New Zealand Calling

 By John Wallbank

I know just what you are thinking, Blimey, haven’t heard from him for a while.

As you can guess, yes Wendy and I are still in New Zealand, looking forward to kicking some English butt, when the Rugby World Cup starts towards the end of the year, along with anyone that comes between the final spoils coming to the deep south of the globe! (and that isn’t a bad comment coming from me, who really can’t stand the “brutish” game!) Since I last corresponded with “Rye’s Own”, quite a lot has happened one way or another to us here and the world in general, some of which the two of us personally have had control over, and some things that are out of the average persons reach. Of the latter the Tourist Attacks and the equally bad retaliations. Wendy and I find ourselves now living in the nations capital, Wellington, or at least one of its suburbs, Upper Hutt. Which at the time of our working lives, came about by employment opportunities in the Textile Industry in which we work. Once again, just like anyone else, you weigh up the prospects, and it was off on our travels we went again. Wellington is home to many races and ways of life, and sees many things going on during the course of the weekends, and is a bit like Napier where we came from, in that the “cafe life” is very evident, as is the Cosmopolitan Club which seems to be more popular than the Pub type entertainment, as is the RSA (Returned Service Club) which would be the equivalent to the British Legion.We were so pleased just the other month we were able to show off our new neighbourhood to my brother Brian, his wife Helen, and two sons, Geoffrey and Andrew who live in Hastings. It made us feel so good to not only be proud Wellingtonians, but to feel the warmth of the extended family once again. But then as usual, when you start to write something, it is so easy to get side-tracked, so I better get back to the real reason, like most of the letters, and indeed the content of “Rye’s Own”, which is one’s memories. The magazine never ceases to stir the back of the memory bank, be it War time recollections (and I can’t really remember that much about it, being barely born at the time), or someone else’s recollection of a specific time in their life, which co-incidently crossed with your own. I just wonder really if the recollections and memories are that great, why the heck did we let them slip by without either retention of the values of yesterday, or even the recording of every day events. Perhaps there were those people who were astute enough to keep records of events, but at the same time others were prepared to allow changes to happen and not always for the best. But then we are all guilty of that. A point in question would appear to be the Rother Council (if that is the title) and the other council managed things that are not easily controlled by your now duly elected office bearers on the Town Council. I read with sorrow of the Gungardens and the general graffiti around the town coupled with the behaviour of a small minority, lack of policing and so on. A lot is written about this is not being seen to happen and that is not being done, perhaps the born and bred Ryer should ask the questions, not only of the elected ones but themselves also. Do we not all share the blame, be it leaving the Town or perhaps at the family level. But then again, it is easy to stand on side lines and be very critical of what is happening, in particularly when you have the sanctuary of distance. But sometimes one has to stand back from the problem to see the problem, as they say. Or is that modern saying again———–” it is a sign of the times”, but really which “times” would you really have? John Wallbank.

“Rye’s Own” September 2003

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