As if life weren’t complicated enough, school went back today. Not back to its old site (Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti’s campus was the centre of Cashel Mall) but to Halswell Residential School in Aidanfield. We have dispossessed the usual students, who are older learners with learning, behavioural or intellectual hurdles to cope with. They come from all over the country and have been repatriated. Hard on them, but good luck for the families of UPT.
It’s a beautiful campus. The fact that I got the start time wrong today meant the boys had a whole extra hour to enjoy it. Yes, it was pouring with rain, but I still think they could have been a little more grateful. Outside is a nice place to be. I enjoyed looking at it from inside the Landrover as I drove away.
And no, I hadn’t organised any lunch supplies (they’re 17 and 15) because they hadn’t thought about the fact that there is no Subway or sushi bar close by. Being the world’s best mother, I sent them off bearing a packet of noodles, a bottle of water each, and a slab of supermarket “home” baking that probably should have left home last week. (Hope Nick didn’t read the label – he and I argue chronically about the advisory or otherwise nature of ‘best before’. In my view if it ain’t moving it ain’t an issue.)
I want them to catch the bus. It might be thoroughly selfish but I need every minute at the moment. Belting out Lady Gaga at full throttle as we crawled down Cashmere Road was not part of some cunning plan, no matter what they though as they sat in the back seat, sighing heavily. Mum in her high vis pink vest, bellowing cheerily at the top of her lungs and asking the same question every five minutes is possibly not the goddess vision they have of the way a lady should start the day.
Grunted them goodbye (not allowed to kiss them anymore) and amscrayed to the Council briefing. Two and a half hours of intensive updating as to where things are at and where things are not. (All the public information we learned should be available on the council website. The stuff that’s not public you won’t be learning from me.) Good to be able to have a two way conversation with John Hamilton, the Director of Civil Defence. Must admit when he referred to Sydenham as being ‘orange zone 8’ I had a quiet whispered conversation with Aaron Keown and we nearly asked to change it to ‘district 9’.
From there to a debrief with Councillor Corbett, all excited that his plumbing’s been fixed. (At his age he should be). Then to the supermarket, and a moment too tempting to miss.
I know you shouldn’t really drive the wrong way down a one way street, through a cordon, but the poor little soldier standing there all on his lonesome was a lot more gracious when I gave him the bag of lollies than my darlings were this morning when I dropped them at school. Bless the child – just a whisker older than mine and that whisker only bum-fluff at that. Gracious wasn’t quite the word. Stunned and slightly terrified – better. He took the lollies though. As far as I’m concerned that constitutes a contract.
Off to do my supermarket commercials with Amanda, who had a lovely surprise today that she will tell the world about if and when she’s ready. (Hint hint it’s Friday it’s a newspaper and she’s writing in it … shhhhhh)
Home to find men from the council had triaged me while I was out. I am officially not a hazard to be in. Somebody should tell the soldier that.
And then frantically tidying the house. Since September, I’ve been recording an audio diary with Hugo Manson from the Alexander Turnbull Library Oral History Division (whew – I thought Chair of the Regulatory and Planning Committee of the Christchurch City Council was a mouthful but his title’s worse). Hugo is a delightful gentleman with the most beautifully rounded vowels. I had to pay to have mine treated – his appear entirely natural. He was in town and came here to record today’s instalment. I taught him how to play that lovely new Christchurch game called ‘how big’s your crack?’ He did seem somewhat startled at first but soon became very good at it – as you will at Facebook, Hugo. Yes, I can nag you even from here.
I told Hugo about Donna’s funeral yesterday, about Murray’s on Friday – showed him the picture Kim took of the blog on the big screen at the Art Gallery. So Kimberley – the story I wrote for your Dad will now be part of the National Archive of New Zealand. You can tell your Mum I did manage to correct the credits at the end.
Working with Hugo is lots of fun but very hard. I’ll be laughing and cracking stupid one liners then I’ll realise something I hadn’t perceived before and my heart will start that stupid bang bang nonsense. It did it again today when I was talking with him about CTV, and how adamant Nick was that it was not the building he saw on fire while he waited in Latimer Square. Why would that be, Hugo asks. Too hard to think about, I surmise.
It took a text from Kimmy tonight to calm it down. I tweeted while I was talking with Hugo, explaining what I was doing. (It’s like looking into a mirror with a mirror behind when you’re blogging about tweeting about being recorded for the National Library which will now have to contain links to all those things you mentioned). Kimmy, who lives just over the back, tweeted @sue_wells just as well I didn’t drop in sweaty from my walk.
Kimmy my love – if only it had been the soldier, then I would have minded. If it’s only Hugo here, you can drop in any time. Having said that, you’d best not come over though tonight. He’s bound to arrive. I’m sure he will. A swirly eyed lollie wielding councillor in a hot pink high vis vest can’t be that hard to find.
We live by the first portaloo round the bend as you look up at Sugarloaf, private.
I might have forgotten to mention that bit.