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Avondale, Auckland

The house on the corner, with a sloping plot of land a little smaller than the canonical "Kiwi quarter acre". Neatly mowed lawns, a privet hedge varying from a few-feet tall to maybe 6-feet tall, fruit trees in the back yard (two plums, grapefruit, lemon, apple, peach, tamarillo, a small mandarin and orange; later a fig tree), a vegetable garden, fuschias and other flowers all along one side of the house and next to the free-standing garage. If you go far enough back in time there was a big stand of bamboo up in one corner, where the three neighbouring sections met ours.

Weatherboard walls (Kauri, I think---the house was 60 or 70 years old even then), a verandah out the front, red corrugated-iron roof and brick chimney on top. Over the years it changed. Big old antique windows replaced with more modern ones. Chimney taken out. Verandah totally renovated. I have dim memories of the furnishings and layout from when I was an infant. I remember playing in the tiny space behind the sofa in the living room, whose white back had a repeating pattern. If I stared at the pattern close up my eyes would cross a little and an optical illusion occurred: The back seemed closer than it was and I could seemingly pass my hand through it. Today all those magic eye things work on the same principle as that rudimentary illusion.

It was actually a small house, but I don't think this dawned on me the entire time I lived there. After all, this was the house where everything, including time, began. This was the centre of the universe.

This was Home.

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