"I took myself to Tony's on Wellesley St"
The only thing I miss about Auckland. A 6pm eye fillet with bacon and mushrooms at Tony's. Surrounded by fries and seasonal veges. Only one bad meal in 2 decades.
In the end, it's the little things.
Know what you mean. Jumping on Guardian's website (I'm in London) Ed Hillary was its leading story. He's had a great run but you still feel a pang that you can't quite place. No doubt NZ media will go Ed-barmy for a while.
Oh, and BTW, Graham not sure if you've come across it, but your post was reminiscent of Ian McEwan's novel 'Saturday'. Well there you go.
A touching and elegant piece of writing, Graham. Like others I suspect, I have already come a little jaundiced by the excessive print media coverage of Ed Hillary's death but, nevertheless, there is a sense that one important touchstone in New Zealand life has gone--mitigated by the personal realisation that if he lived to 88, I might well have a few more decades to enjoy!
Compelling reading, cheers Graham.
Thank you for the elegant references to Mission Bay.
In the late 40's early 50's, my Dad lived there, right on the beach in the Bath House, where he had a single room.
He was responsible for keeping the reserve clean, he was allowed to rent out Canoes and Deck-chairs in the summer.
In the off season, he would take his dinghy out into the Rangototo channel, bring home his catch of Snapper, which he would clean and sell, right there on the beach.
Locals would keep an eye out for his boat, and be waiting for his bounty.
In my School holidays, I was detailed to bring in the canoes once their time was up - in a prevailing south-westerly breeze, sometimes from well out into the channel.
Lifejackets ? - are you kidding ?
simple, (probably dangerous), but oh such lovely days..
What an elegant and enjoyable piece of writing even though it included comments on the the death of two people , r interesting Thank you.
Just a couple of quick comments from me, as the author humbled by your responses:
Andrew! You can get a novel out of siuch things? I could distill it to a haiku but not embellish it to a book. So that's where the real money is, huh?
Colin! Your Dad was . . . Jim? I think that is what his name was, a rangy, wiry and well-muscled man whom my Dad and I often used to meet by what we used to call the changing sheds. If that is him my Dad and he were great mates and I remember to this very day my Dad's admiration for him and how he used to row -- in whatever weather and in whatever seas -- out there and fish. (We fished somewhat closer to the shore!). Let me know if I'm on the right track.
And to the others who have written: my sincere thanks. Your appreciation is much appreciated.
By the way: today it was lovely at Okahu at lunchtime -- although rather too many mothers with their kids because dad was back at work. But what a joy that we can swim at a beach just minutes away from central Auckland.
We are lucky people -- if not the chosen race!
Lucky indeed mate.
You evoked beautifully a feeling I am just finding my way out of after an idyllic six week stretch back in NZ. I think the writer Jim Harrison calls it 'returning to earth'.
Six weeks entirely dedicated to my immediate family (thus no beer/tasty red with Graham and Megan, sorry mates) that had as a large and poignant full stop the death of Sir Ed. I brought back a copy of every weekend paper I could get my hands on and am reading them slowly as befits the event I think.
Auckland was its usual sparkling self and the pleasure of darting about the Waitakare ranges was made even more intense by watching our kids get a taste for our lucky NZ life.
They had a great time screaming through the backyard scrub at my sisters Laingholm house without the usual cougar/bear fear we have back here. We managed to spend five perfect days with all our old and closest friends at 'nobbies cottage' at Tawharanui. (Thanks ARC! - heads up everyone, you can rent the place!)
They say you cant go back to the good old days but we pulled it off in fine fashion.
Thanks for that piece Graham.
(Also glad to hear I can get my hands on another travel book soon. It will get pride of place alongside the dog eared and popular copy of 'Postcards' you left with us that our guests allways seem to find themselves reading.)
Nice piece Graham
On the subject more or less
Find myself reading the obits more and more these days
Over Christmas Hugh Massingberd, Obits editor of the Telegraph died. He is the chap credited with putting the laughter back in the obit.
His own obit in the telegraph is excellent
On the subject of iconic people breathing their last, sadly....Hone Tuwhare, whom I adored. Lovely, lovely writer.
And about beaches, and the joy of them, a group of us took our dogs, and ourselves, to Long Bay for a play. It was serene, and the beach is so big that there was plenty of room for all the dogs and people that were there. Kite flying, dog walking, swimmers of all ages, the lovely sky, the warm water,old people just sitting and watching the goings on, young foreigners playing their flutes, and the sun setting pink and orange. I had forgotten how good Auckland beaches are.
I am squeeing embarrassingly at les chiennes, Jackie... look at them! All intent on the stick-fetching and the truckin' around on the sand! Awwww! (I took my two to Anawhata early one morning just before New Year. They were absolutely thrilled. Auckland is great: I can drive for 30 minutes and be on a completely deserted, stunning beach, not bugging anyone.)
Kite flying, dog walking, swimmers of all ages, the lovely sky, the warm water,old people just sitting and watching the goings on ...
For our last swim on Waiheke, we decided we'd had enough of surf and boogie-boarding (there was an excellent swell for a couple of days) and chose Enclosure Bay instead.
We arrived at high tide to find the little bay like a millpond, and occupied solely by old folks, either sitting on the shore or quietly paddling about in the water. It was so serene we all sensed we should keep our voices down. Very lovely.
... and for our last swim at Whiritoa (base of the Coromandel), we knew from the roar down the path all night before the long drive home that the surf would be too big. I like the fickle sea.
On the subject of iconic people breathing their last, sadly....Hone Tuwhare, whom I adored. Lovely, lovely writer
I loved watching him read some of "Rain" tonight on TV3 news.
Thank you. Beach swimming in NZ is such a special experience and you shared that joy around.
I should have been working but read this story instead. Procrastinating couldn't have been more wonderful or inspiring.
Thank you so much for the magic!
Then Megan sent a text to ask if I knew Sir Ed had died.
What a very strange week it was. I sailed to Rakino on my twenty foot boat. I went squid fishing there. I sailed non stop across the gulf, sighting all sort of interesting natural wonders. I slid along the western coast of Great Barrier during the night, under plywood wind vane steering. After clearing the Moko Hinau group, the subtropical cyclonic weather arrived (unexpectedly)
The Rescue helicopter was the beginning of my boat's awol. It behaved like a bucking, biting horse. It sailed fifty miles along a rugged lee shore. it beached itself smack bang in the middle of a sociological disaster on soft sand, to have it's inventory secured by happy campers. it survived an arson attack, from unhappy campers the following night.
But thats not all. The SS Vitamin sea payed tribute over land. It's triple axle trailer sheared all the wheel studs on the front left wheel. on loosing the wheel the next wheel back blow. leaving the entire rig dragging along the desert road. Just when I thought thing couldn't get any more surreal two territories' emerged out of there war game machine gun nest to give good and successful advise. I sat in my rugged boats cockpit and looked at the mountains. I thought about Sir Ed.
I'm back home from my summer holiday, My boat's on a cradle at the Evens bay boat club, New Zealand rocks and rolls.
Oh Steve - not quite how we want our holidays to go. Still, you're in one piece, and here to tell the story. And that's the main thing.
Far out Steve. I will never ever complain about my summer holiday being stink again.
Thanks for a touching piece of writing about a day in the life of Auckland and of an Aucklander. It was especially poignant for those of us who are sons and fathers.
I was taken by the uneasy mix of Auckland's natural beauty, which we often take for granted, and the sadness of two deaths.
Each of those beaches along Tamaki Drive has its own flavour and I noticed the last time I was there how many new migrant families learn of, and enjoy, them.
Steven- that's the wildest holiday story of the season. You've certainly been through the mill! And remarkable luck with Vitamin Sea.
It reminded me of the story of one of the yachts in the (infamous) Tonga race (I think that's what it was). The couple were rescued by a French naval vessel after several 360s, and managed to convince the skipper not to sink her. And the boat turned up on some island in Fiji, I think, ashore on the sands in remarkably good condition.
At any rate: wheew! 50 knots (gusting to who knows?) is a biiiig wind for a 6 metre boat...
It was a sobering experience. The army doods and there machine gun nest was unusual. It was pretty weird sitting in the boats cockpit out in the middle of the desert road, I was still feeling a bit shell shocked.
I'm all good now. I'm writing the short story.