May 2014

Up Will’s Gully

A few years ago, I could spend ‘all day’ working up the gully but now it’s down to ‘a good half day.’ I remember when we visited the Stockton coal mine on the West Coast, there was a chap who just worked half a day and he was known as ‘Halfday.’ Now for me, time working up the gully is getting down to a ‘halfday’.  However, I don’t think I’ll warrant being called that yet.  But soon it might be ‘someday.’  Maybe later it will be, I’ll get up there ‘one day.’ As time rolls on, perhaps that could be called a full circle of activity for me?

Planting up there (over a number of days!) is now 266 native plants.  Shirl and I spent a good half day with the chainsaw clearing just above the Fossil Steps and then we spent a couple of half days planting. During May there was not much in the way of catches with only 3 mice and 7 rats caught. One weka watched us as we were planting, a number of tui and bellbird sang their songs, while as we move through the bush, fantails followed, feasting on the disturbed insects.

Unfortunately, the wild pigs have come back again and besides doing a little damage up the gully, have been rooting around a couple of houses near Hill Street. With all the people taking their dogs along the tracks, one would think that the pigs would be well away. Maybe they know the local dogs are pretty useless? Or perhaps the dogs are quite happy to keep well away? I just wish the pigs were well away.


SS Janie Seddon

A Little Family History

A cousin from Australia visited, so besides much talk about family history, we also showed Jenny some of the local sights. Places like The Grape Escape, Eyebright, to Jester House for lunch. On to Motueka and to check out progress on the rusting hulk of the SS Janie Seddon. The old coal-fired steamer was built in England in 1903 and even served the Royal New Zealand Navy during both world wars being one of two submarine mine laying vessels. Later she was bought by Talley’s Fisheries way back in 1936 and was their first vessel. Hauled up with the intention of being cut up for scrap but the salvager went broke so there she lies today, almost a tourist attraction.

Clementina Addison

Clementina Addison

Jenny is from my mother’s side, the Addison’s, and with World War 1 commemorations starting we have been delighted to hear that a  cousin, Clementina, who was a nurse during that war, being remembered on BBC Radio. The interviewer talks to another cousin, in England, Joan Jaggard, about some of the postcards that Clementina sent to one of her sisters during the war.



Clementina’s family spoke French fluently at home and she answered a call to serve in France with the French Flag Nursing Corps. The British Red Cross tried to stop Clementina and some fellow nurses from leaving England but after a short delay they were able to leave. She certainly was a very brave young women in attending to wounded French soldiers while under fire in the trenches a number of times. It seems that during the last part of her service while at Verdun she contracted blood-poisoning and died two months later in England, at the age of 26, on the 10th July, 1916. She was awarded Medialle de la Reconnaissance Francais (Medal of Gratitude of the French) by the French government.

Check out this BBC webpage; and then click on the video, to hear the interview. There is more information and tributes on the following webpages:


A Ngawhatu Walk

Ngawhatu Building

Ngawhatu Building

Shirl and I joined a walking group for a wander around the grounds of an old orphanage in the Ngawhatu Valley. It was an orphanage that started in 1872, and then it became a training school for delinquent boys (1910-1920). Another change and from 1920 it became a “Mental Hospital”. It was quite a complex of around 400 acres, with the “patients”, numbering up to 700, attending to vegetable gardens, baking their own bread, milking their own cows, running a farm, making bricks, basketwork, operated a laundry, making sheets and pillowcases for other hospitals, to making toys. They were almost self sufficient. Most of the old building had been demolished with the few that remained looking forlorn with their broken windows and hanging spouting. All to make way to “progress” as they say and soon to be covered with new houses. We were fortunate to be escorted by two people who had worked on the place during its last years. And then we came to a cemetery. The names and ages of the buried  were listed and they mainly ranged from  six to fourteen.

One wonders how they felt –

Ngawhatu Cemetery

Ngawhatu Cemetery


Upon a Little Hill

a cemetery

lonely and lonesome

laughter to screams

despair to solace

homeless but home


Now free


That’s Not Me!

We have had a compliment in a way. A certain person has on one (or more) of his 103 websites, an offer to sell some of my books and in particular the Richmond Diary. This has been put together from my website into a pdf ebook, all illegally of course, but you are invited to make a payment and to download the book. All you download of course is malware and probably end up with a depleted bank account. Rest assured, I’ll let you know myself if I have any books for sale!


Rainfall at our place during May was 83mm so it was a lot less than our monthly average of 130mm.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *