Wednesday, September 24, 2008

2008. Wainui and Akaroa Fishing NZ

Durban SA: As a 1950s Banana Boykie, in mangrove mud up to my knees, catching mudskippers, while sepia Umgeni waters oozed past Blue Lagoon groyne, I watched European and Indian seine-netters cast in shallows. And I helped them untangle their fish.

Bamboo rodded Indian fishermen cast from Blue Lagoon groyne into Indian Ocean surf an' all. An' I watched 'em catch sharks, an' shad, an' mullet, an' sardines an' all. While bro Fraser had speedboat rides and "Swan" rides below Ellis Brown Viaduct and up Umgeni River with "Captain Silver." On the Durban North side of Blue Lagoon was SADF rifle range, where later as a conscript troopie I would fire bren guns, sten guns, R1s and .303s. As a biology teacher, I would take groups of standard 9 (Y11) pupils on ecology excursions through the mangrove swamp.

Groot Baase ordered, "Voertsek Boykies! Blue Lagoon's an 'Indians Only' beach - up to Sunkist Beach screw pines! 'Natives Only' and 'Coloureds Only' beaches are from Sunkist to Blue Waters Hotel by Natal Command! 'Europeans Only' beaches are closest to town! It's the law!"

"We're force-moving thousands of Durban North Indians from their shanties to Chatsworth on the south side of Durban! To split the Englsh vote, we're building a Durban North Hoer Skool, and a Living Waters happy-clappy church, and a Pick 'n Pay hypermarket, and upmarket white houses, where greedy Durban North whiteys can mix. We're leaving the mosque. Muslims can come and worship from Chatsworth if they wish."

I didn't fish Blue Lagoon anymore. Bro Fraser didn't ride the "Swan" with "Captain Silver" anymore. Today in 2008, Umgeni River has become an open sewer sludging from KZN Midlands to Blue Lagoon.

Nor did we swim at Sunkist Beach anymore. For years I body-surfed at 'Europeans Only' North Beach.

2003. Esslemonts on the Canterbury Cat near Wainui & Akaora

Wainui NZ: When son Luke began fishing we discovered Wainui Pier on solid wooden piles in green Pacific waters near Akaroa Heads. We cast spinners like we were catching salmon in Waimakariri and Rakaia Rivers, when a big fat Maori fella plonks his rod on the pier saying, "Nah! You're fishin' wrong mate. Forget spinners! Scrape limpets from rocks over there! Bait 'em on two or three hooks, an' drop your lines over the pier!"

Luke caught spotties, parrot fish, red cod, elephant fish, dog fish - lots. I mostly baited, scaled and gutted.

On rainy and sunny days, when fishing from Wainui Pier, we met salmon farmers, mussel farmers, paua (abalone) divers, fishermen, fisher-women, fisher-kids, lovers, campers, excited kids, Japanese tourists, Taiwanese immigrants, swimmer-Kiwis, half naked guys and girls.

When wife Leah taught English to Korean kids during Christmas holidays, we skimmed on the Canterbury Cat from "French" Akaroa to Akaroa Heads. On the way we saw taonga (treasures): Sewage fouled Flea Bay, Wainui Pier from the sea, Wainui green hills, Cathedral Cave, boatmen angling deep pools, hectors dolphins somersaulting, black- backed gulls guarding rock nests, waterfall below southernmost Nikau palms, grey gulls shrieking, shags slivering, penguins floating, rock dozing seals, yachts tacking round Akaroa Heads...

And salmon and paua farms...

Ja. Lekker by the sea. (Published with variations: SINZASA's Indaba Issue 1 - 2003).

Once teenager Luke and I screw-drived limpets off rocks, then fished off Wainui Pier: Few bites. Action was slithery limpets in our plastic bottle. And me losing tackle to kelp in cold water. So I drove back to Barrys Bay past an unpainted wood-and-iron farm house, with a Sky TV disc on the roof overlooking Akaroa Harbour.

On the Road, a farmer's wife twitched a stick at us, slowing down my grey Honda Civic, so we didn't harm her sheep flock. We stopped, while the flock flowed past us, with four sheepdogs clustering round their shepherd at the back.

We trekked up Summit Road, viewing snow-dusted Banks Peninsular. At a turnoff, we decided not to drive down to Le Bons Bay as fish might not be biting there too. Near Duvauchelle picnic site Luke ran along a wooden pier, chasing shags off the end. He nearly slipped in the Pacific, as the pier was guano slimy.

2003. Luke Esslemont & Bronze Portrait Artist, with Akaroa War Memorial background

In Akaroa, we strolled along Beach Road, gawping at tourist shops. Near the War Memorial, I photographed Luke's portrait through the bronze picture frame of the bronze statue of an artist. We took our rods and tackle along Akaroa Wharf, past a lady selling fish off the back of a truck, near a skin-diver's shop and a paua pearl shop. And we fished with Asian men at the end of the wharf. A Maori boy proudly showed us a bucket full of squirming dogfish he'd caught.

While the sun set over the Alps, casting shadows over Canterbury Plain, I drove back home to Burnside, Christchurch. Leah was thrilled with Luke's brill fish - grey-brown-mottled skin on one side and white skin on the other. I scaled the brill, while it's two brown eyes stared at me. I cut its head off.

Leah fried the brill, which we ate. "Best tasting fish you've ever caught," said Leah.

"Good value for two dollars seventy five cents," said Luke.

2003. Esslemonts & Al Mackintosh Fishing on Akaroa Pier

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Akaroa NZ

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

2008. Down Lincoln Road, Christchurch

2008 World Peace Bell, Christchurch Botanic Gardens. The Peace bell was tape cordoned for months after Christchurch 2010-2011 earthquakes

2008. Leah and I stopped at Christchurch Botanic Gardens to look at the World Peace Bell. The Peace Bell was tape cordoned for months after the Christchurch 2010-2011 earthquakes.

2008. I drove down Lincoln Road through Addington suburb to Halswell. Crumbling inner city Addington yielded to new developments: Opposite Hagley Park, between Lincoln Road and Blenheim Road, The Canterbury Sale Yards was derelict and decorated with graffiti and squatters. Masters of their squatter camps, squatters were more eco-friendly than Lincoln University masters degree posters on the Sale Yards fence.

The derelict Canterbury Sales Yard stood firm during the 2010-2011 Christchurch earthquakes. Addington revitalized after the quakes as a pseudo CBD. Christchurch CBD was trashed by the quakes and became cop & soldier check-pointed, fence cordoned, forbidden zone, too dangerous to enter.

2008 Dig A Tattoo, cnr Dickens Street & Lincoln Road, Christchurch. Dig A Tattoo was trashed by the 13.06.11 Christchurch earthquake

Down Lincoln Road, left on Dickens Street corner, Dig A Tattoo mural got tatty over the years, so was repainted red and black - Canterbury colours. Son Luke went to drumming lessons in Dickens Street. Through a housing gap, old Addington Jail could be seen, revamped as a backpacker youth hostel. Down Dickens Street was the Salvation Army haven for hobos. In nearby Church Square was Saint Mary The Virgin Anglican church.

2008 Dickens Street, Christchurch, Addington Jail background

2008. St Mary the Virgin Anglican Church, Addington, Chrtistchurch

2008 Addington Raceway from entrance to Westpac Centre, Christchurch

Down Lincoln Road, right into Wise street, was old Wood Bros Flour Mill, partly renovated as The Mill Theatre by Riccarton Players.

The old Wood Bros Flour Mill was demolished after the 22.02.11 Christchurch quake.

Down Lincoln Road, right into Twiggers Street, was Addington Rugby League Stadium. Nearby was Addington Raceway en route to Westfield Mall.

Down Lincoln Road, right into Sylvan Steet, and at the end was Canterbury District Health Board psychiatric services: Rural Psychiatric Services; Community Alcohol and Drug Detox Service; Christchurch Methodone Programme; Refugee and Migrant Mental Health Service; National Cervical Screening Programme; Family Mental Health Service.

Down Lincoln Road was Hillmorton Hospital nut house on old Sunnyside Lunatic Asylum grounds. Christchurch's Sunnyside madhouse grounds had been converted to upmarket Linden Grove housing.

Down Lincoln Road on Curletts Road corner was the Carmelite Monastery, established in 1933, a sanctuary behind high walls, safe from noisy traffic. Opposite the Carmelite Monastery was Tankerville Road, where Jake was schooled at Hillmorton High.

Down Lincoln Road was Banks Peninsular, and Akaroa, and fishing with Luke.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Christchurch's old Addington Jail and new Jailhouse Accommodation

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

2008. Band Aid Syndrome and USA - NZ Disabilities

Email correspondence with a USA expat:

10/09/08: "Hi Mark, Have been reading your blog re: move to NZ with interest, and all the problems you have had with the welfare system. It is almost deja vu! Also had tooth problems, but easier to wait for the tooth to rot away and extract, than to repair and rehabilitate. Was not aware that you had also experienced nystagmus, tinnitus and balance problems, these can be directly related to upper cervical problems, and not surprising that you have had auditory loss as well.

As you well know my expertise lies primarily in health issues and I have come to the conclusion that the closest parallel I can draw to the treatment of disease symptoms and life! is that they must have come out of the same mold. There is no effort made to correct any of the causes of diseases today, you attend a physician with a symptom or a set of symptoms which he/she has learned terminology for, and has a name for, and then proceeds to write a prescription for a drug to eliminate that set of symptoms, not knowing anything about that specific drug, other than what the drug salesman/woman has told them, and they are so busy writing these scripts that they don't even have the time to sit down and read the side effects associated with these drugs. In the P.D.R. (Physicians Desk Reference) there are well over 1000 pages of information related to every possible medication available. Every drug has some adverse effects related to its consumption, even aspirin. When these occur the patient goes back to the Dr. with different symptoms to get more meds to combat the side effects of the previous one. So to cut a long story short, health care is likened to what I call the 'Band Aid Syndrome,' and this has been carried over into every aspect of our lives.

The 'Band Aid Syndrome' in life is bullshitting everyone that everything is fine when it is far from it. Of course when you are dealing with a bunch of parasites (politicians) who generally were unsuccessful attorneys, and pathological liars to boot, they will tell you anything to put a band aid over the symptom, so it appears a fix has been found. Unfortunately it is only people like us who have enough sense to understand what is going on, but have no control over our own destinations because we need financial assistance from a system that is already broken and abused!

It was designed for idiots who don't want to further themselves, but want to stay on welfare forever. When an individual who has a degree and a brain needs assistance to re-establish themselves, the 'system' cannot handle the individual, as there are no parameters for someone with a cerebrum, most employees of the system are void of them, to think about the situation, and react accordingly. Rules are rules!

...I really think that anyone who wants to deal with disabled individuals should be artificially disabled for a month, to see exactly what it is like for someone who is not able bodied to survive in today's environment. We still need assistance even if employed gainfully, depending on the severity of the disability. The program that I am on is designed for useless, non motivated minorities, drug addicts, morbidly obese, too tired to walk, alcoholics, mainly to silence the critics, and we are limited as to what we can own in the way of assets. Being married we are not allowed to have more than $3000,00 in cash, otherwise we have income reductions. 19 years ago we had been underpaid by S.S.A for a couple of years, and were unaware of it until a check for $5000,00 arrived in lieu of underpayment. I received a letter a couple of days later informing me that I was not allowed to have that amount of money in cash, and unless spent in a certain time frame, I would have monthly income docked.

So life goes on, and we having grown up in S.A. with many opportunities, we now have to deal with the idiosyncrasies of countries who don't have a clue.

Stay well my friend, until I am able to speak to you in person."

My 10/09/08 reply:

"Ja. We've travelled similar roads with different disabilities, in different countries with different indifferent bureaucracies. We too had the 'too rich for a benefit' nonsense thrown at us by a slippery, power-mad bureaucrat: embarrassing & a waste of our time. I would've had to be on the bones of my bum to get a benefit for tooth repair. After 13 yrs NZ residence, we still haven't applied for NZ citizenship, (always other expenses), & the citizenship application bods keep a sharp eye out for applicants who've ripped off the welfare benefit system. NZ wants healthy, wealthy immigrants to prop up its welfare system for Kiwis on the dole for years. I regularly see media reports of Kiwis who've stolen thousands from the welfare system: often over-payments, or not telling the welfare department of change of status, like kids leaving home, or re-marriage, partner moving out, divorce, etc, with welfare payments continuing for years. TV interview last week of a bloke who'd ripped off the welfare system for years, with multiple identities in different towns. Reminded me of the movie 'Catch me if you can.' All that fraud energy could've been better used in real employment.

Big Kiwi news currently about Foreign Minister Winston Peters in disgrace about not declaring (compelled legally to do so) thousands of dollars donated to his NZ First party. PM Clark hasn't sacked Peters yet. Never mind waste of taxpayers' $s re. the Serious Fraud Squad investigation. Peters, a lawyer, was previously sacked by PM Jenny Shipley's National government from his state Treasurer position.

Maybe I should go to Leah's old chiroprac to get my neck cricked. Would be wonderful if it cured my deafness, etc, & scary to think of all the wasted years & hassles. All ENT Drs I've consulted in SA & NZ opined that I had Menieres Disease. I've lived with it for nearly 3 decades, since I was 30...

A Cape Town expat told us of floods in CT. Your pics give spectacular confirmation. Wonder if that's Sea Point sea wall in the one pic? Leah & I strolled the sea wall when we escaped to CT from Kleinzee for naughty weekends, before Jake was born. I'd forgotten about all the foam on stormy SA beaches. I think the Zulu word for white beach foam / white scum is 'umlungu.' Misty this morning in Chch, a sure sign of spring. We have mists before & after winter, heralding autumn & spring."

USA expat's 10/09/08 rely:

"I really hate to think about the insidiousness of welfare fraud, it really makes my blood boil, as the people who really need help can't get it, because those in control of the $$$ have no accountability. Do you know that over a trillion $ has been raised for the national cancer society and there is still no indication that a cure is knocking at the door? Pitiful!

Menieres Disease usually responds well to chiroprac care so if you can find a good subluxation based chiro I would say go for it. I would however ask whether they practice straight subluxation based chiropractic care. If you could find a practitioner using Gonstead technique that would even be better.

Enjoy spring."

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Physicians Desk Reference (PDR) for Consumers

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

2008. Boer War Ghosts of Canterbury's Sons

2008. Boer War Memorial, Victoria Square, Christchurch. All the bldgs in the pic were damaged in the 22.02.11 quake & were later demolished. Queen Victoria, Boer War statue survived all the 2010-2013 quakes

Trek 1 * Christchurch NZ, New Brighton Road / Lake Terrace Road junction: WW's grey granite memorial to BURWOOD BOYS... * New Brighton Pier, Christchurch: WW's PRO PATRIA beige stone cenotaph to HONOURED DEAD... * Cave Rock, Sumner: Amongst other war plinths, a grey stone SUMNER BOYS plinth, remembered Boer War dead, who died of enteric fever...

2008. Boer War Memorial, Sumner, Christchurch

* Heathcote Valley, Martindales Road, Christchurch: WW's black granite memorial TO THE MEMORY...
* Gloucester Street, Returned Servicemen Association, Christchurch: Two 105mm Howitzer guns commemorated the Boer War and other Kiwi wars...

2008. RSA War Memorial, Gloucester Street, Christchurch

2008. Boer War Memorial, Victoria Square, Christchurch & names of 79 Canterbury Sons killed in the Boer War

* Victoria Square, Christchurch: Below Queen Victoria's bronze bottom a bronze plaque commemorated 79 names of CANTEBURY'S SONS who died in the Boer War. That's 34% of Kiwis who died in the Boer War. On the ground another bronze plaque honoured Boer War dead. Not a Maori amongst them, as Britain disallowed Maori fighting the White Man's War... (Editors, J. Crawford, I. McGibbons, "One Flag, One Queen, One Tongue," Auckland University Press, 2003). * Cathedral Square, Christchurch: WW's monument GIVE PEACE IN OUR TIME... * Christchurch Cathedral: Boer War 3rd NZ Rough Riders bronze plaque, and WW's St. Michael and St. George Memorial Chapel... * Cashel Street Bridge of Remembrance Arch, Christchurch: Commemorated WW's and later wars. ROSEMARY THAT'S FOR REMEMBRANCE...

2008. St. Michael & St. George Memorial Chapel, Christchurch Cathedral.
Christchurch Cathdral was badly damaged in the 2010-2013 quakes & was cordon closed for many years.

I remembered the Queen Victoria statue in Durban's Francis Farewell Square, and how whitey meths doppers slouched around Victoria's shadow on humid days. Across the road, at old Durban PO, I remembered scrutinizing the bronze relief of Natal colonists welcoming Churchill, after Boers had ambushed his train near Estcourt, and detained him in Pretoria... He escaped - hiding in a mine - and returned to Durban, via Lourenco Marques, in time for Spionkop. Had Boers shot Churchill, he wouldn't've later instigated Gallipoli's mess.

My maternal grandparents were a Somerset East Hendrikz and a Birmingham expat Wesleyan, Rev. Frank Cosnett, who'd sneaked around Colesburg during the Boer War, witnessing First Contingent Kiwis being Boer blooded. Grateful Cape colonists named a hill, New Zealand Hill, after them. One of ouma's seven brothers was blown to bits in the Great War, fighting for Engelse on the Western Front. A Scottish uncle got a Blighty shot through the knee. He eventually built Bloemfontein airport. Mom was born in Bethlehem, Vrystaat, where Boers and Tommy Atkins had skirmished. Mom was schooled in Ladysmith years after the siege. Bloemfontein's Vroue Memorial commemorated about 28 000 Boer dead in concentration camps. About 14000 blacks also died in camps (Ibid).

WW1 Battle of Jutland Memorial, Sumner, Christchurch 2008

2008. Darfield War Memorial

During WW1, my paternal grandfather was a ship's doctor on HMS Revenge during the Battle of Jutland. WW2: While four of Leah's uncles went "up North," dad guarded big guns on Durban Bluff. As a troopie I guarded the same guns 24 years later. Mom's early teaching years were at Wentworth, near an old Boer War concentration camp. Rosie, our old Indian servant, had slummed for years near old Merebank concentration camp, before apartheid force-moved her to May Street slum. I guarded military warehouses at Jacobs, near another old Boer War concentration camp. Brother Fraser did troopie service in SA and SWA. Leah and I began married life in Pinetown near another old Boer War concentration camp (Ibid).

I worked at Kleinzee and often drove past Okiep where Jan Smuts had fought.

I worked at Koffiefontein, where Boers had horsed around, battling Brits along Cape railway at Belmont, Graspan, Modder River and Magersfontein, while Rhodes counted his diamonds, besieged in Kimberley. North of Koffiefontein, at Paardeberg, Field-Marshall Roberts besieged and dondered generaal Cronje and 4000 Boers for ten days, before imprisoning Cronje at Saint Helena, and his Boers in India, Ceylon, other camps (Ibid), to velang na die Boland and sing Sarie Marais into their potjiekos. A Christ's College Kiwi soldier received a Mauser bullet from Jannie Boer at Paardeberg (Ref. Christ's College Chapel).

2008. Glentunnel War Memorial & Mount Hutt

Trek 2 * At Darfield, Canterbury, NZ, a grey granite obelisk remembered Boer War, WWs, other wars: AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN... * Beyond Glentunnel was a phallic, grey granite monument to WW's dead. Below a black granite plaque commemorated Boer War, Korean War, Malayan War, Vietnam War, and peace-keepers, with snowy Mount Hutt backdrop... * At Coalgate / Hororata intersection was St. John's Anglican church and a grey stone WW's monument, with the same black granite plaque remembering Boer War and other wars...

2008. War Memorial, St. Johns Anglican Churchyard, Hororata

Trek 3 * Halswell Domain, Christchurch: Black granite WW1 memorial. READY EITHER TO LIVE OR DIE VALIANTLY...
* Halswell Quarry Park: Korean War red memorial bridge over a ditch...
* Old Taitapu Road... to Taitapu Domain: Red stone Boer War and WW's memorial arch. TO THOSE WHO SERVED...

2008. Taitapu War Memorial, Taitapu Domain

* Taitapu / Akaroa T Junction: White stone cenotaph honouring Boer War, WW's, other wars. LEST WE FORGET...

Over 6500 Kiwis fought in the Boer War, and 230 Kiwis died for Empire, Uitlanders and Boer gold. (J. Crawford, "To Fight For The Empire," Reed, Auckland, 1999). A century later, Southern African trekkers peacefully settled amongst ghosts of CANTERBURY'S SONS.

Happily, Kiwis and South Africans were no longer enemies, unlike blacks killing whites in SA, like 3000 white farmers killed since 1994, and an average of 50 murders a day in SA by 2008. That's more people murdered in SA every week in 2007/8 than all Kiwis who died in the Boer War. (Published with variations in SINZASA's Indaba journal, issue 3 - 2003).

SA: 21553 murdered in 2002/3; 19824 murdered in 2003/4; 18793 murdered in 2004/5; 18528 murdered in 2005/6; 19202 murdered in 2006/7; 18487 murdered in 2007/8 (SAPS Crime Stats 2007/8).

And who will raise monuments for the murdered in post apartheid SA?

2008. Taitapu War Memorial, Taitapu main road to Akaroa

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.