Sunday, October 10, 2010

Waiting for a Launch

It’s a strange day. So many things to write about.

Last night about 2 am the doorbell rang. Anne didn’t hear it upstairs so I pushed my walker to the door. It was a policewoman. There had been a fracas down the lane she said. Had I heard anything? Sorry to disturb you sir.

Book launch .this afternoon. I’m trying to husband my energy prior to the event. It’s hard to keep excitement corralled.

I haven’t mentioned this on my blog before but during the adventuresome night when I slept with a different and temporary mask I broke the skin on the bridge of my nose. Despite dressing with anti-bacteria ointment and manuka honey (my caregiver swears by this remedy) it hasn’t we took it to the doctor’s on Friday. So anti-biotics.

I finished the Holman book. It has not been the best of times to be reading such a densely packed account. It’s a book demanding reflection and consideration. The history of pre-Pakeha New Zealand that I was fed in my school-days and indeed taught in my early teaching career has long been superseded by new research and fresh understandings. ‘Our Nation’s Story’ needed considerable modification. Holman’s done a good job pulling together so many different strands. I am pleased to have read it.

What to read next? I dithered between Alison Wong’s novel ‘As the Earth Turns Silver’ and the new biography of Katherine Mansfield. Mary McCallum’s blog expressed delight in the novel and expressed regret at not reading it earlier. The comment tipped the scale so I’ll read the Wong. Getting lost in a good novel is probably the best way to forget about the launch.

The local body elections held a few surprises. When the super-city Auckland was created I thought John Banks would continue on his merry way. I was wrong. I thought Kerry Prendergast was a shoo-in as our mayor. I was nearly wrong. Lower Hutt, Hamilton and Dunedin replaced existing mayors, though Tim Shadbolt continued on smiles and all, though Southland lost the Ranfurly Shiled, In New Plymouth Harry Duynhoven ex Labour MP swept in. It’s hard to pick trends but I suspect the overall trend is a left swing.

Last night we watched a DVD ‘Home By Christmas’. When I shifted to Wellington and the Head Office of the old department of Education there was a younger officer Ted Preston. He introduced me to his sister Gaylene the film producer. Gaylene has made this film about her father Edward and mother Tui. Young man goes off to war, captured, in an Italian POW camp, escaped to Switzerland. Meanwhile his wife having had their child, Ted, falls in love with someone else.

It’s a moving memoir. Old Ted played by Martin Barry has that laconic Kiwi language that I associate with my stepfather and the other returned servicemen of that era. The restraint of the movie is part of its appeal. The painful adjustment of the soldier and his wife on his return four years late for Christmas is left to our imagination. We know there are two more children. Preston's camera captured a slice of Kiwi life very well.

In Chile, the miners trapped deep in the mine, have had a rescue shaft reach them. It'll still take a few days before the actual rescue attempt will be made. It's a story of courage and technology. As I say often, the human spirit is amazing. Or maybe that is the life force, the blasted oak I wrote about last week is budding up.


  1. A swing to the left maybe, except in Christchurch, where an earthquake intervened. Bob's TV presence saved the day for him when the polls were predicting otherwise, until then.

  2. Fantastic launch this afternoon, Harvey. I have already made inroads into the gorgeous book. It truly is. And how wonderful you have Kathleen Jones' bio of Mansfield to read after Alison Wong's novel. Having finished Wong I picked up Jones and am thrilled with it. It's been a good reading week.

  3. I have just been dipping into your "These I Have Loved"... and weeping. That is certainly not what I expect when reading an anthology. There's a full, rich, wise life between the covers here. You say you'll not write another book. We'll see. If not, this is a glorious way to end your literary career.