For Karen and Michael Kessell laughter goes a long way.
The Aongatete couple have taken it upon themselves to lighten up the neighbourhood with their own brand of humour.
To start with, they installed a set of legs, sticking up out of the ground outside their Fairview Estate home with a sign saying ‘Gone to ground. Self-isolating. Stay safe.’
They are legs that Michael just happened to have around the place.
“I bought these legs about three months ago in Paeroa. I thought ‘what am I going to do with these?’
The couple used to be regular stall holders at the Matakana Village Farmers Market, north of Auckland where they could similarly express themselves.
“We started creating things there. We’ve got it in the blood, we just keep creating. We are retired, but we can’t sit still. It’s in our blood I think.”
Michael says he’s a tennis coach but everyone else in the community plays golf, so putting the quirky messages on the front lawn has proved a great way to connect.
He said people are “too serious these days” and their lawn sculptures are purely designed to put a smile on people’s faces and they have had a lot of feedback, from passers-by.
“We have heard already the laughs and giggles as our neighbours pass by. Hopefully it will relieve the monotony we are all going through.”
“Maybe other neighbourhoods in the Bay of Plenty would like to follow suit.”
He was also a big fan of the overseas tradition of people going outside at 7pm to clap for all the health workers and essential service people working through the pandemic.
They are changing their sculptures each week and the ones featuring teddy bears seem to have been quite popular with the children.
Some of the messages have also been popular with the adults including one that says “1/4 isolation, ¼ exercise, ½ cut”.
“In these times of self-Isolation sometimes a little light relief and humour is needed.”
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