Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Grandpa

24 Responses

  • merc,

    Good on ya mate.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    It's been a brilliant year with Public Address.

    Merry Christmas to all!

    Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report

  • noizyboy,

    Ya, merry christmas!

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 171 posts Report

  • BenWilson,

    Season's Greetings to all.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • nic.wise,

    Russ, thanks for shaing that. It bought a smile to my face, and (nearly) a tear to my eye.

    Thanks for all the interesting reading and discussion thru out the year.


    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 87 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    Russ, thanks for shaing that. It bought a smile to my face, and (nearly) a tear to my eye.

    I was having a little cry as I finished it. As I said to someone else, the beauty of having a blog is that you can tell the stories you need to tell.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Tony Christie,

    Thanks, Russell, for sharing such a tribute. I have to say that after reading it my thoughts, after dabbing my strangely damp eyes, were that I hope such a text could be written for me 20 years after I'm gone.

    I've been a (mostly) silent reader for many years, your words have followed me in all of my travels since leaving NZ in 1994. I have appreciated them, laughed with them, sometimes gritted my teeth with them, and often applauded them. Thank you.

    I wish you, you family, and all the readers, a happy and safe Christmas and a joyous New Year.

    Brisbane, Austalia • Since Dec 2006 • 2 posts Report

  • James Griffin,

    Thanks for that, Russell.

    Love and best wishes to you and your family.

    Since Nov 2006 • 28 posts Report

  • Deborah,

    Thank you, Russell, for today's post, and for Public Address, especially PA System, and Hard News, which I have been reading since about 1997 now.

    And even though I have long since given up on all belief, in the words of our old Irish parish priest back when I was a schoolgirl, may all the PA folk have a happy and holy Christmas, and a blessed New Year.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report

  • Nick Westgate,

    So *that's* the house that Jack built! No wonder everyone's talking about it - definitely something to be proud of.

    Here's a toast to all the old boys in our life who we don't get to see enough - or at all - and to the memory of the hardships they endured for us. Being away from family can be arduous but inuring.

    My eyes too were strangely damp at the end of that piece.
    Thanks Russell, and merry xmas to all.

    Tokyo • Since Dec 2006 • 8 posts Report

  • Michael Savidge,

    Poignant stuff Russell, thanks.

    It reminded me of my Grandad Bob, who passed on his love of carpentry to my brother. Bro is now an esteemed master builder in Queenstown, and will likely be passing on his skills to his own newborn son.

    I still have some of my wooden toys that were painstakingly crafted by Grandad before arthritis muted his abilities...

    He was of Swedish stock and fought for the Poms in WWII before emigrating to NZ. He was an incredibly generous soul who didn't say much but had one of the twinkliest smiles I've ever encountered...

    Good on you for providing a space to share these stories...

    Merry Xmas all...

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 324 posts Report

  • Dale Griffiths,

    Thanks for sharing this, I enjoyed your story and found it truely moving. Christmas is a time when we all remember family; my Grandfather too was a huge presence in my young life, as we lived in his house in Ponsonby. I couldn't go anywhere in the neighbourhood without being known as Ernie's grandson. As a result of one of these friendships I can claim to have spent my first New Year, 50 years ago next week, in my pram at the Gluepot .
    My Mum never saw my two children, a result of her early death at 59. I wish she'd had the chance to see my kids and my niece whom she never met. There's a streak of stubborness in my daughter that comes from her; it would be an interesting relationship to have watched.
    Warm wishes to you and the family, both the Brown family in the Point and the much larger Public Address one. A Happy Christmas and Wonderful New Year to all.

    Te Wai Orea • Since Nov 2006 • 6 posts Report

  • Simon Grigg,

    Hi Russell,
    What a wonderful piece. I lost my grandmother just before Xmas whilst I was living in Sydney 27 years ago. She was a wonderful, strong woman, and like you I didn't get the chance to say good-bye.

    All the best of the season to you and your family from Sanur Beach (where NZ doesn't seem quite so far away now thanks to this forum...I might be a few thousand kms away but, like some others on here I guess I'm always a New Zealander)

    Merry Xmas


    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3284 posts Report

  • Gary Hutchings,

    Thank you so much for that sharing that Russell,

    My Grandfather passed on 2 weeks ago, and although he had a great run to be 93 as with all eventual passings it will tinge this Christmas with sadness.

    Your story touched a nerve that is still raw, but I hope that in time I will be able to reflect back as you have done today,

    Merry Christmas and Aroha nui to you all

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 108 posts Report

  • Muriel Lockheed,

    What a great memory and tribute Russell.

    Thanks for the sharing.

    Merry Xmas to all

    Wellywood • Since Nov 2006 • 44 posts Report

  • Brenda Leeuwenberg,

    That was a great story Russell, thank you :)

    And thank you and all the contributors for another excellent year of Public Address. Over the last 4 years that I've been away it has been my primary source of NZness and about the only thing I read consistently.

    Prettige Kerst

    Amsterdam • Since Dec 2006 • 2 posts Report

  • Richard Body,

    Thanks, Russell. As my father would say, that was 'real nice'.

    Happy Christmas one and all.

    Oxford • Since Nov 2006 • 8 posts Report

  • Ian Hickling,

    You're lucky Russell to have spent a lot of time with your extended family as a child. My parents were pommy emigrants in the early 60s so we only had each other. Christmas was always a family time and now being away from Godzone it's tough having only our own small family here. I've felt the same pangs of loneliness away from home that you describe. Christmas is a fantastic time to see through the eyes of our small kids, but also a bittersweet time of missing our own families.
    The summer holidays of my childhood always seem to shine brighter in the memory at this time of year!
    Merry Christmas all, and thanks Russell and your colleagues for PA - it's really brought NZ closer to this far-off part of the world.

    Barbados • Since Nov 2006 • 25 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    Christmas was always a family time and now being away from Godzone it's tough having only our own small family here. I've felt the same pangs of loneliness away from home that you describe.

    On the other hand, I have to say that Christmases I spent with friends in London were some of the best I've ever had. Your friends become your family. And, of course, you can be a lot naughtier with your friends than your family ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • chris bramwell,

    that was a lovely tribute to your grandad ... I lost both my grandads while living in London too - in fact I was living just down the road on Friary Estate in Peckham. It is tough - but I think grandparent's understand - I spoke to one of my grandad's days before he died and he was adamant that I didn't go home - he just wanted to slip away and not bother anyone - so while it was wrenching, I knew he would have been annoyed if I had made the trip! and I'm with you on the orphan Christmas' - always slightly bent and so hysterically memorable, that part of london was a blast - don't know if it still is - I hope so ...

    Have a great christmas Russell, and here's to another incoming year of hard news all round ...

    Since Nov 2006 • 3 posts Report

  • Helen Keivom,

    Brought a lump to the throat. Read it in the midst of writing shamefully belated xmas email to family overseas. Will paste it. Thank you.

    Since Nov 2006 • 11 posts Report

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Thank you for sharing that with us Russell, warts and all

    It is always interesting to know where people come from

    And yes even though I am a "right wing wanker" well compared to your normal readers, it brought a tear to my eye

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report

  • David Swift,


    Fantastic and very moving piece about your grandpa.

    I am going to have a ''1991 South Island beach moment'' myself very soon.

    I understand that feeling totally.

    Not been home for ELEVEN YEARS but landing in Chch February 10.

    It will be a VERY happy new year for me.

    You too I hope. Great forum/s


    Whitley Bay, England • Since Dec 2006 • 7 posts Report

  • Jason Kemp,

    Thanks Russell - a moving piece about family and the hopes and dreams we all have. After 50 yrs in Auckland area my parents have moved South of South Island and I hope theri grandchildren will still rmember them as well as you have done. This is the first Christmas for many years we haven't had them around but they too are on an adventure.

    To good memories and strong hopes - and the creation of good new memories in 2007- thanks again.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 368 posts Report

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