Jolly bad show wherever you go
OPINION: The story so far: Wealthy Auckland housewife and ACT party donor Danyel Southwark abruptly leaves for London when her husband tells her he's lost all their money - and has been having an affair ...
Because I can't sleep, because of jetlag, and because I didn't know what else to do in London at four in the morning, I phoned Guy.
He said, "Oh. Where are you?"
I said, "In a hotel in Bloomsbury. Not high-end, if that's what you're worried about."
He said, "Well, our finances are bad. Very bad. But how are you?"
I said, "OK. I'm lying in bed eating chocolate fudge I got at Covent Garden. I went to see a musical. We Will Rock You. Hideous, serves me right. London's depressing. It rains all the time. It's cold. It's summer, apparently."
He said, "When are you coming home?"
I said, "Is there a home to come back to? Haven't you wrecked it? How old is she?"
He said, "26. But it's over. It didn't ever really begin. It was idiotic. I'm so sorry. Come home. I love you. The girls miss you. We need you. Please just come home."
I ate another piece of fudge.
I could hear him breathing. He said, "Are you there?"
I screamed, "26!"
I hung up and went to the window. I opened it and sat on the sill. It got light at 4.30am. I thought of going out for a run, to the Thames and along the Embankment, or to Hyde Park, with rain falling from the trees.
I went back to bed and finished the fudge.
All the papers have front-page photos of Nigel Farage, the Right-wing politician who is the big winner at the European Union elections.
He's grinning from ear to ear and posing with a pint of beer on top of his head.
I like his style. He's the most colourful political leader I've seen since Rodney Hide in his prime, when he dazzled voters in his yellow blazer.
As for new party leader Jamie Whyte ... he hadn't exactly set the agenda. What does he do all day?
I couldn't face another musical so I went to another show: the trial of Rolf Harris, at the Southwark Crown Court.
The irony of the court's name didn't escape me. It was in a small upstairs courtroom by the Thames. I got the last seat in the public gallery - and there was Rolf Harris, sitting right in front of me, a stooped old man accused of 12 counts of indecent assault.
Four girls have complained. He said they were all liars. His voice was thin. The prosecutor sounded like Kim Hill in a bad mood. She said, "You have a darker side under your loveable exterior, don't you?"
He said, "I suppose so."
She talked about how he once praised the way one of his alleged victims looked in a bikini. The girl was 13. The prosecutor said, "You were telling her she had a great body, weren't you?"
The dry voice said, "I suppose so."
His wife watched from the gallery. She needed help to stand up and sit down.
I suppose it was worse than We Will Rock You.
I lunched at the Savoy Grill. I think I recognised Jamie Whyte at another table. I wanted to tell him how disgusted I was at the news that Laila Harre, that thin-lipped Left-wing battleaxe, was probably about to return to Parliament because of the sickness of MMP deal-making, but thought better of it.
The lamb cutlets and spinach with garlic were superb. I also ordered a glass of port. The bill only came to about £50 but the credit card was declined.
I paid with cash and walked back to the hotel.
The concierge told me I might be interested to know there's a New Zealand and Australia literary festival in London this weekend. He showed me a brochure. Witi Ihimaera will be there, also writers such as Stephanie Johnson, Paula Morris, Ian Wedde and Steve Braunias.
"But I'm checking out. I'm about to fly home," I said.
"What a shame," he said.
"Yes," I said.
But I'd had enough of dreary shows, and caught the Heathrow express train. It was strange not to leave another country in a taxi. I felt like a peasant, a kind of refugee, heading for a strange new land.
Diary of a Housewife, the creation of Steve Braunias, features the satirical musings of two contrasting Kiwi women, Aucklander Danyel Southwark and Wellingtonian Harriet Wakefield. email@example.com; Twitter @SteveBraunias.
- The Timaru Herald