My brother's need is greater than my own....Part 3

I was overwhelmed by the suddenness of the crying and hadn't managed to slam up the protective walls in time to stop. So was sobbing while checking e-mails (I know, very weird but I find if I carry on, like I'm not, then it stops) when I spied the next email from my brother. Just in time! I didn't stop crying but changed the reason to laughter. So in the spirit of sharing, here it is! 

Settle yourself down, its a long one, but worth it!

Subject: FW Hello

Hi Fay

Mum and dad said that you had a date for your operation and that it was still a couple of weeks away.  They also said you were still having a tough time of things so after explaining the problems of having only one chicken that actually lays eggs I thought I’d send you another e-mail detailing how tough my life is at the moment.  Boy, talk about how the grass is greener…   you don’t know how lucky you are!  Okay so maybe you've got some things tough.  But how about number (4) eh?

(1)   The Situation: Part of the lure of having a large’ish property of one and a half acres to offset the amount of grass mowing I have to do was the fact that I could make my own archery range.  This involves a long stretch of grass that is kept short so that arrows cannot bury themselves in the grass and get lost.  It also involves me building what the medieval folks called a “butt”.  It’s basically a large earthen backstop that you can catch arrows onto without them snaking off into the neighbour maize crop.

Modern archers use an expensive back net or hay bales but not being made of money or hay bales I built a “butt” about the size of a living room armchair from cutting turf and piling them up one on top of the other.  This was apparently how it was done back in the day as evident by the ditches around surviving medieval butts .  After a couple of months grass would have grown good and deep and held the whole thing in so that I could then add to it to make a butt as tall as a man and a couple of meters wide.

All good.  Except then we got some alpacas.  Alpacas are South American creatures of the camel family that like to graze short grass on mountains.

The Problem: In lieu of the Andes or what ever they thought might be a mountain my “butt” has substituted for the best place to graze and so they have eroded it to such an extent that one side has collapsed.  The problem is that this garners no sympathy for Juliette or anyone else as “butt” has so many connotations with “bum” I might as well be referring to Tom the cat as a “pussy”.

I say angrily “those alpacas have eaten the sh*t out of my butt” and I get greeted with laughter.  

“My butt has collapsed on one side,” I say to my nieces and nephews and they grin politely but for them and their New Zealand Americanised ways, I’m talking about “my arse”. 

Therefore I get laughter rather than sympathy for my “butt”.

(2)   The Situation: Sam has taken a liking to be driven around in his car seat to get to sleep.  Him being 16 months old rather than a teenager makes this still socially acceptable and I’ve found that taking corners at speed that produces G-force beyond his mundane life of two foot high plastic slides and primary coloured playground equipment means his oversized toddler head uses up more energy than it normally would, he therefore goes to sleep quicker.  Result!  Particularly if I chose a road worthy of the title “bendy”.

I have taken to driving up Maungakawa Road and in to Maungakawa Reserve which if you’re up on your Maori you would know that Maunga means “mountain”.  Wall-to-wall S-bends abound often with slopes and drops that if the road is not taken correctly our Honda Odyssey would plunge into the semi-tropical trees and end up something that like a lost World War II bomber in the jungled-vined tree tops of Burma.  This obviously hasn’t happened yet and nor do I intend it to.

For one the only radio station you can get up there appears to be “The Breeze” which plays “easy listening” tunes.  Their tag line is “You’ve got a friend in The Breeze” and I can’t help thinking that leaving a friend in the breeze usually meant leaving them “twisting in it”.  As they’ve been hanged. To death.

This would actually be kind of apt now I come to write about it should I miss a turn and only have the one radio station on offer.  So I take it back, sorry “The Breeze FM”, I salute you.

The Problem: When you get to the top of Maungakawa you drive a few miles along a ridge before hitting a place called Te Miro and come back down a road into something approaching sea level what with your ears popping and what not.

The problem is that the roads along the ridge are gravel because they’re so far from civilisation and so I get to take even the slowest of corners sideways, the theme from Top Gear or Top Gun or even Top Loader sometimes playing in my head all because I had a Playstation in my twenties rather than settling down and getting a mortgage and family like a normal person.  

When Sam stops being able to get to sleep because of his massive over sized toddler head comes back into proportion with the rest of him then I’ve no excuse to burn rubber up there.  A sad day indeed.

(3)   The Situation: I have recently started taking Juliette’s older sister’s boy Paul, to my monthly SCA archery sessions.  This is because he’s seven and a boy and so is keen to hear about stabbing knights in the eyes, slitting throats and giving one third of his spoils to his company captain (although he was troubled by the concept of a third).

The SCA stands for the Society of Creative Anachronisms and although I was a founder member of a longbow archery club back in England I had my reservations about the SCA because they’re American.  American often equals Disney and Oxford Comas and things that don’t sit well with the well educated and well balanced folks but all that disappeared when I saw what the SCA New Zealand had and what they’d done.  In England I’d have re-enactors fairs to be able to buy stuff.  In New Zealand unless you order it from the US at high cost everything was made from scratch and from what was to hand.  These people are highly knowledgeable and practical with it.

So when Paul said he wanted a belt dagger I said I’d make him one that was blunt like a butter knife so his seven year old self wouldn’t get into trouble but was still historically accurate.  Historically metal in the medieval period was scarce.  Look around you now and you’ll find metal every where but back then the most prolific mine would have produced enough metal in a year to keep the average metal processing plant now in business for a day.  So when it comes to knives the handle and guard would have been made from wood while the tanged blade would have been made from the precious metal.  If you make the cross piece from wood it would’ve snapped like a pencil so they made if rounded and called it a bollock or ballock dagger.  This was from the Old English for “ball” although the Victorians call them Kidney Daggers.  You can Google them right now if you like.  Try Google Images,  I’ll wait.

The thing is everyone six hundred years ago would have had one but Hollywood chooses not to show them because they looklike dildos.

There’s no getting away from it.  DILDOS. DILDOS!
Too Rude for this blog!

The Problem:  I’m making a bollock dagger for my nephew.  Now looking after a 15 month old isn’t taxing sometimes so often I’ll have a project on the go that I can work on while Sam rolls balls or chases chickens and what not.  I’ve now carved the handle for a bollock dagger that I’ll add to a blunted piece of metal I’ve already cut.

The problem is that I know I’ll be sanding down the dildo shaped handle when the rural post man will turn up.  “What’s that then?” he’ll say.  “It’s for my nephew,” I’ll reply, “He’s, er, he’s seven.”  “That looks rather like a dildo,” he’ll say in his head and then quietly call the police.

(4)   The Situation: Juliette hates farts.  The word “fart”, the sound of me farting, I might as well be saying something worse involving her mother or sisters or dead grandmother which involves digging them up and doing things.  The sound of me farting while on the toilet repulses her.  Probably more than me pinching off my daily loaf.  Yeah, she’ll read this and already she’s going into her happy place to avoid the crudity of the word “FART”.

The Problem:  For the past four years I have been training Eva up (who is five in July by the way) in the pleasure of the “pull my finger” gag.  Whenever I have felt a “brew” I have asked Eva to pull my finger in the hope that one day she might see this as normal and one day might turn to her mother, offer a finger and ask her to “pull it.”

This has never happened.  Ever.  EVER!

Once the cat was sharpening his claws on the furniture and so I nudged him with my foot.  Next thing Eva is trying to kick the cat across the room because she was copying me.  Kids copy everything you do, except this!  This one small thing!  FOUR YEARS!  It’s time for a payoff Eva, it’s time for some pay off…

As I hope you can see there are some things worse than cancer.  My butt for one.  Please think about popping over by the way, it would be good.  I’ve just listed four worries but I have several more if you’re interested.

Love Mark

I think I will be encouraging more of the same, what more can an older sister do, but help out her brother. His need is so much greater than mine......:)

If you'd like to read the previous e-mails click here Part 1 Part 2 

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