Last week was a mixed one for me. On Wednesday 17th I went to Polly's graduation from her five-month DOC (Department of Conservation) course. A senior DOC man opened proceedings, speaking in Māori first, before switching to English, and introducing himself as David Mules. I went up to him later and said, "I am certain that you are the David Mules who was at New Plymouth Boys' High in 1964." And he was. He was a boarder; I was a day boy. We were in the third form together until he left the school – I think at the end of the second term. If he had stayed, he would have seriously challenged my position as top student in Latin, French and maths in the top-stream third and fourth form. He did in fact beat me in the mid-year French exam, because, like a good number of my other classmates, I lost ten points on one exercise because I translated the French sentences instead of putting them into the plural. Otherwise (if my memory serves me right), we would have been first equal. I remember feeling regret that he'd gone, though we had not been friends (or enemies – there just wasn't a lot of socialising between boarders and day boys). Even at that age I liked the idea of having a really good rival, and I think we could have been good friends in our senior years. David moved south about seven years ago, and lives out at Karitane (40 km, 25 miles, north of Dunedin, on the coast).
Later that day, I picked Isaac up from school and walked him home. Anna told me the book she had ordered for me from Amazon (I think) had arrived. This was Mathematics and the Imagination, by Edward Kasner and James R. Newman. It was in the NPBHS library when I was there, and I loved it. It was a major influence on my becoming a Christian. I hadn't seen it in over 40 years. The copy Anna got me is a 1989 paperback reprint in stunningly good condition. Two old school acquaintances renewed in one day!
Thursday morning. I went with Isaac's class to Te Araiteuru Marae in Kaikorai Valley. His first visit to a marae. I gave him the taonga to wear that I bought for him when he was three months old – the first time he has worn it. It was great to be back at the marae; it's been too long since I was last there.
Thursday 18, in the evening: Sandra handed me a letter from Internal Affairs. I opened it in some excitement, expecting it to contain my passport. Instead, it contained the last pair of photos I sent them, and saying it wasn't suitable for passport purposes. This is the second lot they've rejected, and the third lot I had done. I lost the first lot (as I have mentioned here previously), the second pair was rejected because of light reflecting off my glasses. The third lot have been rejected because of too much light on the face. I sent another lot off on Friday, and am still waiting. I'm more than half expecting these to be rejected as well. We are supposed to leave for Australia on July 10. If the new photo fails, I've got one more chance, and then I'll have to cancel my ticket. This exercise has cost me more than $50 so far, not to mention angina brought on by stress.
The good, the really good, and one bit of the other stuff