New Year’s Eve

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Last chance to go to the gym for 2003. I found that I had the time to do it. I even got up an hour earlier than I thought, 8:30 instead of 9:30 so that gave me plenty of time. The second of our bills for the month got paid when Joe took it down to the supermarket.

Apart from that it was a very leisurely day until we went into the Octagon at half past nine in the evening. In the next couple of hours it filled iwth people. We made our seat on the steps of Saint Paul’s Cathedral. Gazebo Tiger played in the lower Octagon. Their music was ruined by a combination of poor balance provided by the sound system and too many bum notes. I suspect that most of the good musicians are out at Whare Flat for the music festival. At midnight pipers played Auld lang syne on the steps of the town hall and the revellers sang along with the band – the pipers finishing a verse ahead of them. The canon sounded and we were in a good position not to be deafened by it on the steps. Then there was a wonderful display of fireworks that could be felt through the soles of our feet. We reckon that they got up to level six in space invaders by the time it was over. They were fired from the top of the municipal building, and they set one of the balconies that surround the building alight. The smoke drfited across the Octagon. It took five minutes for the fire engine to arrive and make its way through the assembled crowd.

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Octive 6

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Mike was heard to leave at half past seven. He was picked up by Marvin to go to the Whare Flat Music Festival. Later on I got up and had breakfast. There are some ripe bananas that need to be finished off. I am having them on toast for breakfast.

After breakfast I went to the gym. It’s quiet there but not completely abandoned. There is no competition for the equipment. Afterwards I decided to use Auntie Eileen’s money to replace a denim shirt that is so ragged I could rip off the bottom half and wear it like a bolero jacket. I walked down to the Savmart on Stafford Street and bought a new second-hand denim shirt with short sleeves for £3. Then I walked down George Street to exchange a five-year old gift voucher for a neck chain at Reflex jewelry. I found what I wanted and got change for it too.

It was about two o’clock when I got home. Everyone was up by now. The rest of the day was spent pleasurably reading comics. Joe and I watched Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death, a video by Comic Relief that Dave had got off friends. I had read the script and some reviews of it on the internet and I think the anticipation of it was funnier than the execution.

We finished the day watching the Best of New Zealand’s Homegrown music videos on C4. There was not much on it to enthuse us thirty-somethings.

The Journey Ends

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In the morning I went into town with Dave and Mike. I went to the gym. The music there was loud, like a party. Dave did the rounds of the bookshops. I stopped on the way home to buy Dave a Doctor Who book for a couple of pounds. In the meantime he had been and bought dozens more.

The rest of the day was spent reading comics and books. I did some work on my creole project while Mike made fish pie using some of the last of the potatoes that I had bought for Christmas.

Keith and his mother visited briefly. Keith was dropping off some books as he is going to be out of town for several months. They also gave us a jar of home-made raspberry jam as a Christmas present. This is nice. We have some apricot jam at the moment but I find it sweet and bland after a long run of buying red jams.

In the evening we decided to go to The Return of the King with Dave. Famous last lines that proved to be appropriate for Sauron as well as Audrey Two from Little Shop of Horrors: Oh, Shit!

I had stripped my bed earlier in the day. When I got home there was a cat curled up on my duvet. We gently pulled the duvet off my bed so she got the hint that she couldn’t stay there while I made up my bed.

Octave 4

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Church in the morning: I had a lesson to read as well as Graham to sit with. He wanted prayer for having been shouted at by a support person yesterday. At least I think it was a support person, someone called Pauline. He caused it by lying to her first. He has been adopted by some of the older ladies in church who have been up to the community house to visit him before Christmas.

I should eat some of these bananas because they are turning brown. And I might have to talk to Mike about the amount of bread he eats since he cannot pay kitty this week.

Intermittent rain and thunder during the day, it was time to read. I finished one of the Jean Morrises and started on another. Late in the afternoon Joe and Dave arrived from Invercargill. Dave plans to stay until New Year. They arrived with my Christmas presents from family: all food products this year. There’s a trend here: cheese and crackers and sweets and nuts and honey and home-made mustard.

Joe weighed himself while he was in Invercargill. It turns out that he is now heavier than I am, about 80 kilo.

We watched Dungeons and Dragons: The Movie in the evening. It proved to be so bad that there were pauses between the bits that were worth heckling. I watched the start of Bootmen, but it was slow in starting and it was the wrong company to watch it with. Billy Elliott is probably the better movie. I turned it off. If it plays again I’ll give it another go and see if I can watch it through. Later we watched Little Shop of Horrors which is a fun musical.

the Festival of the Water Spirits – Vayaun Calendar

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I turned on the radio to listen to Meridian Music Review. They were talking about the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols at King’s College. My mother rang from Invercargill to tell me it was on, even though it called me away from listening to it!

I went into town for a workout at the gym. A number of places were open, still busy in the afterglow of Christmas. I did not stop and buy.

One of my aunts has sent me a Christmas card enclosing a £2-note.

Mike planted himself in front of the tv. His way of blobbing out during the day, as contrasted to going to chatrooms until late at night. I played around with my projects on the computer. There were several chances to go walking in the summer rain. Hana rang in the evening to give me the reading for the next day: the account from Luke of Jesus in the temple as a young child.

Boxing Day

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Note to self: fruit mince goes well when mixed in with porridge.

We are in the Octave now, the eight days between Christmas and New Year.

In the morning it thundered and hailed. I went walking in its wake and enjoyed its wetness. I stopped at the pergola in the upper Botanical gardens, sitting for ten minutes while evaporating stream brushed the pool.

There were flies in the fridge, and they have laid eggs on my good ham! Grrr! I washed it under the tap and cut away the offending flesh. In case it happens again it has been throroughly wrapped in its plastic cover. I bought some fly spray before Christmas so I plan to fight back.

I mailed a document from Endeavour to Bagend as Word Perfect document, but I found I couldn’t open it. I will have to try it again.

In the afternoon I found some time to trim the trees around the pathway so they do not obstruct access to the house. I would like a friend to come in and cut back the trees before winter. Mike came home after being a night away. He did not stay for tea. I went down to the supermarket just before closing time and bought £20 of groceries. Very nice, I had already got that money out earlier in the week. I did not need to put it down on my EFTPOS card.

I bought some drumsticks for my tea and roasted them. The second part of the Snow Queen played and I decided that it was faithful enough to the mofifs of the original story. The last missing shard of the mirror went into Kai’s eye, and later the Snow Queen froze his heart. I should seek out the original story and read it again.

My mother rang in the evening because she wanted to know the comparative elevations of Jerusalem and Bethlehem(!) She later found it herself. Jerusalem was 2500m and Bethlehem was 2350m. So from Bethlehem it is still possible do the Aliyah and go up to the temple.

Christmas Day

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I opened the one gift that I had received before Christmas from Ian and Tracy – a box of delicious Belgian chocolates. Different chocolate creams encased in dark chocolate, sometimes with a white chocolate seal on top. Much thanks to them.

I went to church for the Christmas service as I had the gospel reading about the shepherds encounter with the angels in Luke’s nativity story. Hana related this to the human activity as audience in the divine story. There was a reasonable attendence of people who were still in town and awake at church including some visitors.

I came home for lunch, opening the small bit of pre-cooked ham that I had got from the supermarket on Christmas Eve. In the afternoon I went looking for a link from the Conlang list that kept me distracted all afternoon until a phone call came from Invercargill from Mum and Tim, my remaining brother living in Invercargill.

After that it was time to prepare my Christmas meal. I prepared some potatoes and put them in an oven tray with an onion and two chicken legs that Joe and I bought the previous week as a treat for me while he was away. Then I boiled some more potatoes in a pot. When they were done I used the water to steam some vegetables. It was a hearty meal with sufficient for a second helping. The potatoes, Jersey Bennes, were especially sweet. I am looking forward to trying those again! For a desert I had fruit mince, a carton of ice cream, and a bottle of cream to mix together. I thought I had bought a tub of Christmas pudding, but it turned out to be fruit mince. That is fine as it is very adaptable.

While this was preparing I turned on the tv to hear the C4 top 100 music video countdown. Johnny Cash came in about 61 between The Verve and Michael Jackson. Take On Me by A-ha was number 12, despite the dreadful clothing and hair styles of the period. The number one played at midnight, just before the infomercials started. I think it was Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana. I was swopping between channels by this stage. I much prefer the “pure expression” of the Benzedrine Monks’ interpretation of this song.

Nick, my brother in Wellington, rang after tea. We chatted for an hour. He plans to visit the South Island next year. It meant I missed the first hour of The Snow Queen with Bridget Fonda in the title role. I don’t know if they explained the origin of the mirrior. In an earlier version it was created by Satan to reflect all good as evil. It was destroyed when the armies of hell determined to carry it into heaven to reflect the face of God. A shard pierced the heart of Kai so he perceives all evil as desirable (this part of the story seems to be overlooked). What I saw of it was visually impressive but I think it brushes over Hans Christian Anderson’s grim spirituality.

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