by Margaret Joan Wilton
nee Speakman

in progress.

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[Photo captions] – William Speakman & his wife Kate nee Balmer. My Gt. [Great] Grandfather & Gt. Grandmother.

William Henry Speakman and his wife Maggie McCartney. My Grandfather.

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The photo on the left is of William Speakman and his son William Henry Speakman.

My Great Grandfather and my Grandfather. The photo on the right is of William Henry’s 3 elder sons, Samuel, Fred & Charles.


A few notes on my Paternal Ancestors:

John Speakman born c 1810 was a soldier who went to fight in Ireland with the 65th Foots Regt. He married Margaret? And they had one son (that we know of) William born 2.8.1826 in Limerick Ireland The 65th Regt. was quite a large regiment endeavouring to keep the peace in several places around the world. Some of whom were apparently intended for Tasmania as guards for the convicts, according to the regimental history, this indicates the bulk of the regiment sailed from Sydney on the “Java” and arrived in the Bay of Islands on 19/11/1846, discharging 2 companies of the 65th. On the 20th November the “Java” sailed for Auckland where 4 companies were landed as part of a garrison.

There were 3 “Balmers” on this pay list.

One of them John had his wife and Family join him, it is not known at this point when John Speakman had his family join him BUT his eldest son, William married Elizabeth Balmer (known as Kate) at St. Paul’s Church in Wellington on 12/1/1853. William continued to serve with the 65th Regt. until his discharge at Otahuhu with pension on the 12/9/1865 after 20 years service. It is listed on his attestation papers that he was a shoe maker, he was 5ft.8 inches tall with fair complexion, grey eyes and brown hair with no marks or scars etc. He also served in the garrison at New Plymouth where some of his family were born. This couple had 12 children. Their second son, William Henry Speakman, b New Plymouth 9/1/1856 grew up and married Margaret McCartney, an Irish immigrant working in Tauranga where William Henry was employed as a baker and he met his love whilst delivering bread to her employers. They were married in Tauranga at Holy Trinity Church on 23/12/1876. He continued his career as a baker, working in Ohura, Tolaga Bay, New Plymouth and even at one time employed by “Bellamy’s” the caterers at Parliament Buildings. William Henry and Maggie (as she was known) had 8 children, the youngest of whom John Balmer Speakman born in Auckland on the 18/9/1896 was my Father. John married Mildred Joan Fail in Wairoa on 21/6/1924. John or Jack as he was known had an interesting life, starting out with cycle and motor bike racing, before joining the Army and going overseas to fight in the first world war, he distinguished himself there being decorated for valor, also incurring injury that saw him returned to England for surgery to his head, (he had a steel plate inserted, which it must be said caused headaches for some time.) On return to New Zealand he worked for the Post & Telegraph department for a time, as an insurance agent for the Temperance and General Insurance Co. as an attendant at Johnnie Peach’s garage, (where he was working at the time of the 1931 Hawkes Bay Earthquake) a mechanic at the Napier Ford Garage, then he went away to serve in the 2nd world war returning in 1945 to once again work for the Post and Telegraph which eventually brought about his demise as a pole snapped while he was at the top and he did not recover, he was buried at Parke [Park] Island Napier cemetery in 1955.

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A few notes on my Maternal Ancestor: Mildred

Her Parents Joan Thompson Fail (nee Hare) and Albert James Fail they were married on the 22/01/1883 Joan born in Invercargill on the 9/02/1862 – died 3/06/1942. Albert b 18/04/1855 – d 10/02/1916. Photo on the right is a Family group taken c 1900 My Mother on the right approx 9-10 years old.

Frederick Fail b c 1760 married Catherine (unknown surname) b c 1768 Frederick was a Leather dresser, his Father was believed to be a German property owner. This pairing had a Family of 4 children, the third of which was Martin Godfred b 27/1/1798 d 29/1/1878 he married Mary Ann Walter 10/9/1821 she was b c 1799 and d 23/5/1869 this pairing had 6 children the first of which John William b 1822 d 11/7/1894 was my Great Grand Father he married Sarah Giles 28/4/1844 b c 1822 – d 2/11/1904. they had 10 children of which my Grand Father was the 7th Albert James Fail b 18/4/1855 in London d 10/2/1916 in Hastings, New Zealand. Albert James married Joan Thomson Hare on the 22/1/1883. Joan was b on the 9/2/1862 in Invercargill, New Zealand, she died 3/6/1942 in Napier, New Zealand. Grand Father Hare was a Cooper by trade and was very busily employed in that trade as were two of his sons. My Mother Mildred Joan Fail was the last of 8 children in this Family. Being b on the 11/10/1895 (There were 2 sets of twins among the 8 my Mother being one.) This Family were both musical and sporty, at one time the 5 boys were all in the Hawkes [Hawke’s] Bay Hockey Team and several of the Family were involved in Musical Productions over time, including a show, Chu Chin Chow, which Leon Fail produced for the opening of the Hastings Municipal Theatre in 1915.

My Mother Mildred or Mick as she was known lived a very full life until her death in Napier on the 21/5/1980. Mick carried on her music and was involved in a skiffle group which had a lot of fun, as well as being an accompanist for singers at concerts etc. She was always involved with anything her Family did and was always very supportive. This pairing had 4 of a Family myself, Margaret Joan Speakman being the eldest followed by Leon Balmer, Anne Hilda Ada and John Gordon Lawrence. This concludes these ancestral notes.

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Chapter 3

In the Beginning

Well, I, Margaret Joan Wilton (nee Speakman) came into this world on the 16th of December 1924, I don’t of course, pretend to remember that time or anything else for a while, suffice it to say, I believe this arrival was very welcome and greeted with much love, especially from my Parents. There are many photos abounding of those early years, all depicting this fact.

Life in those days was oh so different to life today, but the family love remained true all through. Life was harder I think and protocol demanded that men wear suits to work regardless of what their work entailed and the women’s place was definitely in the home looking after their man and their children!

One of my earliest memories was being driven along the road in the middle of a flock of sheep, I was so small I could not be seen, someone had left the gate open and being inquisitive (even at the age 3 years) I had to go and investigate, however I didn’t get very far before I was found, none the worse for my escapade. Early cars, we always seemed to have a car and numerous makes are found in those early photos with Mum, Dad and Nan (my Mother’s Mother.)

Picnics were a regular pastime at the week-ends and I will include an old photo where the ladies had obviously been paddling somewhere I know not where. Mum is the little one, her Mother in the dark colours, I think auntie Bid is in the right corner and I can’t place the other lady. Aren’t the hats gorgeous. There are some children in the background but I don’t know who. In the other photo are Mr. and Mrs Holt on the left side, their daughter Betty is in the right hand corner, Dad is in the middle of the ladies in the back row and I am in the front, I don’t know who the rest are.

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Prior to starting school we lived in a flat at the top of a three storied building in Dalton Street, Napier, the bottom floor was a garage (a proper working facility not just a garage to store a car) the second floor was a clothing factory run by Ted Arnold and called the Napier Clothing factory and we had the top floor. We experienced 2 fires while living there, neither very dangerous – BUT – strangely the second fire was exactly one year after the first fire. I don’t remember any real information about them just that they did happen. I started school from there attending the Hastings St. School and I can remember going off in my new pinny (apron) that Nan had made me, it was grey material bound with pink bias binding and had a big pocket right across the middle, this was to hold slate pencils, slate and reading book and of course play lunch!. We didn’t have books to write in as we do today, just a slate about as big as an exercise book, and oh the noise the slate pencil made on that slate still makes my blood curdle.

There were trams running in Napier then, and one could have a lot of fun gathering up tram tickets and pretending to take the dolls for rides around the town, the tram route went from the terminus, which used to be opposite where the Napier Intermediate school now stands, straight up Thackeray St, Dickens St, Hastings St, over Shakespeare Rd and down to the woolstores at the Port, quite a ride and quite a treat too. After I started school we had a number of shifts and it was jokingly said that I attended every school in Napier during my first year. I don’t know that it was that bad, but I did attend Central school, Nelson Park school, (I was there at the time of the 1931 earthquake and remember my Nan coming in a hurry over the

[Photo captions] –

Another picture taken by Dad this time, as Mum is in the picture, while we were on a picnic, this is with the O’Dwyer Family and I think Mrs. O’ds Parents, Pat and I are in the front. In the third picture Mum fishing out at the mouth of the Ngararora [Ngaruroro]

This photo was taken outside the Holt home which was next door to us in Dalton St.

The Party photo was probably taken in Kinross White St, there are Owens, Pinks, Stephens, Fulfords plus a few friends so it was possibly my 6th or 7th birthday celebrations.

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little stone wall to collect me and take me home, at the time we lived in Kennedy Road, 57 I think it was.

This was the time of learning ballet and piano, I loved it. (except for piano practice, this caused my Father to end the piano lessons when he found I was not practicing [practising], a fact that cost me quite dearly, because I had to pay for my own tuition in later years!) This was also where I saw my first Fairy, she was very real, I went into the sitting room (as it was called then, now the lounge) and disturbed her and she flew out the window, a beautiful creature dressed in blue, nobody will ever convince me that there are no Fairies, there are definitely “Fairies at the bottom of the Garden.”

At Christmas time we used to travel to Wellington to visit Auntie Anne and Uncle Bert, my Mother’s Sister and her husband, they had no Family and I was a very lucky child as I had so many Christmas presents.

And Father Christmas used to visit our car when we were going over the Rimatukas [Remutakas] en route for Wellington. What a happy time.

Our next move was to 7 Kinross White St. and from this time memories are much clearer. Our Landlady lived next door and she gave me, as a present, a lovely little Dutch tea set, the teapot was a windmill and there were dutch scenes on the cups, these were in use for Dolls tea parties etc. for quite a while. My Daughter is now in possession of this treasure. We had a Family living next door who had children that I could play with, something that, until then, I had not had a lot of. I was always a bit of a loner. I attended Te Awa school from this address and my cousin Noela was also a pupil there. We were at this address for quite awhile and I still remember the names of the girls in the area that I used to play with and of course we all held birthday parties and had a lot of fun. I well remember there was an old deaf lady lived in this street I don’t know what her name was, we all called her deafy and she had a big horn thing she used to put in her ear and you had to really yell into it to make her hear. She had a lot of cats, several of these were white and they were deaf also. She had a really good vegetable garden.

[Photo captions] –

I think this was a photo of Mum taken in Kennedy Road. Dressed for a fancy dress party about this time. I remember Mum had a dress identical with my rainbow dress so we must have gone somewhere together.

These photos were taken at the camp after the earthquake, camp city.

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It was at this time that my Brother was born and I thought he was just something special, I had been saving up my pennies to pay for him. (I used to have dreadful nightmares and it was suggested that perhaps I was lonely so when he was born he was put into my room and my nightmares stopped (magic) Anyway when he was born I went with my Dad and my savings to Nurse Skittrups in Carlyle St and paid for my wonderful baby brother – he was special! Life went on, I was growing up a little and was allowed to go across to some friends who had a grocery store in Kinross White St and here I could serve in the dairy section, bag up sweets etc. There used to be broken sweet biscuits, because of course biscuits were not packaged, they were all loose in a tin and there was always a percentage that got broken so one could buy a pennyworth of broken biscuits and get bits of all sorts – yummy. I can always remember the smell in the grocery store, where everything was packaged as the customer required it whether it be tea, sugar, flour, potatoes or whatever, and because all these commodities were loose in sacks or boxes, the combined smell was always interesting!

During this period of life, my Parents along with the Parents of a number of friends would meet at one or others homes on a Saturday evening and have a sing-song, the men would take their beer and the women would take a plate of food, the children, (and there were quite a few) would have a lot of fun including tying up a parcel with string and leaving a tail of string on it, leave it outside on the street, preferably behind a hedge, and when someone came along and tried to pick it up of course it was very smartly pulled away! Some people complained others just laughed. (and we thought we were smart.)

Our Family had another increase here, where a little girl was born, so I had a brother and a Sister.

One thing my Mother liked to do was go fishing, Dad would take us out to the beach or wherever, Mum would fish and Dad would snooze, we played around and enjoyed everything. We also used to go out blackberrying, dressed up in old clothes with long sleeves to help avoid the thorns and Dad was always around then to extricate us out of difficult situations, the resultant jellies were well worth the effort. The modem Blackberries definitely do not taste as good as those wild ones!

Our next move was to Munro [Munroe] St. where we lived in quite a big house and it had a huge double storied garage at the back where there were some wonderful games played. It was here that my Mother had an eye infection, I remember it was called Blight and she had to stay in a darkened room for some time, one other memory from this era is that of a neighbour coming in to feed us children and bringing us bread and milk! Well we had never been fed that before, I don’t think it was eaten either, it was not that we were not grateful (can young children feel grateful?) BUT. I once again attended Hastings Street School, returning there after actually starting my schooling there. Our Family had a further increase here when another little boy joined us, so now I had 2 Brothers and a Sister.

We must have stayed there about 2 years before moving on to live in Carlyle St. Here we moved into a little cottage up a little lane that ran off Carlyle St by Bill Goldings Boot Shop up into the base of the hill.

We weren’t there very long before moving a couple of doors down the road and on the other side of Bill Goldings Boot Shop into a much bigger house where we had plenty of room.

[Photo caption] – (These pictures were taken in Munro St. Grandfather Speakman in the first one and Uncle Charles and his wife carrying John Gordon Lawrence. The famous aeroplane on the radiator of the ford visible in the right hand corner.)

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It was from this address that I started at Napier Intermediate School, a new concept for the time, this I thoroughly enjoyed. We used to have physical drill every morning before marching in to school to the music of Colonel Bogey or Blazeaway I will never forget those tunes, as well as remembering the Skaters Waltz. This is because we used to have displays put on for Parent’s Days or Prize-giving Days and there would be a massed display of drill and balancing exercises these were done to Blazeaway for the drill and the Skaters Waltz for the balancing exercises, (Most of these I can still do today we learnt them so well.)

There were a lot of good things happened whilst I was at the Intermediate, we had real science lessons, we learnt art, singing, sewing ( I made myself a coat there, it was much more interesting than the patches etc. we had to make, the coat was a personal option) and all sorts of different subjects from what we had been doing at Primary School. (Although theoretically we were still at Primary level, but it was preparing us for a higher level at High School. We put on Operettas, performed by most of the school, the school choir did most of the singing, a group of pupils did the ballet, all the backdrops for the scenery were painted by the art class and the sewing class helped with some of the sewing, it was wonderful.

I obtained my first bicycle at this time, we used to get the Farmers monthly catalogue and you could buy things with so much deposit and so much a week thereafter, we used to love reading through this catalogue and dreaming of the various things we would like etc. etc. and this was how my new bike arrived for my Birthday prior to attending Napier Intermediate.

It was from this address that I used to take my cart along to Robert Holt and Sons yard in Carlyle St. Napier on a Saturday morning along with a host of other children, we would load up our carts with lighting wood, which was available free of charge, and take it home to Mum for lighting our black stove in the kitchen, this stove had to be blackened with Zebo black lead and then polished off till it shone, (another Saturday task) however after the chores were done I would receive 9 pence to take me up to the of Gaiety Theatre in Tennyson St, 6 pence for the pictures and 3 pence to spend, we had a Mickey Mouse Club, which we were all members of and there were serials and it was wonderful, our joys were simple!

It was at this time I got my taste for Guiding or similar interests, I joined the “Sunbeams” a group run by the Salvation Army, they had the same type of interests as I was to find in Guiding later on. We always sang Jesus wants me for a sunbeam to shine for him each day – we did try too –

Our next move was out to Pakowhai where we shared a house with another family for about 9 months, I attended Pakowhai School with the members of the family where we were living, there was a cow there that had to be milked before school and I became quite adept at that. A memory of that era was when Mavis and I were asked to go down the road to the Market Gardeners to buy some vegetables, we went down the road and then down this long drive where eventually a very old Chinese Man came out sharpening a very long knife and saying yes and what does missie want, we were quite scared – but – of course nothing happened and we bought our cabbage or whatever it was we were after. There was plenty of Fruit and Water Melons available around there. We used to go into Napier by bus and go up to the baths for swimming lessons, we also used to catch the bus into Hastings to learn cooking for the girls and wood-work for the boys. I remember remarking to my Parents that I could swim now, this was greeted with mirth, as they had not seen me swimming, however I had the last laugh when I was presented with my swimming certificate at prize-giving.

Our next and final move was to Westshore where we rented a house for a number of years and whereas I had attended so many schools in Napier my Sister and Brothers only attended Westshore. When we moved to Westshore I had the option of attending either Westshore or the Napier Intermediate and as I had enjoyed the Intermediate so much before, I chose to return there, which proved to be a momentous decision not well received by the “locals”, because in those days there were no school buses I had to bike the 5 mile or so to school, not a problem for me – But the “Locals” did not like it I was stuck-up, too good for them, not attending their school etc. etc. I had a torrid time, one family had pig dogs and they used to set them on to me as I went past so I had to change my route and bike around the embankment an extra mile or so but safer. Then when our basketball team met the Westshore team in a tournament I had my front teeth smashed, – an accident of course!

Now I was a little older I could help my Mother with the littlies, we had a big sink in the kitchenette and I would bath them one after the other so they were all clean and cuddly and ready for their tea. We were lucky we had a gas califont and when it was started it went off with a big swish, quite frightening till one

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I started my Guiding career from here (guess one can call it a career as I was involved for over 40 years one way and another.) To begin with I would bike in to Guides and then home afterwards, but after having a bit of a fright, My Parents decided I should stay in Napier over night, so I used to stay with friends of my Mothers going there after school, having tea, go to Guides (St. Augustines in Edwards St. (where there is now a funeral Parlour) then spend the night, go to school the next day, then bike home after school, it was no trouble to bike a mile or two in those days! I attended my first Girl Guide camp about this time, we went up to Lake Tutira, where now-a-days stands the Guthrie Smith Outdoor Education Centre, one of our Leaders was a Guthrie Smith so of course permission was easily obtained, mind you there were no facilities there in those days, we dug our own toilets, and cooked our meals on an open fire and generally had a wonderful time. My Parents came up to visit on visitors day and brought me a tin of biscuits! A real treat, a tin of bought biscuits, I also had received a little Box Brownie camera for Christmas that year, so I could take endless photos, I might add that that little camera did a wonderful job and I had it I think, right up until the time I was married.

These years were later called depression years, when things were tough, there was a lot of unemployment, I remember my Father coming home from work one day and saying to my Mother, “Have you any clothes that the children have grown out of, our Member of Parliaments children have no decent clothes to wear!!” About this time, and thinking of grown out of clothes, I had grown out of my best dress and it was handed down to a member of another family, because of course my own little sister was much to small to wear it, and oh the feelings when next we went to visit to find that child playing in the gutter IN MY BEST DRESS!

Schooling had gone well, I did well at Intermediate, I was second in my form the first year and was moved up a class, then we went to Pakowhai for a few months and back to Intermediate where I topped my class so I was pretty pleased with myself. Because this was a time of depression, I felt that Dad, with the expense of the three little ones couldn’t be expected to pay for me to go to High School. He said I could, but I in my infinite wisdom decreed I would have a further year at the Intermediate, which was allowed then. This year I really enjoyed we actually did do high school work and it was great. The year of course came to a close and I had to go looking for a job, not easily found even in those days.

In the main we had a great time living at Westshore, we used to walk with Mum along the beach and pick up lovely knotty pieces of native wood ( there was still plenty available then as the back blocks had not been cut.) we would also gather lumps of coal that had been dumped over the side by the boats out in the roadstead, many the fire these bits and pieces have made in our old champion range. We had a shilling in the meter gas stove also for cooking and Dad had filed down a number of half-pennies to the size of a shilling, so that if Mum was short of a shilling and the gas went out we had the answer, and of course a supply of shillings had to be kept handy for when the meter man came round!

[Photo caption] – Dad and his babies, big sister took them shopping, a year or so later when school days had started at least for Leon and Anne, don’t think John was quite there.

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I received a pair of skates about this time and I used to take them along to the embankment bridge, there was a concrete footpath there, (there wasn’t a lot of concrete anywhere in those days) ideal for learning to skate.

We learnt to dance at this time too, the Hall Committee used to run 6 penny dance nights, my Mother always played the piano for us and my Dad who was a good dancer, very light on his feet, would take us up and teach us the steps, there were quite a few parents involved and again we had a lot of fun. When the second world war came round that same committee would organize farewell dances to our Servicemen taking off to serve their Country and because I was able to sing quite well I usually entertained a little with my Mother accompanying me. All the local talent would oblige and a good time was had by all.

For awhile I learned singing with “Nellie Dykes” she used to hold annual concerts and we all had a part one way or another, I also auditioned at the local radio station for singing over the radio, I passed this and I sang many times on a Thursday night in a local segment programme. After these efforts I attended Signor Trudas studio for singing and took up piano again with Mrs. Truda, these were very enjoyable occasions.

Of course as was the way then I wanted to sing the popular songs which were about love and Truda said “Margaret you cannot sing a love song until you have been in love” I think he was probably right.

Another thing that was important to us at this time was our Church, originally we went to Sunday School at the Methodist Sunday School because it was the only option for us and we used to go over to St. Andrews at the Port for Confirmation classes etc. Eventually the Church of England opened the little church at Westshore and Mum used to play the organ and my friend Zena and I took the Sunday School Classes, this went on for some considerable time, I’m not sure when we stopped!

By this time I had managed to obtain a job doing housework for a lady up on the hill 8-30am to 12-30pm at 12/6 per week, I thought I was made, a job, and money in my pocket! I was able to put down 2/6 pence on a new bike and pay it off? I paid Mrs.Wheeler 2/6 for music lessons and I paid Mum some for board, I can’t recall just how much, but I got good value for my 12/6 a week.

Also I had the pleasure of buying my Mother a pretty tea set for a present, (one which is still in my glass case and hopefully my first Granddaughter will take care of it when the time comes!) Another thing I remember is going into Jack Snaddons, (a men’s and boys wear shop) and buying my two little brothers 2 sets of underwear and a little navy suit each! The things one remembers. In those days I don’t recall that boys wore underwear just their pants – I wonder. I know we, the girls wore bloomers, and dresses were always made with a pair of knickers to match, there was plenty of room in them!

From there I was able to secure a place at Arnolds Clothing Factory which operated in Hastings Street Napier above Harston’s music shop. We had a good crowd there, we were all compatible and some lifelong friends were made during that period. Starting off some of the juniors jobs were making belts for nurses uniforms, and patching the bloomers for one of the private boarding schools, that really tickled me because though we didn’t have much money we always had sufficient to keep us well clothed and fed and we didn’t have to patch our knickers! Or bloomers as they were called in those days. Eventually we started making Army Glengarrys and because the material they were made of was very dusty it gave me bad sinus and in the end I had to leave because we couldn’t clear it up. Our old Doctor said he reckoned I should join the W.A.A.Cs it would do me good, Dad had already gone back overseas so he wasn’t consulted and he was really cross about it, however, I went for my medical and was passed Grade 2 not fit for the tropics, (I could not understand that at all, but now in later years when the heat gets me down, I think how on earth could they tell.

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During this time I was still active in the Guide movement and the Guides and Rangers were involved in war work we would make camouflage nets and run or rather bike errands for the Home Guard, their Head Quarters was the drill hall at the bottom of Coote Rd. and their working base was out at the aerodrome, which in those day was on the town side of the embankment close to where the railway line crossed over, really where the old willow trees still stand. We thought we were doing our duty.

Life in the Army was wonderful, I had always enjoyed drill at school and so it was no trouble to do it in camp, which was situated at Mirimar [Miramar], Wellington. We used to march around the streets of Mirimar singing you are my sunshine and epirititi mai? Two, I well remember, but of course we must have sung others too. We had a concert and I sang and danced and was well received, so much so that the Commanding Officer called me in and asked me if I would like to join the permanent staff BUT about the same time my Guide Captain from Napier was in the Signals branch in Napier and they were short of numbers so she applied to the Head Quarters for me to be transferred to Napier to join the signals because of course I had been good at morse code in the Guides. That was what happened I was transferred to Napier, where I would live at home and go to work at the camp each day, the signal corps for awhile were stationed at McLean Park with the rest of the Battalion but eventually we were moved up on to Napier Hill and operated out of Lady McLean’s property. That was different, we would climb power poles fixing wires to wherever where something had broken down or sit for a number of hours with the headsets on listening and recording the morse messages over the air, there would be ships out at sea or planes in the air. An interesting time.

While I was doing these things I had started the Westshore Brownie Pack, twelve little girls all as keen as mustard, what fun we had, hiking off to the watchman to cook our lunch, which would consist of an orange, a piece of bacon and an egg. The orange was carefully prepared on arrival on site, slice off the top, then scoop the flesh out and eat it, then place a rasher of bacon round the inside of the skin, break in the egg and seal with the lid, light the fire and when ready place the oranges in the ashes and leave to cook while we played games, went exploring whatever – then come back and consume our lunch washed down with some cordial – everyone loved it, then wearily trudge back home, we didn’t have transport for those events.

We also had fun singing and dancing, entertaining the Servicemen etc. we learned items for which we had to dress in fancy dress, these were made out of crepe paper and little satin tops and the girls were toy soldiers they were very good. These activities were all part of the regular training for girls between the ages of 8 years to eleven years, a very good grounding for “Life.”

[Photo caption] – 9.3.1943

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I was able to continue with my Guiding as I continued with my Army training, I learnt to drive while in the Army and one of the Corporals doing the teaching had a fright one day, when, crossing a railway line in Napier by the old gas works, (where men were working) and driving a half ton Ford truck, I put my foot on the accelerator rather than the brake!!! men jumped in all directions but there were no casualties, I quickly put my foot where it should have been, many ribald comments though!

Somewhere about this time my Mother and I went up to Auckland to see my Fathers Family, most of whom lived there and while out visiting we crossed the street in Mt. Albert – didn’t see a motor cyclist approaching for the proximity of a tram, he caught me with his bike and I went under the tram, fortunately it was on my side and not on my Mothers, I don’t actually recall the incident only fractions of it, a glimmer going up in the lift at the Auckland hospital and then several days later I simply woke up and frightened the lady in the next bed because I started whistling, (something I used to do quite a lot) she just screamed and brought Nurses from all directions, anyway the only lasting effects was the nerve governing sense of smell was severed and the sense of taste partially so, however, I do feel that that blow to the head did cause a certain loss of memory, because some of the Family will say certain things and say you know you must remember – I don’t. I did have bad headaches for some time but they have faded as time passed by. I was transferred from the Auckland Hospital after about 10 days and went to the Military Convalescent camp at Ellerslie race course, we were well looked after there and had quite a lot of attention from the American Servicemen who were unwell and missing their family. They were very good to us and would come over and talk to us and bring us candy.

Life in the Army continued to be interesting and varied but eventually things changed and the WAACs were moved to different jobs and I was transferred to the Army Office records dept in the old AMP buildings in Napier. This was once again, different, working with the mind rather than the fingers as it were but I enjoyed it and when the war was drawing to a close the WAACs were gradually replaced by returning servicemen who were being rehabilitated from active duties to ordinary duties. The C.O. called me in one day and told me that the State Advances Corporation were in need of some record staff would I like to go along and see them, this I did, and I was offered a position in their records department which I accepted and so thanks to the Army dept. I had come up in the world and an office position, which, I probably would not have got, if I hadn’t gone off in the army, so there I was growing up in, what was deemed to be, a very acceptable position.

About this time a group of us Westshore young folk decided we would like to take up Marching, this we did, calling ourselves simply Westshore marching Team. We practiced in the Westshore school grounds under Mr. J. Budge this went very well, we were all keen and we achieved a good standard. Later I used to bike into Napier at 6am in the mornings to attend practice which was held on the top of the Social Security buildings on the corner of Shakespeare Rd and Herschell St. This practice was taken by a Legend of Frontiersman, Mr. Biddle. Afterwards we would bike home for breakfast, then bike back into town for work at 8-30am.

This was also a time for going to dances, and this meant dressing for dances, making evening dresses and of course dressing up! There was not a lot of material available for fancy sewing as it was of course war

[Photo caption] – Brownies All.

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years and everything was rationed, (I mean everything! Tea, sugar, butter, stockings, petrol, – there wasn’t much you could buy when you wanted it.) My wedding dress was made of curtain marquisette because curtain material was not rationed, it looked good too, over cream satin.

We were a very compatible bunch at the S.A.C. we had a basketball team which competed in the local competition and we did very well. We also had social evenings and I was singing at one of them and the girl who was going to accompany me on the piano and I went off at afternoon tea time to have a practise on the piano in the hall we were using, we didn’t tell anyone, just went, after all we weren’t going to be away long! Well I was driving the family ford coupe down Carlyle St. in Napier and I coughed and in doing so started a nose bleed or something, anyway I had to get out of the car and lean over in the gutter and the blood flowed, boy, did it flow, the next thing I knew the ambulance was there and I was carted off to hospital to have it seen to. It seemed that a group of Post and Telegraph linesmen were working on the lines in Carlyle St. and saw what happened and of course knew the car, so they immediately rang both the ambulance and my Dad and told him he would have to come and collect the car! We never did find out just what happened but I spent a few days in hospital with my nose plugged up.

My job at S.A.C. was to wander round the offices each morning looking for files that other people in the building may need, remember where they were so that if some one came out into records looking for a certain file and if it wasn’t there I was supposed to be able to tell them where to find it, most ways I could. I worked there very happily until 1948 when I left to be married, (as, in those days a woman, once married, could not keep her job!)

I guess the next stage of my Life took place with my Marriage, during these later years I continued taking my Brownies, and there used to be social evenings for the Scouters and Guiders and this was where I met my husband to be and after a little while he popped the question which I favorably answered and the knot was tied on the 7th February 1948 at St. Augustines Church Napier.

Alex had been a Scouter before going overseas in the Air Force, so it was only natural for him to return to Scouts when he came home. His Father had died when he was 11 years old so he had had quite a hard life as a young fellow, like me, he had not gone to High School. He lived out at Rissington and there were no school buses in those days. When he left school, (having been Dux of his school in his final year,) he went to work on Rissington Station as a general hand, doing whatever was required of him by his Boss. His first job was always to go and catch the Bosses horse ready for him, (as he did not like horses, and no doubt the horse knew, this was not ever easy!) He used to love Rugby and he would bike down to Eskview for practice and home again afterwards without any trouble at all! (It was quite a distance)

Alex had an Aunt and Uncle living in Wairoa, they owned a farm and had no family and it was suggested that he might like to go and live with these folk and learn farming, well this didn’t work out and Alex ended up working as a mechanic in a garage in Wairoa, he was there when war broke out and he enlisted from there and returned home to live with his Mother at Westshore while he did the necessary studies to enable him to be a pilot, unfortunately in spite of doing all that was requested of him in this line, (this included studying and passing matriculation Maths, not easy for a lad with no high school experience). He was not selected for a pilot but an air-gunner-navigator, so being Alex he accepted the fact and got on with life, he was always a bit sour with the Air-Force because they let him down by not sticking to their word, however, he had a very rewarding time in the air-force rising to the rank of warrant officer by the time he was discharged. He served in several war zones, he did his initial training in Ontario, Canada then moved to England. He served as either a wireless operator or a gunner on Ansons, Oxfords then Hudsons (Reading from his Log Book they had sweeps over the Atlantic, Bay of Biscay and photo recs [reconnaissance] over Spain. They flew to Prestwick then on to Iceland. They flew to Greenland, Labrador, Montreal, U.S.A. to Langely Field to Jacksonville to Miami, to Guantanamo Cuba then to Cuba, San Juan, Porta Rica to Trinidad. They then went as convoy escort and doing sweeps from Trinidad landing eventually in Dutch Guiana [Guyana]. They did a lot of escort duties and sweeps looking for submarines until finally arriving at Suva. There was a change of aircraft here to Venturas and they flew around New Zealand for awhile before flying to Nausori and Tonga. Back to New Zealand and Hudsons and escort duty, including air cover for a torpedoed ship that was on fire and then helping to locate the survivors. Remained in the Tonga-Nausori area for some time before going to Munda and Guardacanal [Guadalcanal] he remained in this area until eventually returning to Whenuapai and then home. As we said he traveled the world.

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He returned to Napier, and his Mother was working on Moteo station so Alex went out there for awhile with her, then went working for his brother-in-law who was doing agricultural contracting.

After awhile he returned to his Mother’s cottage at Westshore and secured a job with F. G.Smith’s carrying firm, thisPhoto captions – went along smoothly for some time, however, in the meantime we had met and were getting to know one an other etc. etc. etc. so we bought a little cottage alongside his Mothers, and we set about furnishing it – well we went into town one Friday night with the intention of buying a radiogramme, we chose what we wanted and went to pay for it, (we had both been brought up on the fact that if you couldn’t afford it you couldn’t have it!) the man behind the counter – the owner – said “you are not going to pay cash for this are you? When we said yes, he said well, if this breaks down and you have paid for it I won’t have to do anything about it – BUT – if you are paying if off and it breaks down I will be out forthwith to fix it!! Our first example of time payment, however I must admit that it was a good way of saving and after that we would have one thing at a time on time-payment, it did come in handy at times.

So we bought our house at Westshore and had a lot of fun furnishing it, the bathroom and washhouse were outside, I said I would like the bathroom painted pink, pink I got, a real lolly pink, nevermind it was pink.

Alex had a dog when we married, he was a character, I used to try and fool him by pretending I wasn’t going out (because of course he wanted to go too) and I think without fail each time I went outside the gate he would be waiting for me with his tail thumping from side to side as much as to say you can’t fool me! So off we would go, me on my bike with buster [Buster] charging along beside me. We had an old chevvie [Chevrolet] and when we went out for a ride buster would ride on the front mudguard and if he saw a cat he would jump off and chase it, he never hurt himself though, he was wonderful, he finally went off with Alex [Alex’s] Brother and got trapped in a rabbit burrow and was gassed.

After Alex had been working at Smiths for awhile (he was always a very honest person and did an honest days work ) the Union man came to him and told him he would have to slow down, he was working too hard, that was the last straw, so he resigned from that job and went looking for one where he could be his own boss. The result of that was a move to Waipukurau – we had to sell our little home at Westshore and move to Waipukurau where we bought a mail run the mileage of which was 100 per day 6 days a week. Well we had to have somewhere to live so we bought a section easily enough and then built a large garage which would hold us and the truck in the meantime. We contacted a firm of builders who promised us faithfully they would have our house built in 6 months, what a joke! It was after the war and building requirements were hard to come by, there were so many returning servicemen wanting a home built and there simply were not enough materials to go round, we just had to wait. During this time we had our first baby a little girl, we called her Neroli because I had been away to a Guide training at the Guide Home in Marton and on my return Alex was looking through my notes etc and he found the name of Neroli and he said if we ever have a daughter we will call her Neroli, so a little girl was born and we called her Neroli, my Dad said she was nearly a boy – she was lovely except she liked to cry a lot especially at night and in our confined space it was a bit of a problem, however we coped and made the best of things and kept knocking on our builders door! One thing the weather mostly was pretty good and I could put her out side under the clothes line with the clothes flapping in the wind and she would have a lovely time watching the clothes, birds and anything else she could see. One night we had had some pretty heavy rain and when I got up to attend to Neroli I stepped out into water – the river had broken its bank and over flowed right across the paddocks and right through our little shed! Our friends up the road were higher up than us and we bundled into the truck and drove up the road for the next day or two. The man that owned the farm next to us was a stockbuyer and he came to us one day and asked Alex if he could milk a cow, Alex said yes and he said well I wondered if you would like to milk our house cow at night time because I am often not back until late, so Alex agreed and we kept all the milk from these milkings and I was able to make butter and I could sell it to Williams and Kettle, who in those days used to send a man round and he would take our grocery order and then it would be delivered the next day, very convenient. From the sale of my butter I bought our first mincer and several other things with my credit.

Our Home eventually rose on our site and we worked together to do the interior etc. it was fun and one could see things developing. We had a Raybourne stove in the kitchen it was like a cheap Aga, it was wonderful, the house was always warm, which was great if one happened to have to get up in the night, and

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alternatively if one had unexpected visitors the kettle was always on the boil and the oven always hot for a batch of scones. During these years we had our second addition to the family when son, Alexander John was born so now we were four. Alex played Mercantile Cricket in Waipukurau, he would drive round his run in a hurry on a Saturday have a bight [bite] of lunch and away, they had a lot of fun and they were a good crew, we would go round and watch and cheer them on. He had a wonderful vegetable garden, and considering how little time he had it was a real credit to him.

While living in Waipukurau we continued with our Guiding and Scouting, being involved in these occupations helped in several ways, Alex became well known around the town as he would call at any business to collect parcels for the folk on the mail run, and I became known also by having their little girls in Brownies, so it was an interest that helped us both, socially, and with the mail run. Alex did not have a lot of spare time but managed, just, to have sufficient. It was a bit different for me as I had the garden (flowers, Alex did the veges) and I would have the Brownies come to me after school to practice their various badges. I also had a small choir here that went quite well, I used to leave Neroli and then John with friends while I went to Brownies and then choir. We enjoyed our time there, each learning a lot about Life and living together, we only had each other so we had to sort out any problems as best we could, and as we had such a nice long association together, it proved we could do this. I think it is an excellent thing for young married folk to be away from their Parents at this stage of their life as it makes one sort out any difficulties and one couldn’t go running home to Mother.!

We both took camps with our units during this time, Neroli and John stayed with their Grandparents, Alex dropped them off on his way to Tutira where He and Mr. Gooch from Takapau were taking their combined troops for their camp, while I took my Brownies out to shearer’s quarters. They all had a wonderful time, the Farmer took them around the farm and showed them various farming tasks as well as providing us with Meat, milk (where they saw the cow being milked, it didn’t come out of a bottle!) and fruit.

When Neroli was about 2 1/2 years old and John a babe Alex decided it was time for a change, I always reckoned he had a 7 year itch, because it just seemed to happen that way, anyway he went up to Auckland to look at a one man trucking venture, he liked what he saw and came home for me to go and have a look, Neroli was left with her Grandparents and as I was feeding John he came too, we had a little Bradford van and my goodness we had some terrible weather to go through, however, we arrived safe and well, found a house to buy, concluded the sale of the truck and we were on the go! – well we returned home to Waipukurau, where of course we had to sell our little house, Alex went off to take posession [possession] of the truck etc. and get on with life up there while I stayed in Waipukurau to sell the house before joining him in Auckland.

I always remember one arrogant estate agent asking superciliously if the Brussells at the back door was in the price, (this was of course an old coal sack to collect the dirt off the boots.) My reply that it was not Brussells but Wilton floored him a little, but it rankled. Eventually the sale was made and Alex came down and collected us in the Bedford truck and I followed in the car and so we arrived at 24 Ridge Road Howick and life took another turn.

Our home here was an old house with big high ceilings and the old drop down windows, I could leave these open at the top and the fantails would come in and catch any flies that were around, it was great, no fly spray was necessary. The drive ran down beside the house, (the section dipped quite considerably from the road to the back of the section) we didn’t have a garage so the car would be right down the drive and the truck would be backed down in front of the car because normally the truck would be the vehicle to move first, however it was quite a rigmarole if the car had to go out before the truck! There was a row of Pohutukawa trees down one side of the drive, a large front lawn where grew grapefruit, lemons, oranges and fijoas [feijoas]. The size of the citrus never failed to amaze visitors, Alex would clean the truck out and all the affluent would go around the trees – they loved it – and produced amazing fruit. When I was carrying Andrew I reckoned I had eaten every grapefruit off that tree and funnily Andrew, once born did not like citrus fruit!) Down the back of the section was an old fowl house and run and quite a few fruit trees. We bought half a dozen Rhode Island Red fowls and they settled in well and provided us with plenty of flesh brown eggs and eventually we had some chickens for the children. We became friends with our neighbours and the children all played together, one happy family.

We had plenty of room in the house, 3 big bedrooms and a large lounge with separate kitchen and dining area.

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We had a lot of fun there and enjoyed the hard work entailed with Alex having to go out at all sorts of odd times to meet boats coming in from the islands with stock on that had to be removed to the saleyards in time for the next sale. It was quite normal for us to take his tea over to the yards where he might be working until midnight or later. The old pressure cooker was the favorite for this, the meal in the cooker and then the cooker wrapped up in a sleeping bag with a hot water bottle inside to keep it hot, it worked and the darling was well fed. The children were always excited about these outings. Neroli started school at Howick District High school, she loved school and went off quite happily with the neighbourhood children.

By this time son number two had arrived Andrew Leon, he arrived in the middle of the night and the sister that delivered him had a whitlow on her finger and she managed to poison this little baby, he had terrible pain from what turned out to be a boil on his knee and our Doctor was furious when he found out what had happened. Alex had to go into the main hospital in Auckland with a blood sample urgently to see what had caused it, and on investigation at the nursing home the whitlow was revealed. It took many days before he had any relief from this boil and it had to be squeezed 4 hourly to stop the poison spreading, however, we managed and all was eventually well. Andrew was only 1 day old when my Dad had an accident on the job and the pole he was working on snapped and he fell to ground level and was seriously injured, injuries from which he died. My Brother Leon came up to tell us this sad news. It was fortunate Mum and Dad had been up the week-end before so we had recently seen them.

This 7 year stint continued very much like Waipukurau, the only difference being Alex did have days off occasionally and his time was his own. It’s funny but when one is engaged in Scouting and Guiding ones name goes before one and we both found people waiting to talk us into helping them there in Howick. Well Alex ended up taking on the Pakuranga Scout Troop which met in an old school on the main highway into Auckland, they had a lot of fun (as Scouts always did with Alex) and they went on camps out into the wilds behind Howick, while I became Brown Owl of the Howick Pack, we had a little den in Howick which had been gifted to the Guiding movement.

We had by this time bought a small Hillman car and one day on returning from Brownies, (with the children aboard) I backed down the drive as usual BUT not as usual headed over the bank, no one was injured but we sure got a fright, I helped the children out of the car and up to the house, then we had to wait for the sound of the truck, to stop Alex backing down and collecting the front of the car, eventually he returned home and was confronted with the task of pulling the car forward with the truck which of course was no problem, then the car was backed down into position and the truck followed it down, what excitement. We had a few exciting moments at Howick, Alex was chopping wood down under the house when he came in and said – “you’ll have to take me to a Doctor I’ve put the axe through my hand” I bundled the children into the car and went down to Bucklands Beach where the Doctor on call lived, he took one look and said take him over to Middlemore I’ll ring and say you are on the way. We arrived there and the Doctor had a look and said they would have to admit him and operate so we left him there and went home a very subdued bunch. However, it wasn’t so bad because as he had led a smoke free life and the axe of course was sharp and well maintained, it was a clean cut & they were able to stitch it together again, it healed really well

[Photo caption] – Our little family on the lawn at Howick, Andrew in the pushchair Alex made for Neroli, it did sterling service.

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and when he tried to think what might have caused it, he remembered he had been drinking ordinary cordial so I guess that is where it came from.

Life continued happily, Neroli started learning National Dancing and we would all get in the truck along with the ponies Alex was transporting and go up to Kumeu where Neroli competed in their National Dancing competition, that was an education in itself, however it did not last very long because it turned out that her teacher was hitting her with a ruler if she did not point her toes properly, this was something she could not do because she was knock-kneed and we were working on that problem. So we terminated National Dancing and began ballet which she was much happier with.

Another thing I remember happening here we were traveling along the road from Howick to Panmure, John was sitting in the front of the car with his Father and I was nursing the baby in the back, when, somehow John managed to open the door and he fell out onto the concrete road and cracked his head open, fortunately the traffic coming behind kept clear and in one of them was a Doctor and he said just continue on to the Doctors surgery at Panmure, which we did, and sure they fixed him up and apart from a permanent bump on his head he was O.K. The Doctor there said, because he had cracked his head open the shock went out and he was unlikely to have concussion but to just watch him for a day or two!.

Scouting and Guiding activities continued and Alex [Alex’s] Mother would come up to stay while one or the other of us took our units away. Alex used to go into the Hunua ranges with his boys and I would take the Brownies out to the Guide Home “Otimai” in the Waitakeres, all very tidy – each Saturday one room of the house had to be polished with wax polish so you can imagine the fun of that! That became a little hard with a Brownie Pack so we found a church camp site also in the Hunua Range where one could have a lot more fun. One time the children were in bed and we were making a cuppa when there was a commotion in the kitchen, a possum had come in and couldn’t get out – what a hoot – we chased him out in the end though one of the helpers will never forget it I’m sure as the possum jumped down off the top shelf and landed on her!! By this time Neroli was old enough to join the Brownies and at her first Pack Holiday she was homesick – for her Daddy, didn’t matter that I was there she didn’t want me.

Well now it was getting near that 7 year shift again, Alex had been offered a job share-milking up at Riverslea north of Auckland, we could go along for a trial of 6 months and if we were all satisfied we could carry on and buy the herd, yes well, as perhaps you can imagine, Alex was getting a bit tired of driving all hours of the day and thought a change would be good, so, we sold up after some effort and moved up to Riverside where we moved in to quite a nice house and heaps of cows!!

It was certainly a change, with three youngsters about – however we coped and thought we were doing quite well and had decided to continue and buy the herd etc, when a neighbour came across one evening and asked us if we knew the boss was selling the herd to someone else and they were due to take over at the end of the month – well – that was a blow and we were thankful that the neighbour had told us, so we packed up put everything into a railway wagon and put ourselves in the car and set of [off] home to Mum, we had rung and she said yes of course no problem, so that was the end of that era, he was a real rotter. (the owner of the farm)

Now, after a day or two of catching up with all our relatives we started looking around for a job and we found one on a farm where the man was required to drive and maintain a stock truck and the wife to help in the house. We shifted up to Sherenden on the Taihape road and life began again. The children went to school at the Pukehamoamoa school and although Andrew wasn’t yet quite old enough to start school he was allowed to attend one day a week to get him used to the idea. After he had been attending there for awhile they held their athletics sports and Andrew was running in the 5 years old race and he just stood there so the teacher gave him a push and told him to get and he set off like a startled rabbit and won the race and beat the record! This was also a happy time, Alex liked his job and we all got on well with the folk about us and it was good. Once again we had chooks and possum trouble and the normal things one has in the country. I’m not sure now, why, but Alex saw a job advertised in the paper where they wanted a mechanic for a garage and the wife was to manage a dairy in lieu of overtime, he thought it was worth looking into, so he did and he got the job – out at Porangahau another country district. I will never forget the day we moved down there that’s for sure, we borrowed the farm truck and shifted down there on the Saturday and Alex and the boys returned the truck on the Sunday leaving Gran, Neroli and I behind. I was standing in the shop just sort of getting my bearings, remembering I hadn’t been in this position since I was about 9 years old, when an old

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Maori man stuck his head in the window and said Oh come on missus, open up and sell us an ice-cream it’s hot out here – I did – and by the time Alex came home we didn’t have a thing left in the shop to sell – Neroli and Gran were rushed off their feet as much as I was washing up Milk shake containers etc.etc.etc. Alex couldn’t start work the next day, we had to go into Waipukurau and stock up the shop, what a day, it was an experience we often referred to with pleasure.

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Porangahau and we were all happy there, Neroli was a bit ahead of her class and she was often used to help teach some of the younger ones, they all learned to swim there and Neroli and John learned to play the piano. Andrew found as was usual for him when changing schools he was ahead of his group and had to mark time till they caught up.

Alex took Scouts, I took Brownies, there was a group there in recess because they didn’t have a Leader – so sure enough away we went again, the Vicars wife helped me there and we became very good friends taking the girls to shearers quarters for a pack holiday and one of the other Mum’s came as a cook, she had a little boy the same age as Andrew and they both came and they were always very good, until they were about 8 or 9, then they had to be left behind. When Christmas time was approaching the locals warned us not to go to bed on New Years Eve and to have plenty of lemonade etc. in, well sure enough when the time was approaching mid-night the singing started and it was beautiful and a large body of Maori came calling and singing and wishing everyone a happy new year it was really a great night.

Another big moment there was on a Saturday afternoon when there was rugby on at the park, they were all hungry after the match and would descend on us for a feed, we used to get a purpose built box containing 200 pies in from Dannevirke on the bus on a Friday night and by the time we closed on Saturday evening there wasn’t a pie left to eat. This was before the days when hotels had to supply food and the adults would all go to the pub and throw money out to the young folk to go and buy pies and milk shakes ! Alex made a milk shake mixer because although we had two machines it wasn’t sufficient when we were busy, and the guys would come in and say they wanted a milk shake missus but made on the bosses machine it’s better! Just another one of his creations that worked and obviously worked well.

Secondary School was now looming for Neroli and because she was a bright pupil we felt it was’t [wasn’t] fair to ask her to do her best when traveling 50 miles to and from school each day. We tried for a boarding allowance for her but because we lived on a bus route this was not available so she applied for a scholarship To go to Napier Girls’ High School because she wanted to take Latin as a subject and that was the only school which had it on their curriculum, this she was able to obtain and we arranged for her to stay at a neighbour of my Mothers, so she would have someone close by and wouldn’t feel too lonely. This happened and she was reasonably happy there but believe it or not we weren’t, at home, we missed her, so we decided to sell up at Porangahau and move to Napier or Hastings this took a little while of course and when we eventually moved it was to Hastings where we found the opportunity in a 7 day a week Dairy. This meant that Neroli did not have to board but could go back and forth on the bus, however, now, I’m not sure why,

[Photo caption] – All of us outside the dairy at Porangahau.

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but she attended Hastings Girls’ High and of course stayed at home.

The blossom festival was a big thing in Hastings and people warned us on our arrival at the dairy that we would be so-o-o busy, well, the first one was due, we asked both our Mothers to come and give a hand, we arranged the furniture so that no one could get round the back of the counters and waited, – well what a fizzer, it was no where near as busy as we had been at Porangahau on a rugby day, never mind it was another experience we had had!

Well for 7 years plus we continued at the “Willowmarket” as the shop was called and the children grew, John attended Hastings Boys’ High after having had 2 years at the Intermediate, while Andrew attended Hastings Central, they continued their schooling uninterrupted going right through to the 7th form in each case, Neroli ending up as the Science Scholar of her year, then went on to Massey University and received her degree with no trouble.

We worked out a system whereby all three children assisted in the shop over meal times to give Dad a break and this worked well, they were all good with the customers and the customers liked to see them helping, there were always bags of potatoes and things to be bagged up to keep Andrew busy as he was a bit younger.

It was also no trouble for Neroli to take charge of the dairy while we had a break, we had endeavoured all through these years at the Willowmarket to take the family away in the may [May] holidays and we always went to a different part of New Zealand, after awhile of course things changed as they started doing their own thing.

John had said he wanted to leave school and I said when you have your school cert you can leave, he received the results of his school C went straight to the A.N.Z.Bank, organized himself a job, then came home and said I have my school C and I start at the bank on Monday!

Andrew being the youngest had a bit of time yet before he finished his schooling.

They all played sport the boys, rugby and cricket, Neroli netball and hockey (I think)

The boys also took part in all the Scouting activities arranged by Alex as their Scouter, they had interesting bike rides, to Taupo and home over the Gentle Annie, plus there were always camps somewhere. I kept on with my Brownies, becoming a Brownie Trainer to encourage other women along the same trail.

I had been in the Church Choir at Poragahau [Porangahau] and when we shifted to Hastings the Vicar had notified the Vicar in Hastings that we were moving and he called on us the day we moved in, consequently I turned up for choir practice and continued to sing there for a number of years, Andrew was also in the boys choir for a few years.

It was about this time when the children were starting to do their own thing as it were, that there was a notice in the paper about forming a public golf club and we decided it would be a good idea to see what it was all about so Alex attended the meeting and put our names down as being interested and eventually the course was in the process of being built, the members would go out each day and play 9 holes and rake pumice out of the soon to be made greens, remove any boulders that were in the way and the men would dig holes for the preparation of the lakes, everybody enjoyed this, we felt we were really involved in the making of our Golf Course. They put up a big marquee, this was our cloak room and our dining room, everyone pulled their weight and got behind the project until in due course it was officially opened as the Flaxmere Golf Course. Many are the joys and frustrations of the game of golf! However, we both enjoyed quite a success especially compared with a lot of other folk, it took me longer to learn than Alex but I got there eventually.

In later years we were able to go around the Mens’ Veteran Tournaments, I would caddy, and we would mostly enjoy the games, though there were a few burglars as they are called. We realized later that we played better golf when we had hurried prior to going out to the course, for instance, to be fair to each other, we would always try and do the necessary chores before we went, thus avoiding any extra stress on the one remaining to look after the shop, consequently by the time we arrived at the golf course we were ready to go! It worked too believe me.

We carried on here at the “Willowmarket” and saw Neroli marry her choice, then they went off down South and taught in Westport where they had many interesting experiences, and where they produced our first Grand Child a little boy, and he was the living image of his Grandfather.

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Then John left the nest and took off up to Turangi to work for the bank there. About this time HE started to get itchy feet and said he was thinking of going off overseas so I suggested he apply for a transfer and he said Oh Mum, (you know the way they do ) – he rang me a while later and said I would be happy to know that he had a transfer and was going to work for the bank in London – Mum’s aren’t so silly after all.

John had come home one time and suggested it was time we sold the shop because we were both getting a bit scratchy! And he had just the place for us to go, there was a private hotel up town that did dinner, bed and breakfast, it would just do us fine – well, that wasn’t something we had thought about but it was too early for us to retire and we had to have an income so – why not. We went and had a look at the place – jeepers, while I was standing in the kitchen I noticed mice running over an old Aga stove, there was a bacon cutter set up on it and it was obviously their play ground. We were promised everything would be cleaned up before any sale took place and we agreed it would have to be. Any way after a little time the shop was sold and we eventually moved in to the New Grand.

This was another totally new experience, in the first place not a lot of cleaning had been done and in spite of promises of a cash adjustment to compensate, we had bought the place and our customers had to be served – wow, that was a wake-up, the first time we had a visit from the health inspector he nodded at our cat and said “I bet he has had a picnic” and I said yes and he was allowed to get away with it, (meaning the previous owner) the guy said he was on the point of being closed down when he sold. So now we knew and we had to do the cleaning up gr. However, eventually we settled down into a pattern and Alex did all the meals, I looked after the dining room and we had a lady in to do the rooms, we hired all the linen as we couldn’t have coped with that. We made a lot of friends there and every other Monday we put on a Retired

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men’s luncheon and this would entail a meal for anything up to 50-60 people, that was fun but we coped O.K. By this time Andrew was a senior at High School, well liked and he got on well with our tenants I suppose you would call them, we had a few folk there permanently, they paid the rent etc. and the visitors provided the jam etc. and so life settled into a new regime, which became consistently busy.

Andrew went off to university and life continued on, when John went off on his O.E. he stayed a day or two at Disneyland and in trying to describe it to us he said, it’s no good you will have to go there yourselves! Andrew said if we liked to go in the university holidays he would look after the hotel and so it was decided. I obtained a book on the U.S.A. from the Library and planned very carefully our 3 weeks holiday, we would travel by Greyhound buses, that way we would see more of the country – we didn’t of course know that they mainly traveled at night! – however it didn’t matter in the end. We booked a weeks accommodation for the first week in Los Angeles, so we would have a base to work from, the people were very good to us there, they worried about us too, because we would go out for a walk to see what-ever and one night when we arrived home the manager said, thank goodness you’re home we were worried as to where you were walking because we have had a murder committed just around the corner, however, we were safe. We loved Disneyland as much as John thought we would and when it was time to move on we went down to the bus depot to reserve a seat and the guy behind the counter said “oh you don’t need to book just go over there and wait in the queue and if there isn’t a bus there, there very shortly will be, and that was something else we had to get used to because of the number of people traveling by bus as soon as one was filled they simply rolled up another one. This was the same with their aeroplanes they simply flew on demand took a bit of getting used to but very practical. We enjoyed our trip very much, we had 3 days in Yosemite National Park this was an eye opener, People were not allowed to drive their cars within the boundaries of the park, they handed over their car keys to the Park Rangers and all traveling within the park was done on or in Park vehicles which I think ran on gas, they went all over the park and would stop and pick one up or put one down where ever one wanted to go. We hired bicycles and biked around quite a bit too, fabulous. We had to stay an extra night there because the buses went on strike and we had to stay until the strike was settled, it was on the extra night that I saw a big brown bear, I had hoped to see one and I had gone outside for something and lo and behold there was this big bear with his head in the trash can, I called out to Alex quick come and see the bear and a Ranger came along and said Maam go back inside this animal is not tame, so I went back inside but I had seen my big bear. There were lots of small animals, such as squirrels, beavers, raccoons etc. around all different to any we had at home. We arrived at one city at 3am we had our booking at the hotel but of course we were starving, so we set out to find a restaurant that prepared our kind of meals – what a hope, everything was Mexican! The waiter at one said he would get the chef because he couldn’t understand what we were talking about – the chef came out and he said ah, I know where you come from Australia, I said no, New Zealand, he didn’t know what we were talking about either, anyway he said he would prepare for us a Tako [Taco] which we could eat – well it was kinda too hot for me, although Alex managed to eat it, so we went back to the hotel and went to sleep. We enjoyed all our experiences over there except maybe one – we were trying to find the Girl Scout H.Q. and had been given the directions, which we followed, we went in their fast train, (I forget what it was called) anyway it was all automatic and went down under the ocean and crossed the harbour, we managed – ( if you have traveled in one of these automatic trains you will know what I mean, everything must be right or the barrier won’t let you through!) to get off alright but – wow this was a dead beat area, there were goons lying around all over the place so we decided we didn’t really need the Girl Scouts Asscn. And we headed back for the train and scarpered, quite safely I might add.

We explored “Fishermans Wharf” in San Fransico [Francisco], (bought my owl radio there) did all the touristy things and generally really enjoyed ourselves, however, I will never forget the feeling of waiting at the airport there and looking out the window and seeing the black nose of our Air New Zealand plane roll in to know that there is no place like home!.

Back home all was well and our customers were all full of praise for the way Andrew had held the fort and May our cleaning lady had helped too, she had made all the puddings for him so he only had to worry about the meat and veges, what a team. And so we continued in the old routine as the song goes, it didn’t take too long to get back on track.

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Life continued, the hotel kept us busy plus we kept ourselves busy with all our numerous activities, although we began to get a bit tired and I decided it was time to drop the guiding activities which I did and they honoured me with an evening and a presentation thanking me for my years of service 43!!

Alex kept his scouts on for a little longer but he was beginning to feel jaded too and finally decided it was time for him to resign, he had done just as much for scouts as I had for guiding but they didn’t give him a send off.

So now we had a little more time but we were getting tired and we were not sleeping very well because we used to get hooligans bringing their cars into the back yard and zooming around etc. and we had to leave the back door of the hotel open otherwise our customers couldn’t get in, because of course the front door was locked when we went to bed. (this was when we began having a glass of sherry in the evening, on the Doctors advice, he said it was better than sleeping pills, thus began an enjoyable little experience, I won’t say a habit because we did not make a habit of it but as life progressed we used to have a glass, (one only, and a sherry glass,) while waiting for our dinner to cook in the evening, it was very pleasant. Somewhere about this time we attended a meeting with Selwn [Selwyn] Toogood a local T.V. personality on the subject of Time share units, we listened to what he had to say plus others of course and decided that as the price was reasonable at $2500 and that we had that amount coming to us shortly from an insurance policy (which, if we didn’t use it to buy something like that, the money would simply disappear into the hotel accounts) so we decided yes, we will buy, and so we signed up and got a free week on the gold coast [Gold Coast] for doing it, so it was a win win situation. We have over the years enjoyed our time-share facilities both at Ika Nui, elsewhere in N.Z. and overseas. We were able to take our 2 oldest Grandchildren, Raymond (as he was then) and Katrina. We went down to Hokitika and picked them up and took them down to Queenstown for a week, we had a lovely time and saw some unforgettable things, like a waterfall in full spate, on the way to Queenstown we had stopped and had a drink of this lovely cold water, it was a bright beautiful day, on the way back it was teeming with rain and Alex and Raymond went to have a look at it and Alex came back to the car and said we would have to get out and go and have a look the difference was simply amazing, he was right, the wind roared from the water, you couldn’t hear yourself speak it was fantastic, something we will remember anyway. On a later occasion we were able to take Kieron and Anthony to Ika Nui and explore Taupo, Rotorua and down to Waiouru to the Army Museum, we all had a great time.

Many and varied were our customers living in the hotel, one man had a budgie and he taught it to talk, it was really good and could recite the Lord’s Prayer in one breath and then swear like a trooper in another, our lady helper went into his room one day only to be told to “get out of here you old etc.etc.” The guy used to put the cage out in the lounge sometimes and one school holidays it was there and there was a family staying with two little boys and they were astounded at the number of naughty words that bird knew!

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Unfortunately one day somebody opened his cage door and he flew away never to be seen again. We had one man there because his wife and [had] filled the house with dogs and he couldn’t stand it any longer, so he made his home with us. An elderly lady that had to know everything was another of our permanents, she did her best to know everything and I mean everything. We were on the whole quite a happy family, because as we used to say this is our home too, so we all have to get a long. I always used to say that I much preferred the dining room full of men to women, the men were happy to be served but the women would grizzle and grizzle, there was always something wrong somewhere, like the one who complained she hadn’t slept a wink last night, I heard that town clock strike every hour, I couldn’t help reply that she had then slept quite well because the clock was turned off between 11p.m. and 7a.m. Anyway, we eventually decided to put the hotel business on the market and make a move, it took a little while but in the end the sale was to proceed so we had to find somewhere to live, we had bought ourselves a flat to cover this eventuality – but – the tenants weren’t very good, and they had done a flit owing money for the rent, they had also done quite a bit of damage so we repaired it and sold it deciding we didn’t want to live there after all. – so to the land agents we went – well we couldn’t go together, but because we had been so long together we knew what we wanted, so Alex went off and looked at a number of properties and eventually came back and said he had found one but the agent wouldn’t let him tell me I had to go and look at the same properties myself, so off I went, she took me to the first one and I said I couldn’t live here, there isn’t enough room in the kitchen to swing a cat, remember we had a huge kitchen to work in, the agent said this has everything you want in a kitchen and I said yes, except space, anyway she took me to all the places she had taken Alex and when we went into the one in St. Leonards Ave. I immediately said this is the one and she said he told you – I said no, we just know what we want and so it was decided and the next phase of our life commenced. The folk who sold it were busy doing it up and they were transferred to Taupo so we were able to finish the upgrade and settle down again, this time on our own. Neroli and David’s Family were growing they now had 4 children 3 boys and a girl and were firmly settled in Hokitika and it was a pleasure to be able to shoot down to see them now and again. In time we bought a caravan and took it down there and David fixed it up so it could remain there and then, when we did go down, we weren’t under their feet all the time, we enjoyed our visits down there, both for the pleasure of seeing them all and for the little things we could do to help. It was quite a ritual when the school bus came by after school to come and have affernoon [afternoon] tea in the caravan with Nanna and Grandy. Their car always received a tune up, and we used to clear a little bit of land from time to time, burn out some old gorse and tree stumps and allow the grass to grow, they used to call me a fire-bug, but it was only because one could see the difference the clearing made.

John was still away overseas he was a bit unlucky in one sense he had a job with Philips and they wanted him to stay on and he rang to see where his grandparents were born because in those days if your Grandparents were born in the U.K. you could stay and work but he was a 4th generation Kiwi, therefore he had to move on. Andrew at this time was in his last years at University and Teachers training College preparing to be a teacher. He applied for a position at Gisborne Boys High school thinking they would take one of the locals and was very surprised when he received a telegram from the school accepting him, he thought his mates were having him on, but no, he was appointed and he has more or less been there ever since apart from an overseas trip and a stint at the Napier Golf Club as their Secretary Manager.

Alex took a job in the orchards, and if I remember rightly I went down to Hokitika for the birth of one of the Grandchildren, Katrina I think, when Alex came down to collect me and see his new Grandchild it was obvious that he had been working too hard, we weren’t getting any younger and lugging the cases of fruit around had been tough, so he didn’t go back there. I was employed by dePelchet [de Pelichet] McLeod’s to help in their grocery shop or the tea rooms whicheSome of the sights etc. enjoyed by us during our trip, this man the historian Ron Tindall.ver, when I was needed. I used to bike to work, home for lunch and back and then bike home again at night and I was getting rather puffed so we bought a little Honda shopping basket, a small motor bike, it was great, no more puffing in the wind, it did me a number of years and I used to like going for a ride on it. Life continued in this vain for awhile and then somehow or other we became involved in minding motels while the owners had a break not sure now how this started anyway it did and we quite enjoyed this, for when your term was up we could simply go home and relax and do the garden up again, although we had several places locally to mind so it was easy to keep an eye on the garden etc.

About this time I received a telephone call from my Brother Leon to say our Mother had passed away in her sleep at home, she had been very independent and remained in her own home to the end a wonderful

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example to us all, she had been on her own for 25 years or so, I am not checking on dates etc. I will leave that to my daughter she will put the correct ones in. Neroli and her Family were able to come to the Funeral and we gave Mum a lovely send off.

We had a phone call one day from a motel at the Hutt, they wanted to go away fishing could we go down, yes, well we did this several times, Trentham Motels were on the main road in to Wellington via Rimatukas, we would arrive, have a cuppa and they would depart, they would say, “you know where everything is, see you” that happened several times, also the same at Lower Hutt and the first time we went there there was a huge Alsatian dog, he never said a word just had a sniff and that was that and the woman owner couldn’t believe it, she said he never lets anyone come in with out kicking up a fuss, he knew a thing or two that dog, and it was the same every time we went there he would come up for a pat and a cuddle as it were and they could take off whenever they wanted. He loved Alex practicing golf on the lawns, he would chase the balls and then he would try to catch them in his mouth, that was a bit frightening we envisaged us trying to hold him upside to shake them out of him to stop him choking so we shut him inside while he practiced and the dog nearly went beserk [berserk], mowing the lawn was another such experience. We were there one Christmas and Andrew had come down to join us and I took the dog and went round to the shops Andrew came too and I said to him take him down to the park there while I get whatever, when I came out Andrew and the dog were just waiting there, Andrew said did you see him come in I said no, he did he said and when he saw you in there he came and sat down out here and that was that he wasn’t going anywhere! So off we went back to the motel. Another time the bell went about 1am. and I went down to the door and the dog was there making a noise and the guy wouldn’t come in he sent his partner, he said he would come in If I put the dog out, I said the dog stays here so he departed and I think it was probably a good job. These two motels we looked after many times. We had an arrangement with Trentham that if we were going to Hokitika either coming or going they would have a break we only had to let them know when and they were away. They eventually sold in fact they both did and that was the end of that although we did go to another at the Hutt a couple of times. We looked after 2 Hastings and one Napier one for quite sometime but eventually the toll began to take and we decided that we had had enough. In between times we enjoyed some of our Time-share opportunites, we would take a couple of weeks at a time and it was good.

Somewhere among all that John was married, he met a girl from Pahiatua somewhere over seas and they actually became engaged in Copenhagen and came home to Pahiatua to be married. They had decided to make their life in Australia so we didn’t see much of them, they have 3 children and we would endeavour to see them whilst using our timeshare weeks. The last time we actually stayed with them we had to get up early in the morning and travel into work with John, then find something to do all day and return to a cemetery on the outskirts of the city and he would pick us up and take us home with him. Later we would take a week on the coast and John would come down and take us out to their home for Sunday so we had small contact with those Grandchildren. They have all grown up now and are fine examples of young adulthood. However the ones closest to our hearts are Neroli and Davids Family as we have had lots to do with them while they have been growing to their adulthood, they also are fine upstanding young people, Ray and Katrina are both married and their spouses are as fine as they are, Ant and Kieron are also two fine young people. Kieron served for a time in the NZ. Navy and is apparently in the Naval Reserve, while both Ray and Ant have served their country in the Army and Ray is in fact a member of the N.Z.Army while Ant is in the Territorial Force.Some of the sights etc. enjoyed by us during our trip, this man the historian Ron Tindall.

I have wandered a little ahead of myself I think but it won’t matter too much, we were still living in St. Leonards Ave but Alex had not been all that well and I had been trying to keep the vegetable garden, the lawns and the flower garden tidy I was finding it a little heavy, because of course neither of us was getting any younger, I had given up at de pelichets when we started going to motels so we just pleased ourselves at this time but we decided perhaps it was time to look for a smaller home while we were both there to do it. So we watched the papers and found an advertisement for a flat in St. Aubyn St. W. we went and had a look and liked what we saw, we had agreed it would have to be a back flat, because Alex had to have room to work on whatever and he couldn’t work on a car on the roadside etc. so, this flat was a back flat, had a garage separate that was big enough for the car and for him to work in as well, a limited amount of garden and a reasonable lawn, so to finances, in the end we were lucky we were able to buy the flat and have a little to spare from the sale of the house so that was good, The Family came down from Gisborne and inspected it and agreed with

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us that it was suitable so our final move was to take place. When the sale eventually took place the Family once again came down from Gisborne to do the heavy part of the shifting etc. and get us settled in, their act was appreciated. And so life in St. Aubyn St. W. began.

Some of the time consuming things Alex did. The patience involved in his carving was absolute. And there was always something growing in his vege garden to keep us healthily fed.

He also did a lot of machine knitting, the jersey he is wearing was one of his creations and some of the grandchildren received many coloured home jerseys, he then made peggy squares for the red cross for them to make up into blankets. There was always something for him to do.

In the meantime I was bowling, or working as secretary for the Women’s Bowling asscn [Association] and later Bowls Hawkes [Hawke’s] Bay, plus I was working on our Fail Re-union and genealogy in general.

Well we were still bowling, so things didn’t change too much, although Alex was starting to tire of the game. Because we lived across the road from the bowling green in St. Leonards Ave. Alex was often called upon to do certain errands etc. like if the burglar alarm went off would he go and check and see if it was for real, well I objected to this because if it was for real he could get hurt and when the damage is done who cares – so I used to go along as well just in case!. Alex used to say if they needed someone to do a job he was the first one called but if they needed someone to fill a team, he was the last one called! Anyway once we had shifted he decided that would do as far as bowls was concerned so he resigned but I continued.

This was a time of re-adjusting to a certain extent, looking at things a little differently and looking after each other a little more, we were getting older and we realized that the things we were used to doing took a little longer to do – never mind we could still do them.

To begin with we arranged the gardens a bit, made them smaller, so that I could reach the back of the garden without having to stretch across etc. that made it easier on the back! Alex made more use of his shed,

[Photo captions] – St. Aubyn St. W. on the 29/5/1994 and later around 2004 when all the Family were home with us.


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he had brought some solid pieces of timber home from Neroli and Davids and he spent many hours carving them into works of art really, it took the patience of Job, (but he had that) (he must have taken after his Uncle Job!) and one year the Council had an exhibition of craft and he entered several of his creations in it and received many favourable comments, one was his wheel, made out of empty soft drink bottles, the one that is mounted on our car shed still, and still intrigues me many years later.

One of the things we didn’t like in the flat was the laundry situated in the kitchen so we decided we would build on a laundry at the back, we had room and we had to get the other leaseholders permission to build, this we did and once again the Family came to the fore, Andrew and David came down in their holidays and built us a nice little room on the back, this served as a laundry and a home for the freezer and dryer, it also kept the southerly wind away from the kitchen, it was therefore a bit warmer. Although the flat as a whole was very cosy, the big windows in the lounge received all the afternoon sun and it was good. We also had the help of Brother Leon and Brother in law Norm in erecting a little garden shed in the back yard, this meant the lawnmower and gardening tools all had their own home out of the garage leaving more room for Alex, it was very good.

About this time I had a 70th Birthday and the Committee Girls from Bowls took me out to a champagne breakfast – at McDonalds! Yes, McDonalds it was great, after that I went home and Alex had said I wasn’t to take on anything else as he had the day planned but wouldn’t say anything about it. Alex was ready when I went home and we immediately got in the car and took off – for – Omatua our Guide Home – when we arrived all the Family and a lot of friends were there and we had a lovely picnic lunch, birthday cake and all, everyone was happy and a most enjoyable day was celebrated, but the day wasn’t yet over, and after we went home and had a bit of a rest, it was once again dressed and out to the RSA where once again a lovely gathering of Friends and Family helped me to celebrate my 70th birthday, it was much appreciated and enjoyed by all.

So I was 70 and Alex 75, we were lucky we were both enjoying life.

One of the pastimes I joined when we moved to the flat was a line Dancing Group, we met every Friday morning and danced for about an hour and a half, some of my bowling friends also joined this group and Alex would come along and collect the money for Felicity, whose group it was. Thus leaving her to do other things. I will include a photo of him taken there one day when we were having a raffle to raise funds for whatever, I have always thought it a very good one of him.

[Photo caption] – This is a happy snap of Omatua our Guide Home, not at the time of my birthday, but taken one Christmas Holiday when we were altogether.

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[We even made a float and entered into the Hastings Blossom Festival and I thought I was pretty good marching along and dancing behind the float at 75 years of age. We did that for two years and then Felicity was knocked down by a car during the next parade so we called it a day after that, as far as parades went, but we still went dancing and performed occasionally for “Old Folk”!

As happens Life goes on and we continued doing the things we liked, going for a holiday occasionally, visiting Gisborne, maybe to mind the Family while Neroli and David had a break or to mind Andrews animals while he had a break, either of which we both enjoyed and the time passed peacefully on.

Time was drawing near for our 50th Wedding anniversary, we had over recent years always tried to do something different on our anniversary and for our 50th we decided we would have a trip up in a hot air balloon, so we arranged for this and we had to be at the pick-up point at 6-30am to catch the early morning zephyrs! This was a wonderful experience which we both enjoyed very much, we floated over Hastings and the environs eventually landing out in the Tukituki valley where we were provided with a champagne glass and a champagne breakfast to commemorate the occasion.

We had visits from Family and Friends during the day, then, in the evening we were taken out to the mission [The Mission] for dinner, where we found a lot of old friends waiting to share with us and the Family our 50 years

[Photo caption] – Ready to go, Andrew making sure all is well – Soaring away – wonderful.

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of togetherness.

Another big thing we were working on during this period was the Re-Union of the Fail Family.

I belonged to the Genealogy Soc. [Society] and had been researching the Fail Family in New Zealand along with the Speakmans and Balmers. I had a letter from another person researching the Fails and after close inspection of the whys and wherefores we decided we were definitely related and so the job was on, we set a date for the year 2000 when we planned to hold the gathering at Havelock North. This was a very successful

[Photo captions] – Top Neroli, Andrew Alex and I – an overall view of the party – Alex responding to the toasts – Cutting the cake – the original wedding gown, (I couldn’t of course get in to it!) picture on the right is all the cards etc. received plus Neroli’s wall hanging, she had appliqued the genuine hand shapes of all the family and embroidered all their signatures in blue for Family, pale blue for Spouses, maroon for Grandsons and pink for Granddaughters and two paw prints for Andrews Family. There has been a lot of comment over this work of art.

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event where we met members of our Family we had never previously met or even new [knew] about, it was great. After the event we made several sortees down to Wellington and stayed with some of our new relatives it was good. One especially interesting thing that came out was a picture of my Mothers Family. We had never seen our Maternal Grandfather as he had died before we were born. We had quite a few pictures of whom we were ignorant of who they were. My Sister Anne and I were trying to decide if one of these photos could possibly belong to our Grandfather and we decided on one with a beard, that night in my sleep a deep voice said to me I did not have a beard! Well we had to leave him out after that, but lo and behold another relative brought this photo to the re-union, saying I haven’t a clue who they are but – well we cheered because it was a lovely Family group of Mothers Family, (and sure enough Grandfather did not have a beard!)

All of these things took time and as usual time marches on.

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for Grandsons and pink for Granddaughters and two paw prints for Andrews Family. There has been a lot of comment over this work of art. Another big thing we were working on during this period was the Re-Union of the Fail Family. I belonged to the Genealogy Soc. and had been researching the Fail Family in New Zealand along with the Speakmans and Balmers. I had a letter from another person researching the Fails and after close inspection of the whys and wherefores we decided we were definitely related and so the job was on, we set a date for the year 2000 when we planned to hold the gathering at Havelock North. This was a very successful event where we met members of our Family we had never previously met or even new about, it was great.

We had a lot of fun organizing the event and Alex did a lot of driving people hither and yon. We had booked the Arataki Holiday camp because it catered for all pockets and ages, there was a good swimming pool, plenty of space for children to run around in plus other entertainments for them. We booked the camp kitchen as well and we held all our lunches there and Alex had a big hand in cooking for everyone, breakfasts, lunches etc. We had a barbeque tea one night, a catered meal on the middle night, a Church Service at St. Matthews on the Sunday followed by a bus trip around the local areas where Fail’s had been involved, then a final luncheon to finish up with. A real Grand Finale, appreciated by everyone.

After the event we made several sortees down to Wellington and stayed with some of our new relatives it was good. One especially interesting thing that came out was a picture of my Mothers Family.

We had never seen our Maternal Grandfather as he had died before we were born. We had quite a few pictures of whom we were ignorant of who they were. My Sister Anne and I were trying to decide if one of these photos could possibly belong to our Grandfather and we decided on one with a beard, that night in my sleep a deep voice said to me I did not have a beard! Well we had to leave him out after that, but 10 and behold another relative brought this photo to the re-union, saying I haven’t a clue who they are but well we cheered because it was a lovely Family group of Mothers Family, (and sure enough Grandfather did not have a beard!)

All of these things took time and as usual time marches on.

Somewhere about this time, we went off up to Rotorua and had a week at a time-share there at Okawa Lake, it was very nice, but not quite as nice as most of the resorts. In the main because this was a hotel, and when we were there they had a conference on, and because this was right next to their pool and games room the likes of us could not use those facilities! We visited the McGechies there and caught up with their news, they, like us, are ageing! After we left there we had a week at Ika Nui and we enjoyed that, it always felt like home, so after a lazy couple of weeks we returned to the big metropolis…

We gradually returned to the old routine, I was still bowling and quite busy as the Bowls Hawkes Bay Secretary, because I was, of course, getting older I found things took a bit longer to both understand and consequently work on, however I kept going, and Alex was around to cook our meals etc. He still came along to Line dancing and collected the fees for Felicity, and then after that we would go and have lunch at the R.S.A. we also had a permanent booking there on a Wednesday because they had a plated meal for $6 and for that price we obtained a nice roast meal. One couldn’t prepare and cook it for that and it was always nice to go out for a meal!

[Photo caption] – Holding forth! I didn’t of course do it all on my own.

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During our excursions we had read an advertisement about exploring our Southern Sounds, I tracked this down to Fiordland Travel and we arranged to board the Milford Wanderer on its trip around Preservation inlet and Dusky Sounds etc. from the 18th to the 24th of August 2002. We travelled to Queenstown on Air N.Z. Napier/Wellington – Wellington/Christchurch – Christchurch/Queenstown, on arrival it was both snowing and raining, so we caught the shuttle bus to our hotel. The taxi called at 6-45am the next morning to take us to the bus a beautiful big Volvo belonging to Fiordland travel, light snow was still falling this bus was going to Milford Sound. After a distance the driver announced that those passengers travelling to Manapouri would shortly leave the bus and there sure enough at a little side road there was a small coach waiting in the middle of nowhere, to take us to Manapouri where the launch was waiting to take us across the lake to the coach that was waiting. There was hot tea and coffee waiting for us on the boat and that was well received. We eventually arrived at Deep Cove to find the Wanderer waiting for us.

We went aboard and were introduced to the crew, then we up anchored and went a little way down the sound then dropped anchor and had lunch which consisted of Mushroom soup, home made bread and cookies, (there were even special diabetic cookies for Alex.)

The meals on this trip were absolutely fantasic [fantastic], we had a great chef and all the crew were great, the historian on board new everything there was to know about his subjects. There was plenty to do during the day, we went off in Kayaks, or the rubber boats and landed and did some tramping around particular areas including early cemetries [cemeteries], whaling station, lighthouses, all sorts. In the evenings the historian spoke of the area and showed slides etc. to better acquaint us with “Our Sounds”.

All together it was a thoroughly enjoyable trip, interesting, comfortable and exciting as we were going to fly back to TeAnau on a helicopter, this we did, being picked off a craggy bit of beach in the rain and the pilot got lost because he couldn’t see and he put down on top of a mountain and waited for another chopper to come and guide him out, eventually this happened and we were greeted by the rest of the party with relief as they thought we had crashed!! And so ended our adventure and we arrived back in Queenstown all safe and sound and very aware of our beautiful Sounds and their history.

[Photo caption] – The Fiordland National Park.

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In one of the RCI advertisements they had a trip to Cairns which was reasonably priced and as we hadn’t been there we decided we would go. We had accommodation arranged in a brand new Resort, it wasn’t solely RCI but because it was new they accepted RCI folk at RCI prices so that was fine and away we went. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip and we journeyed through the rain forest traveled up in a gondola to the top then wandered back down on a train that meandered from Kuranda to stoney creek [Stoney Creek] 35kms, there was some truly lovely scenes on the way, some really old works of very early Australia and of course the modern

[Photo caption] – Some of the sights etc. enjoyed by us during our trip, this man the historian Ron Tindall.

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day technology on the gondola etc. there was a market at Kuranda where one could buy souveniers [souvenirs] (of course) and wander around, have a meal and generally enjoy oneself. Another trip we went on took us from Cairns by bus into the hinterland, we travelled down a river on a boat, saw some crocodiles although Alex reckoned they were models? Went to a place where they grew coffee and tea, (didn’t think much of that though) eventually returning on the bus back to Cairns. John came to the airport and saw that we boarded the right bus to go down to Surfers where we were also going to have a week at one of the resorts. Arrived there safe and sound and proceeded to explore our surrounds, as usual very nice. There was a pub just a wee way away where we could get a nice roast meal at the bistro, and we quietly explored around. John came and picked us up on the Sunday and took us out to his home for the day, we were able to see their new home at Tallai and also catch up with the children who of course are almost grown up! As we were unable to have much to do with them they don’t mean quite as much as Neroli and Davids [David’s] children do. However, they are all lovely young people.

When we returned home Alex decided that that would do for him as far as travel was concerned, he had seen enough and was quite happy at home. We could go to Ika-Nui of course.

Well time passes, quite quickly even if one is not doing too much, just doing the normal chores and funnily enough it is not easy to remember just what we did at that time – age?

Age, yes, Alex’s 85th birthday was approaching so we had to have something special for that so we arranged to have a meal at the R.S.A. and invited family and friends to attend, then to come round to our home for a cuppa after. This was a successful gathering, the following pictures are proof of this:

[Photo caption] – … at home with all his cards etc.

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We can see now, though we didn’t at the time, that Alex wasn’t looking so good. We said now you have to hang on for Marg’s Birthday, this he did!.

He was spending a lot of time in his shed making something I knew not what, though I knew it was causing him some problems, in the end he confided in David what he was doing and he said leave it to him he would do it for him, it turned out to be a present for me for my 80th birthday, a lovely wooden jewelry box, he came in one day and said could he have one of my owls. He wanted it to be used as an opener! I gave him one and waited patiently until the time when all would be revealed, that day was my 80th birthday. Andrew had said that I was to find somewhere nice to go for a meal for this event NOT the R.S.A.! so Alex and I went for a drive around several of the winery’s etc. but the majority, I felt were too expensive to ask folk to come and pay for my birthday. In the end we decided on a winery in Pakowhai Rd. that would put on a luncheon for $25, we felt that was reasonable and if we held it on a Saturday it would give family time to arrive and not to

[Photo captions] – Cutting his cake, Neroli, Alex & I, talking to John who rang for his birthday, Andrew.
A group of Family and Friends at home after our lunch at the R.S.A.

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have to hurry away for work the next day, so this was all arranged and we waited for the day to arrive.

A copy of this went out to my Family and friends, and on the due date we had a lovely time, with Neroli, Andrew my Sister and Brothers with their families and children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews all attending, it was the last time some of us were together. Some of the happy photos taken on the day. It takes less room on the page doing it this way! Some of us were together for Christmas but when our wedding anniversary came around on the 7th of February Alex was not very well and he was only with me for another couple of weeks before he passed away on the 23rd of February after a wonderful 57 years together.

[Text on service booklet] –
Bert Alexander Wilton (Alex) (Manu) 1919 – 2005

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So another phase of my life begins, one that will be quite different as there will be no one to talk to and that hasn’t been a fact for a long time, 57 years. However my Mum had to do this for a lot longer than I will therefore I shall soldier on too. Andrew has said I can call him anytime, that may happen, we shall see.

Well I decided I needed some different channels to work on, bowls I think is finished, I haven’t bowled since Alex was unwell as I didn’t like going away bowling and leaving him on his own and in the meantime my bowls team has gone on to other clubs and teams and I don’t think I want the hassle of starting all over again so bowls is finished. So, what else am I going to do? Well Age Concern are asking for people to visit elderly people who perhaps have no visitors or are lonely or whatever, so I shall go and see them, also I believe Heretaunga Intermediate want some folk to go and help their young folk with reading, I could do that, so let’s see how I get on. Well I have enrolled with the AVS with Age Concern and have been allocated a lady living in flats down behind the hospital, I shall visit her Tuesday mornings after I have been to the school, I am helping there on Tuesday and Thursday mornings 8-30 – 9-30am I’ll have to be up with the larks! So my new regime begins. I have also gone on the committee of the Women’s section of the RSA, so they meet on the 3rd Monday of the month and the committee meeting is the first Thursday of the month so that is sorted.

I made my first visit to Muriel, seems a nice enough lady has family around but they don’t visit much has a daughter who does though, she is a bit wrapped up in herself, I must beware not to do the same! The school children are lovely, I enjoy helping them, sometimes on a one to one basis, sometimes with a group and we act out what they are reading, the hour goes quite swiftly. So I go to school then on to Muriel all bright and

[Photo caption] – Family group at the RSA after the service. Back row, Judith (Niece) Todd, Anthony, Katrina. Ray, (Grand children) Son John, Karen (Rays Friend) Kieron, (Grandson) Scott (G.Nephew) Tony (nephew) Callum (Katies Husband) David (Son in Law) Front row, Andrew, Neroli, (son & daughter) (Kellyanne & Bryce G. Niece & GG Nephew) & Jenny Niece.

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shiny! This morning Muriel was feeling grouchy and she was complaining bitterly and I said well, you have a lot to be thankful for you know, you have a nice little flat you can get around a bit, it could be a lot worse, she said I’ll have you know I am 82 years old and I deserve better, I said so what so am I, 82, and she sort of sat back and looked at me, anyway we got on well after that, so all is well. Line dancing continues to absorb Friday mornings and we all get on well together. One morning as we were sitting there I remarked that the main trunk railway was in danger of closing because there were not enough people using the train, and I said we should go on a trip before it closes and one of the other Line Dancers, Lily said I will go with you – so – also at that time I had some timeshare weeks that needed using up and so I asked her if she would like a week up in the Bay Of Islands and she said sure, you arrange it and I will pay whatever necessary, so away I went made all the necessary bookings and we were off on a bus to Palmerston North, booked a motel for the night because we couldn’t make the connection on the same day of travel from Hastings, and away we went caught the train the next morning and we were away. Unfortunately it was raining at National Park and we couldn’t see much but never mind. We arrived at the Britomart Place in Auckland, what a remarkable place, it was truly amazing, all steel and glass a quite remarkable place for a country bumpkin. We then took a taxi to the hotel which turned out to be right in the middle of the city and only a block away from the bus depot which we would be needing in the morning, really good. Had a roam around Auckland, had a meal and a reasonable nights sleep then the new day began and once again we were off on our travels, we walked up to the bus depot, caught the bus to Paihia and enjoyed a meandering trip into all the little places on the way up the coast. On arrival in Paihia a taxi took us to our Timeshare unit nicely situated along the forshore [foreshore]. Whilst we were in Paihia, we took a another bus trip up to the 90 mile beach and had a most enjoyable, if long, day, on another trip we went out to the hole in the rock, amazing, we crossed on the Ferry to Russell and explored around there, reviving early history lessons for me anyway, we went to a glow worm farm, we went on a little TukTuk Tour out around Mt. Bledisloe, the Harari [Haruru] Falls and back to Paihia. The next day we visited Kerikeri, plus the Kauri museum and a craft market where we met a man who made Kaleidoscopes they were wonderful but of course very expensive, and so back to Paihia for our last night. We departed there in the morning and this time our bus went direct, straight to Whangarei and then Auckland where once again we were able to walk to our hotel where we had stayed before and the next day we travelled by bus back to Hastings, a very interesting trip which we both enjoyed, where to next?

Back in Hastings life went on as usual, then, our Line Dance organizer suggested there was a cruise going on for a reasonable price how many would like to go if we could get 20 it would be even cheaper, so Lily and I looked at each other and said why not! So we were away again, we flew up to Auckland and then on to Brisbane where we were met by the tour people and escorted to the wharf to join the ship, that was an experience in itself, we were all photographed and given an identity tag which we had to hang round our neck at all times whilst on board, we had to hand it in when leaving the ship and then it was given back on our return, welcome aboard, what a sight all glitter and gold and whatever, it was a sight to behold, we were quickly given our stewards and shown to our cabins where we were very comfortable. There was entertainment going on all the time, we didn’t take in a lot of that, it wasn’t quite our cup of tea, we gave a line dancing display to anyone who was interested and travelled the high seas. I went snorkeling on Mystery Island, we visited Noumea, Isle of Pines, Vanuatu and then travelled to Auckland where we disembarked and then flew home to Hastings after another enjoyable experience.

So life goes on doing all the normal things, the visiting, the helping at the school etc. Then Neroli, David and Andrew were planning a trip to Tasmania and I said we never got around to going there and so they said well come with us, so I did. I was able to get timeshare accommodation and because I had always wanted to travel on the Spirit of Tasmania this is what we did. We flew to Melbourne, caught the Spirit of Adventure over to Launceston, located our rental car which John had arranged for us and took off on our holiday. We had a lovely time investigating all the things there are to do in that area, we saw the Devil, Achidnas [Echidnas], Birds of all sorts, Platypus, Wombats etc. We went cruising on the Bruny Island excursion saw all sorts of historical things early convict history etc. etc. etc. we saw amazing rock formations one called Mt. Wellington, we

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went to Strachan and thence to the National Park where once again we saw many varieties of fauna and flora, we had a really great trip and we all enjoyed it immensely. Home once again to everyday things. The lady I visited had died and so I had another lady to visit I also had a man that I visited, both once a week, these were OK. and helped to pass the time away.

Our next trip was over to Sydney to see Andre Reau [Rieu], Lily and I had a weeks timeshare accommodation booked at Manly and a few days at the RSL’s hotel at Hyde Park, we had lots of fun here tripping thither and yon, John came to see us at Manly and took us out for a meal, we went to the blue mountains [Blue Mountains], and a cruise around the harbour, to the zoo and finally we saw Andre. By this time we were over at Hyde Park and the rail station was across the road so we took off in time to reach our destination in good time and when we arrived at the station the ticket machine wasn’t working, the guy in charge said that’s O.K. just get your ticket at the main station – when we arrived there we were hurried on to the train going out to homebush [Homebush] (I think it was called) and when we got off the train I said to Lily I don’t know whether we will be able to get through here because we haven’t got a ticket, another lady heard what I said and she said have you not got a ticket for the concert and I said Oh yes, but we don’t have a train ticket. You don’t need one she said as long as you have a ticket for the concert, she was right too, so we had a lovely enjoyable evening and headed off back to Sydney when we arrived at out station to disembark it was all locked up and we couldn’t get off the station, fortunately there were one or two others and one of them had a mobile phone and rang someone to let us out, eventually a cleaner came and did that – as I said we usually manage to have an adventure.

So time goes on, I continued with my line-dancing, RSA duties and visiting although by now I had a new visitor because both the man and lady had died. I had a time share week that needed to be used up so Andrew suggested maybe we could go down south for a change, well I managed to get a week at Mt. Hutt, so off we went and we flew to Christchurch then took a hire car through to Mt Hutt. We, or rather Andrew played golf on the famous Terrace Downs course and I drove the buggy, great, there was some beautiful scenery around and the golf was pretty good too – he played two or three other courses and we went sight seeing and altogether had a very refreshing week, then on the last day it started to snow and as we drove back to Christchurch we had some heavy snow to contend with but we got through O.K. another enjoyable experience. This was the second time we had done this, in fact it must have been the third time because we had a week in Taupo and a week also at Turangi, where golf was played and we did quite a bit of sightseeing – really worthwhile.

Lily and I decided our next trip would be to Norfolk Island so preparations began. Things were a little different there, when you booked your motel you also received a rental car included, so one could get around more easily as there was nothing much in the way of local tours or transport. Well we had a lot of fun, the car we were given was a Toyota Starlet, automatic, just like mine at home, so – I was the designated driver, it was quite easy really tripping around the various spots, and visiting the various places where we were taken on a tour, it was very interesting learning how they were trying to be self sufficient, they had no electricity like us, it is all produced by generators. They grow their own coffee beans and are exporting quite a large amount. We went out on a glass bottomed boat to look at the coral and fish in the local waters. The day came when our week was up and the folk from the motel arrived to take us out to the airport to catch our flight home having had a very nice week. (A sideline to the trip, because now-a-days I ask for a wheelchair when travelling, at Norfolk they asked me if I could walk to the plane and it wasn’t far and I said yes, but the hostess said Oh come on, see that forklift, it has just lifted a person on and they are waiting for you so I said O.K. and away I went up on the forklift while Lily was waiting for me inside the plane laughing her head off – fun).

Recently David has not been well as he has contracted cancer, he kept going as long as he could then he retired from school and in the main he was nursed at home, Neroli of course did most of this but eventually it

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became too much for him and he was admitted to the Gisborne hospital where he passed away on the 1st of April 2009, he had a lovely service and a guard of honour from the Girls’ High School which was very nice. So Neroli, like me is on her own but at least I had a lot longer with my darling, which is something I am very thankful for. However she also is very stoic and is keeping a stiff upper lip, I guess Andrew, in one way is a bit unlucky he has both his Mother and his Sister to listen to, but I’m sure he doesn’t mind, bless him.

Now some time later it is not easy to recall things in the correct order. But – I suggested to Lily that we could have a trip to Whangarei and explore that area, she agreed and so, we flew to Whangarei stayed at a motel that was central and had a ball. We found we could use our gold cards on the bus of course and there was a bus stop outside the motel, also when investigating tours etc at the Clock Museum we discovered they didn’t have any but the lady in the Museum said there was a guy who sometimes did do trips for people, would we like her to give him a ring we said yes please, surely, that night the man rang and said he could take us around and his charges were $200.00 a day, we decided that was O.K. and he would call for us at 8am the next day. He did and we had a very comfortable vehicle, he took us to all the sights, the Falls, the Lion Farm, the LookOut and all the other local spots, we would never have got to all the places without him and then he didn’t like to charge us the full fee so he gave us a discount, I think we only paid $150.00. We arranged with him to come another day and take us on the round trip over to Dargaville and all stops in between, this he did and this included a trip to visit the home of Gordon Coates, the little Church and a great Museum there (Matakohe) It was another very interesting day. In between times we used our bus tickets to take us round all the smaller area of Whangarei.

Another trip we had organized was out to the Poor Knights Island, we got ourselves out to Tutukaha where we were to join the boat going over there, well, it transpired we were the only ones going so they decided they would put us on a scuba diving, snorkeling boat instead, what did we know about anything – Off we went across to the Poor Knights. O.K. for those diving etc. but we had nothing to do but watch the snorkellers etc. the Captain of the ship was very good and he told us all about everything and arranged our lunch etc. but it was a bit disappointing, however, nought we could do. While we were languishing in the seclusion of the bay we were in, the weather took a turn for the worse and when we turned to come home there was quite a sea running and the waves started pounding the boat – well poor Lily she was sitting on the side supposedly sheltered but the waves were such that she was drenched very quickly, I wasn’t so bad but I was seasick!! So between us it wasn’t such a good outing, however we always seem to have an adventure of some sort on our travels, we were none the worse for our experience and eventually arrived home in one piece once again having mostly enjoyed our travels.

So back to base and to normal routine. Stella, Alex’s Sister died about this time and Neroli and I flew over to her funeral, we asked John to book us accommodation, this he did he found a motel enroute to Petrie where Karen,Tony and Family live. As he would be away, he arranged for someone to meet us and take us to the motel. Well we arrived, admittedly a little early because we had had a tail wind, but there was nobody there with Wilton or Boardman held up, we were starting to wonder what we would do, when Neroli said it’s O.K. Mum, he is here now, phew – Karen came and picked us up the next day and took us out to their home, where we met with the rest of the rellies! We all gave Stella a good farewell and she is resting in a delightful park like area over there in an area where she first went to live when she went to Oz. After the funeral we went down to stay with John and Kathy for a couple of days until we flew back home.

In between times I have gone to wherever the family are for Christmas, it’s good catching up with them all. Anthony and Nicole produced my first great grandchild a wee boy, Chase David, unfortunately he was a little early and he had a real tough time but he was a regular little fighter, but when he was just 10 months he contracted Meningitis and he couldn’t fight anymore, poor wee man, so that was another family outing to go to Wellington for his funeral, which was a lovely affair all bright baubles and coloured windmills, all the

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things he liked to watch while he was in his cot, I guess he has met up with his two granddads and great grand dad.

During this year also Ray and Karen have produced a lovely wee daughter so I have a little great granddaughter, Milla Jax, she is delightful and Neroli is having a lovely time enjoying her wee granddaughter, it is good to see. As usual time goes on and we do the normal day by day things, Lily and I enjoy going away with Bay Tours on day trips and occasional trips we went up to Coromandel with them this was an excellent trip, well organized and thought out. On the way we called in at “Wingspan” a place out of Rotorua where they train the Falcons for protecting the grapes in the vineyards, that was very interesting, then on up the coast to Whitianga. We visited the Martha Gold Mine, this was absolutely fantastic, and all those people that try to stop their work need to have their heads read. O.K. in the early days mining did a lot of damage to the country side but nowadays with all the new regulations, the results are fantastic. They have turned one area where they have finished mining into a dairy farm which is very efficient, the area where they are currently working is due, when they have finished, to be turned into a water park for anyone & everyone to enjoy, they have created water areas for birds to return to and the whole project is just great. And after all the country needs the money to support it!. We also visited a butterfly and orchid farm, a water works,(which Alex would have loved) everything in it was run by water, everything, they even had a flying fox, all most enjoyable and very different. We also visited a donkey farm where I had the misfortune to take a tumble and my goodness no one will let me forget it! Least of all Lily. On the way [we] home we visited a blueberry farm at Te Puke which was also very different. They really do their homework in arranging these different tours.

We had another enjoyable day trip over to Waihi falls out of Dannevirke, horseshoe lake in the same area, sort of out of Weber, then we ended up at the Pub in Poangahau [Porangahau] for lunch. Interesting, the old shop has been painted blue, the post office has gone and the dairy has an array of postboxes outside. A granddaughter of Courtney McLean runs the hotel these days, and one of the Maori hanging around (as usual) asked me what I was looking at when I went outside to look around and when I said we used to live there at the dairy he said when, when I told him he whistled up another guy and it turned out he was a son of the Maori Vicar of our time, I can’t remember his name but he remembered Alex and the Scouts. Another trip we went on took us out to Herbertville for Lunch at the old pub there, funnily enough that was somewhere else where I had never been though we lived in the area, never too old to travel!. I have quite a collection of photos of these trips but the book would be enormous if I continued putting them in here.

The most recent trip was over to New Plymouth, we had lunch in Taupo, and whilst I was sitting eating my lunch in a café, who should come in but Queenie and Snow Cockerill [Cottrell], (they were on their way home from Auckland, they had actually moved up there a month or so earlier, they had gone up to Graeme’s for a holiday and whilst they were up there had seen an apartment in a Summerset village up there and had decided to move this they did but were not happy there and decided to return to Hastings where all sorts of things were happening in my life, however, back to the trip. We arrived at the Chateau early and they were not ready for us so they took us up to the top of the Bruce, well, it was snowing sort of lightly and the place was a hive of industry. People of all shapes and sizes roaming around with skis and what looked like plastic saucers (big ones) and snow boards it was absolutely seething with people, we roamed around taking it all in before getting back on the bus and going back down to the Chateau where we were given our room numbers etc. We had our meal that night in the Ruapehu room very posh as my old lady would say (my present lady I visit for AVS). Well the meal was a disaster and took 3 and a half hours to complete, no kidding. Fortunately breakfast was much better and we continued our journey to Taumarunui where we had morning tea then we took the Forgotten Highway through to Stratford, this was very interesting and once again somewhere I had not been. We arrived at Whangamomona where we had a most enjoyable lunch and a roam around before continuing on our journey to New Plymouth. We arrived there where the sun was still shining on Mt.

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Egmont, it lifted its snow covered cone to the blue blue sky very pretty! We enjoyed our visit there and a trip up the coast and then we had lunch at Jin [Jim] Hickeys Espresso coffee bar out at the airport, this was very interesting as there were all sorts of memorobilia [memorabilia] about the 1914-18 ww1 [WW1] aircraft, one of which Dad would have flown. After a couple of days exploring around we continued on to Wanganui [Whanganui] where we also had 2 days to browse. This included the The Tawhiti Museum and Bushy Park. I loved then [them] both, both of course totally different, but I loved every minute of that visit. Once again we had an adventure but this time it was a food one, after the disaster at the Chateau we didn’t expect another one, well, Lily did, she had ordered a plain omelette, when it was delivered it was full of all sorts, peas, onions, etc. etc. which of course she couldn’t eat so the rest of us at the table consumed while the waitress returned to the kitchen for a PLAIN omelette, this arrived in due course, I noticed Lily was not eating it and when I asked what was wrong she said it isn’t cooked and sure enough there was raw white of an egg on her plate – so that didn’t get eaten either, so we said our adventure this trip had been a food adventure, we arrived home over the Gentle Annie, another satisfactory trip completed.

BUT just prior to this things had been happening on the home front, I had been looking around the Summerset villages locally and I quite liked the Hastings one called Summerset in the Orchard, but I didn’t think I could afford to buy there. I had discussed it with Andrew and he came down and took me up to Taupo ikanui [Ika Nui] for a week and on our return he said lets go and have a look at this place. He had quite a talk with the sales manager and as a result of this we were offered a one bedroom unit with a study for $195,000, the unit was originally sold at a promotion weekend for that price instead of $235,000, the unit was bought but for whatever reason the sale didn’t take place, and he said we were only going to get $195,000 for it so you can have it for that amount. Andrew said right put a deposit on it and we will see what happens. Put your flat on the market and see what happens you don’t have to shift, but it will sort of test the waters as it were. The Apartment I was looking at was $185,000 and it didn’t have a study, so, I rang the land agent and said he could have my unit to sell but, if it didn’t sell in 3 months that was it, I wasn’t going to sell, he said O.K.

This was on a Monday, he rang me on Thursday and asked me if I was sitting down because he had sold my flat. Well, I was absolutely in a state of shock, I had things on, Lily and I were going down to Blenheim for a week to celebrate Milla’s 1st birthday and to have a look around that area, this was May 15th and Andrew was coming down Queens Birthday week-end to shift me!! I can tell you it was a phew!. However, moneywise I still did not have enough to buy this unit, and Andrew said ask your Kids for some money and I said no way you have your own lives to live and I don’t have to move, but, he went home to Gisborne and talked to Neroli and she contacted John and the end result was they each loaned me $10,000 to make the move possible, so I owe them in more ways than one, however, maybe, they won’t have to wait too long before they receive their money back, who knows anyway it is very nice here and I am very comfortable, thankyou to all of you.

Now to back track a little, Lily and I flew down to Blenheim where Karen and Milla and Neroli met us and took us to our motel and left us to settle in and Ray would come and collect us later and take us out to their home for tea. What a character that little lady is, she poses for the camera at one, what will she be like when she is 18? She would be playing on the floor and as soon as she saw the camera she would sit up face the camera and smile??? She is lovely. We shared Milla’s Birthday with her and a number of her little friends and their parents, it was lovely and very interesting watching how the parents re-acted with their children, we both enjoyed the experience very much. We also enjoyed roaming around Blenheim via their buses and exploring the Sounds on a mail boat. We had a lovely week and got to know my wee granddaughter a little more, which was good, then we flew home to Hastings and I had to get stuck in to packing!!

This I did, it was another phew, for I had to downsize considerably, The Salvation Army received most of my unwanted things, George was allowed to clean out the garage, some things went to Family members and I retained the rest. I went shopping at the warehouse [The Warehouse] and bought me a chair and a sofa bed for the lounge, then I bought a bookcase to store things on in the lounge. On the morning of the shift Rajs Husband, Gopi, arrived

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with his Brother in Laws truck and the shift was on, they were very good and everything was soon in place and Andrew and I slept in the new home on the Saturday night, and the new life had begun.

Well, I settled in really well and I am very happy here and life continues to be interesting. The Village is growing all the time as new homes are finished and new folk move in and different hobbies and interests are started. Our new Village Centre opened in July and it offers all sorts of possibilities, we have a café there which serves very nice meals for $8/50c and one could not buy the ingredients, cook, serve and clean up for that price, so – I don’t cook but eat over at the café when I am home. I still go to the RSA if I am in town but as things grow around here I am less likely to go to town. We play Golf Croquet twice a week, this is interesting and quite a number of us participate and we now have two rinks measured out to play on. We had a small chorus of residents who entertained the other resident [residents] at the opening of the village centre and then went out and entertained the folk at Summerset in the vines [Vines] at Havelock North. We have an excellent library equipped with a computer etc. open to all residents. A Hairdresser, (I still go to my own) a gym (I haven’t ventured there) and any help we need at any time. We also have a spa pool (I haven’t ventured there yet either.)

Neroli and I travelled over to Oz for John’s 60th birthday and enjoyed meeting up with the Family. I have continued to go on trips with Bay Tours, the most recent one was 5 days called the iron horse [Iron Horse]. This was because we travelled on the train from Palmerston to Hamilton where we stayed the first night, then next day we went to Waiuku to the Glenfield [Glenbrook] steel mill, this was extremely interesting, we then went to Auckland crossed over to the north shore [North Shore] and stayed a couple of nights there, from where we visited the island sanctuary of Tiritiri Matengi [Matangi], this was absolutely fabulous, and followed by a trip to a Horse stud at Matamata, very illuminating then home through Taupo and visited the Waiarakei [Wairakei] Terraces a man made structure that is worth another visit, all together a great trip. Unfortunately made on my own as Lily was unable to travel owing to her cancer, however she continues to improve and we hope she will be able to come to Oz in October for Shannon’s wedding.

Now another year or two has passed and I had better catch up, I still love living at Summerset and the folk around are very friendly – mostly – I had a fall out in my garden and opened up a rather large gash in my leg which took some time to heal but eventually 3 months? Later – I am lucky it has all healed very well but has certainly left quite a hole in my leg, never mind I can still walk OK on it and life goes on. I went up to Gisborne for Christmas and met up with some of the Family it was good then Andrew brought me home and he stayed a few days and worked on my garden for me making it all nice and tidy. I continue to take lots of photos so I can use some of them in my calendars for the Family for Christmas I get a lot of pleasure out of making them together with all sorts of greeting cards, I’m getting quite a name for my lovely cards.

I have been on several day trips with Bay Tours, they have very interesting “in our own back yard” and they turn up some interesting people. One man has a camera museum out haumoana [Haumoana] way and he has 3 thousand cameras there, both old and modern and I am going to take Alex’s camera out to him one of these days, he has old xray equipment, he also has a lot of aerial mapping photos and equipment – really interesting. We

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also have wine-tasting club at Summerset and we have most informative speakers from the various winery’s in to tell us all about their grapes and their vineyard, I enjoy them and we have gone out as a group from Summerset and had lunch at some winery’s which has been most enjoyable, We do the occasional trip from here in our bus To things that are on. Shows etc. all good. I also started attending the Hawkes Bay Chimers group where we play chimes, there are about 15 people involved, I saw an advertisement in the paper wanting new members so I rang them up and said I would like to join but I maybe too old as I am 87 and the guy said come and join us you won’t be the oldest, so I did and I enjoy it very much, we practice every Monday morning and occasionally play for other groups or organizations. I continue to serve on the Committee of the Women’s section RSA I have actually taken on the Presidency of the Women’s Section. This entails abit [a bit] more organizing but I like that anyway, we’ll see how it goes. I have travelled to Rotorua and Tauranga to the Annual meetings of e opmen’s [the Women’s] Section RSA and these are indeed informative. I continue to volunteer for the Police at the Kiosk as Alex did and I do that every other Monday afternoon. A group of us go from Summerset to attend the Operatunity concerts also four of us travel over to the municipal [theatre] in Napier to attend the NZ Symphony orchestra tickets, for which, are available to us for $25!.

Vicky the events co-ordinator asked me to be one of the guest speakers at the Anzac Service at the Centre, the theme was growing up in the war years, there were four of us who spoke of our lives during those years, this too was interesting.

I went with Bay Tours out to Clifton and we had a beautiful meal there and were shown around the resort and golf course, I wouldn’t care to play there, thankyou. Beautiful views though.

Lily and I travelled over to Oz and had two weeks in Colandra at a timeshare and we had a ball, went up to Hersey Bay and saw the whales, unbelievable, did all the touristy things, John, Kathy & Courtney came up and saw us while we were there that was nice, then we were home again and back into work?

Then we had another trip to the Gold Coast for the wedding of Shannon and Ben, this was a lovely scene at a vineyard in one of their national parks, there again we did all the touristy things and really enjoyed ourselves.

Cath, Lily & I went to Rotorua for a week and had a thoroughly good time, rode on a little digitized trolley, ”for want of a better word”, these were professionally made vehicles that travel on the railway line on a strip of unused rail and show one the countryside that one doesn’t see when travelling on the road, these were some of the things we did.

Then Cath & I went on a journey with Bay Tours to Molesworth Station in the South Island. A massive place one of the biggest stations in the country and what a wonderful vista of countryside to view there, we literally went from one side of the country to the other and the majesty of the place was awesome.

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My newest little great grandson Jake, this was my first sighting of him, Katie brought him down to see me as we passed through Wellington on our Journey to Molesworth.

Our next trip was to Whangamomona to travel on the motorized golf carts between Whangamomona and Okahukura, these golf carts, adapted to travel on the railway lines of a disused portion of the rail between Stratford and Taumarunui, what fun. It is called Forgotten World Adventures and has opened up a lot of land in between these places, Our route covered 90 kilometres and we went through 20 tunnels one of them the third longest in the Southern Hemisphere. We stopped at Tahora for lunch, the locals had prepared food for us they also had a stall where they sold handmade goods including craft, jams etc. We had another stop at Tokorima for afternoon tea, also supplied by the locals. This was an intrigueing [intriguing], interesting and thoroughly enjoyable experience.

[Photo caption] – The Majesty of Molesworth.

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[Photo captions] – some views of the Centre and some of my friends and Friends [Family] at my 90th birthday.

My two oldest Great Grandchildren Milla and Blade I think is a particularly good photo just look at the expressions I wonder what they are thinking? The Family group is a good photo too, all the photos are good

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really. At home on my actual birthday.

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Abbreviations –
C.O. – Commanding Officer
O.E. – Overseas Experience
RSA – Returned Services Association
RSL – Returned & Services League
S.A.C. – State Advanced Corporation
W.A.A.C – Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps

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