Thursday, November 15, 2007

Long Time ago when we were fab!

This post is a little different to my usual ravings here on my blog, but this was a pretty special moment for me, so just wanted to document it.

Steve and Dee Spinx, and Holly and Graham Clark.

Me and Steve Spinxs in 2007, and below, Steve Spinx and me in 1973

When my family emigrated to New Zealand in 1969, there were very few English people in the area, and through my early school years there I was treated as a bit of a novelty by many of the kids.

I was quite popular with the girls for this reason, and frequently - to my fathers amusement - called upon by the young ladies of the area.

I recall one such day when one of the most attractive girls in our area of Bellevue, Kerry Heane came to visit, along with her friend Marie.

They rode round to my house on a horse. I had no way of getting up onto the thing, so my dad picked me up, and sat me behind Kerry, I still recall to this day, hanging on to her for dear life as she galloped off down the road.

For some reason though I didnt have the same effect on the boys! - The opposite in fact! and I recall being the object of attention of several bullies for a couple of years after I arrived in the country.

Things started to change as more POMS moved into the area, and before too long had a small group of ex pat Brits as friends.

Stephen Turner
, Stephen Spinx, John Batt, Mark Stubbings, Stuart Burns just to mention a few.

It wasnt just the kids though - When a new family moved into the area, you soon found out about them, and before too long would meet up, whether it was through football, or via another English friend.

First up, I met Stephen Turner. Stephen and I both loved football, and we were both pretty good. At lunchtime we would get a soccer ball and go down to the field.

The kiwis were hopeless at soccer, and we would dribble all around, keeping the ball off them, untill we were too tired to carry on, and then CHIP the ball over the crowd of kids to the other, who would carry on and do the same. We would keep the ball to ourselves for the entire lunchtime on occasion.

Stephen and I went through Intermediate, and college together. My brother Jeff was best friends with Steves brother, Mike

Stephens family just couldn't settle, and returned to the UK about 4 times before finally settling in Christchurch, NZ where they live today.

I have seen Stephen several times, and we keep in touch.

My very best friend through these early years though was Stephen Spinx.

Steve turned up in Tauranga in the early 70s. He was so cool. I remember him wearing these wicked Ben Sherman shirts with round collars. His school shes were wicked, and had big thick leather soles that were wider than the shoe itself. He also brought with him something really NEW. Smelly stuff for men!
All that was available here in those days was Old Spice, and that's what your dad wore. Steve brought with him the very latest trendy stuff called BRUT.

Anyway, Steve and I did everything together - fishing, football, listening to the BBC on the radio to hear the latest SLADE or Suzie Quatro song on Top of the Pops.
We used to go out at night-time, and raid peoples fruit trees in their back garden (scrumping as we called it!).

We never stole anything or touched anything else, only mandarins, oranges, feijoas etc - just the thrill of being somewhere and doing something we shouldn't be doing.
I got my licence at 15, and we used to go out visiting girls. I remember one particular party, and all the hottest chicks in our year at school were there. Kerry Smith, Michelle Longley, Michelle Nicie, and we were playing spin the bottle.

Steve really had the hots for Kerry Smith, and he spun the bottle and it pointed to her, so off they went into the bushes together.
Steve and I were both really good at football, and played for the reps, and later Tauranga City together. We also started a 5-a-side team called the Dominoes. My mother worked at the Bellevue chip shop with Steves mother Pat, and my brother was friends with Steves brother Del.

As you see, we shared those memorable, and formative years together - some of the most enjoyable days of my life.
Anyway, both Steves and my parents returned to the UK, and we lost touch with each other - that is until recently - courtesy of the internet. We corresponded occasionally, and then Steve informed me that he and his wife Dee were coming to New Zealand to attend a wedding, and would I like to meet up. So, over 30 years since we last saw each other, we met again.

Steve and Dee, and Holly and I got on like a house on fire, and had a very nice time together on a couple of occasions.


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