Abounding the other side of the Racecourse is the Bowl of Brooklands and Pukekura Park, the scene of many a nefarious activity by my boarding colleagues.
Each year the Bowl of Brooklands staged a dramatic extravaganza as part of its Festival of the Pines. This took place in a wonderful open air auditorium with the audience seated in the Bowl across the water. The acoustics were quite wonderful and as a child I remember being taken by my parents to hear the NZ Symphony orchestra perform such classics as the 1812 Overture (with the NZ Army firing 25 pounder artillery pieces in accompaniment).
This interest in the dramatic arts also extended to school drama and I played a small part in Journey's End with 'Half Wit' Alexander and Ross Jolly taking the lead roles. Ross went on to become one of New Zealand's best loved actors in such TV classics as Roger' Hall's Gliding On.
The interest in drama was was heightened by the knowledge that we would be acting with members of the opposite sex. School productions with the neighbouring Girls High were particularly popular as this gallery of images from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Gondoliers shows.
Pukekura Park had another claim to fame - its water fowl. These presented an interesting alternative menu item for those boarders cunning enough to pursue them.
Those of you not familiar with the old vintage Essex are probably not aware that it still retained its wooden spoke wheels and the one that the boys had bought also had wooden floor boards.
Their method of duck culling was to drive it to one of the more secluded public parking spaces in Pukekura Park and remove several of the floor boards. A trail of bread crumbs was placed outside the vehicle leading to the underneath of the car. When a duck followed this trail underneath the Essex a hand would reach down and grab it by the neck; an quickly dispatch said bird.
The catch of the day was roasted over an open fire on the school farm.