OPINION: The cold weather has brought with it the rats, or is it mice - I am not an expert at identifying their droppings, into the garage and I am worried their hunger will focus on my boxes of books.
"It's so unfair," Izzy from next door commiserates.
"They eat the books but don't ever read them."
Never a truer word was spoke, I sigh imagining the rodents reading my copy of Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men aloud to each other, as I herd Benecio into the garage asking him to refrain from applying under-arm deodorant so that they can smell his feline pheromones and thus take flight.
Another neighbour requests his presence for a couple of furtive hours in her boudoir after finding the nasty visiting card of rodent droppings in her bed linen.
I put it to the Fur Sir but he refuses to oblige unless he is furnished with black and white silk pyjamas and a further plug to reinstate his Pussy Galore magazine subscription, as I laugh at his demands and tell him God loves a tryer.
Speaking of vermin and things with four legs, the brace of bulls adorning the concert grand pianos on the vacant lot on the corner of Madras and Tuam Street certainly makes up for the missing bronze corgi that parted company with its trio in High St pre-quake.
Think Big must be back in vogue with this latest Outer Space exhibition, the best so far to grace the gaps.
Maybe a whale could be the next species to fill the wide open spaces, perhaps leaving its jaws wide open to insert an installation of pews inside to serve as a temporary cathedral. Whoops, don't mention the C word, it only turns people feral as we have to endure the bright yellow, writ large signage of "Here are the people and there is the steeple" making its boring and expensive artistic statement over on the other side of town.
The week began with the filthiest of colds and hot and cold sweats as I longed for the olden days, pre being a freelancer, when you could ring in sick as I run through the scenario of "Hello it's me here, I can't come in to work today, I'm too crook," with the other me replying sergeant major-like: "That's not good enough Me. Get your backside in here pronto you miserable slacker", as I parp loudly into one of the Aged Parent's man- sized hankies.
How Victorian women coped with those teensy weensy, ever so polite, fine linen handkerchiefs back in the day when trying to manage lungs disgorging unsightly rivers of green muck I don't know as I corrupt the old saying: "Horses sweat, men perspire and ladies merely blow".
I had set aside two days to meet up with an old friend from Australia at Mt Lyford and didn't want to disappoint but struggled all night wrestling with the ethics of fulfilling the promise, thus risking infection to her family, or to ring in sick and risk excommunication.
To spread disease or not to spread disease, that was the question as I tossed and turned, waking up in a sweat from the bot and a dream of a new build in Christchurch totally in wood, which a band of white supremacists had set fire to.
Dawn came and I dragged the diseased carcass out of bed feeling much better and drove north a couple of hours later finding myself in a log cabin Fess Parker himself would have been proud to have built.
There was even a visitors' book made of wood as I checked out the beds, making sure they weren't in theme with wood shavings instead of sheets.
A log burner in full play emitted a golden glow drawing you into the main room where Townsville teenagers, only used to two temperatures - hot and very hot, sat round in T-shirts, anxiously waiting for the gate to open on the skifield.
The next day we went up to the mountain navigating the peril of the road with the expert pilotage of my old friend as she remembered me telling her 30 years ago how she drove a car like she rode a horse.
I don't ski, won't ski and was happy to be out ski-sitting in the humble lodge reading my book, pausing from time to time to get up and semaphore the occasional royal wave at the family drifting past as they extended a pole and a wave back before biting the dust.
On my return I find the street is skittled with orange cones, a bulldozer is poised to dig up the road for our turn at having the pipes or drains done. I interrogate one of the workers quite the biz in high vis about how long it will take and he estimates it at four days max. I wonder if scones are expected.
- The Press