Boredom: If all else fails, save the whales
The story so far (21st and final instalment): ACT Party donor and Auckland mother of two Danyel Southwark is traumatised by the election result, and returns to her family home in Timaru ...
Claire made the porridge, and said, "What's in the paper?" I read out, "A Timaru man, 22, reported he fell asleep on Evans St and woke at 5am to a man punching him and demanding his wallet."
"Fair enough," she said, and started ladling out the bowls.
"Thank you, auntie Claire," said Olive and McKenzie. I thought they'd miss Auckland and all it offered, and whine to go back as soon as we got here, but they love their new life.
They love their new school, Craighead Diocesan, and they love their aunt, and they love their cousin, Jean, who is 7 years old and smarter than anyone they knew in Auckland.
I said, "Do you mean she's good around the farm, and knows about animals?"
McKenzie said, "I mean she can do fractions. Her reading age is year 10. And she does yoga."
I said, "It sounds as though she's got her life sorted out."
Olive stroked my arm and said, "You will too, Mum."
Claire made the porridge, and said, "What's in the paper?" I read out, "A Barnes St resident reported seeing a man coming from his garage, then riding off on a bicycle."
"That's Barnes St for you," she said, and started ladling out the bowls.
An old school friend phoned to say she'd heard I was back in town, and asked if I'd like to come over "and wear something Aucklandy".
She was hosting a Melbourne Cup party at her house, and there'd be champagne and strawberries.
I've always loved a party.
It sounded fun. But I found myself saying no, thanks, that I had things to get on with.
I said to Claire, "I need a purpose."
She said, "Can you bring the wood in?"
Claire made the porridge, and said, "What's in the paper?" I read out, "A calf had its throat slit near the Timaru abattoirs."
The table went silent.
I took the girls to school, and when I got back, Claire said, "Can you bring the wood in?"
I said, "What, again?"
I lay on my bed in the afternoon and read my 2014 diary. No wonder I was exhausted.
It had been a busy year.
I was the subject of a police complaint when someone reported me for smacking Olive in a mall, and I was a prisoner in my own home when Rebecca Wright from TV3 hounded me for a story about the incident.
My husband, who has never done anything original, lost all our money and left me for his Asian secretary.
I managed to keep the house ticking over by defrauding a Chinese businessman who thought he was making a donation to ACT.
The less said about ACT the better.
I just need something to do.
I made the porridge, and said, "What's in the paper?" Claire read out a story about a humpback whale that was spotted wrapped in rope in Otago Harbour.
DOC has appealed for news of public sightings to find it, so they can attempt to cut the line and ensure its safety.
But they are warning boaties against getting too close to the whale and trying to free it.
I ladled out the bowls, and said, "Where was it last seen?"
Claire said, "Off the Taiaroa Head about 1.30pm yesterday."
Jean said, "Auntie Danyel, what's this?"
She held up her bowl.
I said, "It's porridge. I thought you were supposed to be smart."
She said, "You have to cook it first."
I said, "I don't have time for your nonsense. I've got to pack!"
This is the life! Life on an ocean wave, out on the high seas, taking matters into my own hands to rescue a whale.
To hell with DOC! I've never stood for red tape. It needs to be cut, just like the rope that has bound that humpback.
Just like the bonds we all wear.
There! There it is. Magnificent. What a sight! What a size!
I'm going in.
The Timaru Herald