On Saturday Tessa and I went up to the top of Mt Albert and looked across to what had once been my teenage home, just as I had stood there and looked across a many times when I was a teenager in the 1970s, before I moved away from first home, then Auckland and now back. The trees are taller and it is harder to pick out the house among the trees, but the mountain is the same and in many ways the house. All around there is change, the new motorway, changed buildings, but the basic layout of the roads is unchanged and so is the geography.
Businesses aren't like that, many of the iconic businesses of my
youth and early adulthood are still around but merged or changed beyond
recognition. I have a life insurance policy taken out in the late 1970s
with Norwich Union, this afternoon out of curiosity I visited their web site to discover they are now Aviva and I vaguely remembered hearing of some merger, perhaps it's middle age, but I feel nostalgic for the old name.
Tonight Tessa and I went to another of my old haunts, Albert Park, for the Chinese lantern festival which I really enjoyed. Again things had changed, when I was in my late teens and early twenties and frequently visited the park it was different, Central Auckland was very much a city for the English descendants, now it is a much more vibrant, truly multi-cultural city the festival was attended by a truly multi-ethnic mix of people, another change that has made Auckland better and stronger, just as the business changes make them better and stronger. While we were there we saw the first fresh durian I've seen in Auckland (canned and frozen don't count) we bought some and ate it as we walked ... a middle aged Asian couple stopped and remarked that they thought Europeans didn't like durian.
The mountain and the stream remain, the people change and those of us remaining change with them.