Snippets from home

I went home for the weekend, for a party to celebrate my aunty’s 80th birthday. It was a great party. My cousin estimates that there are about 400 of us who claim descent, or descent by marriage, from our grandparents, and a fair proportion of those were at the party. I saw cousins I hadn’t seen for quarter of a century, first cousins twice removed, all three of my godchildren (Casey, Caitlin and Katherine – I specialise in people who begin with a ‘k’), saw the joy in my aunty’s face as her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren gathered around her. I was so pleased to be there.

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New Zealand is very green.

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I met a friend for lunch in a cafe in Wellington. We were very good, and we didn’t start singing until about 15 minutes before she had to go back to work, and we sang very softly, just to compare notes on some songs we have been singing. We were sitting outside, so I think that excuses us.

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That ‘h’ seems to be spreading. For people reading this who aren’t from New Zealand, the New Zealand Geographic Board recently decided that a town called “Wanganui” which is in the Whanganui region, and on the banks of the Whanganui river, should be called, “Whanganui.” The h-less spelling seems to have been an error by the missionaries who first started writing Maori language, so it’s more-or-less a correction of a spelling mistake. But the good burghers of Wanganui are incensed – how dare anyone gainsay what them white folks want. In the meantime, the Wanganui Chronicle has decided to fix its masthead problems by becoming the Whanganui Cronicle (the ‘h’ doesn’t do any work in ‘chronicle’ anyway), Mt Cook has become Mt Chook, and Thames (not the English river, but a small town in NZ) is at last being spelled as it is sounded, because Whanganui will be needing all the spare h’s it can get. I think that over time, the recalcitrant people of Wanganui will be brought round by humour.

(For the record, I think it should be Whanganui. My farming cousins would disagree. But then, they think it should still be Egmont.)

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I met a friend I had not seen for six years. He is recently home from the UK, taking up a position at Auckland University. We had coffee and cake and gossip in a cafe in Auckland. With a bit of luck, now that he is back on this side of the world, I might see him again soon, instead of in another six years time.

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I stayed overnight with another friend. We talked late, over a bottle of wine, and ate cheese and crackers and strawberries, and had another drink. It was so good to spend time with her, to talk knowing that there was no back story that I needed to explain.

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I miss home. Still. Perhaps forever.

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I came home to find my darlings in fine form. The Misses Eight had put a note and some flowers on my bedside table, welcoming me home and saying they had missed me. Mr Strange Land said they put it there the day after I left. The first morning I was away, they got up and unstacked the dishwasher, had breakfast, got dressed, and made their own school lunches, and their big sister’s as well. This is a wonderful innovation. On Saturday morning, Ms Eleven made breakfast in bed for her dad – warmed croissant, jam, butter, coffee, fruit juice, all nicely presented on a tray.

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As for the tawdry sex scandal surrounding the South Australian premier – I’m bored with it already. M-H has said what I would say, were I to get around to saying it.

4 responses to “Snippets from home

  1. Ah yes, that missing ‘h’ in Wanganui/Whanganui. Speaking as a transcriber, let me just tell you it’s a bugger when radio announcers start sounding off and joking about it, causes all sorts of confusion about what to put in and leave out. Anyway. It’s all a bit of a pedantic kafuffle really but it’s nice to see c0mmunities getting up in arms about spelling.

  2. How very very cool, you did travel well.

  3. I agree with you that Mike Rann’s penis and its contact with the lady parts of a consenting adult (marital status irrelevant to me) isn’t worth thinking about for any length of time.

    But part of me also says when you’re an Aussie politician who hasn’t been shy about using the private lives of your enemies as an offensive weapon, it’s hard to resist baking a schadenfreude pie with a a whipped bad karma topping.

  4. The greenth used to take my breath away back when I was living there and flying back and forth from Australia every now and then. I still think about it a lot.

    You know, I’d still be living there if not for the reasons. And we often talk of moving back. I still miss it and I only lived there 4 years.