Wednesday, January 13, 2010


It is officially hot. Well, as official as anything gets when I make a pronouncement on it. It's still 22 degrees here, at 7.45pm. It's almost bearable.

Mind you, a few days ago Melbourne recorded their hottest minimum temperature. That doesn't even begin to want to make sense, but oddly enough i knew what they were saying. 37 degrees or something absurd. My grand-daughter's there! If she has a single gene of mine attached to her DNA, she's not a comfortable kid.

Adam sent me some photographs, though. Printed ones, not electronical ones. She is gorgeous. And hot.

The lovely Jenny and I threw caution to the wind last night, and spent up large. we went to the movies. Sherlock Holmes. Very, very good. SH as Big Clever Action Hero. Dr Watson as Big Clever Action Hero. More clever dialogue in every single five minutes than you'd find in twelve seasons of CSI Miami, New York, and Original Recipe put together. It has an excellent plot, clever bits, Holmes as a junky (as AC Doyle saw him), and positively the best explosion I've ever seen on the screen. Love interest? Yes! And it's a love interest that ACD wrote about. Good, satisfying. It's adventure movie the way the first Indiana Jones movie was.

What a Sunday we had last weekend! Three astonishingly fine people around for lunch, much wine and beer and lots of excellent food. Jenny wisely let me nowhere near the skillet: she made a chicken, pear, and cheese concoction, and baked it in many, many layers of filo pastry. A long lazy lunch on the deck has much to offer, especially when the cast of characters is made up of some of the finest people I know.

It's too early to even think about Haiti yet. Why do these things happen to the poorest people on the planet? bangladesh will be having their annual floods next.

But the time is right to call the TV3 news-writers a pack of bloody idiots. The RNZAF pilot who died today wasn't even cold, and the TV3 news-yapper (the bland blithering blonde one, or the blander blathering brunette bloke. They're interchangeable, like Lego blocks) said "An Air Force pilot crashed his high-performance plane today..." Gosh. So they already know that it was pilot error, do they? From crash to enquiry rfesult in three and a half hours: that's got to be a record. I wonder if the man's wife has been officially told that her dead husband was a fuckwit? ARE THERE NO EDITORS ANY MORE?

Listening to: Cold Chisel. Their first album. It's.... OK. trying really hard to say something political, and missing by.... that much. Good lead guitar, though. Actually verging on great.

Reading: Terry Pratchett, "Nation". This is one of the rare ones that he's actually set on a place that seems suspiciously like Earth, instead of the Discworld. So far, so excellent.

Word of the Day: Heat. I hate heat. If the temperature climbs above 23, I've a sodden, sweating, blithering mess. I probably make as much sense as a TV newsreader when conversing...

RATS continues...

She returned her purse back to her pocket, and thanked Arthur with a smile, and led the great horse away.

Chapter Four.

The recruiting Sergeant was a big, beefy man, with a drinker’s nose, and hard eyes. Blonde mutton-chop whiskers framed his round face, and his breath stank of stale beer.
It was late in the Friday afternoon, and Arthur stood nervously in front of the Sergeant’s desk. The Army maintained an office in the Town Hall, paying the council ten shillings a month for its use. The office was open every Monday and Friday: the Sergeant spent Tuesday in Huntly, travelled to Southridge on Wednesday, spent Thursday morning there, then caught the mail-boat to Northridge on the Friday morning, opening the office at mid-day. The Sergeant had enjoyed a good week: two from Northridge on Monday, four from Huntly – two sets of brothers, always the most easily caught – two from Southridge, and one more from Northridge on this fine afternoon. He had a weekly target of ten, and was paid a bonus of five shillings for every one over that. He had five bob in his pocket now, and wanted to make it a nice crisp ten shilling note. Arthur Tomlinson was his last interview, and it wasn’t going well.
“You see, Mr Andrews,’ said Arthur.
“Sergeant Andrews to you, Tomlinson.” The Sergeant growled.
“Sorry. Sergeant. You see, I’m against the whole idea of war. It just doesn’t make sense.”
“It makes sense when you have German thugs spitting French babies on their bayonets, boy, and raping the French women. Even the God-fearing nuns are being raped, you hear what I’m saying?”
“Indeed, Sergeant, and if those things are indeed happening,” Arthur was uncertain. He felt lumpen, wooden: a sullen hump. “if they are happening, Sergeant, it’s appalling. But I still can’t see that killing them will do any good.”
“It’ll stop the fuckers from doing it again, won’t it. All I need you to do is sign this paper, here and here and here,” and his nicotine-stained finger jabbed at the page that lay on the desk between them, “and you can go and slaughter the Hun, which is what he justly deserves.”
“But Sergeant – I can’t. I shan’t. I thought that if I volunteered for the Ambulance Service. You know, help with the wounded and sick. The Army must have a special group to do that?”
The Sergeant looked at the piece of paper in front of him. All he needed was for Arthur to pick up the pen and write his name three times, three measly fuckin’ times, and he had another five shillings to spend at The Crown and Anchor. Molly, the barmaid, could be had for two bob, and he reckoned on giving her a fine rogering tonight and tomorrow, and she’d be paid for by Arthur’s signature.
“If that’s all you’re worried about, son,” he said sincerely, “then take a look at this line here: Preferred Service, it says. You just put ‘ambulance’ there in your own hand-writing, and it’s as good as gold. Nothing surer, my boy. Safe as the Bank of England. You’ll be picking up our poor broken boys and taking them to safety, and stitching them up all right.”

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