Saturday, 5 September 2015


Dear Rachel,

The chattiness and balance in your letters hit the spot.

My brother asked me once if I had a weather app on my phone and I gave him a look, spat my tea and posted  him a smile handsome. It rained here 3 or 4 days last year. Otherwise fine. You and your family would like it. It's warm and easy.

Sticks are funny things and somehow have more than two ends. Despite turning and flipping them, the wrong end, as if magnetically, seems to end up held. I agree that there is happiness in connecting with people. Things happened this past week which bruised me. The simplest description of what occurred is that a couple of important friendships were fractured. Not chipped but cracked (like chapped lips). We let each other down and it stank and drained the jokes from our text messages.

Your happiness seems tied up in the closeness of your family which surely is a sparkling joy. My sons and I speak a few times each week and the most touching part of our chats, for me, is the way Ben calls out 'Hello Daddy' before my picture is even up on the screen and he has two jokes and three magic tricks prepared in advance. I love the way Jonah pops in and out of the conversation as he chuckles around the sofas juggling soft toys. We're just goofing off together for a few minutes, forgetting that I am absent and pretending that we are not missing each other like wartime sweethearts.

It's an individual matter and sadly happiness is elusive to too many too often.

Your tale of mindfulness is very funny! The knock on effect of a single act of being startled is a lesson to us all. I am glad you remained in your skin.

I continue to drink full fat milk each and every day. I'm not too bothered by the opinions, regarding milk, of people who drink less milk than I. The chances of me having a hot date with milk and questions about Nippy's are trim.

The other day we were talking about music. John Butler Trio's music is not for everyone but he has written some tunes which are magical. Spring to come uplifts, even if you don't know you need it as it finds that place we hide our sadness.

Last week, I met a couple. They are terrific. Tim and I are similar in that we have the tongues of sailors and enjoy cold beer. We spent hours cussing and burping just last night. There are plans to pick it up again soon. Tim is from Bristol and his wife is from Russia. Against the odds, there are many wonderful people in my circles, People who laugh, drink, play and connect with me, pressing many of the bits us humans need touched. I am delighted.

Coffee with a couple of friends is calling me now, in fact. It's been nice to chat.

Safe travels back to Wellington.


* I'd like to talk 'fathers' with you at some stage.

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