It would be impressive if I could explain that the reason for my silence over the last few weeks has been some great crisis in my life - even some tragic circumstances that I have had to deal with. The reality is more prosaic: just my usual writer's block. I have had one or two possibly good ideas. Each time I have faced a kind of fear of doing anything about them until they became stale.
And that is still my situation - so I thought I would at least retail a few of the happenings over the Christmas-New Year period.
Johnny came to stay with us from just before Christmas until the 2nd of January, when he went home. We went driving with him only once - to visit Nick and Helen Alexander in their new home in Matatā.
Johnny had one very distressing experience on Christmas Eve. He was sitting up in his room, on the front of the house, just before midnight, when he heard a woman outside screaming.
There are screams and there are screams. This, he decided, was not the angry scream of someone in a 'domestic' - and it continued for minutes. Johnny went outside to investigate. A few hundred yards down Helvetia Road from our house a crowd was gathered.
A man had been hit by a car and left dying in the street. This article mentions Johnny as he was interviewed by the Herald reporter. It was pretty ghastly, I guess. Johnny said the ambulance took at least twenty minutes to arrive. The man was dead by then.
Despite this, it was wonderful to spend time with Johnny.
On Friday the 7th of January Sue and I went up north for our annual trip to the commemorative Mass on the Hokianga. This trip is a bit of a pilgrimage for us - the Mass commemorates the first Mass in New Zealand on 13 January, 1838, on that spot. We always drive up on the Friday, spend Friday through Sunday nights at the Van Boxels' in Whirinaki, and come home on the Monday. This year we visited Frances and Simon (Frances is Robert Hensen's sister) in Kerikeri on the Friday (Simon was actually at work, though), and my old workmate Lorri O'Brien and her husband Chris on the way back.
What a boring recital! But I felt I must say something! I have been on leave this week - back to work on Monday! Maybe I will think of something better to write next week...