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Simon Gundry is a Devonport and North Shore identity, and character, who is known for calling a spade a spade. He is a director of contracting company Gill & Gundry, is an enthusiastic and active sailor (past crew-member of Ceramco New Zealand, Lion New Zealand and Shockwave) and is a life member of the North Shore Rugby Football Club.
It’s hard to believe that five years have gone by since I first started writing my article ‘Gundry’s Grumbles’ for the Channel Magazine.
I don’t understand for one second why my article is called “Gundry’s Grumbles” as I’m not grumpy about anything at all. In fact, I didn’t think this magazine would last five months let alone five years. So I congratulate Channel Magazine for lasting five years, it has obviously worked out all right for them.
Obviously if it has lasted five years, and there are 11 issues each year, then I would have written over 50 articles – in fact I have missed only one article over the five years, when I spent a long time in the middle of the ocean in a small sailboat and there was only basic communication to the shore. It’s quite nice being out in the middle of the ocean without being able to communicate with anybody.
I’ve written about dozens of different topics over the last five years, nostalgic ones about growing up in Devonport, and having the wonderful backyard of Mount Victoria and our beaches as a playground. Working and starting up a business on the North Shore in the early 1970’s, in the suburbs of Glenfield, Albany, Birkenhead, and up behind the East Coast Bays, the new subdivisions such as Maxwelton Braes, the Sartors Avenue area, and the roads and subdivisions of Saddleback Rise area. How my business partner, Walter Gill, and I spent most of our adult life working in these areas.
I’ve written about the stupidity of the Council, and that’s a never ending subject. I still can’t believe they spent over $160,000 on a wooden boardwalk on the old Devonport commercial wharf, along with barring vehicles from there because they said the vehicle weight was too much for the old structure. Only to see this wooden structure ripped up a year or so later and replaced with four inches of concrete, which would have added hundreds of tonnes to an already distressed structure, just to see it all cracking up now. Maybe it’s a bit cruel to blame Council, it may be Auckland Transport or Ports of Auckland, as all these entities seem to meld into each other. Anyway, I believe and have no doubt that it will be taken up and replaced again.
I’ve written about parking meters and parking wardens, they are actually employed to enforce the parking around the commercial areas, I would have thought. So I wonder why they are wandering around the surburban back streets, pinging people for no Warrants of Fitness or registration. Or the classic time, recently, outside the Holy Trinity Church in Devonport on Easter Sunday, when one of the parishioners had parked her car on the grass verge, as she was running late. She found herself ticketed by an un-Christian like traffic warden, who surely could have shown a little compassion on such a day. In the old days, when Churches were built, people didn’t have many cars so they walked to Church services. Today, we find there is a real problem with churches and parking available.
I’ve written about my children and friends, and how we need to kick back in life occasionally, and smell the roses, to take the time to walk on our beautiful beaches. We should walk to the top of Rangitoto on occasion, climb our volcanic knolls, tramp our bush walks and even just stroll down our suburban streets, talking to our neighbours. But one of the great things I have been verbal about has been keeping up with old friends, getting them over for a barbecue or a roast, just taking the time to have a catch up.
Which gets me onto the topic of a dear old neighbour of mine for over 30 years, living directly across from me in a small no exit street. A wonderful Scottish widow who lost her husband only four years into their marriage. She consumed her life with people, she was a nurse, then a lecturer in Nursing, she owned an ITM store in Taihape, which she ran both from home on her computer and by various trips down there. At her funeral service, a gentleman from ITM mentioned she always kept them on their toes and always had a bit of a spark. She filled her life by joining Clubs, but always with the idea of helping people. She joined Budgeting Services and helped people sort out their financial issues, she joined Probus and was the instigator of helpful schemes for people, she gardened – she had a beautiful garden in her home and would often bring over a bunch of daffodils, a few oranges or avocados. She helped out at the local school with remedial reading. She enjoyed every moment of her life. All my boys mowed her lawns over the years, she was always very interested in their education and aspirations. A more wonderful neighbour a person could not wish for. Mrs Paterson, I hope you are happy where you are now.
I want to thank the Channel magazine for allowing me to write for them, I thought it was only going to be one article, then Aidan Bennett asked me to carry on… Sometimes I feel as though I am going on with the same old topics, but it’s not too bad I suppose, not too much that is world shattering happens in this country, compared to other places in the world, and aren’t we lucky for that. A little tiny strip of land, lying down near the bottom of the Earth with four million-plus people living a lifestyle that is the envy of many. If the only things we have to worry about are the Council and a few stupid parking wardens, then we really are living in God’s own country.
Thanks for reading my articles, and thanks for stopping me in the supermarket and commenting on them. I’ve nearly run out of things to comment on, or grumble about – this could be my last article.
Channel Magazine: Issuu 55 June 2015