A Day in the life ….. of Bill Crook                   February 2020
Wrington website Archive
Bill is a regular contributor to the website from New Zealand, having been born whilst his family were living in Lawrence Road. He was a pupil of Wrington Primary School The sixth of February is a public holiday in New Zealand. On that day in 1840 the British Government signed a treaty with the Maori people granting them full rights as British subjects in exchange for full British sovereignty over New Zealand. The deal took place at a small settlement in the far north of New Zealand called Waitangi. And so New Zealand was born and Waitangi day would become its National day. For a number of years it was simply called New Zealand Day and people generally celebrated “two peoples as one”. In the seventies it was rebranded as Waitangi day but this led to an upsurge in protests, by Maori, against perceived unfairness in the way Maori were treated by the colonial process and bias. Some of the protests became quite ugly so many people just ignored the real purpose of the day and “did their own thing”, On Thursday the Sixth of February 2020 I was exactly 76 years and 4 months old. I didn”t turn the television on to watch the Waitangi celebrations simply because I didn’t even think about it. Instead after a light breakfast we decided to wander around a couple of plant nurseries to get some ideas for our new garden. At the second one we sought refuge from the 30degree heat in their popular restaurant. From there to the excellent Hamilton gardens to view the newly opened surrealist theme garden. Hamilton gardens has a number of theme gardens, in the same location, of about half an acre each including tropical, Tudor, Indian, Chinese, Maori and others. The gardens are quite unique and are equal to anything else I’ve seen anywhere in the world. I turned the television on after dinner to watch Elton John! On Thursday the sixth of February 1952 I was exactly 9 years and 4 months old. Couldn’t turn the tele on because we didn’t have one! Instead another day in room 3 with teacher Miss. G. Miss. G ruled with an iron fist and a wooden ruler. A weapon with whose skills she was unparalleled. For some minor infringement Johnny would receive a vicious thrashing on his knuckles. For a similar offence Lily would get a light brushing over the knuckles with the stern warning “A little harder next time, dear.” And we would have to recite the times tables. How I hated them and would pray not to get picked… especially on the 7, 8 or 9 times!! Reading practice was taking turns from a book. The book was The Water babies. Boring! Where were you Harry Potter? On this particular day in the early afternoon Miss. G solemnly announced that the whole class were to assemble in room 5! Oh no, what have we done. That’s the HEADMASTERS room. Filing into number 5 gave some relief when we realised it was the whole school assembling and not just us. Mr. W. the headmaster sat behind his desk which was raised on a pedestal quietly smoking his senior service cigarette. When all appeared settled Mr. W stubbed out his cigarette, stood up and after a few introductory words,tearfully said “The King is dead” and then added “Long live the King”. A muffled gasp went round the room and one of the older boys fainted. It didn’t mean much to me at my age but ‘long live the king’ confused me utterly and for quite a long time. I don’t remember what was said after that but we were ushered back into room 3 where we told we could go home early that day, YIPPEE !!! Events real. Names changed. Photo. Bill in new surrealist garden.