In my last contribution I told of our house being at the top of the first rise in Tiverton Road, down a long drive-way which necessitated the installation of a power pole when electricity first arrived in the street. The distance was too far to accommodate one span and we had to pay for the pole itself which by today’s values would be very small.
From the house there were practically unobstructed views in all directions but more particularly out to the West over the smoking chimney stacks of the brickworks to the blue Waitakeres beyond. Indeed we could see as far as Scroggy Hill on the rise between Glen Eden and New Lyn, before the railway line was lowered at that point, a whistle-stop for the train, and now no longer in existence. Now our main means of travel, if not by shanks pony, was by tram or train and if we kept a sharp lookout and saw the engine puffing smoke and steam at Scroggy Hill we knew that if we made a sharp sprint down to St Georges crossing, another whistle stop, we could just make it. On the other hand, knowing the grind the train would have to make from a stationary start up the incline to the Avondale station we could make the connection by a brisk walk to that stop. In inclement weather often times two engines were needed together with sand on the line to give traction on that section of track.
To the East of the house the land rose again gently to what is now Pinewood Street where the only habitation was a little cottage occupied by an old gentleman, Mr. Hilly, who’s only daily task of necessity was to man the pump on the boundary and keep the cow trough topped up, with horrible rusty water I might add. Before general subdivision of the surrounding acres which brought over two dozen neighbours with over two dozen cats, we looked over the fields and roughage, the habitat of such wildlife as quail, pheasant, the occasional bunny and best of all the skylark which trilled in happy song high into the air to then plummet down and perch on a fence post or drop to the ground where in spring it would have its secretive nest and babies. We also had our own pets of course, a spaniel with the unoriginal name of Brownie, and a large tailless tabby called Tarzan, the appendage having been lost in an accident. Our front lawn was surrounded by a hedge with a gate. Father, who worked on the Railways at
The Avondale Historical Journal Official Publication of the
Volume 2 Issue 11
Newmarket and then Otahuhu always came home with little titbits if not for us at least for the animals and each day at coming home time the cat would sit on the gate post from where it had a view down Tiverton Road, and the dog would sit patiently at the foot. Im-mediately the cat spied father coming up the hill it would leap down and both animals would scamper down the road to meet the benefactor with his offer-ings. Saturday was half day and the animals would take up sentry at midday. The point is, are animals smarter than what we credit them for or did they sit there midday during the week when we were not around to note what they were up to?
In the early twenties, following Tommy Galton’s horse-drawn coach service, feeder buses ran between Blockhouse Bay and Mount Albert, and then when the tram lines were extended, to Avondale. Tiverton Road was within walking distance of the trams and train, be-side which by walking we saved the bus fare. In those days it was taken for granted that legs were made for walking or more particularly running, and that small boys were designed for running errands. Consequently Mother thought nothing as soon as we had arrived home from Avondale School of sending us back to the shops for provisions or with messages. Millichens the butcher at Richardson Road, Hellabies at the bottom of St Judes Street, Atkinson’s drapery on the opposite corner, Amos the grocer close by, and the Post Office in the old hotel on the other side of the road. Every year at time of birth Topsy the cow would suf-fer the effects of milk fever so post haste we would be sent to Mr Lambert the veterinarian who lived where now are the premises of Pak and Save. Needless to say he would come without delay with his special drench recipe and I later came to the conclusion, in view of the cow’s rapid recovery and the after treatment cele-brations with my father that the potion was laced with a drop of additional fortification. Anything could be made into some liquid posing as wine, from parsnips to plums and smells emanating from the shed were po-tent. It all helped to keep the fee to a minimum I gather and Mr Lambert would be sent on his way heavier in pocket and glowing in countenance.
My Mother on the other hand was full of ideas on how to keep small boys occupied, and the livestock took precedence over our own needs. The chooks had to be fed and the eggs collected and the cow milked, by hand of course, and the milk poured into settling pans
The Past RecalledThe Past RecalledThe Past RecalledThe Past Recalled
by Mr. Rich Afford by Mr. Rich Afford by Mr. Rich Afford by Mr. Rich Afford
(member, Avondale-Waterview Historical Society)
Continuing from the first chapter published in the last issue.