After many days in cramped
quarters on board the little ship
the family longed to disembark
stand on rock solid land.
Until they took in the sight of
their new land on a grey July
winter’s day in the gloom of
heavy rain shrouding a sandy
beach under tall dark evergreen
trees backed by grassy flat
land where large tents would
be pitched – in the rain – where
the new migrants would camp
with their possessions while
claiming their new “farm” land.
Brown skinned descendants of
earlier migrants helped them on
to the beach from the boat that
rowed them ashore. Two teenage
sisters broke their stunned silence
in floods of tears. “Oh Mam, we
want to gang awa’ to Sydney !”
Too late. They were on an
Auckland beach in 1842.
“Ah ! Hauld yer whisht !”
replied their much tried mother.
With two weeks to the end of
the school year the five and
six year olds walked along the
main road in their class lines
to the church hall to practise
for the school concert.
At the hall they ate their morning
snacks, went inside, took off their
jackets, sat down to watch each
other rehearse. When finished
they put on their jackets, walked
back to school in class lines.
With a mighty deluge the skies
opened half way back to school.
Back at school where they were
expected very soon there was a
rush to the car park. Principal
administrator, teacher aides
parent helpers, drove down the
road to collect the five and
six year olds out of the rain
drive then back to school.
Next day one parent complained
that none of the cars had seat
belts in the back seats. What to do ?
Keep young children safe or dry ?
Brand new changes were starting
in schools twenty five years ago.
Peaceful cows grazed in their
sunny paddock after yesterday’s
stormy gales. Over the fence
school children ran around their
playing field enjoying wide
open spaces and sunshine.
With thunderous engine a large
truck arrived at the groundsman’s
request, with its cherry picker
platform to remove high boughs
dangling from narrow bark and
wooden strips after yestereday’s
gale force winds. They raised their
mobile platform with two men
on it, revving chainsaws. They
dropped boughs to the ground.
Children came running to this
fascinating sight to gawp and stare,
chatter and point as groundsmen
and teachers steered them away
from heavy boughs and chainsaws.
The cows too had rushed to
the fence to gawp and stare
at the workmen but were
left to stand at the fence.
The black and white cat though
quite burly, well nourished,
started dinner watch when the
girls sat down to afternoon tea.
Cat dinner at people dinner time
started after he arrived with the
long departed tabby hunter who led
the assault on dining children
followed by her kitten friend.
Feeding cats at family dinner time
suited Mum so it was continued.
The black and white cat remained
optimistic often appearing as the
girls sat down for afternoon tea
after school. From the chairs round
the dining table he could see
through the kitchen to his empty
bowls on the laundry floor.
In winter he preferred chairs
warmed up by humans as the girls
sat turn by turn with Aunty Jo
with their homework. He quickly
jumped on to vacated chairs to be
squeezed out when a human
occupied the chair again.
But dinner would always finally
arrive for this opportunist optimist.
Mum says two year olds need
a daytime sleep daily. Little
brother objects to this. So
much is going on outside his
room he wants to be there for it
all. How can they leave him out ?
The gate catch rattles, a car
drives in – Dad ? – Please !
He wants to see Dad. No.
That’s not Dad’s voice.
An unknown voice talks to
Mum. The car drives away.
Mum is busy in the kitchen.
Little brother calls to her,
talks from behind his closed
door. She leaves him there,
hoping he will give up, sleep.
Grandpa is more persuadable
but he keeps to his instructions.
Put little brother in his cot,
close the door. Little brother
talks loudly through the closed
door, calls excitedly when
Mum at last comes home.
When he keeps talking from
behind his closed door Mum
usually comes and gets him
from his cot thirty minutes later.
Along the driveway little brother
rapturously explores its wonderful
world step by step with Aunty Jo
as they walk along to the road
to fetch the giant recycling bin.
He stops to pick a camellia
flower, stares at it, twirls it
in his fingers, gives it to Aunty Jo.
Pointed ivy leaves, crawling along
the ground, tall torn canna lily
leaves flapping in the wind, tall
fluffy grassy seed heads, violets
tall above their thickly clustered
leaves which he points at in
delighted crowing appreciation.
All draw his joyful attention.
Strangely shaped tiny stones of
the scattered gravel on the concrete
fascinate him, he gives them to her.
After checking the letter box
he goes on to the roadside with
Aunty Jo to bring in that huge
bin standing so tall on its wheels.
Our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had a baby girl four hours ago, 4.45 pm local time, 5.45 am UK time; 12.45 USA EDT. Yay !! She and her partner messaged a photo on Instagram 1 1/2 hours later. Congratulations to all of them.