Saturday, May 10

Anzac Day 2008

I realise it is well after Anzac Day, but this year my Beloved Brother & I spent Anzac Day in the small town where our parents married, in a small Church in the town. Our father is buried in the Returned Services section of the Cemetary. Of course we went to visit his grave, & were pleased to see all the Returned Services personel gravestones had Poppies placed on them. My brother crouched down for this photograph. I was unable to crouch for mine, & so I look hideously ungainly, bent in the middle. My knees dont do 'crouch' or 'squat', or even 'kneel', any more, so I have spared myself the indignity of my pic.

We attempted to visit the little Church where our father had married our mother, & later where his funeral was conducted, but there was a very large parade crowd gathered for the Anzac Day ceremonies, so we left that.

We drove around, & I was very taken with the wonderful Murals painted on the walls at Opotiki Primary School. Isn't this wonderful?

This is another mural on a low wall, & is also very impressive. There are further murals, which were further distant. It being school holidays, I take it the grounds were locked, though we did see some children playing in one of the playground areas.

Another building which impressed me with it's wonderful carving feature is the Whakatohea Maori Trust Board building. It is a very humble old building, but is neatly kept, & the carvings looked to be recently repainted.

A closer view of the carving.

Details of the side carvings.

I couldn't get them side by side. Techno dummy.

This old house is quite typical of a many older houses in New Zealand. It looks very well cared for & I am sure it is nice inside.

My Aunt & Uncle's house is about this vintage, & the wonderful woodwork in the rooms is beautiful. There is a lovely fireplace with a beautiful mantelpiece in one of the rooms, & I wish I had taken photos.

After we had been to visit our father's grave, we went to our Uncle & Aunt's home, & as I watched our wonderful 80 year old Aunt bustle about getting us a wonderful lunch of homemade soup, scones, & pikelets, I wondered what I will be like at 80 should I live so long.

They insisted we stay the night, & so we agreed we would. They took us on a guided tour up to the old family homestead up in the Waioeka Gorge, & BB drove their car.

BB has a truck, which was our mode of transport, & I must say, by the end of our travels, I had grave fears my spine had compressed up into my skull. Those little snubnose trucks dont really offer much comfort. However the truck was handy, in the event, as another aging Aunt gifted a fruiting pineapple plant to BB & it travelled about on the back of the truck quite happily, & made it safely home after all our travels, about the Bay of Plenty & through the Waikato.

It must be 40 years since I have eaten red meat, not for any reason, other than the fact I do not like the flavour. However our Aunt had prepared Venison, that our cousin had shot in the Waioeka Gorge, for our tea, & it smelt so delicious I was tempted to try a piece. I was amazed, it was delicious! The last time I had tried venison, I had vowed never again. Perhaps I am getting adventurous in my old age.

It sounds ridiculous, but I always feel potatoes, & eggs taste better in New Zealand, & my Best Friend J's husband assures me the meat all tastes better too, because the animals are not stressed from lack of water. The more I thought about that the more sense it makes.

I wish I had taken more photos, & I wish I had copies of my Uncle with his trout catches, truly huge fish. As he said it was a hunter & fisherman's paradise, to live in that area.

He tells us if he dies tomorrow, he has lived a wonderful happy life, & every day is a bonus to him. He does the dishes for his wife every night, & he hangs the clothes on the line for her. He filleted fish he was given while we were there, & my brother said he has a sure eye & did a great job.
This photo was taken for his 90th Birthday, & he looks just the same today, at just on 91.

Nancy Wilson, How Glad I Am.


bluemountainsmary said...

The bliss of reading this gentle post.

Fairlie said...

A lovely post. So interesting to see photos of the places you visited.

And your Uncle? There's no way he looks 90.

jellyhead said...

Meggie, your posts are always so human and comforting..... reading them reminds me of having warm cocoa (made on milk of course, and just the right amount of sweetness). Never ever stop writing.

smilnsigh said...

Happy Anzac Day!

And yes, this is a generic comment.

I'm just out of time. Yet I can't not keep commenting. Please forgive a generic one.

Yes, I am hopeless. You can say it. -shakes head- I'm hopeless.


Joyce said...

I love to see art on buildings. The carvings are amazing.

ancient one said...

Trying again to post a comment... Loved the murals.. enjoyed the whole post!!

Rosie said...

we wont forget them, this is a lovely memorial

Kitty said...

That's a lovely post Meggie - such beautiful pictures. Those clapperboard houses always looks so fantastic - we have nothing like that here in the UK.

Take care. x

Ali Honey said...

Meggie I wonder how far up the Waioeka Road you went? My friend from by childhood (who now lives at the Mt. )and her husband were teachers at Wairata some distance in on that road. She crashed her car into the river and had to rescue her 2 little toddlers from the stream. They all survived but it was quite an awful road then. They had 4 lovely kids who like our are all grown now.Isn't it strange how lives and events intertwine and paths cross. Your childhood area became my neck of the woods for the last 30 years. I enjoyed seeing all your photos - some familar some not; but all very BOP. I wondered how your itches were while in NZ - any change? ( away from the carpet? )
Hugs from Ali.

quiltmom said...

Hi Meg,
The pictures are lovely of New Zealand- I love the clapboard house-it has real character. The carvings are beautiful - some are quite similar to our West Coast Haida First Nation peoples. The Haida totems are quite magnificent. A famous Canadian painter, Emily Carr did some fabulous paintings of the totems during the early part of the 20th century. During Christmas vacation, a friend and I went to Calgary( about 200 miles south of home) to see a travelling exhibition of Carr's work. It was fabulous- the colors were rich and the strokes bold. They also had some Haida masks and chest that were gorgeous and made during the time period that Carr painted (1890- 1940ish).
Your uncle looks terrific - he certainly does not look 91.
Your trip (though under sad circumstances) looks like it filled you up with wonderful memories and good times with your family.
I am guessing that Anzac day is like our Remembrance Day which is held in honor of the Veteran's. It is November 11 here in Canada. My American cousins have Memorial Day weekend soon - we have Victoria Day weekend which is the 24 of May weekend or close to it(This year it is next weekend beginning Friday 16 and the Monday is the holiday). It is interesting to see how different places have similar holidays at different times. Tomorrow is Mother's Day here in North America and we are off to visit my mother who is recuperating from Knee replacement surgery. Happy Mother's Day from

jovaliquilts said...

What an amazing uncle you have!

Love the buildings and carvings, especially that schoolhouse. What a wonderful thing for children to see every day.

Sal said...

Love the schoolhouse and the murals! We have loads of murals in my nearest city,Exeter.They are fascinating too.Nice to read your blog! Sal;-)

Marja said...

Oh what a nice photo's and a lovely
I would love to visit the North Island one day and see all these beautiful places.
I love the taste of venison as well.
A scouting leader had shot one and a wild pig and we all had a Hangi. That was delicious.

BBC said...


CONNIE W said...

It's so good to have your posts again. You were missed while you were absent.

Isabelle said...

Wonderful post and pictures. Nice to see the photo of Rotorua - my son phoned from there this morning.

Tanya Brown said...

I adore the Maori carvings. So lively and fascinating.

Your uncle looks to be in good shape. From his photo, I'd take him for a man twenty years younger.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is true your posts are rather comforting. When I read them it really is like settling down in a comfy chair and listening to someone talk about this and show me their photos.

My grandfather lived to be 93 and he was fit and had all his wits about him right to the end. He couldn't bear to ever sit still - he was always up pottering about. If you asked how he was he always gave the same answer: "oh you know, just hopping along." I never did see him hop.

Frankofile said...

Just found your blog via Isabelle's - what a treat. I feel transported to the other side of the world and instantly at home. Some blogs are just so natural...

Mike said...

Great post Meggie and I think we would all be doing good to look that good at 91.

They don't make them like that anymore.

Christine Thresh said...

I love going along with you to see the sights.
Could you tell us more about Anzac Day?

julieQ said...

I loved your post, and enjoyed hearing about and seeing your travels. Anzac day is very special.

Exuberant Color said...

It sounds like you had a good time while you were there. It is so great that you got to see family and spend time with them.

Molly said...

Thanks for the tour! And I had it comfier than you, sitting here in my armchair!

Granny J said...

The carvings are quite fascinating! I've enjoyed your trip,despite the sad reason for it...