Some days it’s just better not to leave home.

Needing some electronic gadget I walked into Jaycar, Hastings. Lots of vibrant people without wrinkles stood behind the counter. I noted one with an enormous button-like thing moulded into his earlobe.

This prompted a memory, the image of a young man with a large hole in either cheek allowing the workings of his inner mouth to be viewed by one and all. My mouth now decided it was time to weigh in and share that memory with the vibrant ones.

“Oh oh,” I said, with no real thought other than wanting to be at one with the young.

“Oh, oh,” I continued, relating the horror of teeth and tongue and dribbling flesh. Button boy looked me and hastened to tell me that his ear holes would grow back.

“Oh yes,” I smiled approvingly. “Of course, and so much more sensible than getting a tattoo … because people change don’t they and at least with piercings you can get rid of it when you do change.”

Silence. Five pairs of eyes stared at me.

Oh, oh,” I said. “Tattoos can be very beautiful of course, but homemade ones? Really you’re better to go to a tattoo place and get a professional to do it.”

And still they stared at the old one who had come amongst them.

“Oh, oh,” I stumbled on. “Of course homemade ones can be very powerful and can mean such a lot…”

Smiles at last and the vibrant ones managed various states of undress as they showed their tattoos, loved and meaningful to them, a lesson to me.

Purchase completed I shuffled away, button boy at my side, carrying my parcel, hand on my elbow, gently guiding me to my car.

“Thank you dear,” I said, playing my part.

Personal challenge: enter shop, buy product, say thank you, leave.

Not worrying is another challenge to be mastered. I think it may be too late for me.

The other day I was at my beloved CHB College. A quick phone check revealed eight missed calls from home.

EIGHT! Immediate heart elevation. I call home. No reply. I ring around all the houses. Nothing. I race to the office.

“I’m going home! SOMETHING IS WRONG.”

Into the car I leap and head across the bridge towards Waipawa. What’s this ahead of me?

Road works on the bridge complete with 30k’s and a lollipop man. We inch forward, every car before me makes it through. I’m nearly there. Hands grip the steering wheel; eyes are glued to the cars in front of me. One by one they make it to the other side. My turn. Lollipop man turns towards me and, as if in slow motion, raises the circular sign. Slightly wild of eye and demented of bearing I share with him my imagined news, imploring him to let me through, but mercy is not his middle name.

I wait, small head movement side to side, heart pounding. I scan the sky for the Lowe Walker Rescue Helicopter. Finally the lollipop lowers and I spring through the gate. Waipawa is left in my wake as I head down the straight and into Argyll Rd. A mini jack-knife with small screech sees me into the basin. My brother is bending over the tractor.


Michael looks puzzled.

“EIGHT missed calls, I had EIGHT missed calls!”

“Oh,” says Michael, “Peter wanted to know if you’d moved the cows.”

I had.

We’ve had amazing news. Kate and Danny are homeward bound. The farm is abuzz with happiness. Twenty at the table again.

There are so many plans, but the one that really excites me revolves around my garden. Kate is a passionate gardener, musician and has film and documentary qualifications; Danny is a musician and photographer. Their black and white collaborations are stunning. We have joined all those dots and started a YouTube gardening channel – ‘Mary&Kate Gardening with Grandies’.

My father was a gardener, but never included his children. He was a shy man and probably thought it an imposition. I am happily imposing this skill to my grandies. It’s a funny old world we live in and I’m thinking growing our own food might become increasingly important.

If you feel like taking a look (and even subscribing!) I’d be thrilled. We could swap ideas. Sometimes barrows need pushing and that’s not easy when it’s your own!

[Editor: Just go to YouTube and enter ‘Mary&Kate Gardening with Grandies’. You won’t be disappointed.] 

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