23 June 2012

Loose ends

Sue and I were up in Auckland this morning for the anniversary Mass of St Josemaría.  The Mass was at the Auckland Cathedral; afterwards we went to lunch together, in Mt Eden - a location that brought back to us memories from our three years living there.  As the next two or three posts will bring that period to a close, I thought, this morning, at just how very many details of our first three years in New Zealand have had to be missed out in such a series of brief memoirs like this:

  • Raewyn and Bronwyn - I don't know when or how we got the two white cats, whom we named with those names. Did we have other cats? Probably. We have had cats almost all of our married life.
  • Our two cars! Well, really we only had the Morris Minor for a very short time:
  • Sue and I were going to go somewhere for a short holiday, I think, and we lent it to Ross Jackson - who had the misfortune to be rear-ended by someone.  This turned out to be responsible for the only car I made a profit on.  As I recall, we paid $50 for it - and the wrecker gave me $65 for it for the parts.

    The other care was the Morris (or Austin - same thing, really, I think) Mini-Minor:

    (I hasten to add that neither of the above photos is of our actual cars; they are just random ones I have grabbed off the web).

    We got a car because it seemed impractical to try to transport Johnny around with us on our motorbike.
    • My fairly extensive involvement with computers at the University of Auckland.
    I was hired to teach linguistics.  Nevertheless, it was far from accidental that I had been Bruce Biggs's programmer in Honolulu - and I was that in Auckland as well.  For the whole three years that I was a lecturer there, I carried out a variety of programming tasks for Bruce, including the programming part of producing an English-Maori version of Herbert Williams's Dictionary of the Maori Language.  At the time the University had one computer: a Burroughs B6700 - which was, in fact, an amazing machine for its time.  It was a programmer's dream - the processor executed a modified form of the ALGOL programming language.  It was very fast and efficient (for its day :-)).  During those three years working with the computer centre people, I became friends with two persons in particular who have been very important to me, in various ways, since: Nevil Brownlee - now a lecturer in computer science at the University, and Alan Creak - my teacher when, later, I finally did the only formal study I have ever done in computing (my Diploma in Computer Science), and my friend now, though I see him far too seldom.

    • Yapese!
    Yes, I worked continually on Yapese through the whole time.  This (finally) produced the two books I have mentioned.  It also resulted in our moving to Yap in 1976.

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