000.
A giant manta ray, one of Andy’s most popular works of art.
Andy Baerselman with his larger-than-life duck sculpture which was sold to a client in Beaulieu, near Lymington.
Andy’s wolf sculpture graces the entrance foyer of Harvest Investments in Beijing.
A shark cruising dangerously close to a swimming pool.

A giant ray, a sleek shark, a delicate seahorse, a lithe wolf and an eagle about to take flight . . . Justine Tyerman discovers magnificent sculptures on the other side of the world thanks to a chance meeting at a cafe in the UK many years ago . . .

The young man looked familiar when he came to the door. I’d never met him before but we knew his grandparents, parents and aunts and uncles.

Blond, blue-eyed and suntanned, Mick Baerselman was the image of his father Andy who had stood on our doorstep at the same age, 22, three decades earlier. He even sounded like his dad with his cultured English accent. There were subtle nuances of his grandfather there too. He certainly did not seem like a stranger.

Our relationship with the Baerselman family began four decades ago when my parents-in-law were travelling in the UK.

They happened to strike up a conversation at a cafe with a couple from the New Forest in Hampshire.

Finding they had things in common, travel, grape growing and fishing, business cards were exchanged along with the usual pleasantries about keeping in touch.

Several months later Mike and Wendy Baerselman from Ringwood contacted Annette and Ivan Tyerman from Gisborne asking if they would like to host them in New Zealand and vice versa.

The idea appealed to Annette and Ivan and a few months later Wendy and Mike arrived in Gisborne, launching the beginning of a 40-year-long multi-generational hosting and home swapping relationship that is now into its third generation.

My husband Chris and I were the lucky beneficiaries of the first return trip where we met the entire family including Mike and Wendy’s parents.

Over the next few years, Mike and Wendy, son Andy and daughters Sara and Penny and partners visited us in Gisborne on several occasions and we have recently been back to the UK to stay with them.

Mike has since passed away but we found Wendy as sprightly as ever, living not far from where they first hosted us in Ringwood in 1984.

On our last visit, we caught up with Andy in Lymington on the ocean-going launch he has restored. We hadn’t seen him for over 30 years. As a sideline to his carpentry business and to express his creativity, he had also branched out into sculpture. He showed us images of the magnificent rays, sharks, eagles, turtles, wolves, ducks and seahorses he had shaped from Italian poplar ply wood. The striking, large-scale sculptures are exhibited in the UK including at a gallery near the first class lounge in Terminal 5 at London’s Heathrow Airport.

They have been sold to clients all around the world and have proven popular with super yacht owners. We might get one for our dinghy!

We’re now hosting the third generation of the family. Andy’s son Mick, also a carpenter, has been staying with us for the last two weeks before setting off to explore New Zealand in a self-contained campervan entirely fitted out by him and his friend.

Mick has met our daughters, Sophie and Bridget, and we hope the relationship continues to a fourth or even fifth generation.

It’s a wonderful way to enrich a travel experience to a foreign country . . . like having an extended family on the other side of the world.

A giant ray, a sleek shark, a delicate seahorse, a lithe wolf and an eagle about to take flight . . . Justine Tyerman discovers magnificent sculptures on the other side of the world thanks to a chance meeting at a cafe in the UK many years ago . . .

The young man looked familiar when he came to the door. I’d never met him before but we knew his grandparents, parents and aunts and uncles.

Blond, blue-eyed and suntanned, Mick Baerselman was the image of his father Andy who had stood on our doorstep at the same age, 22, three decades earlier. He even sounded like his dad with his cultured English accent. There were subtle nuances of his grandfather there too. He certainly did not seem like a stranger.

Our relationship with the Baerselman family began four decades ago when my parents-in-law were travelling in the UK.

They happened to strike up a conversation at a cafe with a couple from the New Forest in Hampshire.

Finding they had things in common, travel, grape growing and fishing, business cards were exchanged along with the usual pleasantries about keeping in touch.

Several months later Mike and Wendy Baerselman from Ringwood contacted Annette and Ivan Tyerman from Gisborne asking if they would like to host them in New Zealand and vice versa.

The idea appealed to Annette and Ivan and a few months later Wendy and Mike arrived in Gisborne, launching the beginning of a 40-year-long multi-generational hosting and home swapping relationship that is now into its third generation.

My husband Chris and I were the lucky beneficiaries of the first return trip where we met the entire family including Mike and Wendy’s parents.

Over the next few years, Mike and Wendy, son Andy and daughters Sara and Penny and partners visited us in Gisborne on several occasions and we have recently been back to the UK to stay with them.

Mike has since passed away but we found Wendy as sprightly as ever, living not far from where they first hosted us in Ringwood in 1984.

On our last visit, we caught up with Andy in Lymington on the ocean-going launch he has restored. We hadn’t seen him for over 30 years. As a sideline to his carpentry business and to express his creativity, he had also branched out into sculpture. He showed us images of the magnificent rays, sharks, eagles, turtles, wolves, ducks and seahorses he had shaped from Italian poplar ply wood. The striking, large-scale sculptures are exhibited in the UK including at a gallery near the first class lounge in Terminal 5 at London’s Heathrow Airport.

They have been sold to clients all around the world and have proven popular with super yacht owners. We might get one for our dinghy!

We’re now hosting the third generation of the family. Andy’s son Mick, also a carpenter, has been staying with us for the last two weeks before setting off to explore New Zealand in a self-contained campervan entirely fitted out by him and his friend.

Mick has met our daughters, Sophie and Bridget, and we hope the relationship continues to a fourth or even fifth generation.

It’s a wonderful way to enrich a travel experience to a foreign country . . . like having an extended family on the other side of the world.

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