In the preface to 'The Lyalldale Waltz' author Isaac M. Thompson, known as 'Ike the Tyke,' writes, 'any mug can tell me what is wrong with this bookcan you tell me what is right with it?'
Why sure we can.
The book is readable. It is not great literature, but it isn't meant to be. Thompson writes a conversational, informal style that keeps you going.
We learned something about the way of life in rural New Zealand over the last 70 years as told by a practical man who lived that life and liked it, and seems to have remembered all of it.
We enjoyed the stories of school days, harvesting, fishing, sports, sheep shearing, engines, and all the other things that have been packed into a full life.
'Ike' is basically a story teller. We get the feeling that he enjoys telling about a humerous incident as much as he liked the event itself.
Several chapters concern engines, and include many pictures. Thompson names engines, owners, and gives descriptions of engines shown at a rally held in New Zealand at Southbrook on June 21, 1958. He tells of the formation of a traction engine club. One chapter entitled 'Mucking About With Traction Engines,' relates some funny happenings and describes some personalities.
Well, we liked the book and sure learned a lot about sheep, rabbits, and gorse. Many of the New Zealand expressions were new to us, but served to intrigue rather than confuse.
Isaac Thompson has known hard work, and fun, and good friends. 'The Lyalldale Waltz' tells us about it.
As we end these comments we are, as 'Ike' would say, 'putting on the stook.' If you get the book, turn to page 98 for the explanation.