January 31, 2010


It's funny, but even after months of R n R (not rock and roll, the other R n R) I can't quite shake off this constant internal disquiet, and i'm still sitting on the edge of my chair. Too much caffeine? Possibly.

I am exactly where I am meant to be, right now.

Like i'm waiting for something to go wrong. Like it hurts to breathe too deeply.

And I'm here, and it can be sunny and warm with clear azure blue skies and the beach at my fingertips and I'm noticing the trees are pulsating with colour and the sound of cicadas and i'm sleeping for over 8 hours every night........and I still feel like i'm missing out because i'm not at Northumberland having snow ball fights on the beach.

F*ck i'm a twat.

January 27, 2010

Things one should never have to see

Apart from how utterly impractical and unhelpful I am in such settings, another thing I don't like about terminal illnesses, is how anti-social they are. I pay a visit with perfectly good intentions, and suddenly I'm confronted with an immodest bed-sheet, and a pair of pippy-long stockings, and he wants to cut a hole in them. "Here, look at this", he's gesturing emphatically. Scissors, he wants scissors. But the scissors don't arrive on time and suddenly the stockings need to come down, in a hurry. With my assistance. And, whoa! If that thing is any way involved in my genetic make-up and existence on this planet - I don't want to see it. I don't want to have to put on my grown up face and pretend like i'm cool with it. But he broke the nurses and one duly complied with his request for an imitation fly. Mercifully, I was sent on another goose-chase errand shortly after.

So, i am now officially on holiday. I have a visa until 2013. And an Australian passport. I had a mole map yesterday and went to the dentist today. And again, my grown up face triumphed. At least, I fool myself that my wobbles weren't too obvious.

I'm drinking too much. And watching too much True Blood. We're eating salads every night and i'm trying to run. But goodness knows how I will survive when I return to a routine that doesn't involve 9am wake-ups and luxurious coffee repasts in the sun followed by lunch in front of the telly......

January 18, 2010

Current events

Things I like here:
1. Sleeping in until almost 9 am
2. A plunger of coffee to myself in the morning and in a tiny little espresso coffee so it stays hot even if I drink slowly
3. The clement weather.
4. Riding my bike
5. Not working
6. As a result of 5; having energy to devote to creative pursuits and contemplating "what it all means"
7. Reading whenever I feel like it
8. Lovey dovey phone calls and absence making the heart grow fonder
9. Making things like mini-frittatas because I don't have to worry about J not wanting to kiss me for 5 hours because I ate eggs.
10. Having Jake to hang out with because school doesn't go back until February

Things I don't like:
1. Mice, and the way that I imagine I still hear it scooting around on the kitchen bench even though Frank has put out enough rat poison to flatten a horse
2. Slow internet connections.
3. The pulsey, fluttery effect all the caffeine has on my heart
4. The knots in my back from the foam mattress
5. The way that Poppa's bloated, distended stomach reminds me of mum
6. The earthquake in Haiti and especially the looting and rioting and abhorrent way humans can treat each other
7. Jake being on the playstation all the time
8. Not knowing when my visa will arrive or when I will next be paid.
9. Flies that think they own the place
10. The things that come out of my mouth that aren't either comforting or reassuring to the dying..

January 15, 2010


Poppa was not in a good way when I saw him. He mostly slept the whole time and I sat next to him and read a Kate Atkinson novel I borrowed from John's mum and almost completed the quick crossword in the paper. Does anyone know how to do cryptic crosswords?

When I went to leave late in the afternoon I suddenly realised that I hadn't seen him drink anything the whole time I was there and so I held his little plastic cup while he sucked out of a straw. My hands shook but no more than usual. And then he started to choke huge wracking oxygen-depriving coughs until his face was a purplish-red colour. I hovered over him poised to run into the corridor and yell at any of the robustly-built nurses that had been buzzing about his room earlier (of course it was completely deserted when we needed someone) However, the cancer patient diagonally opposite Pop reminded me that there was a buzzer to call for help that I pressed, but while we were waiting for someone with some practical use on this earth to arrive and save him he started to breath again, raspy and rattly breaths but enough to delay "the final round" as he had ceremoniously called it in one of his lucid moments earlier in the visit. When the nurse finally arrived he looked sympathetic and checked something, vital signs I suppose, and then said he was fine and that he would go and get his drugs, steroids and anti-nausea and hopefully some more pain relief. It is the cancer, crushing his organs, making it impossible for him to eat or drink or breathe comfortably. Hopefully the chemo will bring some relief. Otherwise it may just do what it did to mum and finish him off with merciful speed.

January 13, 2010

New Year's resolutions

Number 1: keep a journal.

Actually my first resolution was to stop eating potato chips, but although admirable it doesn't seem profound enough to qualify as a resolution. Rather like Jacob resolving to give up cup-caking. A cup cake is farting into your cupped hand and then scooping it under the other person's nose.

It has been almost 18 months since my last entry and just as long since I even looked at this site. Where has all the narcissism gone.

Let's see........since then I have had Hogmanay in Edinburgh, made a snow man in Green Park, had clotted cream and scones in the Cotswolds, eaten cucumber sandwiches at buckingham palace, and won 20 pounds at Ascot. We went to Rome with the bears, to Scotland to meet all of John's 5 aunties for Christmas, and to Mallorca for Easter which was gritty and not much warmer than London. We spent a bank holiday weekend in Berlin and another in a beautiful old converted barn with blocked chimneys in the Brecon beacons in wales. We went to Dubai and stayed in the Atlantis in 45 degree heat and i ripped my togs going backwards on a waterslide. We went to Oktoberfest in September and went on a rollercoaster after drinking three pints but then we finally got a seat in a beer hall and I had a stein and passed out in our tent and woke up the next morning and was sick in a plastic bag. I went to Budapest with Sarah and Tom and rode one of those buggies around St Margaret's Island and ate delicious goulash to stave off the cold. We went to Marseilles with Mike and Kiran and watched the All Blacks slaughter the French team.

That's only half of it. Life in london is frenetic, gruelling and wonderful. I go back to our little flat in Islington at the end of the day and feel warm and safe. We go to the farmers market behind the town hall on a Sunday and the twinkly old man selling flowers points out that I am late today. We have roast chicken for dinner and John will make the carcass into a stew with stock that the Scottish aunties recommend. We endlessly discuss our options given his redundancy, my visa situation, and our mutual bamboozlement at the seductively smothering trappings of domesticity. I cry a lot, from the intensity of our lives and we both feel vulnerable and fearful and then John suggests plans that wrap around me like a down duvet. I think I am mostly happy if I had time to inhale and exhale and realise that this is what happiness feels like. Achingly alive.

Now I am back in New Zealand. It is the end of our five week holiday and I have spent a week up north with Dad and Robyn, a bit longer in Tauranga and then 8 days on the Gold Coast, some time in Christchurch and Wellington and a wedding in Hawkes Bay. Christmas was somewhat thwarted by polyps in poppa's stomach that look likely to finish him. He is 86 and fierce and I don't like seeing the defeat in his eyes but I am going to drive over to Waikato Hospital now.

John is mid-way to London. Meanwhile a little mouse in Tauranga is running rampant on the kitchen bench eating the fresh bread and leaving shit everywhere.