Birth Certificate

Uncle was born to a spinster mother
during WWI in a town far from her
home. A friend there supported her
during her stay then she moved to
the big city to work. Ten years
later she took him back to her
family home briefly, that was all
he ever knew of them. All her life
she was vague about his father.

In his fifties after she died Uncle’s
employers wanted him to visit Fiji
so he sought a passport. The main
government office had no birth
recorded for his names and dates,
none in his mother’s home town.

After long processes with school
records and WWII Army service the
government office confirmed a date
of birth, issued a certificate, his father
stated “unknown”. He obtained his
passport, now travelled for work.

Years after Uncle’s death grand
daughter took a DNA test, sent it
away, contacted resulting links in
New Zealand and Australia.
With their help Uncle’s father was
found, a married man living with
wife and children near his mother’s
family home in her home town.

A photo in newspaper archives
showed a man looking like Uncle
killed long ago in WWI.

Hi family are glad at the answers
sad that he never knew his father.

Birth Certificate

Holiday Road Trip

On Easter Friday the family
set out to stay with cousin
living several hours south.
After the boys complained at
it taking longer than usual
Dad stopped in at a service
station for coca colas to
lighten the mood in the car.

As they waited to turn back on
to the main road a huge truck
roared past. The boys complained.
Dad turned out on to the road
behind it … Slow !  … Boredom !

They followed the truck in slow
holiday traffic till stopped by
road works !  The truck passed
through the family were stopped
while traffic went past in
the opposite direction.

At last the “GO” sign allowed
them to carry on down the highway
till they saw their truck on a
crazy angle smashed into a car
smashed into a truck coming
from the opposite direction.

They pulled over and stared.
Following traffic slowed down
gradually all turned, drove back
the way they had come, heading
for the long route round to the south.

Holiday Road Trip

Repairing The Road

Miles of coastal road lay
deep under the earthquake’s
vast landslides at the foot
of steep slopes and cliffs.

Abseilers dislodged loose scree
along the uppermost ridges
secured these rocky faces.

Heavy machines at perilous
angles shifted boulders, loose
earth, packed soil dumped
boulders at the water’s edge.

Road workers built the road
surfaced up to the concrete
barriers above the rocks
at the edge of lapping waves.

In front of the concrete barriers
on rocks and water’s edge
wildlife workers with staves
and boards held at bay furious
bull seals guarding territory
for females and pups. They had
returned just after the earthquake’s
booming roars ended.

Thirteen months later to the day
after the earthquake ended the
coastal road opened to human
traffic while the seals enjoyed
rock and sea beond
their concrete barrier.

Repairing The Road

Wash Day

My retirement activity fills
my life I plan for friends
relaxation and writing.
Yet my washing machine
had a computer meltdown.

I hauled sodden washing
into the tub rang the repair
man then waited … waited.

Eventually he came, replaced
the computer unit, my wash
cycle completed, my washing
was pegged on the line … Phew !

Yet there crept into my mind
thoughts of great grandmother
130 years ago newly come
from a distant land with
husband, five children.

Her husband after a very liquid
lunch fell from a great height
to his death leaving her to
raise them on her own.

The welfare scheme of the little
colonial town gifted her a
mangle to take in laundry
feed herself and her children.
Daily she filled and boiled the
copper, washed clothes, wrung
and hung them out, ironed them,
returned them to their owners.

I should be thankful
for what I have.

Wash Day


Steeling myself I face
dust hair crumbs paper scraps
comfortably settled on the carpet
of this flat so cosily small
until I vacuum it.

Cleaning off open surfaces
I move all furniture sucking
up loose fluff until all is
done …… until next time.

My mother cleaned carpet
in the early fifties for three
young children and two parents
with a manual carpet sweeper
pushing to and fro as its inner
brushes gathered up crumbs
hair dust, though not thoroughly.
My modern electric vacuum
cleaner does its job fully.

Less fortunate womenearlier
on pushed back furniture
lifted loose carpet off the
floor hung it over the clothes
line, beat it amidst dusty
hairy crumbly clouds … Cough !



My very modern digital
kitchen whizz blender
efficiently beats mixes blends
pulverises foods of varying
textures thicknesses stodginesses.
But first I must assemble all
its inner parts before adding
the ingredients. Next its lid
must be locked on just so, the
combined parts in its jug
connected to the motor unit
just so or it refuses to operate.
Once the ingredients have
been duly combined I must
persuade the blender to
unlock and release its lid.

I have already done my time
of whipping stiff mixtures
with an egg beater until
my arm is sore and aching,
of beating with a whisk
until my arm felt like lead.

Battling with the blender
still takes less time, my
arm retains its strength.



Nana’s generation, her children
their children, with friends of
different ages gather for
this day of celebration.

All chat over pre lunch drinks
while milling around sunny
living room deck and lawn
as children race in and
out through the crowd.

All have contributed to the
prolific banquet now consumed
at length pausing a while to
digest before starting again
on dessert, then on to luscious
sumptuous birthday cake.

So now a pleasant time of
sitting, lazing, digesting
that magnificent feast in
cheerful Autumn sun
while guitarist and flautist
entertain us with lively
traditional folk music.



Children’s Reunion

Family gather for Nana’s big
birthday potluck lunch on a
sunny Autumn Sunday.
A free flowing cornucopia
of plates, bowls of food
arrives on the kitchen table.

Nana’s grand children from
round the country meet after
a long separation. The five
older ones play school yard tag
hide and seek with loud shrieks
and yells round talking adults
in the living room on the deck
round the garden through
fruit trees feet thudding at
high speed back inside
through  bedrooms on through
the kitchen from which
they are promptly ejected.

The four year old can’t keep up
no one will play little cars
with him they are running
so fast they scare him.
His Dad plays little cars in a
quiet corner with him, the
four year old clams down.

Little brother’s sturdy two
year old legs run valiantly
to keep up but fail. Mum
and Nana in the kitchen
talk to him as they lay out
the food. He brightens up.
Lunch will be soon.


Children’s Reunion

Birthday Feast

At Nana’s home family
gathered for her very significant
birthday on a sunny day with
some of her friends they brought
generous offerings for a tasty
home made potluck lunch.

Roast chicken and vegetables
falafel balls salad and bread
with so much more went on to
our plates then we sat on the
deck and its steps to enjoy
this feast. Little brother sat
with Dad who helped him
with this birthday lunch.

Next came fruit, ice cream in
different flavours with home
made muffins holding chocolate
chips and blueberries.

Finally the glorious masterpiece
the lemon birthday cake all
covered in flowery swirls
of purple icing, Nana’s
very favourite colour.

All enjoyed in cheerful company
of family and friends in the sun.


Birthday Feast

Little Brick House

On our quiet suburban street
a quiet little brick house
has stood for over fifty years
up the grassy slope from the
footpath its neat low brick
wall topped with little rose
bushes and colourful perennials
lovingly tended by the elderly
owner as she weeded pruned
under the graceful branches
of bottlebrush and kowhai tree.

Tradesmen’s vans came and
went saws and drills screamed
and screeched, hammers banged.
House and garden walls were
plastered rendered, painted,
gardens dug up, concrete
laid down over newly
installed cables for power
and telecommunications.

She would no longer recognise
her home of many years.

Little Brick House