Bob the Builder

Ahukawakawa swamp Sept 2021

In the depth of the woods, nature leaned into me; shading the ache of humanness with loyal loving trees  (Angie Weiland Crosby)

Poppa Honnor left school aged 15 to become a builder.  He has been building for 68 years.  Some of my earliest memories are of visiting his workshop with the trailer to pick up materials or accompanying him to quote jobs on a Saturday morning.  Neither my brother Guy or I followed in our fathers footsteps.  I can’t hammer in a nail straight.  When Guy helped Dad on jobs he was paid $10 a day and it was the family joke this was more than his contribution was worth.  Out of his five grandsons the only glimmer of hope came from Rory.  Rory has always enjoyed, and found solace, in building with lego.  When he became a teenager this passion expanded to include construction with wood.  Hard materials technology is his favourite subject at school and in spite of his physical challenges he continues to build high quality items.  His wooden beer carriers have been very popular.  Rory is lucky he has found a place with the New Plymouth Men’s Shed with support from (the pretty incredible) Peter.  He and Peter built a tool box this month and Poppa Honnor bought him some new tools to put in it.  Thank you both for supporting one of Rory’s dreams. 

While I am a failure as a builder I do have a deep love for rakau trees.  Wood is a beautiful thing.  It is natural, strong, renewable and good for health and wellbeing.  One of the gifts for my birthday every year is a walk in the ngahere forest.  This year we decided to tackle the Pouakai crossing in Te Papakura o Taranaki.  We have tramped the different sections but never the full length.  An early start meant breath taking clear views of the maunga and Ahukawakawa Swamp.  It was a full day’s tramping as we squeezed in a diversion to Bell’s Falls for the first time.  The ngahere was every shade of green and brown and we enjoyed the company of tui, titipounamu rifleman, matata fernbird and popokatea whitehead.  The predator traps set within the park were full of rats.  The shock of the day was passing a tramper with a pet cat on his backpack near Pouakai Hut.  A quick call to the DOC Taranaki duty number meant a Ranger was able to intercept him as he exited the park.  While were glad to see Sam and Caitlyn at the North Egmont Visitors Centre carpark after 9hrs 40 minutes largely on our feet, but it was an amazing day.  Thank you Jo for caring for Rory and keeping him occupied. 

This week we had a visit from Grannie Gardiner.  Rory enjoyed his first volunteer session at Doggy Day Care run by Hearing Dogs NZ.  On Thursday he had his quarterly testosterone injection.  I have been trying to progress the review of the decision on Rory’s ACC application but I am struggling to find a Paediatric Radiation Oncologist in NZ who will produce a report.  These specialists are few and far between and apparently ‘to busy’.  We may have to seek input from Australia.  Rory stayed the night for the first time at Sam and Caitlyn’s.  It was a great experience for him but we forget how reliant he is on rails in the bathrooms and how our house is set up to allow him freedom of movement with his walker.  It frightens me when he tries to walk without the walker, swaying, staggering and tripping.  His cerebellar ataxia is definitely worsening when we hoped it would stabilise.