For my family.
These are some of the things I remember about summers in Murray's Bay.
Checking the tide charts to see when we can jump off the wharf. King tides that seemed to last all day. The starting gun goes off for the yacht race. Twilight swims in the dark green waters.
Sprinting over hot, black, iron-sand to the cool refuge of the waves. Exploring the rocks at low tide. walking the pipeline to Mairangi Bay. Or, "around the rocks" to Rothesay Bay and Brown's Bay. None of these beaches were any good though, ours was the only one with a wharf. Then we got a new wharf.
Fishing for Sprats to feed the cat. Piper for the frypan. Eels from the creek to cook over an open fire.
Dragging the mattress out on to the lawn for the first sunbathe of summer. Picnics on the rug under the apple trees. Dad's cold ginger beer from the fridge, watching ants scurry amongst the grass.
Throwing breadcrumbs out for the birds.
Bagpipes, band practice and marching through the Devonport shops at Christmas. An expedition up Saddleback Rise, hunting for a pine tree to decorate, putting tadpoles in a jar. Grandma's Christmas Pudding with a sixpence in every slice. Mum's homemade plum jam with the stones still in.
Burying my face into a half-moon slice of watermelon, pink juice running from ears to chin, spitting out the pips.
Digging a new trench for the compost heap, laying in rows of beans, corn and peas. No thanks I don't like swedes. Grapefruit halves for breakfast when the sugar has soaked in overnight, and a frozen cup of cordial.
The apples are ripe at last, Granny Smiths and Wine-saps, shelling peas and chewing on the pods. Butter dripping from corn on the cob. Sunday roasts.
Endless summers at the beach lying in the sun, salt caked, brown skinned, sun bleached hair. Driving my VW over to Lake Pupuke for a fresh water swim to wash the salt off.
Night-times at Waiwera hot pools.
Macrocarpa hedge battlegrounds and tree surfing, watch out for the wetas. We knew they could jump at you, but I never saw one that did.
Walking back from the shop with a fresh Sunday loaf and luncheon sausage, six slices on number eight please. Popping the tar-babies barefooted.
Vampire jets and Skyhawks on approach to Whenuapai Airbase.
The smell of wood-shavings and animal glue in Dad's shed. His homemade radio tuned to 1YC, or maybe it was A, what was the bird call of the day? The Radio Valve jazz ensemble with the four armed drummer plays along. Is it time for The Goon Show yet?
Digging prickles out of the lawn. One cent for the small ones, Two cents per large. Pocket money for Girl Guide Biscuits.
Raiding Uncle Norm's toffee supply, sneaking in through the bamboo jungle.
Bonfires, fireworks, Military Tattoos, and the Speedway.
That's the trouble with growing older, time marches relentlessly on, priorities change and memories fade. So we marry, have children and make a fresh batch to share with them.
I never really thanked my Dad for moving the family to Murray's Bay. It was the best place in the world. And no matter where else in this world I may live, I will always think of this place, as "Home."