Here we are again – another Christmas. My word, time does fly when you are having fun!
This is my usual look back over the year gone which is proving to be a difficult task, particularly separating 2015 from 2016. Events impacting on our lives do not adhere strictly to the calendar year, but hey, what does that matter.
Family is well. We have no additions to report this year, only that the existing continue to grow in body and spirit – the latter particularly.
Robyn continues to fight the battle to offer a top class bar and restaurant service at The Tote in Trentham, ably assisted by daughter Rebecca and son Daniel over University breaks. Dan has moved to Tauranga where he will continue his electrical engineering studies at the local Polytechnic and has joined his partner, the delightful Amy. Mya, Rebecca and Clayton’s daughter, describes herself now as a “big girl” having graduated from Day Care to Kindy. Jude and I have the pleasure of “sitting” Mya when required to allow Rebecca to attend to her duties at the The Tote. Any education resulting from this is with us, not as one would expect from the junior. Husband Steve, outside of his job maintaining signage for the local Real Estate Agent, continues as a “hunter and gatherer” providing family and friends with venison products, paua, whitebait and wild pork.
David is living the good life with his partner Pauline and her daughter Sarah and son Mitchell on a life style block at Grass Tree Beach just south of Mackay in Queensland, Australia. When I say “good life” I really do mean it in the proper sense. Today, Christmas, he will be fishing in his tinny and the menu for Dinner is local seafood. As I salivate here I am planning a visit early in the New Year.
Wade’s boys Alex and Owen are now on a regular visiting schedule and receiving photo updates has brought our relationship with these great grand children closer to what we would love to enjoy. His daughter Aleigh-Parker is now 18 months and her photos show evidence of a bright and happy young lady.
Grace has just moved to Palmerston North and will continue her College studies there at a new school in the New Year. Jude and I look forward to a visit over the vacation period.
James, now with an apprenticeship in construction, is establishing a sound family base for partner Kerrie and their 2 boys, Robert and Oliver. James is a regular caller and fills the maintenance gaps around here as we slow up a little in that area.
As to the boss herself, she continues to labour away in her garden and has a rather full calendar lunching with friends, visiting her Age Concern “client” Barbara and showing care for the 6.30 Club (now over 30 years old) elderly ladies. We have just had a most vibrant Spring and the garden is as good as I have seen it. Jude deserves a gold medal for her service to the garden.
You may recall that last year, at the time of writing, my Rowing was in abeyance. due to some supposed degeneration of the spine. On the basis that my challenge was degenerative and affecting the spine I was referred to an Neurologist – a really nice guy who was puzzled that symptoms of the damage were showing up in the wrong arm. Worked out that what the X-ray had found was an old Rugby injury which had been corrected by some physiotherapy many moons ago. So it was back to more X-rays and scans which shifted the target to my right shoulder and severely torn tendons and a condition called Bursitis. I was then shot off to an Orthopaedic Surgeon who injected the shoulder, but seemingly to no avail. About this time we travelled to Queensland for our period of hibernation, still in pain but firmly resolved not to let it get the better of me. Out early every morning for a 90 minutes power walk followed by some time under a hot shower concentrating on the shoulder – result after 14 months of no Rowing and very little Bowls – all fixed! Please excuse this war story – makes me sound like my old Mum who was known in the family for her “enjoyment of ill-health”. When the weather comes right I shall be back on the water.
Suffice to say, my activities on the Sunshine Coast this year were somewhat constrained. However there were highlights, especially the company of fellow Kiwi Brent O’Keefe and Suzanne Davies to watch the Rugby without the annoyance of Ocker mentality and over acted patriotism. We arrived home in time for the Rio Olympics with the choice of 10 TV channels and relatively non-partisan commentaries. “Go Kiwi”!
Rowing played a large part in my year with the 150th Anniversary of the Star Boating Club – the third oldest living sports club in the Country. We had a wonderful weekend of eating, drinking, telling lies about the past, etc and capped off with an Eights race for Super Gold Card carriers.
Family history still takes up a big part of my time and the return on investment continues to give a high level of fulfilment and satisfaction.
The big projects this year were a revision of the Crumpler Family genealogy and related to my first positive DNA connection more on the Berry Family. The latter prompted me into seeking some clarity to the “merry” (please excuse the pun) chase Christopher Christmas Berry has led his descendants about his true name. The conclusion is that our blood line follows from his birth name John Christmas Underwood with “Berry” blood commencing with him and his descendants, the first of which was Christopher Newdick, the subject of my DNA link. For more please see this blog.
5 August 2016 at the Mooloolaba Surf Club was another big day for me. We met up with new-found cousins from West Australia – Georgie Vine, daughter, Alexia Weskin Fox and her little daughter Naiyah, and established ongoing contact through the social media. Hopefully I will be able to arrange a visit to WA to catch up with my new-found cousins on their patch.
Our world changed a little with the 7.8 magnitude earthquake which struck our part of the country a few minutes after midnight on 14 November. I haven’t bounced around in bed so much for a long, long time! Although the epicentre was quite some distance away in the South Island, the Wellington area suffered quite badly with a significant number of high-rise buildings requiring replacement or structural repair. This has caused a great deal of disruption to transport and business with completion of the re-development programme some years away. At home our Grandmother clock took a dive requiring repair but we were fortunate to get away so lightly. We had a German honeymoon couple as guests that night. This really gave them something to remember. The real blessing was that the quake struck in the middle of the night when commercial buildings and downtown streets were almost empty.
As we move on another year I am reminded that my age brings with it an increasing amount of sadness with the loss of old mates from work and play. I have a jacket that I wear to Funerals and recently was obliged to relieve a breast pocket of a not inconsiderable number of orders of service. On the other side of the coin I note from my Diary that I have attended a like number of “Big 80 Parties”. This is a reminder that life goes on and I remind myself of this with the above “On Aging” attached to the wall right behind my computer screen.
I should especially acknowledge here the recent passing of my great friend John Gray former Christchurch City Manager, and Brigadier, NZ Territorial Force (Reg. No. 203013) and holder of many other high office positions. John was many things to me – mentor, colleague, fellow professional, associate, comrade and ally, but above all a great friend. I shall miss him immensely and he shall be forever in my thoughts. Memories aplenty will not allow John to be forgotten.
Well that’s enough for now, except to wish all a bountiful Christmas followed by all the very best for the New Year. Much Aroha.
Love, Judy and Bob.