Is it just that The Specutitillator is getting old, or was this year a bit less eventful in Devo than last year?
2010 saw the cloying issues of Lake Rd, cyclists on Lake Rd, cyclists on Mt Victoria, and rocks from Mt Victoria falling on naked Lake Rd cyclists balanced precariously on Penny Farthings.
2010 also saw the spectacular kerfuffle involving the very naughty but redeemable (shut up, God told me) Vaughan Clements, the three illustrious women of St Pauls, and Vaughan’s depiction of same nailed to the cross.
Given the untrammeled heights of this scandal, it perhaps should be no surprise that 2011’s big story was of the ongoing fight over the future of St Paul’s. Having emptied the beleaguered church of its congregation, the clots in the upper echelons of the Pressbuttons decided to sell the church, the graveyard and its occupants, who as the Spectrelator reported, had only recently got off back to sleep after all the arguing in the church had stopped.
Once again, the Amazons of St Paul’s (ASP) flew into action, seeing off both the church and Harcourts of Takapuna, who somewhat dishonourably washed their hands of the potential controversy (not to mention possible illegality) of selling the church. Wouldn’t it be great if a large business surprised us once in awhile.
However, the controversy provided Devonport’s own Red Adair, Gail Lyons, with an excuse to research the church’s history, which threw up some fascinating insight into Devo’s history. From this we discovered the tragic story of George Deverall, a young boy accidentally killed by a “toy cannon” (how can a cannon be a toy if it has the power to kill?) who is buried outside the current graveyard, right next to the church. If anyone deserves to rest in peace, it must be this little fellow.
Another of Devonport’s historic buildings was not so lucky. The Masonic Tavern’s fate was finally sealed, in what became a divisive and bitter fight between elements of the community and the developers. As the two sides became polarized, the chances of a compromise were lost, and the council ended up footing a legal bill of several hundred thousand dollars. The following month, the Mazza raised $7,000 for the Christchurch relief fund, demonstrating what a valuable community resource it could be. The Speculator understand that despite the intentions of Michael Boulgaris, none of the proposed apartments have yet sold.
The Food and Wine Festival came and went, with little apparent interest in, or involvement of the community. Plans are afoot to re-invent the festival next year to make it more inclusive of local businesses. The only incident of note was a louth, who pissed up on drugs, attacked his reflection in the window of Platters restaurant. Ironically, this action actually saved his life; such was his intake of drugs that at one point the Police feared he had died. Only his actions in attracting attention to himself saved him.
The weather during the first three months of the year proved changeable to say the least. The remnants of a cyclone dropped 85mm on Devo in one day. Another storm coincided with a spring tide, and Lake Rd and the Navy grounds flooded. This, combined with the terrifying images of the Japan tsunami prompted The Speculator to do some analysis on the tsunami threat to Devonport. Yet another storm emptied 50mm on Devonport in one night, causing The Speculator’s disoriented and exhausted rain gauge to report that it was snowing.
Which it did, but a few months later.
April saw Lord “Roger” Brittenden of Devonport instigate the Devonport Borough Council (In Exile), which held its first meeting later that month. While the first meeting was well-attended, numbers have slowly declined ever since. The meeting continues to be a useful depository of Devonport issues however, and provides a less intimidating forum than that at the monthly local board meeting.
Perhaps in response to the churlish behaviour of the Presbyterian oligarchy, May witnessed God’s wrath being visited upon the North Shore. A mini-tornado swept through Albany, and a power outage took down most of Devonport’s power for several hours. The power outage almost coincided with “mad dog” US pastor Harold Camping’s prediction of the apocalypse, but was instead traced to an insulation fault in the transformer outside Calliope Rd dairy.
The dairy itself was transformed later in the year – or at least half of it, and not by God or from DC to AC – but by the ex-owners of Ice It – into the Calliope Rd Café. The CRC is the latest addition to Devonport’s café scene, and has proven to be a hit with the locals of Upper Devonport Slopes.
Wanda of Ike’s also suffered her own tragic Act of God; for He smote her house with a fireball that destroyed everything, although mercifully no lives were lost. The community gathered around, and Wanda was soon replete with an almost entirely new set of possessions. And He did smile upon the gentle burghers of Devonport and Rewarded them.
With another rain storm of almost biblical proportions. Indeed, so biblical were the rain’s proportions that the solid precipitation formed an arc route between two insulators on a power pole, again plunging Devonport into darkness for several hours.
July was a relatively event-filled month for Devonport. The owner of Zest got herself the wrong type of attention for losing her cool in front of a café load of someone else’s customers, a mild earthquake rattled some daggs in Devonport and Jacko Gill started tossing planets around for fun, scaring all the other competitors at the Junior World Champs and causing them to lose. It also snowed in Devonport, which is ridiculous.
July was also the month the sad saga of Benjamin Trip concluded. Trip – the lad who drove his car drunk through the window of Art By The Sea – had the book thrown at him, and was then thrown out of the Navy. He was last seen heading for Christchurch, where he will hopefully help with the rebuilding, while doing some of his own.
August saw the death of Devonport icon Dame Christine Cole-Cately. Dame Christine was awarded the Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in June 2006 for services to literature.
September and October were overwhelmed by the RWC, although Devonport itself was underwhelmed by the complete lack of any significant spike in visitors. The only apparent initiative to attract visitors over this side of the harbour was implemented by this indomitable organ; publishing a brochure to Auckland’s iSite’s on the wonders of Devonport.
The opening night also saw possibly the world’s longest traffic jam in Devonport, that ran from House of Toys to the Westhaven Marina. The Spec also had its biggest day ever, with thousands of views of the Lake Rd webcam.
The Speculator also captured an exclusive of the North Head gun firing during the RWC opening ceremony. However, the dude in charge forgot to bring his flash powder; consequently The Speculator achieved a photo of the night sky with an unimpressive grey ring of cordite smoke barely visible against the backdrop, while having his eardrums blown into the harbour.
November saw the explosion of controversy around St Paul’s; and there were also fireworks at Cheltenham Beach after a gathering of louths who began firing skyrockets at Police was dispersed. Eight arrests were made, half of which were local kids. The Speculator proposed a Nana Mouskouri evening at next year’s Guy Fawkes on Cheltenham Beach; not even the most determined louth could bear being seen at that (and The Speculator will be taking photos).
The latter months also saw a smattering of criminal activity in the shape of burglaries; while arrests were made, several businesses in Devonport were targeted by a thief or thieves still at large.
So – a year of relative calm in our urban paradise, to contrast with the tumult in North Africa and the Middle East, and the growing financial crisis in the US and particularly Europe.
Next time you want to hoot at someone driving badly, or get cross with a kid on a skateboard, bear in mind how lucky we are to live on this extraordinary, peaceful peninsula.
By his own admission, The Speculum occasionally fails this test, recently storming from his motor vehicle to confront a louth in the car behind him who was honking impatiently while the Speculum attempted to safely negotiate an intersection. Reflecting upon the incident over a Pims No.1 Cup and a van Hartog cigar, it was obvious such a reaction was excessive, uncivilised and potentially foolhardy. Such a minor louthful transgression never justifies such a response from an adult.
Be safe with your kids over the holidays. Dads; your mission is to give your sons some quality time. This includes a) teaching them how to shake hands properly; b) how to be polite to their mother even when she is being a bit annoying; c) how to talk to someone you are cross at in a way that does not involve shouting; and d) re-enacting on a daily basis the moment Stephen Donald kicked the penalty in the RWC final. This can be alternated with a re-enactment (complete with full line-out) of Tony Woodcock’s try. Then send in your photos of these and we will publish them.
Merry Xmas All – thanks for reading The Speculator.
Coming soon: The Devonport Speculator’s Community Awards For Noteworthy Behaviour.