Old Friends

Living only two kilometres off the State Highway and with this being the main route from Dunedin to Queenstown/Wanaka/Haast, we often have folk pop in for a cup of tea.

Whether it be a fleeting or lengthy visit it is always nice to catch up with friends.

Yesterday an old friend popped in and for the first time since Alex’s death, I could reminisce without the overwhelming sadness that used to prevail.

Of course we will miss Alex forever but time has now given us an acceptance of his death and we can smile and laugh about old times.

There will be tears occasionally but this is to be expected, as we were married for over twenty years and naturally a huge amount of wonderful memories  were made during this time. Thankfully we have photos to record so many of them.

Shortly after his death an elderly widow customer told me of how she felt so cheated when her husband was accidently killed four years into their marriage. She went on to say how she wished she’d had twenty years and all the memories that went with those years…..words that helped me immensely even though I felt so sad for her as she was indeed cheated.

Sam found the following photos last night , which shows “time does indeed go by fast, Ross.”


ross gordon hobbs orchard sandra hobbs

Ross; reflecting on life in our back garden. 1994.


Ross & Trudy gordon, Sandra, Sam and Ruby Hobbs

Ross & Trudy Gordon; Sandra, Sam & Ruby Hobbs. 1997



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Nostalgia (Sam’s Favourite Song)

I will always miss Shari Lewis. The pleasure she gave children and their parents throughout the decades is simply immeasurable.

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Radio Hauraki

How stifled we felt back in the 1960’s when radio was a state-controlled monopoly and popular music was all but banned.
Private commercial radio stations had operated from the earliest days of broadcasting, but the government had systematically closed them all down.

In 1966, a brave heroic bunch of men decided they were going to break the monopoly held by the government.

Hence, less than a month after my twelfth birthday,  in early December 1966; Radio Hauraki was formed as a pirate station in the Hauraki Gulf, broadcasting outside government control from a ship moored in international waters.

The Beatles, Troggs, Rolling Stones and the Kinks all of a sudden flowed into our lives and the vibrancy of the announcers and of course the music brightened our lives.
The demand for transistor radios was overwhelming.

The government ran interference to try and shut them down on a continual basis.
There was a public backlash as folk started questioning the motives of state control as it appeared more and more to be a form of indoctrination.

The Pirate Ship ran from December 1966 through to 1st June 1970 when the government finally relented and agreed to issue Hauraki with a Licence, which meant they could broadcast from onshore.

Common sense finally prevailed.

I must tell you of my favourite announcer.
His name was Rick Grant and sadly he fell overboard and drowned after celebrating the victory.
Even today I remember him with a smile on my face and at times a tear in my eye as he brought so much happiness into my young life.

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Memory Lane

The Fruit Stall will close for the Season in a few days time so I will have more time for my blog.

We’ve had a great Season with hectic days and catching up with wonderful loyal customers/friends whom we see year after year, many times during the Fruit Season.

I find myself strolling down memory lane a lot these days; perusing photo albums and photo boxes and as it’s a wet day, Ruby has scanned many of my favorites for my blog.

And here they are!!

Some of them are a real blast from the past…..

10 years ago

10 years ago



A little girl I once knew


My darling – 1991

Sandra Hobbs Orchard pruning

Me back in 1991 after a long and tiring day of pruning!




Sam and Ruby Hobbs

Anne, Kimmie, Ruby, Sam & Findlay

Ruby Hobbs Alex Hobbs snow

Ruby & Dad having fun in the snow

Ruby, Sam, Joe & Emma on a chilly morning


Sam helping Dad


Orchardists in Training



April 1995 Catlins


















Our old mate Barry & Ruby





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Mum and Bob IMG_1064 IMG_0877


Sam, Ruby, Chari & Tomek

Ruby and Bill

Bill & Ruby

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Alex and his Mum


Our dear friends Shirley & Roy

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Sam,Sandra, Ruby, Vivi & Chris

Sam,Sandra, Ruby, Vivi & Chris

Ruby & Vivi

Vivi & Ruby

Vivi, Sam & Ruby

Vivi, Sam & Ruby

Ruby, Aunty Belle & Vivi

Ruby, Aunty Belle & Vivi

Vivi apricots

Sam and our dear friend Roy who is 94 years old.

Sam and our dear friend Roy who is 94 years old.

Sandra Hobbs and Roy

Roy and Mum having a laugh at one of Sam’s jokes

Ruby Hobbs & Roy

Roy & Ruby


Jasna & Vivi

Jasna & Vivi

Cat,Barry & kids

Sam, Ruby & Christina having fun

Sam, Ruby & Christina having fun

Jasna, Sandi & Philip with their kids

Jasna, Sandi & Philip with their kids


Jane & some of her beautiful family

Jane & some of her beautiful family

Sam Hobbs & Vivi

Sam, Ruby & Derrick

Sam, Ruby & Derrick


Ruby & her friend Jenny. This was taken many years ago. Ruby is having a wee cry because Jenny was moving away that day.

Ruby & her friend Jenny. This was taken many years ago. Ruby is having a wee cry because Jenny was moving away that day.

Here they are now -- all grown up!

Here they are now — all grown up!



Jasna & Lugs

Jasna & Lugs

Elslie, Ruby & Melanie

Elslie, Ruby & Melanie


Sam, Ruby & Laura

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Old Days

Listening to the gentle patter on the roof this morning made me remember times of old when I was a child and rain was such a big part of my life.

The walk to the school bus stop usually meant my shoes and socks were drenched by the time I got there.

The bus driver was a very kindly gruff man and this particular morning my feet shot out from under me as I was pushed roughly up the stairs of the bus by a boy who had occasionally bullied me when I got in his way which wasn’t very often as I avoided him like the plague.
I have always lived by the philosophy, “Tis better to be a live chicken than a dead rooster”.

My jaw hit the floor and my knees buckled on the steps.
The boy, in such a hurry to get out of the rain, had no patience to wait for me to pick myself up; he just walked over the top of me.
I was Ruby’s size in those days so it was a painful experience.

The bus driver dived out of his seat, grabbed the boy by his collar and carefully threw him off the bus.
No school for him that day and he was dealt with by his mother when the driver rang her after we’d arrived at school.
From that day on this boy left me alone.

I’m sure in todays world the bully’s rights would have ensured the bus driver be reprimanded.

So when I hear parents say “Kids can fight out their differences”, remember it only empowers the bully when everybody turns a blind eye.

The bus driver has passed on  but to this day I remember his act of kindness.

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Memory Lane

The last time I painted the tongue and groove in the hallway of our home, was 16 years ago when Sam was 5 years old and Ruby was 3.
It was the end of March when the Fruit Stall wasn’t so busy and I decided it was a quiet enough day to absent myself from the Stall so Sam and Ruby took over watch of the Stall whilst I set about my painting task.  
They were so proud being given such a responsibility and every time a car would hit the gravel at the end of our driveway, they would fly back to the house via the back lawn track yelling, “Customer Mum.” 
They beamed with excitement.
I was interrupted many many times, much to the delight of Sam and Ruby, as their importance grew more and more throughout the day.
Well this weekend, Sam painted it all over again and I wonder where the time has gone!!
He remembered very clearly keeping watch of the Stall and playing with Ruby in the sandpit, which was located just outside the Stall door, whilst on watch.
I actually had forgotten that detail.
Alex was picking in the Orchard and each time he delivered fruit back to the Stall, they would relay to him the number of customers that had been in.
Such wonderful memories for us all.
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Treasured Memories

Sandra Hobbs Sam and Ruby Hobbs

Bush walk down at the Catlins. 1995.

Treasured Memories


Sam and Ruby having fun many years ago.


Treasured Memories

Sam and Ruby Hobbs

Sam and Ruby in their work clothes after weeding in the garden with me. 1997.