subsequently founded a highly successful plumbing business in Browns Bay, Auckland)
Materials became more readily available and better variety from mid 1950s onwards, apart from motor vehicles. Overseas funds were required to import certain commodities. Other plumbing consisted of several large new country houses, Kereru Station new and maintenance, new urban houses, some new commercial which would total about 1/3 of time. The remaining 2/3 on alterations, renovations, repairs, maintenance, pumps, water supply and farm reticulation. Being involved with many orcharding and horticultural clients: modifying their well head works and setting up early basic irrigation and pumping systems.
Also in the 50s and onwards, there was much demand for large, quality farm homesteads, being on hold during the war years, then with the many returned soldiers settling on Re-hab. farms combined with the massive wool boom, farmers in general had much money to spend on overdue improvements such as fencing, sheep yards, wool sheds, hay barns, reservoirs, improved water supply and numerous other essentials, plus of course good housing to replace some which were little more than antiquated shacks. All of this required skilled tradesmen. Then in addition, there were the older established well-to-do, such as the Central H.B. owners wanting new or upgraded elaborate housing for themselves and their Sons which were settling on the land. So this was the scene of my many new-house country plumbing contracts, some of which, such as Wakarara were considerable distance from Hastings over very rough slow roads to the site access. So it was often common to load up the truck chocka, stay away for most of the week, long days, long hours, where other trades and self were accommodated in quarters with all meals supplied by owners or a cook-house. Much of my plumbing work was contracted to good honest builder and friend, Colin Gordon. I carried out many large home-stead plumbing, drainage and farm water installations for Colin where our association lasted over many enjoyable years. Colin had a very dry round-about sense of humour and there were many interesting experiences and tales to tell, some humourous and some a little odd. I recall one in particular for a new house being almost finished for wealthy CHB farming family. The Son, R.J. and his bride to be, were getting ready to occupy it straight after the honeymoon. One Monday, I arrived back on the job to complete the finishing work and after a while Colin started to tell me a story in his usual roundabout way. Saying matters are not too good and not too sure how the job was going to turn out. Now this got me really wondering about whether owner’s finances had collapsed, or they were dis-satisfied about the job overall, but at that stage there was doubt whether work on the house would continue? Now the story eventually unfolded as follows :— The groom, a nice steady responsible man about late twenties was engaged to a city girl, (Wellington I think) All details were arranged for a large wedding which was to take place within days. Invitations sent, replies received, all the trimmings, catering, dresses & flowers as one could imagine. —And a brand-new home almost complete. The groom cancelled the wedding !! What happened was the bride’s mother implored on her daughter to make sure house was carpeted before they moved in, with words to effect “she knew what these farmers were like and if not done prior, may never get carpets” Now this was about 1954/5 and it was quite common then to occupy a new home before carpeting, for as previously stated many goods were not readily available, therefore often better to wait for superior quality. The groom took this as a personal insult to both him & his family, so after much stress and soul-searching, considered that if these unreasonable demands were made prior, what was likely to be in store for him after the wedding ? So it was cancelled.
I was living in the main homestead with the family during course of the job, therefore subsequently also felt for them having to live through the stress and trauma this hard decision placed on them. The family were united in their support and understanding for this sad non-groom.
There was no delay work-wise, we were instructed to complete the house which really was