These stories were first inspired by the author’s father’s own remarkable effort in putting together his life story. Bill taught himself to type at 80 and No Standing Stone was published soon after and revised and enlarged a decade or two later. Dave was fascinated with what they turned up as they dug into his past. Born in 1909, Bill could relate in a lot of interesting detail many experiences that were no longer possible for anyone 80 or 90 years later.
Then Dave realised that he too had some distinctive experience, especially in the dying arts of the indigenous forest of this country in the 1950s. So the first few stories in this book were written out of his diaries of those years. His anecdotes speak of swinging a slasher or repairing a broken survey chain, measuring a giant rimu tree, experimenting with a rifle, cooking over an open fire and endless trekking through rough bush tracks in some of New Zealand’s remote forest —not to mention his trials with the inimitable Wasp.
Once he got started it was easy to write about other other events just for fun so his ability to avoid physical education classes in high school for the best part of two years is documented for the first time. His first year at work featured some substantial but hitherto unexplained explosions that occurred in Wellington in 1952. And he speaks candidly of aspects of life in Trinity Theological College and a certain event involving chocolate fudge.
Forty years’ experience of church ministry also have a contribution or two to make in these pages. Mostly based on fact, but usually a little whimsical, these tales have trickled along in odd moments whenever Dave had a bit of time to spare and could put his hands on a keyboard. They pick up some of the amusing highlights of his varied life that was later documented in his much more comprehensive In and Out of Sync.