Driving into town the other day you couldn’t help but notice along the route we followed, that our progress was being marked every few metres by trees in full blossom. Plum, Cherry trees, and all of the other flowering varieties. It was simply stunning. No wonder the Japanese revere the flowering cherry. I have no idea how Mother Nature does it, as the weather here hasn’t warmed up yet. So it must have to do with the length of Winter. The Newspaper yesterday quoted that we have moved into ‘Spring’. But this is not quite correct according to the equinox, which this year falls on the 22nd September. Equinox means that this day the sun will spend an equal time above the Horizon daily. So that’s when Spring commences. There is also an ‘Old Folks Tale’ related directly to the equinox. That is on the 22nd of September, it’s also possible to balance an egg on it’s end. Take my word, it’s true. But then of course, it’s possible to stand an egg upright any other day as well. All you need to do is to exercise just a little patience, so don’t get suckered in with this nonsense.


Some years ago when we moved to a small town because of my job. The Town Folk were well aware of the coming and goings of Bank Staff and Public Servants, and they were quick to exploit it. On my arrival in Milton, my first posting, once there I found out even before I had unpacked my bag that I not only was I a member, but also the treasurer of the local Returned Soldiers Assn. These civic jobs were always the unpaid duties of the unsuspecting new arrivals. Part of my obligation to this office, was to assist fellow Soldiers, down on their luck, maybe passing through town or just seeking work. Almost immediately, I was confronted by a ‘traveller’ looking for assistance. To assist me with this task I was given little or no budget to carry out this chore. Quickly I established a rapport with George Potae a Maori Shearing contractor who owned a large house on the edge of the town. George had a heart of gold, and would never turn anyone away. He supplied basic accommodation for free. (A mattress and a couple of army blankets) which was standard accommodation with George, and much better than sleeping under the stars. A quick call to the local priest, and minister to stop double dipping. Another call to the Woollen Mill, the town’s largest employer. Yes, they even had a job available. Kindly report at the main Office at 7-45am on the morrow. Another call to the local restaurant for a dinner. I would call in later and pick up the tab. I was deaf to all the pleading, ‘Just give me the money, and I will look after the arrangements for you’. In the morning after a breakfast from George, without fail they just moved on. Working it seems was not exactly part of their plan. While we were being kind and helpful, it was not what they were looking for. So, from these small beginnings we now have an industry that beggars belief. The City Mission, Salvation Army, and several Churches are all into suppling food and help, probably dispensing a dollop of religion too. To support this industry, they now have whole warehouses, ‘chock a block’ full of food. It’s unbelievable that people today require this kind of assistance. Even with all this support, today’s providers would still be wrestling with the same problem I had. How do you separate the wheat from the chaff? I have the feeling too that it’s a two way street, in that the people doing the handing out get a real buzz from their ‘do gooding’ actions, as well as being benefactors, freely giving out largess, right left and centre.



Anyway part of the problem being of hungry, is a real lack of cooking skills, and the inability to budget by some of the young housewives of today. One young ‘Blond Dolly Bird’ neighbour, said to me one day. ‘I just love your soups, what kind of packet do they come in’? We had been helping out with meals, while she grappled with a new arrival. Another time she rang up to inquire ‘How do you cook Corned Beef? My mother has brought me down a slab, and neither of us have the slightest idea what to do with it. We have never cooked this kind of meat before’. Where we might exchange recipes, some of these families swop addresses of the nearest ‘Takeaways’. I have always said, ‘If you can read, you can cook.’


We have just been invited out to a Japanese Restaurant for lunch Saturday noon. We are so lucky here, as just about every culture in the world is reflected in our ethnic Restaurants. Goodness, you can travel and eat your way through most of the worlds’ cuisines here in only a couple of blocks. Some however, still need to make some concessions to accommodate us. The Turkish mode of sitting on cushions on the floor, is not our idea of comfort. Then there is always the problem of getting back onto your feet. But you never know who you are likely to meet with our new immigrants, as they rarely seem to work at the occupation that they trained for. I ate at a restaurant in Childers Queensland, which was owned, and run by an Vietnamese Micro Biologist. His English was terrible, but we could managed a conversation in French. I didn’t think there would be many openings for a Micro Biologists in Childers. But his wife had turned out to be an exceptional cook, and he was an excellent waiter and raconteur. Then a taxi driver in Sydney to our astonishment turned out to be a Chinese Doctor. Maybe he could find his way around Beijing, and for that matter the human body, but he still had a lot to learn about Sydney. Lucky that we knew where we were going, and how to get there.


Whether anyone will take the time to read this letter I will just have to wait and see. I know that now my letters find their way into some very strange places.


My Internet Address is




Love from Christchurch,




One Response to “Spring”

  1. Les and Heather Paddon says:

    Lost you walley, changed email address and lost all contacts–Bummer


    Hope all is well with you, sick of this continue drizzle