It was a day for reminiscing, and for appreciating change. Brother-in-law has lived overseas since the early 1980s, and has returned infrequently, but as he has aged, he has become more sentimental about remembering his youth, and about the country of his birth. There have been lots of conversations starting “remember when” and the reminiscing and looking back has been amplified by going through their father’s genealogy documents and family photos. Eventually though, we decided to pile in a car, the goal being a lunch at a brewery near the old family home. Brother-in-law gave a running commentary, as we drove towards the old suburb, up past the river lined with willow and poplar trees lush and green, drove up the old street and parked outside the old house, before tracing their old childhood haunts up through the defence area and around the research institute. The damp land in one spot still had pukeko in the field, and the racecourse brought back memories of an earlier visit with his wife and children, although higher intensity subdivisions under construction were representative of the New Zealand of 2022.
One thing that was completely new in this previously (and still?) sleepy satellite city was Brewtown, with its selection of craft breweries. Large outdoor areas, with vast domes of shade were either in use for a corporate Christmas function, or still under construction. We went to a favourite brewery, and enjoyed a few new beers and a hearty lunch. Brother-in-law marvelled that his hometown now supported such a venue.