Stock photo: Christchurch City
Yes, yes, all of the above has gone even though the Trams have just started again on a very limited route.
It’s really beginning to happen! Truly. The “new” Christchurch is beginning to emerge from the dust of the earthquake. Interesting buildings are beginning to appear – some are bland, some are exciting. If only architecture wasn’t ruled by the demon money and the “we have to get something (anything) built to start trading again” attitude. Is there an answer for both sides? Probably not. We have to get commerce on the go again and that comes at a cost of either spending big money on architecturally designed buildings that will take a long time to build or to go the cement slab (boring) way to get going with the making money process. Both sides are relevant but at this stage…… it’s almost worth it to have “anything” rather than the current vast expanses of dust that have become “Wilsons Parking Land”. I live in hope……. and dust….
Bryl-creem, a little dab’ll do ya,
- Bryl-creem, you’ll look so debonair.
- Bryl-creem, the gals will all pursue ya,
- They’ll love to RUN their fingers through your hair.
Back to ’71. Left Mrs Spouse in Cape Town and MFD (My Friend Dave) and I drove up the coast from Cape Town to (then) Lourenco Marques – now Maputo, in Mocambique. It was then a colony of Portugal so had a great Portugese atmosphere. It was also a haven for White South Africans to enjoy all of the naughty bits that they couldn’t enjoy in South African – gambling, buying naughty magazines but especially doing naughty things (most of it horizontal) with girls of a non-white hue. These girls were called “Butterflies”. Can’t remember much of the place but I can remember the hotel pool area. Many, many “Butterflies” around the pool. BUT….. what I remember most were the South Africans all ranged on their loungers around the pool trying their utmost to get as brown as possible (BROWN, not the most popular colour back in der Faderland!) by baking for hours in the sun while covered in bloody Brylcreem! Scads of the stuff. And it worked… their skin rapidly turned to tanned leather. Also, I would imagine, it would’ve made them very slippery when doing their lepidoptery research with the Butterflies!
You might also like to read “Playboy in Swaziland”…..
1969. Mr & Mrs Spouse were working in London. In the very early mornings cleaning the Dutch Embassy in Knightsbridge then Mr Spouse off to Harrods and Mrs Spouse off to a dress shop in Oxford St where she would fit fattish ladies into thinnish frocks. From somewhere we purchased a tandem bicycle – 2 can ride as cheaply as one. Had many great cycle rides around London and loved the tandem. Pre-helmet days, pre-bald days (Mr Spouse only) we could cycle around with the wind in our hair. Very young, very groovy. Not so groovy when we would get back to to our bedsit at about 7am (after doing the cleaning) and had to get the bloody tandem up 2 flights of stairs, around one landing and into our very small bedsit where it took up a lot of space. Also not so groovy one morning cycling home past the Kensington Hilton where a group of very pissed posh persons were leaving the hotel, not watching where they were going after a night on the bubbles and we (very slowly after ringing our bell) mowed 2 of them down. Both in their ballgowns. They giggled… we pedalled quickly. They probably thought that they were seeing double… they were.
‘Twas 1968 and we had just become Mr & Mrs Spouse. Married in Port Moresby, New Guinea. As a wedding present The Pom had given us our honeymoon – 2 nights at Taipini. Where, oh where is Taipini? A flight of about an hour from Port Moresby into the Highlands in a very small plane with 4 fellow people passengers and 2 small pigs. (I had previously heard comments about some “hostesses” being “pigs” but this was just silly….) The airstrip at Taipini is a mown grass strip which rises steeply at the end to stop the aircraft going over the edge. Scary. The hotel (can’t remember the name) had 10 rooms, we were the only guests. The hotel had run out of beer 2 weeks prior. We walked and walked…. beautiful place, green, mist on the mountains, rushing streams, freezing pools for swimming. After an energetic day we found the only tiny shop, bought ice creams and sat outside on a large wooden crate to enjoy the ice creams. Were then told to get off the box as it contained 2 hacked up bodies from a tribal battle. The box was waiting to be shipped to Port Moresby for a trial but everytime that the aircraft came in it didn’t have room. Not the usual reason for making a honeymoon memorable…
Port Moresby, New Guinea (Niugini) – June 1986. My 21st birthday. I had been in Port Moresby for 3 months. A birthday trip was planned with my mates. Grab the beer, put into chilly bins, organise a “lakatoi” – a motorised twin hulled canoe with cabin and take off onto the wilds of the ocean for the day. Went well, for a while. Once we were out of the harbout the bloody lakatoi began to sink. Ten of us on board including The Pom who could not swim. Emptied the beer out of the chilly bin and told The Pom to hang on. My new, wonderful, 21st gift from my parents – a camera, went straight to the bottom. We all floundered for a while until another lakatoi nonchalantly floated past. Onto that lakatoi we all clambered but by then there were too many on board. The lakatoi limped to a nearby island – it was too far back to Moresby. And the island…… a lepers’ colony. (Leprosy is VERY popular in New Guinea). We climbed over the hill to the main hospital passing many nose-less, toes-less, finger-less poor sods on the way. Once at the hospital we had to radio Port Moresby and a Rescue boat was sent to collect us. A joyous day all round. The next day we were the front line story in the Port Moresby newspaper.
The joy of reaching my majority…..
1968. Aussies, fresh off the boat (well, in this case fresh off KLM from Sydney) in London. Mr & Mrs Spouse. Wide-eyed and open to anything. Mr Spouse immediately got a job at Harrods. In those days Colonials were very employable as they had good work ethics. My first department as a salesman – Turnery, where all things small & wooden were sold. Salad bowls, pepper mills, chopping boards……. Mr Spouse’s Aussie twang most obvious in this hushed upper-class environment. Most noticeable on one occasion when Mr Spouse was wrapping a parcel to give to a customer and the could not find the sticky tape and yelled “Who has the Durex” across the department. In those days, in Australia anyway, Durex was sticky tape. Durex certainly didn’t have, and still does not have, that use in London! Perhaps it should? Needless to say Mr Spouse was very rapidly corrected..
And the photo? Another form of protection while in London..
I should have known better. In 1971 Playboy magazines and South Africa did NOT mix. Mrs Spouse and I were living in Cape Town. MFD (My Friend Dave) came to visit from London. He & I then did the “bloke” trip from Cape Town to Durban to Mocambique (more about that in another Blog) and then into Swaziland. In those heady days of the cursed-Apartheid all “naughty’ things were banned from South Africa. No casinos. No naughty books and ESPECIALLY no naughty magazines with a big bit of paper in the middle with staples through a naked lady! Me, being the local, but not on a South African passport, suddenly remembered upon arriving at the Swazi/South African border that I had no Re-Entry Permit for South Africa. Panic. What made us both panic even more was that under every floor mat of the car were hidden “Playboys” – all containing naughty “bits”. Admittedly, we were bringing them in because we enjoyed the “articles” so much! Yeah…. right…. After 6 hours at the Border Post, many phone calls to my employer in Cape Town, phone calls to Pretoria AND NO SEARCH of our VW two sweaty lads were re-admitted to the Big White Cocoon that was South Africa. The “articles” were enjoyed greatly by all my mates back at work in Cape Town… Swaziland, a great and surprisingly beautiful country but all a bit strange now with it’s high incidence of AIDS and the King’s collection of wives…..