Eleanor walking round and round the dining table with her hand out letting it drag and bang on the backs of all the chairs as she goes round and round saying bored, bored, bored.

I’m bored too: by myself, by people, by the world.  But, to be fair to people and the world, mainly myself.

Eleanor says to me:

I bet when you were ten if James came over you wouldn’t be bored.  James with the cheeky smile.

We looked at old family photos two days ago.  My old family photos from when I was a kid and before I was a kid.  James had a cheeky smile.  I looked happy in a lot of those photos.  Beaming.  Some people seem to become illuminated when they smile.  Like that.

No.  I wouldn’t have been.

James and I would have found something to do.  Probably involving Lego or toy soldiers or Star Wars action figures.

The cat comes in and stares at her empty food bowl.

I wish it would just rain instead of being dark and windy.

I found an old report from my primary school the other day and it irritated me.  How could it?  Being, what, 30 years past, and about subjects I hated?  It was a Form 1 and 2 report and in Form 1 and 2 we walked up the road to another school to take Sewing, Home Economics and Woodwork once a week.

Woodwork: Disappointing.  Could do better!!

Sewing: Disappointing.  Remains too much in the background.

Wankers.  I can remember both those “teachers”.  Double exclamation marks?  Really?!!

I also have report comments for French for two full years and I have no memory (not even a wisp of a memory) of doing this subject.


Did I dream about Gran last night?  I found a letter she wrote to me in 1981.  It was about joining Cubs, and taking swimming lessons.  Two other things I wasn’t good at.  Cubs frustrated me enormously with all its stupid knot tying.  I don’t have that kind of mind.  I can’t do knots, or puzzles, or solve riddles or crosswords.

I let the cat out.  It climbs back up on the window sill and cries to be let in.  We glower at each other through the glass.

People say we should get a cat door but the doors are beautiful and 100 years old and I don’t want to put a plastic piece of shit in them just so that cat can come in and out.  It’s a cat.


All the piles of my friend’s letters and tapes that I keep in a box.  He was a good correspondent.  He wrote a lot and often even if it was just a card.  It will be five years since he died.  12 since Gran.  Six or seven since I wrote good songs.

The little pills I take to keep me on a keel.  I wonder about them.  Their cumulative effect.  I tried to wean myself off them last year but it was too hard.  Headaches, insomnia, a weird feeling like the blood running in my legs was itchy, and a hair line trigger on my temper.  When I went off them five years ago it was easier, but the doctor says that it will be harder now and probably take a year from when I start and I haven’t started.  If it is cumulatively harder to come off them are they cumulatively more blunting?  Have they coated the wires inside me like fluoride inside the taps?

Not drinking.  Not eating as much.  Not as much fun as their opposites.

Eleanor has gone on a play date down the road.  Not called play dates anymore probably now that she is ten.  Rosamund has a friend over.  What am I doing?  Writing this.  Listening to Nigerian disco from the 80s.

That’s a good use of time.


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I wrote a book called Kaitiaki o te Pō