Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I've been lucky I was lost, now I'm found (Embrace)

[I was reminded of this on a random blog I enjoyed. I've used this over the years with class farewells and it seems appropriate as a comment on those photographs that have made up my posts of late.]

Love and peace - Wozza

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

However far away, I will always love you (The Cure)

During my archiving I have found a number of pictures that include members of the whanau (or in the case of the first photo - have a link to one).

Okay (deep breath), a selection follows and hopefully these people will still be talking to me afterwards.

We'll start on safe ground (because none of these people are around anymore) and go to Rochdale in the early 1900s. The family portrait is of my great grandfather William Purdy and his family. Left to right we have my grandfather, Harry, then William, Edward (cousin Suzanne's grandfather), and Emma. Within a few years they would move to New Zealand (or in Emma's case to Australia). Once there Harry would eventually marry Christina Amelia Curson and have one son - my father. Eddie would also marry a Christina (Beasley) and have 8 children. One of whom is Suzanne's father!

Number 11 Bodiam Rd in Bury lies not far from Rochdale.

That's where you'll find my cousin (big sister) Christine. This shot was taken on a trip north in 2004. I am wearing her son Tom's lovely warm jersey (sorry Tom - I have no idea what happened to it), because it wasn't cold in London when I left home that morning but it sure was in greater Manchester.

A year before that, Christine, her daughter, Fran, and I had gone on a pilgrimage to see John Lennon's boyhood home in Menlove Avenue, Liverpool.

We stopped off at the Albert docks to visit the Beatles' Story and watch the ferry cross the Mersey before driving to the Penny Lane roundabout and Paul's boyhood home. While the rest of the country was in the grip of a heatwave of epic proportions, the northwest was wet! What are the odds?

Our good friend Patrick Cameron also resides in the UK. He's a shy and retiring type and so this is quite a rare shot of him in party mode. This was taken at our wedding in 1984!!!!!! Jacky is far left, Pat is front and centre.

Among the large number of my friends who also attended the wedding were friends Roger and Deirdre Marbeck. Our families have shared holidays over the years. Here we are in winter mode.

L to R: Keegan, Jessica, Roger, Deirdre.

Margo and Clay had a starring role at the wedding. Clay was my best man and Margo was a superb MC. e are pictured below in front of one of Clay's paintings. When we no longer had room for it we bequeathed it to Jacky's dad and it now hangs in his Waiheke Island pad.

Shortly after these photos were taken we moved the family down to the South Island and I began work at Waimea College, just out of Nelson. We lived in Wakefield and made Steph and Duncan our lifelong friends. As with the Marbecks our families grew up together and we shared holidays and outings. The beautiful Steph is bookended by two thorns (no idea why Duncan insisted on dressing like me. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery I guess).

While at Waimea I worked with a great team of teachers. Annette Sivak, Jo Kahl and Peter Joyce join me at a staff do table.

This is another one of my favourite photos. Taken in the staff area at Waimea College, it hung for many years on my office walls in future days. Seeing it, many people would say what a good picture of Keegan it was!! Camera shy Joyce is in the top right corner.

Love and peace - Wozza

Looking back at the years gone by like so many summer fields (Jackson Browne)

Mmmm - deep!! I love this photo! A double exposure that I composed in my room at number 4 Ramelton Rd. We moved there from Korma Rd...

SIDE BAR: ...with a brief stop off in an old house rented in Asquith Ave, Mt Albert from late 1973-1974 while Ramelton Rd was being built. I loved the time we spent there. The house was close to the railway line and my bedroom was a tiny lean to that was the closest room to the tracks. I'd hear the bells first, then the train would rumble its way past. I had my first go at School Certificate exams late in 1973 while we lived there - I was physically sick before them and I only passed two subjects. I also got a bout of chicken pox during my second attempt at School C in the first half of 1974 so I was off school for months. And yet I loved this time!! It was, in many ways, the making of me. I learnt self discipline during this time and I had some amazing friends at Mt Albert Grammar who were living close by and who are friends still (Greg, Mike, Pete). Here we are in the Senior V of 1973/1974. Mike is the big dude in front of the class signboard thing each time and Greg, of course, is only in 1974's version (row 2 second from right). Pete was in a different class. See if you can find me.

Too tough? Look behind the teacher (Mr Herbert - don't get me started) in 1973 and try row three fourth from right in the 1974 version.. Some other great guys in these photos too (apart from us that is) - Nicky Singh, Stephen Sinclair, Brian Wood (brother to Sugar Pie/Honeybunch), and Vernon Kingstone (who is next to me).

We moved into Ramelton Rd in time for me to resit School C and pass.

This photo, like the portrait on the left, was taken during my self-indulgent University years (I'm wearing an Auckland University sweatshirt). I wanted a photo which was consciously looking at my self who was reading (I was studying Henry Miller's books at the time). I also remember being taken by Robert Bly's poetry (his volumes called The light around the body and Silence in the snowy fields in particular) and this was my attempt to do a self-portrait.

In the photo, both versions of me seem to be floating/radiating light. This is, of course, a happy consequence of the double exposure. Behind me are my record cupboard doors. I seem to be flowing into them and they are even cutting my watching me into half again. Quite a nifty effect.

Keegan sent me this neat definition of the photograph the other day by Roland Barthes, and it's worth sharing in light of this photo:

"The photograph is literally an emanation of the referent. From a real body,
which was there, proceed radiations which ultimately touch me, who am here; the
duration of the transmission is insignificant; the photograph of the missing
being, as Sontag says, will touch me like the delayed rays of a star."

In this case I'm both a real body and yet I'm of the ether. Which one's real? The reader or the watcher? Or is it neither are real? Or both are? That version of me is long gone...or is it? I am of the belief that we don't change much of our core being throughout our life. That me is still me, although my outer shell is certainly different after 33 or so years. The photograph still touches me though. I said at the start that I love this photo. I think it captures me perfectly - a reader and a watcher who is there but a bit distant.

Your reaction is, of course, your reaction. Feel free to share.

Love and peace - Wozza

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Private eyes, they're watching you (Hall and Oates)

Possibly I need to explain why I am hanging all these private moments out into the blogosphere. I have lately wondered myself what the casual visitor will think about the pictures I've been including. Who knows basically. I know when I chance upon someone's family oriented blog I am very conscious of the fact that I have no connection to the cute baby photos etc. The blogosphere is a bizarre place.

So why? Well it's a quick way of sharing the moments with the people who either are in them or else know the people or are related to the people in them. The impulse to share comes partly from the fact that I am discovering a lot of pictures that I have never seen before. I think my family will enjoy seeing them and maybe the rest of my whanau will too. So there it is.

This post, and maybe a few to follow, will feature some favourite photos that I've rediscovered. I will also attempt to explain why they are special.

To kick us off - here are some great fav snaps from the early years.

I love this photo of my parents on their honeymoon on Norfolk Island. They were married on April 18, 1953. My father was 25 and my mother was 23. They look so relaxed. The smiles are bright and much more real than the wedding photos. They also look very smart. My father, of course, was always dapper and I'd expect nothing more than a smart suit and tie on his honeymoon. My mother, though, matches him for style on this occasion!

And then...four years later, I arrived.

Mum looks a tad harassed in all of my christening photos. Being a first time mother is tough (just ask Tina). It probably didn't help that I was not an easy little guy to have around (I know - hard to believe - don't I look serene - but there we have it). The story about how they put me in a back bedroom and closed all the doors in between to deal with my noise was related to me many times.

I think this was taken in the backyard of the house they were renting in Oak Street (Royal Oak, Auckland). We lived there until I was two and then moved to 18 Korma Ave around the time that my brother was born.

I love the composition of this photo (a bit of a fluke I think as the other christening photos do not share this feature) and the fact that it's not posed. Dad caught the moment here in between the ritual grandparent holding the baby shots. The black and white mixes with the garden scene and produces a striking image.

As I said, two years later, I was no longer an only child. I have hundreds of photos of the dynamic duo at a variety of locations. I've picked two of my favs to include here.

The first is outside the back of Korma Ave (kitchen directly behind and laundry/cum occasional dark room is on the right). We lived in this house (see below) for the next 12 years. I helped with the construction and painting of the house. Really - I did! We had happy happy times there. You can tell that we had very privileged growing up years behind us and before us from this photo, just don't dwell too much on my peachy keen fringe!

This second portrait of contented brotherhood sums us up pretty well (I am the big brother after all). We're off to Sunday school in innocent 1960s Nu Zild. Here we are outside the front of Korma Ave (front door is to the left, lounge is behind us). Needless to say our mother could always recognise us in a crowd by looking for our legs.

That'll do it for now. Ka kite ano (inshallah)

Love and peace - Wozza

Thursday, September 23, 2010

If you're smiling at me you know I will understand (Crosby Stills Nash)

I've been having fun with my new scanner. Ross asked for a photograph a while ago (the four generations one from a previous post) and it kicked me into gear to both buy a scanner and to organise the photo albums and our photo archives.

Luckily there was a lot to organise. Dad was a very keen photographer who developed his own film and then made lots of prints.

Our laundry at 18 Korma Ave would be turned into a darkroom from time to time. The enlarger that lived in the hall cupboard was brought out of its protective plastic sheath and the ringer washer was pushed aside and blackout conditions would operate with a red safety light.

An elaborate ritual took place in that dark room. It was precise, it was convoluted, it was a kind of magic. The different coloured plastic trays of solutions, the red darkness around the enlarger, the sweet smelling developer, the soothing sound of water lapping in the trays, all somehow conspired to eventually produce the new red-tinged black and white photograph.

These pictures would then be laid out in rows on drying paper in the lounge where we could inspect them.

Some 40 years later I am now choosing images from that source to scan and put on this blog.

I thought I'd keep to the generational theme for today's selection.

Nita took this photo on a visit to our place at Alpha St, Cambridge. It contains three generations of Purdys. The men folk: Adam, Wozza, Graham, Keegan. The women folk: Jade, Jacky, Samantha.
Again there are three Purdy generations in this photo taken, I think, at dad's 21st. Top row, second from left is Graham, then his dad (Harry/Deedoo), then his dad (William). His mother, Christina (our grandmother) is sitting in front of William. Sadly I have no idea who anyone else is - a sad byproduct of what happens when the people who know aren't around anymore.

These two were taken at Ross and Lynda's house in Orewa when Hayden and Scott were shorter than Ross. Again - three generations and the sum total of Deedoo and Christina's successors are in there with Jacky and Lynda. In the top picture I particularly like the (accidental) exact pose that dad and Keegan have!
Here we have a fairly rare glimpse of three generations of Adsetts. That's me, Ma, Uncle Jack (one of mum's three Adsett brothers), Ross (a.k.a. Dusty by Uncle Jack) and mum (who was Dulcie Mary Adsett before giving into the unrelenting pressure from one Graham Purdy). This is in the lounge at Korma Ave. Ma and Jack were on babysitting duty on this occasion which is why I'm in my peejays.

Love and peace - Wozza

I've just had a taste of something fine (Jackson Browne)

I love it when members of the whanau get in touch. Tina sent word that she and her husband have become parents, so it's a warm welcome to the (Wozza's) world to young Oliver.

May the force be with him. The crucial question will be which football team is he going to grow up supporting (stay away from the dark side, Oliver). You'll remember from a few posts ago that I waxed lyrical about my favourite holiday in 2003. Tina had a co-starring role and it reminded me that I have a picture from that time of Tina and Jacky at Arsenal tube station.

Some whanau birthdays to celebrate too - Patrick's was last month, and this month Greg and Michelle have birthdays.

We have been busy with planning a house sale and possible move to somewhere else in New Zealand. We have no ties to Stratford any more and have the house for sale on line. Go to for the listing and my groovy photos.

We're not sure about where next - maybe Hawke's Bay or around Palmerston North or maybe somewhere else in Taranaki. Who knows. Will keep you posted (gerrit?).

Love and peace - Wozza

Friday, September 17, 2010

Why should I care about posterity? What's posterity ever done for me? (Groucho Marx)

This post is dedicated to Graham Nugent Purdy (26 July 1928 - 21 September 2009) because without Graham's world there would be no Wozza's world.

It's been a year but in so many ways it feels like it's been so much longer. Funny how time passes. It's been an unbelievable thirty years since John Lennon was murdered. It's been 27 years since my mother passed away. It's now been a year without dad and those moments remain raw wounds.

Rather than settle into a depressed mood, though, I'd prefer to be upbeat. As Groucho Marx said,
"I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it."
So I'd rather commemorate Sept 21 with a celebration of a great life via some pictures of father and son(s) and grandad (or as he signed himself - Deedoo II) for our children.

First though - some context:

This was Graham's world as four generations of Purdy are captured here by dad's clever organisation and automatic shutter release in the 1960s. Left to right - William Nugent Purdy (his grandfather), Graham Nugent Purdy himself, Christina Amelia Purdy (his mother), Warren Nugent Purdy (his first son), Harry Purdy [a.k.a. Deedoo] (his father), Dulcie Mary Purdy (his wife), Ross Graham Purdy (his second son). We are pictured on the steps at his parents' house in Reimers Ave, Auckland (a.k.a Rochdene).

Dad with 'the boys'. This was taken, also by automatic shutter release, on a holiday in Tutakaka east of Whangarei (which is north of Auckland).

GNP and WNP. We often stopped off for lunch in Hamilton Gardens (we Purdys love routine - we were taught by a master), at a great spot by the Waikato River. Clearly we were well organised - picnic lunch with thermos of tea.

As a teenager I often attended family holidays to Te Rangiita (Taupo). This was taken on one of our last fishing trips together as a family. Pretty soon I would outgrow them and start some family routines of my own with Jacky.

Deedoo II and the gee-kids (L to R: Adam; Samantha; Jade; Keegan) in the nineties at Mickey D's in Auckland.

One of the last father/son photos I have. Thirty years apart - we were so very different, yet so very alike.

Dad loved the Marx brothers so here's a parting thought from Groucho:

The first thing which I can record concerning myself is, that I was born. These are wonderful words. This life, to which neither time nor eternity can bring diminution - this everlasting living soul, began. My mind loses itself in these depths.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I've been back to south-east Asia but the answer sure ain't there (Cold Chisel)

Ross responded to my last post with the following about his favourite holiday:

Mine was the trip we did when I was 8 to Sydney. So why does that stand out from the crowd? For me it was like taking a native from some long lost tribe and putting them in New York (a la Crocodile Dundee). It was my first trip on a plane (jet too) and the place was so different to home. We had one B&W TV channel in NZ, they had lots in colour. They had all sorts of breakfast cereals (Frosties, Fruit Loops [that was a favorite], Coco Pops etc), milk in cartons (we had glass bottles), Smiths Crisps [still can't get them here but they still have them], Streets ice cream, mum discovered Grissini bread sticks, and we had a soft drink machine in the apartments, wow ! We also did really neat things like the zoo, trip to Bondi beach, Blue mountains, riding the underground train and my all time favorite was that hot doughnut shop in the Wynyard station !!!!.
I remember this holiday pretty well, although I don't remember much about the flight aside from being shocked by the brown landscape as we came in to land in Sydney after the greens of NZ but I very distinctly remember getting off the plane and seeing American soldiers disembarking for their RNR from Vietnam. They looked smart in their green fatigues and crew cuts but they also looked very young.

We stayed in Kings' Cross and walked/used trains a lot to get around. It's weird what lodges in the back of your mind - I remember seeing a gate fold cover of Sgt Peppers and semi wishing I could buy it (I was 10 and still more interested in fancy leather panelled footballs, the Matchbox toy cars and Hot Cars at David Jones than vinyl). I also remember mum insisting we leave the apartment just as a colour version of the Beatles' Yellow Submarine came onto the TV (they had about 5 channels to our one and Ross and I would have stayed in the apartment watching TV all day if we could have). My other (semi-vague) impression is of the wall outside our apartment which I seem to recall was made up of broken bottles embedded into the concrete! This was a startling sight!

The best part of that trip though was undoubtedly that donut machine. As we'd walk down the ramp to the train there would be lots of interesting specialist shops (a joke shop was one) and the smell of freshly made donuts from the donut shop was divine. We'd stop and watch the donuts being made in the window for ages. It was an impossibly exotic sight and watching them was almost as good as eating them. Almost.

I've now completed the great Lost In Space-a-thon. Fairly obvious why season three was the last. They were clearly running out of ideas and retreading both plotlines and monsters from previous seasons was not a way forward. I miss the habit/routine of watching an episode a day but...

Luckily the football seasons have started in America and Europe so I can justify subscribing to Sky again. Arsenal, Rochdale and the Steelers are all off to flyers! The most impressive is Rochdale who are holding their own in League One! Early days I know but so far so good. Arsenal are second behind a rampant Chelsea and the Steelers won their first game in the NFL.

Love and peace - Wozza

Saturday, September 4, 2010

You can turn this world around and bring back all of those happy days. Put your troubles down, it's time to (Madonna)

A recent blog catalogue theme that various bloggers posted on was about 'My Favourite Holiday'.

Co-incidentally, I've actually been thinking about family holidays to Taupo since we went down there to see Ross and Lynda recently.

These Taupo holidays came in two formats. Family One (my mother - Dulcie, father - Graham, me and Ross) at a Te Rangiita house owned by the Jackman family. These happened after we'd had years of holidays usually combined with dad's work trips to The Chateau Tongariro, Sydney, Wairakei, Rotorua, or north to Tutukaka.

Family Two (my wife - Jacky, me, and children - Keegan, Adam, Samantha, Jade) holidays took place at 'The Taupo House' owned by mum and dad.

My memory is a bit shaky on this (Ross will correct me I'm sure) but Family One was from about 1970 (I was about 13) to about 1976. Family Two was from 1984 to about 1999. Does that sound right?

Family One holidays were about getting up early to go fishing with dad, rowing a boat up the Tauranga/Taupo river with Ross, the white horse game, reading books on the beach or on my bunk while the rest of Family One went to Turangi without me and happiness.

Family Two holidays were about cricket on the sloping front lawn, mowing said lawn, playing 'Donkey', watching videos faded by the sunlight streaming into the lounge, Lion walks, the Cobb 'n' Co mini train and swings, the white horse game and 'minus ten cents' for indiscretions, mini golf and much laughter and happiness.

But every single one pales when compared to my favourite ever holiday.

That would be the July 2003 holiday/conference in Edinburgh/UK. My then boss, Alison Annan, was instrumental in kicking off my OE at the tender age of 45!

I'll never forget her words as she 'suggested' I attend the 2003 World Principals' Conference in Edinburgh. I had not travelled due to my fear of flying and this suggestion sent me into complete white hot melt down mode. I immediately rang Jacky (who was delighted dammit) and she said the prophetic words, "What if you love it?". That was enough to spur me on. The school covered my PD costs and we paid for Jacky to attend.

The trip was so memorable on so many levels. Professionally, the conference was superb and, yeah I know it's a cliche, but it inspired me to reach for new heights. The UK (including Edinburgh) was in the grip of a heatwave and Jacky was sick after the flight. Nevertheless she explored Edinburgh and fell in love with it too.

It was a trip of firsts in many ways: first long haul trip to the UK (been back to the place I love four times now); first visit to a Hard Rock Cafe; first visit to Beatle shrines like Menlove Ave., Abbey Road, Penny Lane; first visit to Rochdale and the area of Rochdale where my grandfather spent his first 8 years of life; and most important of all - the first meeting with my cousin, Christine Kirkham (nee Purdy).

Only one person on the planet has known me longer than Christine has a (aside from my parents' friends) and that's my brother, but it took about thirty years to actually meet my beautiful cousin Christine.

When my grandfather returned from a trip back to the UK in 1967 he gave me an address to write to in Rochdale. One of my cousins.

I started writing and Christine began sharing my life. Mainly we'd write about family, football and music. We grew up together in a weird parallel. She in England and me on the other side of the planet in New Zealand. I was ten and she was a bit older. Along the way she got married, her three spectacular children were born. I also got married and our four spectacular children were born. They've all grown up now and have turned into fantastic people.

Music fads came and went. My collection was enriched by Christine's care packages of punk cassettes, Steely Dan, Frank Zappa and lately by Black Sheep Boy.

But still we hadn't met.

In July 2003 we hired a car in Edinburgh and drove to Bury (a little north of Manchester) via Biggar to meet Christine. It was at times an overwhelming experience meeting someone who had morphed over the years, from a pen pal, into the big sister I'd never had. This was coupled with a real feeling of finally belonging that I experienced when I went to the northwest of England. It's hard to explain, but akin to that feeling of rightness and belonging that I had when I first met Jacky.

One of my greatest joys was travelling around Rochdale with Christine and people mistaking us for actual brother and sister. Those Purdy genes are powerful!

After meeting Christine, our trip continued to London. We stayed with our friend Tina and her then partner, Paul, in a one bedroom 4th floor flat in north London - close enough for me to visit Highbury for a look (no games in July obviously). Jacky and I loved staying with them and Tina gave us a grand tour of London that has stayed in my memory, along with everything else about this holiday of a lifetime.

The intensity of that first major overseas trip has stayed with both Jacky and me. It has largely fuelled our wanderlust since then and made us hungry or more.