In January I headed to Palmerston North for a family wedding.
Palmerston North is my home town. I haven’t actually been there for about six years, and before that there was at least a ten year gap between visits.
It was interesting to see my childhood home. The schools I attended. Driving around my old paper route and noting little change in the houses I used to deliver to. Seeing the lawns I used to mow relatively unscathed by the passage of time.
There’s a gradual deterioration that those living day to day in this place don’t seem to notice, as it happens under their noses. It seems that house owners are neglecting their assets. Homes that I remember being quite lovely in my youth are now run down. This may be the curse of absentee landlords taking advantage of student rents?
In January there is also an absence of students, which would account for a lack of vibe and the low energy ebb.
I also do not understand the non-sensical paid carparking at the Plaza. It serves little purpose and it’s badly organised.
There are some good things to note. I was impressed with a bar called Brewers Apprentice (their playlist included Wang Chung). I loved the short travel times between destinations. I love that it’s really, really flat (perfect for running and cycling) and I love that there is a low cost of entry to home ownership. I found that people were friendly and conversational.
The wedding service was in Feilding. I was impressed with that town. It seems to be starting to get ‘gentrified’. Wide streets, nice shops and eateries and still only minutes from Palmerston North airport.
Feilding triggered a fun memory. I remember riding my bike from PN to Feilding to see a girl I liked. She worked in a dairy. I bought a milkshake. I was too shy to say anything about that, so I rode home.
I really didn’t do my teenage years right in retrospect.
It was nice to get back there, on balance. I don’t think I’m going to rush back anytime soon though. I think the myopic optimistic memories of youth are best left intact.