THE MELTING POT OF PONSONBY
Ponsonby Road, also known as The Strip, is lined with a delectable mix of shops, cafes and restaurants and populated with an equally interesting mix of people, all giving the Strip an exciting vibe. I walked 4 km along both sides, wishing my budget was bigger (maybe it’s time to ask for a raise) until my feet were sore. Refreshed by a designer sandwich in the newly-opened Fat Belly Deli, I decided to drive to the Catholic area of St Mary’s Bay, bordered on one side by New Street.
PONSONBY - AN URBAN VILLAGE
Like all villages, there’s a sense of connectedness between individuals, making Ponsonby a community of people who care enough to get out and create their own solutions for the problems of the time. Cultural differences are accepted and valued, and sharing becomes the norm. Ponsonby, Freemans Bay and, to a lesser extent, St Mary’s Bay have been and still are a crucible for social change.
Though everyone said cataract surgery was a painless, simple procedure, I remained dubious. What if something went wrong? I put a high value on my eyesight, cloudy though it was. I’m no stranger to operations, with so many metal plates screwed to bones to hold me together that I do occasionally set off alarms at airports. But though I might be Bionic Woman, I still didn’t fancy any doctor, however highly skilled, messing around with my eyes.
AUCKLAND'S LIVING TREASURES
How long is it since you went to the zoo? If you have grandchildren the right age it might be fairly recently. Or it might be something you put on your someday list. Don’t leave it too long. Things are happening at the zoo at a faster rate than you think. Animals age. Conservation values change. Technology offers new opportunities. I went with my family, wheelchair and all, on a beautiful winter’s day, sunny, calm.
WHY DO PEOPLE CHOOSE AUCKLAND?
Target - being in Auckland’s North Shore to start work at 7am on a workday. From Huntly. The 5am departure should provide ample time, but the traffic even at that time of day made our editor taking the trip once wonder why anyone would choose to live in Auckland. He asked me to find out, and what they loved about it. As an ex-Aucklander who visits with family often, I have the perspective of an outsider and the memory of what I used to love about the city 30 years ago.
LOCAL CRUISING - IT'S GOOD FOR THE SOUL
As I watched Kewpie Too sail up the river, I knew I wanted another trip. The last time I’d sailed in her was 1962 in the Bay of Islands on the iconic tourist trip to Cape Brett and through the Hole in the Rock. I remember marvelling as we gently made our way through the stone archway, water dripping on us like a maritime christening.
EXPLORING AUCKLAND - PARNELL : A PLACE FOR PEOPLE
‘Parnell Village for Sale’ read the advertisement in 1841. From that time, Parnell, a hop, skip and jump from central Auckland has nearly always been a desirable place to live. Many heritage homes are in this first suburb. To get there, catch an Inner-City Link bus or train to Parnell Station or walk to this plush suburb from the CBD.
THE ONE-STOP-SHOP, TAIAO ORA, WARD 51
When disaster strikes in the form of a stroke as it has in my family, there is only one place to be: the new integrated stroke and rehabilitation ward of Auckland City Hospital, the only one in the country. The project was initiated in 2019, with an investment of $30 million from the government and opened in November 2020. (This was in both issues but on different pages if you need to even things up)
A NIGHT WITH ROBBIE BURNS
Scotland's national poet Robert Burns is recognised the world over for his work focusing on universal themes of love and nature and a national day named after him. Each year on January 25th Burns Suppers are held in celebration, with pipers, traditional dishes of haggis and whisky and recitals of his best-loved work.
The auditorium in the Aotea Centre is filling up. Families and friends allotted precious seats settle and find a place for that awkward bunch of flowers their graduate has given them to mind during the ceremony. The programme titled ‘Convocation For the Conferment of Degrees and Award of Diplomas’ is perused for the graduate’s name. Out back, highly excited young people are being marshalled into that critical order that must match the names on the list to be called out.
QUALITY TIME WITH YOUR MOKOPUNA ON A CHEAP BUDGET
Finding free and cheap holiday fun that grandparents can enjoy with their mokopuna requires some diligent searching on your computer. It will also involve DIY trips using personal travelling equipment – your legs! And part of what’s free is the enjoyment to be had from planning your trip together.
SCHOOL HOLIDAYS FAMILY VISIT IN AUCKLAND
Following two cataract operations, I can now see properly to drive. A visit to Auckland, my family and grandchildren, was long overdue, with only two days left of the holidays. Zara is four and goes to day care. Dad and Mum run a cybersecurity business from home. Alex, seven, and I enjoy quality time together. I run a list of options past him: up in the sky or underground, east or west, to a forest or the harbour? He chooses Sky Tower.
BEATING THE BLUES
Have you ever gone to bed and realised you haven’t spoken to a person since yesterday? Or felt lonely in a crowd? We’re part of a world-wide ‘loneliness epidemic’, a situation that is certainly not helped by the current coronavirus restrictions. We live in a hyper-connected world, and yet we’re lonelier than ever before.