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  Issue #156

Mike and bro' Dick - and is there honey still for tea?

Mike's Pith & Wind - Breakfast
I really can’t remember what Richard and I used to have for breakfast at home in Christchurch as children - and by children I mean under the age of twelve. Perhaps it was Weet-Bix or Rice Bubbles with a piece of toast and Marmite. (Vegemite wasn’t in the New Zealand lexicon then).
It may have been more or less salubrious, but obviously not memorable. Whatever it was, it pales into insignificance in comparison to the ritual of breakfast at our grandparents’ home in St Leonard’s Rd, Mt Eden.
Mt Eden is a genteel and fairly sedate Auckland suburb just a matter of minutes from the heart of the city if you caught one of the lurching trolley-buses that ran up and down Mt Eden Rd. Anyway, when Richard and I were flown up to Auckland by our grandparents in the August school holidays to spend some time with our estranged father, to us frostbitten and unworldly little chaps Auckland seemed to be a tropical paradise.
Our grandparents lived on what I now know is a battle-axe block, with a long, steep drive winding up to a breath-taking two storey weatherboard home. It had a grass tennis court and a small orchard up the back with a neat lawn out the front where possibly there had once been a swimming pool. (I just thought of that – I have no idea where that idea came from). It was a substantial property.
The top storey was replete with a verandah that ran along the front of the house and around the corner to the front door. From the verandah you.. read more

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Dick's Toolbox - I remember it well
It is interesting, as my brother has observed, that the one thing that is sure about aging is the slow diminution of the faculties. Actually it doesn’t seem slow, in that one day you can see things in front of your nose and in the far distance and the next you realise that you need glasses for one or both disability. Catastrophe theory, the apparently instantaneous change from one system state to another, striking again.
I now think that the only thing that doesn’t fade is the sense of pain. But how do I know? It might have even lessened, though I think it hurts just as much at the dentist. By the way, I have the most wonderful dentist who is even older than I, now fitted with a pacemaker, but still at the top of his game. I suspect that the only reason he keeps practising, apart from the fact that he enjoys his work, is that he wants to see if he can outlive his patients. That and the fact that his wife has threatened to kill him if he stops work.
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