Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hallway Pt II

This is a photo response to Chris's story about our amazing tilting hallway. It does appear to be tilting slightly in the second photo! The tiltyard, if I can call it that, runs along the back of the picture from the right, where Mum and Dad's bedroom was at the end of another branch of the hall, past the closet and Grandfather clock you can see behind us, to the toilet which is off to the left.

This is Bec, Jo and Rachel of course, demonstrating how our hallway could be used for all sorts of fun and games. Another one I recall was to put a pillow over our faces, held on with the pillow-case over the back of the head, and just walk into walls. The girls practiced gymnastics up here - cartwheels (you'd better get them straight, or your foot might crash into that stone wall), walk-overs, or beam or floor routines while random younger siblings tried to copy with forward rolls.

It was such a wide space, it was almost like another room. I can also remember Peter building Mechano sets here, and Maria sorting through her stamps by the light of the big sliding door outside Mum and Dad's room.

We also held concerts here, with the the rumpus room/bedroom acting as backstage, the other wings of the hall as wings, and the area in front of the closet and Grandfather clock as the stage. Mum and Dad and whoever else was unfortunate enough to be at our house that night would be charged 5c each and sat on the wicker chairs from the kitchen. Four could fit across the span of the hall.

To the right is the completely crappy heater. There were two of these, and they didn't seem to make a lick of difference. Mum and Dad ended up getting another heater that blew out hot air - we kids would get dressed in front of it in the morning, or just sit in front of it and read a book. We kept turning up the thermostat to make it keep going, and then Mum and Dad would keep turning it down again when they came past. Drove Dad NUTS!

The stone wall was one of the unique 1970's vintage architecturally designed wonders of our house. The stones kept falling off, and were placed on the windowsill to the right. Whenever anyone had some spare time, they'd try to find the gap where the stone had fallen from. It was much harder than it sounds, because the stones were not stuck on flat, so the glue pattern left on the wall was not the same size and shape as the stone. My 7th birthday cake (I LOVED that peasant dress!) and a really good view of the wall:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The tilting hallway of doom.

The hallway of 42 Hunter street was many things, at least when viewed through the eyes of a child with a fertile imagination. It was a murder scene, a theater, a gym and was famously wide enough to be driven down in a Mini (or so Dad told us) but the most fun thing that it could do was to turn the very laws of pysics on their head. Thats right, one moment you would be hapily walking down the end stretch to Mum and Dads bedroom, minding your own business when boom! the floor tilted at an alarming angle, down was no longer down and up no longer up. With much yelling, fanfare and histionics the inevitable fall down the hallway would begin, not even clinging for our very lives to the door frames as they passed could stop the tumble until we hit rock bottom: the toilet at the far end of the hallway! Then magically the hallway turned right way up, and it would be the next kids turn.
Well at least thats how it looked to our siblings (and most probably the McLincheys) who by now were doubled up with laughter at the sheer joy of the simple optical illusion created by Mums tilting mirror which just happened to be placed at just the right angle to afford the viewers a good line of sight down the hallway. What a great game that was, and as always it involved the simplest of props and a bit of childrens imaginations and enthuthiasm.
42 Hunter Street in all its glory.

Opunake Beach

Okay, guys, this is a HUGE hint. I want to stay at the beach this year, preferably in a real 80's vintage caravan, sometime between the 17th and 23rd of December. Campsite bookings are so easy I can do it from here - they have a website now. But I cannot for the life of me find out how to hire a caravan. Or beg, or borrow, or steal one! Project Caravan launched! Free sausage-in-bread and a cask of wine cooler for the person who finds us a caravan first!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Austin Seven ARR 1936-38

Click on the link to see some in their pristine rehabilitated state.

This of course, was what dear old Maud was supposed to end up looking like too, only it didn't quite turn out that way...

The day we got her was so very exciting! To be honest, I didn't exactly know what a 'mord' was, and I was still searching for it long after we hooked the car up to bring it home. I can remember driving down the street, towing her, I can remember the immense excitement of washing her on the front lawn - that's me above, proudly posing with our now shiny clean new possession.

Maud's next journey was from the front lawn, under the carport, past Mum and Dad's bedroom, around the apple trees and the automatic rotary washing line, and up two wooden planks through the french windows and thus into the shed, where she was to reside 'for now', until Peter got a bit older and could help Dad fix her up. The shed; which was to become her final resting place, as she sank slowly each year deeper into the dust and cobwebs.

The story goes that with Peter off at boarding school, there just wasn't the time to fix her up. That and, I suppose, the march of time itself, the way all humans imagine an endless vista of time ahead of them, someday, when I'm not so busy...

Dear Maud, stuck forever in her shed, forgotten, but not unloved! She became the greatest weapon in our arsenal of childhood imagination. She was the getaway car, the Royal Coach, the Palace itself even. She was, memorably, the storehouse for the home-made ginger beer, tucked inside her back seat where perhaps, it would do the least damage if the bottles exploded. Again.

She was a revelation for childhood guests. We'd bring them to the shed, which was a little spooky, and she'd loom out of the darkness, her headlights bright in the reflected glow of the sunlight, but caked with cobwebs, her grill, devoid of the famous Austin Seven sign, almost grinning at us. Inside her dusty interior, her leather seats were cracked, the stuffing and springs poking out. He wheel turned a little, and if we stretched really far, our little legs could reach her brake and clutch as we yanked her gear stick around.

Then the games would begin, and Maud would transport us to wherever we wanted to go, our own Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - and we believed that if we wished hard enough, Maud would burst out of her prison and fly...