How's it going? I hope you've got over the blip with having to come off your trial drug and are feeling happier. It's a funny thing happiness I reckon. Here I am in New Zealand and it's still technically spring however the days are hotter, the grass has been cut in the fields around us and turned into hay which is lovely, bumblebees the size of two penny pieces are drifting around, the baby chicks are getting bigger and fatter, Juliette got a new job she wanted, Eva is looking forward to Christmas with their six week summer holiday and Sam's just Sam the Toddler, ever ready for random hugs and kisses. But what am I preoccupied with? What is it that's taking a poop in my breakfast bowl? Well I'm glad you asked, it's dyeing a cloak the colour green.
I wanted to make a medieval cloak so that I can wrap it around myself on cold evening in front of the camp fire at SCA events. I found some woollen blankets at the local charity shop, sewed them together, lined them, put buttons on and button holes and then had to dye the finished cloak green. I did it in the old bathtub and the results are a bit lighter than what was expected. If I wear the cloak to an event I'm going to requests to lie down on the floor so folks can have a game of Subbuteo on me. It's was like the least medieval green ever. I could wear this cloak as a high visibility jacket. So we gave the kids a bath tonight and Juliette's like "Mark, what's all this brown stuff around the bath?" and I'm like "er, it's some coffee ...", and she's like "what the hell is coffee doing in the bath?" and I'm like, "er... me and Sam were dying some, er, cloth brown." In reality I was baristaring the f*ck up in that bathtub with litres of instant coffee to stain the cloak darker. I'll find out if it's worked tomorrow. It's a real worry for me I can tell you. So erm, how's your cancer going?
That reminds me, here's a puzzler about coffee. Am I the only one that if I buy a latte from a coffee shop or what ever and add loads of sugar from those little paper tube packets and stir it all to hell it's only the last mouthful at the end that is actually sweet? It is just me isn't it. I don't have much luck with coffee. At the indoor play area where I take the kids I always get a coffee in one of those lidded paper cups and it always drips onto my jeans. I try to clean the coffee spot up with a wet wipe and end up clearing a clean patch on my jeans around the brown stain. So then it looks like I've got some sort of dirty fried egg on my leg.
Last weekend we rented a bach and went to Waihi Beach. Just for a moment I'd like you to say how you think Waihi is pronounced. If you pronounced it "why-hi" go back and try again. If you pronounced it "why-he" you'd were spot on, well done. If you're wondering that the heck a bach is it's a New Zealand term that originally meant a small beach hut. If you're wondering why my jeans are so dirty that I can clean a patch with a wet wipe you have to go back in the e-mails about six months. However things with baches have moved on and we rented a two storey three bedroom full on house for about eighty quid per night that was still termed a bach and was better than the hut we live in for the rest of the year. One theory is that bach comes from bacheolor pad and I'd love to have lived in that house as a bacheolor. Five minutes walk over some sand dunes to miles of white beach on the shores of the Pacific Ocean (yes, I did pretend to be C3PO on Tatooine while walking over the dunes - "Don't get technical with me" I said to Eva at one point just for giggles). There can't have been more than twenty or thirty people on that beach all day and we had miles of the stuff to spread out on.
We shared the holiday with Juliette's sister, brother-in-law and kids and the rest of Juliette's family popped up for a sort of day trip too. One of the the highlight of the trip was when a pod of Orca whales swam by us off shore and you could see the wave crests created by their dorsal fins and tails. Of course another name for Orca whales is "killer whales" but "Hey kids, look, Orca Whales!" induces fewer nightmares than "Hey kids, look, Killer Whales!".
Juliette's dad brought up some cheap (less than $3) plastic kites and the son-in-laws had a go at trying to fly them in lieu of the kids not giving a f*ck about them. They only had one string and tended to spiral around and hit the sand unless you got them high enough. I can say with some pride that once I got mine high enough I managed to unravel all of the light weight twine and got my kite to fly what looked like about a gazzilion miles up. Felix Baumgartner would have said it was high up. It was aces and skill. The only thing that bothered me was the design on the kite which showed the sun wearing sun glasses. I couldn't help but wonder as I unwound the Atlantic spanning length of string why the sun would wear sunglasses. To protect it's eyes from itself? It dawned on me that the only reason why the sun would wear sunglasses would be to protect itself from the nearest star to our solar system way off in Alpha Centauri. I mean that's like a tiny pin prick of light. So then it dawned on me that the kite was taking the piss out of the sun. The kite was designed to taunt the sun. I was going to get the kite to fly as close to the sun as possible like some sort of kite flying 21st century Icarus. Game on! Then Sam shat his swimming trunks for the second time that day and Juliette made me reel the kite back in and put it away. So that didn't happen in the end.
Actually I've got to tell you that before I tried to taunt the sun I had offered everyone a chance to fly the kite (as in "look how awesomely high I've flown this $3 kite, want a go?") and Juliette's mum said she had never flown a kite ever. I passed her the plastic handle, she asked if she had to do anything, I said no and then we waited about five seconds and she passed the plastic handle back to me with a curt nod. Awesome.
After the holiday on the way back we men dropped the wives and kids off at the Goldfields Railway. This is a restored charitable railway which runs between Waihi and Waikino along the Ohinemuri River. We had to drop them off and pick them up at the other because we had the two cars and it was a one way journey. So we dropped them off at the Waihi station then in the car park we debated long and hard about doing a runner but eventually drove round to the Waikino station and picked them up at the other end. The kids loved it as this was the first time they had been on a railway train. I joked that at the other end I was then going to then show other old time stuff like a a vinyl record player, a VHS recorder, a cathode ray tube television set, a rotary dial telephone and corporal punishment. The looks I got seem to suggest I had suddenly morphed into Phil Harding from Time Team and had suggested we all do some flint knapping. Up in the Maungakawa Reserve by us is an old outbuilding that's had people graffiting it for the last hundred odd years. Some of it says stuff like "Dave and Sue, Sep 1994", but some is from 1947 and the like so you kind of respect it. My favourite quote on it is "Nothing is as old as yesterday." Think about that one for a moment... nothing is as old as yesterday. That is deep. I'm going up there later to add "except the day before yesterday obviously. Mark 2012".
It also occurs to me that nowadays you post something now on an internet forum or what ever and chances are there's some sort of ratings system for it. So every now and again you can't but help pop back and check out if anyone thought what you said was any good. Usually it's "Likes" or green thumbs up or red thumbs down but there's nothing like that for graffiti at all. From now on I'm going to go into public toilets and mark each statement with random green thumbs up and red thumbs down. So you'd see "I have climbed highest mountains, I have run through the fields, Only to be with you, Only to be with you. I have run, I have crawled, I have scaled these city walls, These city walls, Only to be with you. But I still haven't found what I'm looking for, but I still haven't found what I'm looking for." (add six green thumbs up, four red thumbs down.) And then underneath someone could have written: "Have you tried taking your sunglasses off before you look Bono?" (add five green thumbs up, one red thumb down).
I think I'm in bit of a funny mood because my hands are still dyed green from the cloak (gives self two green thumbs up) so I'll say cheery bye for now. Speak to you next week.
Love Mark xxx