Monday, April 13, 2015

Hot little rock gardens

The other day I chanced to pass through the suburb in which I spent a happy childhood, and which I have avoided for many years, dreading to revive memories of a family that was in days now incredibly remote. I need not have feared. The difficulty, after some fifteen years' absence, was to find any familiar landmark on the whole eight acres or the surrounding country. Some time ago, the old house went up in red flames that, rejoicing in the sound and seasoned timber, lit the sky for miles around. I was glad not to see it standing tall, shabby, and aloof, above the aggressive newness of the clustered villadom beneath. For the whole countryside is smoothed into a smug uniformity of concrete paths, wireless masts, and hot little rock gardens. The bright vacuity of suburbia has replaced the spacious untidiness of an ampler era. Gone is the old pump in the poplar-shaded hollow, with its grim legend of darker deeds on a dark night. Rather morbid, it may be suggested, the sentimentality that bewails the obliteration of the scene of a murder but at least the place had character then.

H.F.C. "Those Were the Days." Auckland Star, 10 November 1934, 1.

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