And what a time it was. We've gone a week or so since my last posting, and it seems a great deal has happened.
The baby was found: no kidnapping, nothing sinister. Just another tragic accident, one which - because the child vanished - grabbed the attention of the nation. If it had been immediately obvious that it was what it was - a simple drowning - then we would have thought about it for a minute, then forgotten. As it was, we were forced to confront the reality of a little girl lost for seven days. A week of anguish for the parents, a week of reflecting that it was out good fortune that it never happened to us, and to send... what? thoughts? prayers? care... to the parents. All futile, of course, but I am sure they would have found some comfort in knowing that this small community of ours, this village we call New Zealand, was concerned for them, and for a brief time, loved them. We can do no more. We could have done less.
ACC: New Zealand has a brilliant, universal no fault, no blame compensation system that sees ordinary people provided with a helping hand should an accident occur. Sporting accident, accidental death, a fall at work... whatever, we're covered. Of course there's a cost: we pay a premium direct from our pay-packets, and our employers also pay their share. Our motor registration is largely ACC premium. And now, because the ACC's getting a little short of the readies, the government (as rabid a bunch of teeth gnashing right-wingers as we've ever suffered under) are upping the premium. Fair enough? Not the way they're doing it. A smallincrease for motor car drivers, a huge amount (from $250 a year to $750 a year) for motorcyclists. The rationale is that motorcyclists have more accidents, and are costlier to repair: spinal and head injuries are buggers of things. The thing is this: 80% of motorcycle crashes are caused by motor car drivers. That is - motorcyclists are to pay for the stupidity of the very people who try to kill them.
Our Favourite Murderer is a scum-sucking egoist who should count his lucky stars that he's still alive. I'm a bleeding-heart pointy-headed liberal, and I think the prick should swing. And he's now using the public purse to pay for an appeal. Apparently he figures that we didn't see enough of him as he preened, strutted, and verbally masturbated for five days at his trial.
Grinning Bill English seems to have gotten away with rorting the gullible New Zealand public. Do the honourable thing, Bill, and bugger off. Suggest to your wife and family that you all move back to your "home" in Thinksmall, Otago. You could find you're a lonely man down there in your primary home.
TV: Fringe is brilliant, and I'm sorry to see the end of the first series. What terrific revelations, though. The NZ series "The Cult" is, if anything, better. "True Blood" is truly great. That's it for good drama. Comedies? "Two and a Half Men" is solidly huge, but "The Big Bang Theory" is surely the freshest and funniest thing ever on the tele. WHEN IS "DOCTOR WHO" COMING BACK? Just thought I should ask.
HEARTWARMING STORY: (Tear Factor of Five). Went to a new Nursing Home (new to me) on Tuesday. Took a few hundred books, and - on a whim - some talking books. Explained to the old folk how it worked, and they went for it. The Activities lady asked me if i had anything for old "Walter" in the corner. He'd suffered a series of dramatuic strokes, and was physically knackered. Brain was good though. I suggested a talking book. She foiund out what he liked - a good thiller - and i gave her one. She got him connected up, and i turned away to deal with a question. Five minutes went by, and Activities Lady, with tears in her eyes, pointed to "Walter". "For the first time in five years," she said,"he's smiling." And he was. A brfoad grin was draped over his face. That's what my job does.
Word of the Day: Hope. As in "I hope Grinning Bill English grows a pair, and resigns."
READING: Clive Barker, "The Great and Secret Show". Huge.
LISTENING TO: Pink Floyd, "The Wall". I think the boys may have something here.
More Moana! At Last!
Chutty looked at me, and said, quietly, “Your turn, love.”
I gripped his hand again, and looked down at my piece of paper. Was it only 14 years and a few months ago that I'd made these vows? It felt like it was just yesterday. I took a deep breath, and read. My hand was shaking.
“I was only a girl when I first met you,” I started, “and you stayed with me while I grew and matured. You were always there for me, even though there were many times that what I did was far removed from what you would normally have been doing. You have always been patient, and kind, and generous, and funny. I could no more imagine life without you, that I could dream of becoming Queen of England.
Because you have given me riches beyond measure, treasures too vast to count. You have given me your love: and the love of a good man… surpasseth all understanding.” Treen grabbed the paper from my hand, and looked at it. She glared at me. “That's not what you said either, Mum,” she accused.
“No, it wasn't, was it?” I said.
“And so,well, and so it falls to me to congratulate you both, yers, congratulate you both,” said Reverend Knox.
“Thanks, Reverend,” said Chutty, holding out his hand.
“Call me, yes, please call me John. My Mothert, bless her, named me after one of Jesus' apostles, did you know?”
“John, an apostle, eh? Well, how about that?” and that earned Johyn the apostle a slightly tighter hand grip from my husband. The Reverend – sorry, John, named after an apostle – went pale.
“Crikey, mate. John. Sorry.” Chutty didn't sound sorry. He sounded pissed off. “Some times I don't know my own strength.” If there's one thing he hates, it's being patronised.
“No, it's ah, all right. I hurt my hand a little earlier today.”
The words fell like cold iron into the room. I reached out and grabbed the Reverend's hands. Two of the knuckles were scraped, and bruised.
It was then I became conscious if a high-pitched sound in the room. I looked around, to find it came from Wendy. I turned back to the Reverend John the apostle.
“Mum and I found Wendy at the lych-gate early this afternoon,” I started. Mum piped up, interrupting me. I've never heard her sounding so satisfied. “I told you she has that dyslexia thing, dear. She been seeing the Reverend every Saturday for private reading lessons.”