Archives for the month of: February, 2011

AFP arrives, didn't see this. Photo: Scoop

I walked into Courtenay Place to buy my meds and thought, might as well go to the library (am reading a new discovery, Randall Peffer) and when I reached Civic Square I heard music. A busker playing an accordion, and not many people. A woman’s voice. I kept going.

Then the audience started to clap, in time. With enthusiasm. That doesn’t often happen. So I turned around, and lingered on the edge of the crowd. Had a wonderful time. Even clapped a little, during the second-to-last number. Something about angels, and waking up.

Not the best bit of this song but you get the idea Photo: Scoop

Had never heard of Amanda Fucking Palmer and Jason Webley. They were so whole-hearted. Wonderful. Looked them up on the net when I got home.

See what I mean about heart? Whole-heartedness? Photo: Scoop

AFP can be my p-d-i-l any old time.

And then I got to the bus stop and found I had only $1.80. So I walked home along the waterfront. And saw the wharewaka by night. Gorgeous, though it seems odd that there’s a restaurant right next to the space for the waka. Woke up this morning and heard that the waka space isn’t big enough to house the waka. Now there’s a song.


The best part about going to the doctor: Looking down the road to those prison-like buildings, the Rita Angus Retirement Village, and being very happy that I'm not there—I'm out on the street, feeling good(ish). Kilbirnie Medical Centre at left.

To the doctor today. Every three months, I go. And this week would be a real problem if I hadn’t thought ahead and cancelled my Sunday trip to the market, because there are enough fruit and veges in the garden and I bought two dozen eggs last time ($3.50 per doz).

I used to go to the Wellington People’s Centre. I could walk there, pay $16 for the consultation plus $3 for a prescription, and walk home. Now, there’s no doctor at the People’s Centre but I can go to Kilbirnie and still pay $16. But it’s a $3.50 bus ride each way to Kilbirnie, unless I want to spend 2 ½ hours walking, and now I have a new medication to lower my cholesterol, so that’s $29 all up.

So even though this week I’m saving the $20 I always spend at the market (sometimes $2.80 of that for a Sunday paper), I still have to find another $9. And, this month, WINZ reduced my benefit by $20 a week, because of my ‘income’ which isn’t really income given what it takes to earn it. (If I could claim the costs of earning it I would have no ‘income’ at all.) I really miss the $6 all-day bus tickets, because when I started going to Kilbirnie, I’d use that all-day ticket to go a little further afterwards, to the California Garden Centre in Miramar. And because the bus fare was cheaper and I had only one prescription and WINZ hadn’t cut my benefit, sometimes I would buy a plant. But mostly I’d just admire all the trees, plants, and gear they have. A real treat.

So why, when you live behind a henhouse, you may ask, am I buying eggs? Well, there are only three chooks there at the moment, and the people up at the house look after them and collect the eggs. When there were six chooks, the p-d-i-l used to drop some eggs in my mailbox each week. Still dropped in a few till quite recently, when I caught her helping herself to some of my courgettes (and I think she’d already got some beans). She didn’t like it when I told her that I was the only person to pick my veges. Parsley, yes. There’s heaps. Help yourself.

And then my strawberries started going missing. So I called her on that. “They’re not veges,” she said. So I cut her off at the pass. “Please do NOT”, I said, “Help yourself to anything that I have planted in the garden. Except parsley. When I have extra veges, I’ll pass them on.” And she pointed to the pear tree, fruit ripening really well this year, and asked “You didn’t plant that?” “Yes”, I said. “I did. And if there are some with codlin moth that you can cut up and bottle, I’ll put them aside for you”. “BOTTLE?” she said. And then there was a loud cry from the house and off she scuttled. Haven’t seen a home grown egg since. And the hens seem to be getting out and making a mess of my garden a little more often than usual.

I think that the anti-cholesterol meds, over the three months, have made me cranky (and forgetful). Thinking of ways to be a little more friendly towards the p-d-i-l. But she comes with the baby. I’m not ready to be a grandpa.

Kenny's Cafe as it was

I’ve been working at home for weeks now. Writing about the Sevens. Gardening. Fixing a chair. Avoiding my pseudo-daughter-in-law and the baby. You’d think that if I gave them the house (them being the son, the pseudo-daughter-in-law, the baby), and moved to the bach at the bottom of the garden, they (the p-d-i-l and the baby) would leave me in peace. But no. The p-d-i-l keeps trying to persuade me to take an interest in the baby. Probably wants me to babysit. Whereas my son has stopped talking to me at all. Always on his cellphone when I see him, or rushing somewhere. He doesn’t accost me. Or drop by for a beer. And I miss that.

So apart from the gardening at my end of the property (behind the henhouse) I’ve not been out much, because it means going past the house and risking the p-d-i-l and the baby. And when I’ve been out I’ve been on a bus and/or on a mission. And during the day. And not looking at Kenny’s Cafe in Courtenay Place, where I used to go, where I went, with my best mate, after the movies. I haven’t been to the movies lately. Because my best mate died (not passed away, you’ll note, he DIED).

So I didn’t notice that Kenny’s Cafe  has closed. I hadn’t noticed, until I read about it in the paper. Next it’ll be the UFS Pharmacy and Bennett’s Gift Shop. And that will be the end of the Courtenay Place I love.

Kenny's Cafe now

It was Sunday morning. I was walking to the market, long raincoat, bag over my shoulder. It looked like rain so I was moving fast.

That route to the market, along Oriental Parade, is soothing. That time, too. Few people on the street. A couple of early runners. And once I reach the market, few weary parents with early-waking small children. And their pushchairs. And their trikes. Getting in the road, filling up the narrow aisles between the piles of produce. Almost as bad as old people pulling shopping trundlers. It’s worth getting there early, to avoid all those wheels.

Anyway, that day was as per usual. Until I was  nearly at the Copthorne. Because, from a little Copthorne balcony a few floors up, a young woman was calling out to passersby, at that moment two woman runners going in opposite directions between the spreading pohutukawa trees that line the pavement on the sea side of Oriental Parade. The runner coming towards me acknowledged the raucous comment the young woman shouted at her, with a wave, without slowing down at all. And then  I walked into the gap between the two pohutukawas directly across the road from the Copthorne, directly beneath the young woman on her balcony. And this is what she called to me, in her gritty, drunken, voice:

You’re beautiful too, old man. You look just like Sean Connery.

You can see the tops of the pohutukawas at the bottom of the pic, in the middle.