Merville’s Story

Continuing Merville’s Story My grandfather James (Chum) Robertson died 30 July 1940. He was only 62. Merville’s words continue – “We went south to the funeral but I don’t remember much about it as I had to go back to Dunedin to my job. That was in the July and about November our mother had the shingles. Ina had her in bed at her home but I left my job and went south to look after her. She came back … Continue reading

Wonderful Southland

Wonderful Southland Is A Great Place To Be Don’t believe all you hear about a place, that’s my advice after I spent another visit to wonderful Southland waiting for the rain that was forecast almost every day. Instead I experienced great autumn weather, sunny skies, warm temperatures and a definite lack of rain, except for two days. I was lucky to see a couple of amazing sunrises while I stayed in Winton, but this one was the most spectacular. I … Continue reading

Photos Of Family Farm

The Family Farm Has Changed On a recent visit to Winton and my mother, I decided I wanted a photo of the farm where she grew up. Three or four times I drove up and down Gap Road looking for something that looked vaguely familiar. I knew the original house had long gone and been replaced – I assumed – with a modern building but I expected to be able to identify the lie of the land and know, yep, … Continue reading

Meeting Character

Meeting Character How thrilling it was meeting my fictional character in real life. I’ve never imagined I would be so lucky as to have an actual person to model a character on. Especially after I had completed writing the book he appears in. On my recent return back to Auckland after visiting my mother in Southland, I noticed a man boarding the plane in Invercargill with very long dreaded hair. The male character in my latest story, tentatively entitled “Return … Continue reading

Merville Mentioned

Finally Found Merville Mentioned It feels like I have searched forever for some newspaper report with Merville mentioned, but always to no avail. This small French town had yet to appear in any WWI report I’d managed to track down. Have you ever done something that is quite outside your normal actions and wondered why on earth you did? That happened to me last week. I never thought about it being something unusual for me until my husband commented on … Continue reading

Time To Leave The Farm

It Was Soon Time To Leave The Farm Although I’ve always thought my mother’s early life was interesting in comparison to my own, I acknowledge it was also filled with far more work and hardship than I ever faced. But her varied experiences then made her into the strong person I have been so fortunate have as a mother. Even at an early age Mum loved to read, devouring any books she might be able to get her hands on … Continue reading

Farewell Childhood

It Was Soon Time To Farewell Childhood How aware were my family of the devastation of the depression years? I’m sure they suffered along with everyone else. My grandfather’s attempts to get overdrafts from the bank were fruitless, the price of milk and wool plummeted. But I guess there was still much to be grateful for in that a family living on the land was unlikely to starve. Thinking of all Mum has told me about her early childhood years, … Continue reading

Merville’s Teenage Years

Teenage Years In 1920’s Southland As we have the benefit of hindsight, we see the 1920’s were indeed changing times, as this snippet I found suggests. “The 1920’s was a crucial era in the making of ‘modern’ New Zealand. The word itself was widely used at the time, as in this Ladies? Mirror story from 1926: The modern girl has, during the past dozen years, either acquired or increased her regard for:- Drinking and smoking; Paint and powder; Slang; Pastimes … Continue reading

Life On The Farm 1920’s

Life On The Farm During 1920’s The evening meal at Gap Road would always be late, normally about 7pm. My grandmother would prepare something which could be cooking, but not spoiling, while she was out helping with the cows. Granddad would sit and read the newspaper at night or play the Jews harp so the girls could dance. His mother had been a highland dancer and had taught him to dance as well as all the Scottish tunes. “We would … Continue reading

Life On The Farm 1920’s

Life On The Farm In Southland During the 1920’s life on the farm probably depended on the size of the farm and the number of stock farmed. My grandfather’s farm was small by today’s standards but would have been average for that era. They made their living from dairy, not the hundreds of head apparently needed today to make a living, but about 20-30 head. Of course these were hand milked morning and night initially with Bess, Chum (grandparents), Nessie, … Continue reading