Memories, Written by Ron Cone, 2001

I was born on Good Friday and lived at Winchmore. Here I started at the Lynhurst school. Things that stand out of this period were that the school had a swimming pool, senior pupils had a vegetable garden and the junior room seemed a long way from the entrance gate and of Reg Miles ringing the school bell for ages when we learnt the war was over. My next school was at Lauriston. I stayed with Uncle Claude and family at Barr Hill until my father got the married couple's position at Reg Maidens by the Lauriston railway line.
View Hill was my next school from 1948 to 1951. This was beyond Oxford where we had some land in boulder country near the Waimakariri River above the George Bridge where the bullock drays used to cross the river. The house had no power so we had a coal range, candles, kerosene lamps and a windmill pump. As was usual, there was an outhouse building-come wash-house with a copper for boiling the washing, for making soap and the preserving was done there by the overflow preserving method for bottling the fruit etc.
We moved next to Christchurch, almost on the boundary with St Albans and were only three blocks from Papanui Road. For those first few weeks we heard every tram that went to and fro and it took some time for a country lad to get used to the noise. I now attended Heaton Intermediate part 1951 and 52 - this was in the Heaton Homestead Buildings and then on to 1953 to 55 to Papanui (Technical) High School. Next to the Northlands Shopping centre where there are now classrooms, potatoes were planted as a fundraiser for the swimming pool and changing roomS. Senior students taking advanced building subjects constructed some of the additional amenities under staff direction - it was all hand tool use in those days. I started a 10,000 hr Carpentry and Joinery Apprenticeship in 1956. Some of the major works I was on were the Princess Margaret Hospital, Christchurch Railway Station (now "Science Alive" Building) Windsor House, Bluff Harbour Scheme, Lane Walker Rudkin, Bank of New Zealand. After completing my apprenticeship, I was a fireman with the Christchurch fire brigade 1963 for two years followed by work again in construction.
During my apprenticeship, I did my Compulsory Military Training, 27th Intake, most of which was at Waiouru. As I lived in one of the main centres and was able to say that I had some (on my mother's side) Scottish ancestry, I was posted to A Sqdn 1st Armoured Car Regiment based at (1958-60) Addington, next to the Prison. I continued my service with 2 breaks until I reached retiring age for rank.
I was very fortunate to be involved in many exercises in many parts of New Zealand, often with troops from other countries. One exercise for Armoured Corps, selected personnel, was in Fiji for 10 days in 1973 - jungle training, very hot and humid compared to Canterbury climate and there was rain at some stage every day. As it was out of the country, the pay arrangements were different and we were taxed on rations and quarters - rations were by way of a ration pack - these were at least five with some variation but as Murphy's Laws dictate, I had Pack D each day we were in the "jungle"; the quarters were a half shelter each.
On the years the Unit had name changes and a reduction of numbers subunits till it was reduced to a single squadron or more recently absorbed into other unit.
In 1984 I was awarded the TF Efficiency Medal for X years consecutive service (some people said X years of undetected crime/misdemeanours.) Throughout all the changes the unit had an affiliation with the Black Watch Regiment and the Royal Scot Greys. and as a No 1 dress, we had on issue, a Black Watch kilt and the RSM/SSM had a grey beret.
Bruce Keddie and Ron Cone awarded the TF Efficiency Medal 1984 I married in 1969 and shortly afterwards I obtained a shiftwork position at A M Plastic products with blow-moulding machines. Shift work allowed me 3 - 4 hours daylight-time per day on 2 weeks out of three, to build our first home on the large back half acre section I had purchased in 1964 at 9a Grassmere Street. I had some help nailing up framework and standing it up and that first day of framing, our daughter Angela was born so was trying to be in many places at once.
My sinuses became affected by the plastics dry powder used to colour the natural resin so I returned to open-air building work. Later I was to suffer a major chill doing remedial work on the windows and doors openings, on a large open air gym at the new Girls High school. An Xray and I was recommended to give up manual full time work to avoid a bleak future so took up a variety of clerical positions on short term contract - roof contract estimation etc. At one stage along with 2 others, we formed a company and did plan take-off estimation. We were just starting to get some of the establishment costs back, when the then Leader of the Opposition (PM later) stated in his speech that the other lot were going to take GST off as a re-election carrot. The phone lines went dead - and most of the people we had quoted for roof work, thought they could save 10% if they waited till after the election. It did not happen - although they saved a little as bank interest rates did reduce slightly. One client whose daughter worked in the Loans department also experienced very little work as a lot of Bank clients were holding back plus one of our major material supplier stated it usually became a little less hectic at that time of year but this was a little like a tap being turned off. So a 2:1 majority decision was to stop trading and bite the bullet and suffer the loss - ouch. In hindsight, it proved to be the best move - 8 other similar companies went into liquidation within 2 years although some sprung up again with a different name.
Since then, I have had some community Task Force and Task Force Green contract positions and am presently with the Youth Education Service of Special (now Specialist) Education Service which is in the early stages of being "disestablished" maybe just a different umbrella directly under MOE rather than a separate identity.
As a consequence of the x-ray, we thought to look for a smaller property to reduce the amount of physical labour on home-property tasks. Nothing fitted the bill so we were given the OK to subdivide (Grassmere Street) but with a proviso that the garage needed altered for access and that the right of way used by 4 properties required sealing. Later, after considering all the options, we got the property surveyed, altered the garage, sealed the drive, sold the house on Lot 1 13000M* and retained Lot 2, a 600 m* site to build a smaller and more economical to run and maintain home. We purchased a smaller house on a leasehold section while getting started on the planning. We went as far as possible with available funds, sold it and have been living in rented flats with Janet, Heather's elder daughter, while we proceed. I have been able to do most of the work myself so far. I do not over-exert so it does take time but am able to use up a lot of material I have accumulated over the years.
While reading the family history, it dawned on me - I am keeping up the family tradition - our new home will have/has some of the interior walls and ceiling over bedrooms and entrance hall and passage are concrete as a heat-storage mass in the winter-time and I hope to achieve a even temperature over the day, regardless of external temperature.
Albert Charles at Waitohi built a concrete dairy; George at Rangiora 1888 built a concrete house; my father messed around with concrete wherever we were, even Uncle Ted said he was turning the mixer when he was in his teens and Alex Drummond at "Rosedale" Lauriston, about 1900 had a complete house of concrete.
I have become a volunteer (first Monday in the month) doing 3- 4 hours work keeping the memorial spic and span. At morning tea time it is an amazing time just to be there with guys who in some cases, met over 60 years ago and had maintained contact.

Morning tea - the working party at Memorial Park

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