First visit

It started to rain heavily, so we stopped for a minute under a big tree outside a catholic boys school.

All Blacks had been there.

Parents in suits and big cars raced up to the gutters and stopped just long enough to let out a gangly teenager or two.

The rain showed no sign of stopping so we headed for a café just up the road.

Inside ‘Dream Cuisine’, a table of about 7 middle aged women discussed whose parents had mafia connections and drank coffee.

“Oh so you’ll need a wine then?…and put your feet up….haw, haw haw”

“…See ya girls”, said Denise

“See ya later Denise”, said the girls.

I looked for something to read.

The magazine selection was a huge stack of ‘Life and Leisure’ and a real estate pamphlet or two.

The headline on the local paper read, “Wheeler’s big splash. Record Low for interest rates”

Through the window, at a table on the footpath, more walkers were sheltering from the rain. Two older couples – the women dressed in white and bright pink, and the men in beige pants and walking shoes- discussed the inconvenient down-poor.

A guy wearing head-to-toe high vis walked into the dairy next to the café.

I watched him come back out and get into a beaten up white work truck parked across the road.

The rain stopped – so we decided to leave- and then started again – so we sat at a bus stop around the corner.

Two women from the café wearing active wear struggled to convince two labradors to get in the boot of a 4-wheel drive VW.

Sam seemed keen to get in, but for some reason his owner wanted Zack to get in first. Zack wasn’t so keen.

Across the road, a house displayed an orange banner:


Further down, at Leybourne Circle – many houses had been boarded up.

Others were no longer there, and some were in the process of being pulled down.



Big metal fences had been erected around the huge areas of land and black material hid the view from passers-by.

We looked over the top.

An old man across the road saw us taking photos, waved his umbrella and told us to bugger off.


The houses may have been gone, but in the old back yards there were still lime trees, and peach trees, and taro beginning to sprout up from the ground again once the diggers and bulldozers had given it a chance.

A mature peach tree grew out over a footpath.

I was picking one or two when I heard a car reversing quickly down the drive-way next to me.

Thinking that maybe I shouldn’t be picking other  peoples fruit, I walked away quickly before hearing a ‘toot toot’ behind me.

I turned around, with the peaches still in my red hands.

“You wanna take some more bro? Help yourself”

A guy in his 20’s lent out his car window.

“oh I though you were gunna tell me off” I thought out loud.

“Nar, take as many as you want bro, they’re pretty good”

I picked a couple more.



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