Happy New Year and welcome to a new decade. It’s hard to believe the last two decades have disappeared and how much technology has improved, and also “unimproved” over this time – depends on which way you look at it.
I spent a large amount of time over January up in the Bay of Islands, a place I love dearly. It was fairly busy over the Christmas and New Year period but the busy-ness started to decline around the end of January. The sun was warm, the water was warm and the gin and tonics were cold. It’s all pretty easy really, time to relax and reflect on the past years and the new year to come.
It doesn’t seem like 50 years ago that I walked out of Takapuna Grammar School onto Lake Road with a half-assed education, and no job prospects. I qualify this by saying this was not all the responsibility of Takapuna Grammar, as I had some wonderful teachers there: Mr Delamore, Mr Cliffe, Mr Mills, Mr Chalmers, Mr Brown, Mr McDougall. This probably had more to do with my wanting to play rugby and cricket and go sailing in the weekends and not do too much time on the books. It was during that wonderful decade of the 1960s which I have mentioned before in this column, a decade in which so much happened. The music – Bob Dylan; the Beatles; The Rolling Stones; the Kinks; the Dave Clark Five; Donovan Leach; The Hollies; Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; and then the drama of that decade: the Vietnam War and the civil rights marches in the United States. The assassinations of the Kennedy brothers, Martin Luther King, the Cuban missile crisis and of course the landing on the moon. What a time to be alive. As Bob Dylan said in one of his songs, “the times they are (certainly) a-changing”.
Fortunately when I walked out of Takapuna Grammar that last afternoon, I was with my great mate Walter Gill, walking back towards Fraser Road after having made a sharp left hand turn on Lake Road and headed home to our parents’ houses, discussing our future. I can frankly say right now I have had 50 great years in the construction business, and have not regretted one minute of our friendship and our partnership in business.
A funny thing happened in Devonport during the middle of January, it would have been about the 20th on a Friday night. Mysteriously, about 100 red cones appeared and blocked off all the parking throughout Clarence Street, Wynyard Street, part of Anne Street and right through the waterfront outside the Esplanade Hotel – thus blocking off dozens of car parks for the weekend shoppers. There they sat, all through Saturday and all through Sunday, with nothing happening except for a lot of bewildered and confused locals wondering what was going on. Absolutely nothing, apart from a small amount of roadworks outside the Esplanade Apartments, in the middle of the night no less, keeping the residents awake most of the night. So I ask why block off half of Devonport for the sake of a tiny bit of roadworks at the end of one street.
I, like so many of us, am sick of roadworks, high viz jackets, stop and go sign people, red cones, and all the other paraphernalia that goes with modern construction. All I know is that road construction companies are causing so much disruption and must be making an absolute fortune. It must be an absolute shock for overseas tourists to arrive in Queen Street, off their beautiful cruise liners and be confronted with all that construction work and war-zone-like bedlam. It’s been going on for some time now, and it’s not finishing any time soon; in fact it’s spreading like a malignant disease up Queen Street.
Also, during the middle of January, the Queen Elizabeth 2 arrived in Auckland at 6 o’clock in the morning and caused a bit of disruption with the early morning commuter ferries from Devonport, Bayswater and Waiheke Island. Chris Darby, our local Council representative, came out with this, “We must get more operational cohesion between the cruise liners, Ports of Auckland, Auckland Transport and Fullers Ferries so that we don’t experience this sort of obstruction again.” With all due respect to Mr Darby, I would have thought this would have been just common sense and should have been organised years ago, when more and larger cruise ships added Auckland to their stopover itinerary.
Talking about Ports of Auckland, I know quite well they will not be moving the Ports of Auckland at any time in my lifetime, or in fact my children’s lifetimes. These tossers who have come up with these harebrained schemes, among them being to move the port to Thames, to Muriwai Beach and even some idiot suggesting a floating port in the middle of the firth of Thames with an underground six lane tunnel running to Auckland. Bloody tossers, the lot of them. Can’t you see that it will be staying here forever and a day?
They’ve nearly finished constructing a five storey concrete carpark on the waterfront, to store all the imported cars, and you have to ask how the hell did that slip through and happen? They’re not going anywhere, anytime soon. We will need to keep our wits about us as it will just be an ongoing battle to stop them encroaching further and further into the harbour.
Ok, that’s it for January. Enjoy your summer!