It's just gone 8 on Sunday morning, and it's cold.
There are things I don't want to do in the weekend, and thinking is one of them. So I'll simply dedicate the next few minutes to making a coupleof observations.
I was aking myself wther romance is really possible in a marriage that's gone on for over a decade (11 years! It's a record for me.) when Jenny walked past me and patted my bum. It mjay not be romance, but it's pretty close.
"Unfair," cried the Chinese Murderer."Unfair." It's not xenophobia that's made me forget the Chinese Murderer's name: it's simply the time of the day. But I saw his so-called "outburst" on the news last night. If that wasn't pre-planned, then George W. should get the Nobel Prize for Oratory. Unfortunately, the Chinese Murderer is not a good actor. He actually smirked as he called out the word. So much for him; let him rot in hell, and have a Mongrel Mob member as a cell-mate.
Has Goldstein worn out his welcome? The latest offering from ther ASB, which has the character breasthlessly doing his schtick to promote the ASB's support for the Ambulance Service is pathetic. When Goldstein first burst onto our TV screens he was a breath of fresh air. Now he's stale, tired, flate, and should go back to Kansas, Toto.
Ditto for the shaven-haired oliagenous creep who does the Mitsubishi air-con heat-pump commercials. OK, so they're very, very quiet. And Mr Baldy has a rich, brown velvet voice. But I want someone to take him out of my misery.
As if religion doesn't already have a lot to answer for: the merrily be-turbanned Ayatollah Khamanie is now saying that if someone gets shot in Tehran, then it's their own fault. Yeah? What about the ill-educated thug into whose hands you put an automatic weapon, Aya Baby? And what about the dodgey election you and your fascist friends stole? But I'm forgetting: the militia is part of God's Army, and can therefore do no wrong. Blaming a victim of oppression for being oppressed is so true to what's rotten in the heart of religion that I was not at all surprised to see the A.K. making that sort of statement.
The next-door neighbour's cats have become home invaders since Spike Malone died. Despite the fact that he was a useless brawler (having three legs put him at a major disadvantage) he was a Tom. He's gone, the neighbours cats are trying to terrorize Granny and Cleo. Old Granny Cat's putting up a fierce resistance, but she's 20 years old. So I got myself a bright red and yellow water pistol. It seems to be working. I've nailed two cats so far: it's astonishing what a thrill it is to be a protector.
I dropped three books back to the Library yesterday, and came out with seven. Sigh. I already have a knee-high pile that needs my attention. Still, four of my new borrowings were comic books: Two Transmetropolitans, two DMZs. Transmetropolitan is sheer genius - nasty, rabid, gonzo cominc-bookery - and will never be turned into a movie. DMZ is simply bleak: the triumph of tiny hopes in an overwhelming world. Good stuff.
Who is the greatest comic-book writer? I've narrowed it down to three: Frank Miller, Alan Moore, and Neil Gaiman. Expect that list to change at least oh, twenty times this year.
LISTENING TO: Neil Young's "Silver and Gold". Man's a genius.
READING LIST: Hasn't changed since Friday: didn't read much of anything yesterday.
Here's the next installment of "For the Love of Henry":
And eighteen years later, he did.
Actually, Mary annoyed Henry a little on their wedding day. Mary arrived at the Northridge Botanical gardens – for that’s where they were married under a brilliant blue sky, studded with marshmallow clouds - 10 minutes and 53 seconds late, which meant that Henry’s entire timetable for the day had been thrown out of kilter. Nevertheless, Henry had forgiven her immediately, as he knew she knew he would, and has now loved her as his wife for 21 years, four months, 14 days, and by golly 4 hours twelve minutes more.
The home that Henry and Mary Talbot share, 22 Talbot Terrace, is a splendid 1920s Californian bungalow, which Mary has completely renovated, and redecorated on at least eight different occasions.
The house is the same one in which Henry and his brother and sisters were born and raised: it had fallen to his trusteeship when his father had died. In fact, our Henry is now the fifth Henry Talbot to live at 22 Talbot Terrace. The house that stands there now is the second, the first having been destroyed by fire in 1922.
It is easy to see the two personalities at work in the home; Henry’s study is, in fact, a study in brown, designed and decorated almost purely from the pages of 1960s Popular Mechanics magazines. It has a manly bookshelf, a manly desk, a manly swivel chair, and a paint-by-numbers picture of a manly three-masted clipper ship beating to windward around a manly Cape Horn. The painting is truly appalling, but it was made by Henry‘s son Adam, at the tender age of seven, and as such is a work of genius. The question of whether the sails should be that astonishing turquoise colour, instead of snowy white should properly be left unbroached. The desk, a manly antique, is decorated with a pipe rack, a small collection of leather-bound books by Dickens and Thackeray and Conrad held upright by a pair of ebony elephants, a conch-shell which Mary had found on a Fijian beach, and a replica six-gun with which Henry fiddles – who knows what evil lurks, and so on - while he attends to the bills and accounts, on the 17th of every month, rain, hail, shine, or childbirth. There are also three photo-frames: one with a fifteen year old photograph of Mary, one of a grinning gap-toothed and freckle-faced Adam, and the third one empty. It is to this featureless one that Henry often turns his iron-grey eyes.
On the 1960’s style Public Service desk blotter rests his very anachronistic laptop computer. There’s an ink-stand, and a beautifully made ivory pen that has a tiny lens in the handle, which, when held up to the eye, shows a panorama of the 1940 exhibition in Wellington.
Two walls are covered with thickly-packed bookshelves, containing almost every book that Henry’s ever read with pleasure. There are novels of an historic nature, populated by swashbuckling heroes, beautiful women, and much derring do. There are science fiction books, slim and groaning volumes of poetry, a careful selection of biographies, autobiographies, hagiographies, and memoirs. Over there you’ll find the Playboy magazines he bought (for the pictures) when he was a teenager, and next to them a history of ancient Greece. There you’ll find a book about the Peloponnesian War nestling against his twenty-three Famous Five books, one signed in ink by Enid Blyton. You could fossick and poke around in Henry’s bookshelves for a day, and still not truly get any true idea of what it is that’s made him the person he is. The bookshelves are Henry’s greatest expression of eccentricity. In fact, many people who don’t know Henry all that well would say that they are his only expression of individuality. Those people shall take up very little space in this story, and rightly so, for they are the people who know Henry least.
So much for them.
Henry’s study is crammed with his life as a person. His home overflows with his life as a man married to Mary. His home is filled to the brim with his life as a father.
Henry doesn’t have much time for new things, while Mary delights in the newness of each and every day.
The living room, kitchen, bathroom, master, and guest bedrooms have all been touched by Mary’s extravagant hand. Great swathes and splashes of vivid colours run rampant through the house. There are vibrant rugs, thrilling wallpapers, paintings and prints that explode messily. It is a chaos of colour and activity that seems to somehow soothe, and makes the visitor glow with well-being and good cheer.
There is one painting that is extraordinarily important to the pair of them, but you’ll see and hear more about that later.
Nothing like a little suspense to keep the juices flowing.