Ian Mc Kinnon Drive links Upper Queen Street, Symonds Street and ( via exit 426A ) the north bound lanes of the Southern Motorway with urban routes: Dominion Road, New North Road and Sandringham Road.
Its wide curve encourages driving over the speed limit, perhaps leading to the January 17th death of a teenager and the severe injuries of his fellow passengers. There is armco on the outside of curve, a barrier between Ian Mc Kinnon and the low trees beside the Western Motorway . The driver of the black Holden decapitated two trees on the unfenced inside of the curve before making a crescent around a third.
Twenty five years ago I walked down Ian Mc Kinnon reflecting on both the movie I had just seen and the experience I had the previous weekend. I don’t remember the name of the movie; quite probably subtitled or a science fiction parody. I remembered the weekend; a facilitated unnerving step into the subconscious. Seductive.
I didn’t discover till twenty years later that the grade seperated intersection that demarcated the boundary between Ian McKinnon Drive and Dominion Road was the only element executed of a plan to construct a motorway along the path of Dominion Road. It would have linked the present central motorway junction to SH20 and the airport. Stuck last year on a bus to Auckland Airport and then Hamilton I considered the cost would have been worth it.
Walking along Ian Mc Kinnon Drive and then Dominion Road I had no knowledge of what would unfold in my life in the years beyond. I did know that I had to walk fast-ish to make the next screening of “The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, Her Lover”.
A week after a weekend of attempting to crack open the sandstone surrounding my heart the opening scenes of TCTFHWHL were hard going. Two hours of cruelty, misery and revenge were not mitigated by a younger Dame Helen shagging in the restaurant toilets. The movie did join my list of color memories.
My first color memories came from Christmas time in the small coastal town of Whangamata. The colored lights strung along the cabanas on the harbour front, the incandescent Christmas tree lights, the blue and brown rubber reindeer under the tree and the ‘stained glass windows” we made at school with cellophane.
Some days when the sandstone around my heart needs a shake I walk along Dominion Road making some new color memories.
He was three, on Sundays we would go to Geoff’s and buy a balsa kit. A sheet of pre-punched profiles that would build a dinosaur.
Crossing the road to Boost I would have coffee while we would assemble the dinosaur. His hair blonde and curly, happy.
A man in his late forties frequently sat with his seventy something mother, she talked about the priest, he listened .
The last time we went there he was twelve, I was forty-nine. His hair straighter and darker. He had a ham and cheese toasted sandwich, feeling grey haired I had coffee. No trip to Geoff’s, he read a copy of PC Power Play.
Being Sunday, a man in his late fifties sat with his eighty something mother, she complained about the rest home food. Dutifully he took the twenty and two tens she handed him then paid the bill.
In late 2014, may be October or November, I sat at the same table eating a ham and cheese toasted. In the afternoon I would pick him up, now thirteen, and we would visit his grandparents. His grandmother gave him five dollars for cleaning the fish pond, I threw a bloated goldfish into the bush filled gully.
Back at the cafe a man in his late fifties sat alone, apart from flowers wrapped in cellophane, eating bacon and eggs with toast.
Yesterday I walked past. The frontage,decor,layout,furniture was the same, new name. No espresso or ham and cheese toasted, Signage and menu in Chinese, Yelp suggesting it is a dessert cafe.
The man to the right asks me where I am getting my internet from. “Dunno, I’ll see whats out there.” He confides in me that the last time he connected, it was to the ASB Bank.
Sipping my coffee I try Spark, Auckland Council, Skype Wifi and then giving up and tethering to my phone. Frustratingly it connects to the phone but not the internet. I restart the wifi adapter and it eventually connects.
The man asks me how I cracked my screen. “I dropped it onto a tiled floor.”
He tells me he is 82. “I was born when Hitler came to power and I have been fighting Nazi’s all my life.” Proudly he smiles ” I’ve been banned from all the talk-back stations.”
Observing that the weather is overcast he reminds me that he is 82 and is looking forward to meeting God. He will then thank God for the good weather and finally discover if God is a man or a woman. I smile “Send me a post card when you know.”
A suburb of Auckland, New Zealand that is bordered by Mount Eden, Epsom, Mount Roskill and Sandringham and is located approximately 5 km from the centre of Auckland. It was named around the turn of the 20th century and derives its name from Balmoral Castle, the Scottish country residence of the Royal family. Much of the housing in the area is from the 1920s and 1930s, often in the Californian Bungalow style. Balmoral was part of Mount Eden Borough Council which became a part of Auckland City in 1989. In November 2010, the area was included into the Albert-Eden-Roskill ward of the new Auckland Council.
A distinctive feature is the numerous Asian restaurants that are located in the Balmoral shopping area and the surrounding Dominion Road intersection. These restaurants have a reputation for producing great food at very reasonable prices.