Tag Archives: father/daughter

Mission Cleopatra

14635 puz 913465.ai

I’m watching Mission Cleopatra with my 8 year-old daughter. It’s a funny film. Her choice. She plucked it from the plethora available, avoiding the usual Simpsons or the good/awful Grammy performances we’ve been making our way through.


I recently turned her on to the Asterix books I loved as a child, so I thought it might be fun to see the film. But I must say it seems to lack the magic of the original Goscinny and Uderzo books. Maybe it’s because I’m not French, or because it’s live action (filled with seemingly-hammy French actors) that it seems a bit flat. The fact that the fine comic French actors are over-dubbed with dry American voices close mic-ed in a dull/dead studio certainly doesn’t help. There seems little atmosphere, no charm. The wonderfully barrel-chested Gerard Depardieu/Obelix voiced by an empty US teenage voice just sounds weird.


But my 8 year-old thinks it’s ‘great’. She loves the original book. Likes things French. Has a francophone mother. Is fascinated by Egypt. Adores the Egyptians in Horrible Histories. Often dances to their Lady Gaga-themed Rah-Rah-Cleopatra song. Is slowly making her way through an Older Fiction ‘autobiography’ of Cleopatra from the library, saying names like Berenice and Ptolomy in her own 8-year old way.







Last week we started watching a cool BBC documentary called ‘Immortal Egypt’ which has made ancient Egypt a lot clearer to me than it has ever been. I finally understand the difference between Upper and Lower Egypt, and the three different kingdoms, thanks to the captivatingly passionate professor who has to shade her pasty Brit skin from the Egyptian sun with an umbrella employed for its proper purpose.


Me, I’ve always been much more into the Romans. And, to a lesser degree, the Greeks. Which may be why I have always had more of a taste for the Ptolomys, the Greco/Egyptian dynasty founded by Alexander’s general, Ptolomy, who started the line that ended when Cleopatra went out with a bang with Mark Antony having moved on from lover #1, Mr. Caesar (who every Asterix fan knows is a big-nosed pompous arse).


But enough history.


The film is full of gags. While Starkius and Hutchkis racing off in a chariot is wasted on my girl, she gets the Star Wars references about an evil empire. And the Gluteus Maximus gag.








Yes. It’s fun. Bang crash. Very French. Yes, my girl loves it. Has asked to get the Asterix book out from the library again.

But, again, enough history. I am having bean bags thrown at me. I shall stop tapping away on the tablet.


Time to play Asterix and Obelix. Gauls fighting Romans. Egyptians on the side.

Vivien Leigh in Caesar and Cleopatra (1945) 2



Flashes of the Past as Time Flies

Tomorrow my daughter turns 7. She is, of course, very excited. The time has flown since I shifted to Wellington 3 months before her birth with no job and no place to live, in the clutches of an unformed relationship which would survive the birth of my wonderful daughter, but not last through the months that followed.

These things can make you reflect, if you have a mind to, and it’s made me realise that last week marked 20 years since I left my hometown of Christchurch to join the ever-increasing pull of New Zealand’s biggest city, Auckland.


The so-called Death Star

I was taking up a 6 month internship in sound at the country’s biggest media organisation, TVNZ. Fresh off a year studying broadcasting, I didn’t expect to spend much time at what I soon learned to call the Death Star. I was just having a look on a path to a more cutting edge employer. But I liked it, staying there, one way or another, for the next 13 years.

If you had told me that back in 1995 I would have run screaming back to Christchurch.

That February was spent on the edge of Auckland’s downtown red-light district, on a couch in the photographic studio of someone I barely knew, looking for somewhere to live. In the pre-internet world of 1995 it meant calling flatmate ads in the Saturday Herald to be told, “it’s gone, mate”, no matter how early I called. It was very frustrating (hooray for the 21st century and online life). My host was very relaxed and welcoming, but the studio was pretty basic with a sink and a fridge, a cat, toilet down the hall, plus the two couches we slept on. It’s where I saw my first cockroach.


It’s been done-up since I stayed there

As no one was supposed to be living there there was no shower. Actually, there was a shower but it was down 5 flights of stairs at the back of a Chinese takeaways. There were mushrooms growing on the walls I presumed were not being cultivated deliberately.

But I didn’t think too much about all that as I was farmed around all the different areas of TV. My first night was a baptism of fire, sitting in the sound room of the nation’s most-watched programme, the 6pm news. My senior, a classic grumpy old bitter-seen-it-all and not-afraid-to-show-it soundie put the show to air after putting tape over the smoke alarm so he could puff sneaky fags while hitting carts and foot pedals, setting off stings, pre-fading tape sources and mics while telling me only an idiot would get into TV and how he had placed radio mics around his house to catch his crazy wife poisoning the minds of his children.


Wrong era, wrong control room, but you get the picture

Given what was to come it was an appropriate baptism.

By the end of the month I had found a place to live in Kingsland, heavily motivated by both my living conditions and visitors like the former male model who turned up straight out of prison to raid the fridge and eat the cat’s food from the can. “Ever had to do this, mate?” Or the persistent whining of my host’s school-girl-model girlfriend saying things like, “you don’t have do anything, just stick it in and I’ll do the rest”.

Over the next 13 years working as a soundie in studio, field and outside broadcast, I saw a lot, did a lot, always with the eye of a writer squirreling away every experience.


One of my 1st jobs. Standing in the middle of this historic sporting moment


Not all glamour. You have to learn your colour codes

But this is not the time for a tell-all memoir of bright lights and name dropping. That is to come (so I tell myself). When I want to clear my head of the celebrities, politicians and royalty, or the look on the face of the well-loved presenter as I was forced to unzip her cat suit, or the Christmas party where another whispered in my ear, “you are the 2nd best-looking man in the room” only to drunkenly claim an hour later “you are now the best looking man in the room”…he was quite the entertainer, mixing compliment with insult. The summer I spent with a billionaire which culminated in giving him a leg-up over the wall into the best party in town. The joints (and other things) guiltily shared on the way to shoot something important or innocuous. The police detective surrounded by laughing colleagues, tied naked to a tree in the red-light district with a branch sticking out his arse. The netballers sprung using the male showers as I entered, who grabbed too-short towels to (sort of) cover their modesty. The terrifying moment I stumbled into the most powerful (and charismatic) man in the world, despite the world’s tightest security.


New to his job in 1999, I felt sorry for Putin next to ‘Elvis’. How little we knew

The day I was evacuated from a blizzard on a mountain which had claimed many lives. The rocks thrown at the back of my head in a dodgy school. Being driven through the balmy night air of a South Pacific paradise by a sporting hero with an impossible amount of booze. Having a lunchtime beer forced on me by the wife of the 2nd richest man in New Zealand while my superiors looked conflicted. Parents telling stories of loss while the news media was held at bay. The sight of a large un-cleaned clot of blood on a suburban street after a man had lain there all night after being shot by police. The Queens. The Kings. The Dalai Llama. Having a cup of tea in the poorest street in the country.


Soundies are always close to the action

The beautiful women. The ugly beautiful women. The powerful men. The powerless broken men. The tigers, the giraffes, the ostriches fucking on a frosty morning. The smell of dead whales being carved up. The dolphins swimming just out of reach of my hand.

The past, indeed, is another world. The land of February 1995 is so foreign I struggle to remember how they did things there. The cell phones were certainly bigger and life was much trickier without things like the internet (wasn’t it?)

1995 cell hone

The first cell phone I held in Feb 1995

7 years ago my life was about to become both trickier and more straight forward with the birth of a beautiful daughter, (unknowingly) conceived in the midst of a world I had no idea was coming to an end. The Global Crash was about to hit and my life in TV would soon become a melange of distant memories.

My girl is growing fast. Her big parties full of friends and food have been replaced by a small select sleep-over of young girls at her mother’s place. It feels strange to miss this transition in her life.

But life is about transitions. New things to experience and remember, old lives lost forever. Paths stepped off and others unwittingly pursued.

What is life if not a story to be lived and recounted with an ever-evolving mix of acceptance and disquiet?

It is time to pick up my daughter from school. I have bought her too many presents, intending to spoil my growing girl and salve my disquiet about tomorrow.

I think we can both be happy with that.


She’s ultra-excited about Season 2 Shopkins


We’ve been listening to the How To Train Your Dragon books…I think she’ll love Hiccup & Toothless

Quiet Loud Listen Sing

You know, Dad… I really like songs that go quiet, then loud!

When my 6 year-old daughter said this to me the other week she said it with hand movements, pressing down on the quiet, then going up high for the loud!, just like a conductor. I resisted the immediate urge to say, well, then you need to hear the Pixies, Missy Moo, you’ll love This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven. Instead, I stayed quiet letting her finish the thought that had distracted her from her drawing.

I had put a video on the telly to learn a song I was unfamiliar with for an informal singing group I recently joined, and I took her dramatic statement as a critique of what I saw as quite a laid-back ditty.

I say my singing group is informal as it’s for people who enjoy singing and don’t seek the formal structure of church, choir or barber-shop. While we could be characterized as ‘enthusiastic amateurs’, we’re not as bad as that phrase implies. And while we often have the crazed energy of the Portsmouth Sinfonia (a wonderful orchestra of untrained musicians made famous by Brian Eno), we’re much more ‘on song’ than that deliberately experimental group (which disbanded once they became too competent). William Tell Overture – Portsmouth Sinfonia

The song I was trying to get familiar with was one I had never taken a shine to, I See Fire by Ed Sheeran; a # 1 hit in New Zealand (and Iceland, and Norway, and Sweden… countries that believe in hobbits, I guess). I See Fire


Firey duet

In the few seconds it took me to suppress my urge to whip off the song and put on the Pixies, my daughter looked up from the picture she was working on for her classroom boy-crush, and continued her thought saying, like Roar, Wire, Recover… and this one.

I was a little taken aback; by both the thoughtful analysis of a 6 year-old, and that she placed this movie theme song in her pantheon of great tunes – the ones we regularly sing along to in the car.

When it finished she insisted I played the video again, accompanying my vocals while adding purple to the picture she was drawing for Austin (it’s his favourite colour!) Fascinated by the sheet music I was (patchily) reading (I sing by ear rather than eye), she insisted we went through the tune half a dozen times; slipping into some lovely harmonies (I have always found it hard to stay on my note).


Katy and her little band do a wee Roar

Now, I need to make it clear that despite what I said above, we have never listened to Roar in the car. Nothing against Katy Perry; my daughter loves her. And while she as at the more acceptable end of the ‘stripper-pop’ spectrum, I just don’t need a copy of that song. Don’t get me wrong, I love pop and we listen to heaps of contemporary (and classic) commercial wonderful/awfulness, but I find that particular tune loses its vim fast, quickly becoming a flaccid grind. That said, I did happen to see the (former Mrs.) brand Perry perform the song ‘acoustically’ at the Grammy announcements and was impressed with the live energy (as opposed to the somehow soulless and cold single) so watched that video with my daughter many times.

But the Katy Perry that gets played and sung along to in the car (along with The Wire and Recover) is Dark Horse, as it stands above the rest to me. Dark Horse

  1. Her voice is pitched down in my range 2. I’m a sucker for the wonderfully low 808 drum sound, and in this track it has an addictive reggae-type feel that I just can’t get sick of. Yes, my girl is digging her idol but the lyrics she sings along to most, is Juicy J.’s rap, which kind of surprises me.
    Dark Horse 2

    Dark Horse? Garish filly

We also often dance to the lurid video, as she’s into things Egyptian at the moment. It’s a fun vid which courted controversy when a brain-dead stylist thought it would be cool to burn contemporary religious symbols. It’s not the only dull-skulled element, however, as the lyrics start with make me your Aphrodite… the Greek goddess of love… okay, so let’s make an Egyptian! video. Righto. Sure, Cleopatra, being a Ptolomy, was of Hellenistic stock… I can handle that, I’m not a total pedant (even though I seriously doubt that reference is going on). But what I find grates most of all is the need to put in some gratuitous pole dancing near the end… damn you to hell/Hades/Duat, stripper-pop, I hope Cerberus bites you on each cheek!


Good boy, Cerberus

Still, I can bite my tongue on those bits purely because 1. I enjoy other elements 2. My girl loves it 3. She hasn’t a clue what pole-dancing is 4. I love dancing with my girl.

I like to think I’m pretty liberal when it comes to lyrics, which by their very nature are hard to nail down. You may as well try to confine the wind in a box. But the Aphrodite/Egyptian thing pales when I think of another song I quite enjoyed until some particularly numb-nutted lyrics became apparent.


Awesome Black Skinhead stylings

It’s Kanye West’s Black Skinhead, which is a massively addictive production with some gorgeous sounds (and interestingly provocative lyrics). However, when I realised that in the chorus he was singing/rapping I keep it 300, like the Romans…300 bitches were the Trojans. You WHAT?! They’re Spartans in 300, you gimp… fighting Persians… Sheesh, was Kanye too busy discussing lip gloss with wifey in that bit of the film? I simply can’t find a way to see it as anything but arrogant and dull-headed so it has killed the song for me. Black Skinhead


Alex with the Box Tops

But it doesn’t always have to be the case. For instance, I love Alex Chilton but when in Bangkok he sings… Here’s a little song that’s gonna please ya, about a little town down in Indonesia…Bangkok!… Bangkok! I can’t help but wince. But it doesn’t kill the song for me. Would you honestly expect geographical knowledge from an American? (Especially one who became a star at 16 singing the #1 hit The Letter with the Box Tops. Early success always messes with your head). Bangkok – Alex Chilton  The Letter – The Box Tops

Getting too pedantic about lyrics is a no-win as, like poetry, it’s all about play. But we all have our limits. I love lots of I See Fire but hate the… if we should all die tonight, then we should all go down together… refrain as the glorification of martyrdom just sticks in my craw (especially in what is essentially a kids movie… albeit one for big kids).

And Sex Pistol Steve Jones always says how much he winced when Johnny Rotten forced the rhyme… I am the anti-Christ!, I am an anar-chist!… in their debut single. But it sure made a glorious announcement of intent. Anarchy In the U.K.


Mark Ronson: Producer to the stars, DJ/Musician extraordinaire


Haim employ way better stylists than Katy Perry

But enough of what’s not to like, here’s why I love the other song my daughter mentioned, The Wire by Haim. I came across this by chance, found it didn’t catch me immediately but was soon listening out for little hooks secreted throughout… the organ line that fades up in the chorus, the distorted bass run, the unexpected guitar solo, the big glam drums, the lyrics I can’t quite get a handle on. After hearing it a dozen times I decided it must be a session singer with a DJ/producer mashing up the elements a la Mark Ronson (who I love). But I was wrong: it is 3 sisters from LA with a strong musical pedigree, hence the vocals which blend so you don’t know that the lead vocals have shifted. Having played in a covers band with their parents in L.A. the middle sister became a session guitarist, was picked to play live with Jenny Lewis, then Julian Casablancas, and Cee-Lo Green. The eldest went off and got a musicology degree and then, having learned all the tricks, they dragged in little sis’ to have a proper crack at the scene. The Wire – Haim

Haim Lorde

Haim helping out childe pop star Lorde

Clearly, I’m in love with the results. Whether this first album is all the best stuff of many years of work brushed up beautifully, is yet to be seen/heard. Although they’re nothing like Mark Ronson, they’re akin as he also had a (greater) musical pedigree (his mother married the guitarist in Foreigner and Sean Lennon was a childhood friend).

Somebody To Love Me – Mark Ronson (ft. Boy George)

In case you think I have a crush on Haim, it’s not just about the girls. The often un-featured drummer’s dad was in 3 Dog Night, and the subtle and seductive rhythm tracks are a big part of the overall appeal for me.



Which leaves the other song my girl loves, Recover by Chvrches. They are exactly what I mistook Haim for… a couple of knob twiddlers and a chick singer. They seem okay, but I don’t want to sing along as my daughter does. However, as she can sing pretty much all the words I’m more than happy to play it whenever she asks to hear it. Recover – Chvrches

That’s the thing about music, we all hear different things. The hooks either grab us or make us recoil in pain… or float right through us as if we were made of jelly.

As a child, before I started getting involved in music, I always used to wonder why songs needed verses. After all, I reasoned, the choruses were always the best bits. I was yet to learn the power of dynamic range; quiet and loud. But as I matured I started to find things to love in all parts of songs, even in ones that weren’t to my taste. Be it the sound of the drums, lyrical image or turn of phrase, bewitching melody or power of the bass.

I realise everyone doesn’t feel this way, preferring set styles and actively despising others.


There’s a great Aussie movie called Mullet. It’s about the fish, not haircuts (no Icehouse, as I recall)

My daughter certainly doesn’t like everything I play and will always tell me if she doesn’t like a particular song (for instance, she loves The Flowers/Icehouse We Can Get Together but really dislikes Great Southern Land, no matter how I try).

We Can Get Together – Icehouse       Great Southern Land

Occasionally, when we drive in the garage and I am rushing to get upstairs to light the fire, do homework and make dinner, she will ask if we can hear the song we are listening to through to the end. As a musician, soundman and tireless lover of music, I’m always happy to let the music resolve. (The first time this happened was with John Stewart’s Gold… one of her old favourites… a song I have never tired of since I first heard it in the summer of 1979. The smooth Rhodes piano… Stevie Nick’s backing vocals… pure gold). john stewart Gold – John Stewart

I’m glad my girl has her own opinion and tastes. It’s as it should be.

Quiet, loud, alone, all together.

Wait for it, wait for it…

…And end.


Secret track: Stray Cat Strut – The group I sing with…

To What End

Stupid Death, stupid Death,

Hope it doesn’t find you

I started blogging a year ago to clear my head of recurring themes in my life. I wanted to use it like a journal, making sketches of things that take my fancy, to salve recurring fears, to beat a pathway out of the clusterhump of grief that has surrounded my existence in the last few years and stroll back into the arms of fiction.

child heads with symbols

I’m loathe to list it all that has happened, it’s all been referred to in various blogs over the year, and I have always intended to (and managed to) write about other things.

But it’s been a funny 10 days or so and some things can’t be avoided.

On Sunday morning, as I lay in the darkness, scrolling through news sites I saw an article about a woman I briefly met about 8 years ago. She’s a very distinctive ex-pat Brazilian model who has just attained a degree in psychology (something she was doing part-time when I met her at a party of Brazilian ex-pats in Auckland, all those years ago).


Grace on the job

When I met her, I was working in television, doing a programme on Brazilian food. It’s was a great week and I ate many things I had never tried before. But that is not this story, and she wasn’t on Stuff because she had finished a degree. The point was she was familiar to people, and was dedicating her degree to her husband, who died 2 years ago.

Reading that, many parts of my life converged and I immediately wanted to leap out of bed and start writing it out of my head. I knew I would not be able to rest until I did it. But it was 6am on a cold winter morning and my 6 year-old would soon be clambering in to join me.

So I waited and she joined me within minutes, complaining of a nightmare where giants wanted to eat her. I cuddled, listened, diverted by saying it was just a bad dream and could she remember any good dreams? She smiled and said, yeah, she had one where her princess castle had turned into a rocket ship. With a TV! It was AWESOME!!!

But my self-congratulation at diversion was short-lived as she immediately changed back to her sad tone and said her snuggles had bad dreams, too. Gorilla Lilli had dreamed she/he was a baby and …and…a hyena was trying to eat him/her (Gorilla Lilli is a boy AND a girl). While Bucky (a giraffe/something hybrid) had dreamed of being chased by tigers. I kept quiet, a little shocked, letting the story continue, while she danced the two soft toys on the bed singing the song at the top of this blog.


Bucky and Gorilla Lilli

Stunned, I said I had to get up to go to the toilet and wrote down the musical refrain.

The thing is, 10 days before that I had one of those dreams that affects your whole day. Someone I didn’t recognize had come to me, claiming to be someone I knew who had died in the Christchurch earthquake. She was so sincere, I didn’t want to contradict her. But, even in the dream, I was unsettled.

That day, I worked in a venue that was, likewise, unsettling. The weekend before an adventurous university student had stepped onto a skylight, falling through onto the hard floor 10m below. While he had not died immediately there was still a pall over the place from the stupid, accidental death. The skylight he went through had not yet been replaced, with only a bit of loose plastic keeping the rain and hail from our heads.


The skylights

Throughout the day, workmates and members of the public quietly looked up to the flapping plastic and down to the floor at a gaffer tape X.

I so wanted to pull it off.

The next day I was working at a different venue, one where the roof, co-incidentally, had just been fixed to remedy persistent leaks. There is no other connection to the previous day. But something happened, linking the narrative in my head.

I had just put the needle in a donor’s arm and gone to the next donor (it was a busy day and we were short-staffed due to illness). When I turned to look at the donor I had just left I saw he had fainted, eyes rolled back, tongue pushed forward, looking like death. I called for help and as soon as I got to him he stared to fit, arms flapping; body flexing. I threw myself on his arm to prevent the needle from doing damage. As my colleagues put themselves on his other limbs I pulled out the needle, doing everything not to be stabbed (or stab him). He has big and there weren’t enough of us, so his arm became loose, spraying blood all around.

Of course, we exuded calm and control, not wanting to distress the other donors, and he soon came round with a smile. However, it was one of the worst faints I have seen in my 5 years as a phlebotomist, and I was wrecked for the rest of the shift.

The following day was a day off. And despite the continually foul stormy weather, I headed to the pool to aqua-jog away the stress. As I waited for the bus, a good friend called who needed to talk. She/he was distressed, facing an awfully mortal health scare, unable to talk to anyone else. I listened to their distress, knowing there was little I could say. Awaiting results from tests, I was sworn to secrecy.

The next day I crashed hard. Exhausted, tonsils swollen, black rings under my eyes, I was certain I was coming down with one of the myriad of ailments that has taken out all my colleagues over the previous month. But with rest, and the news that my friend’s results were clear (plus a bottle of beautifully medicinal cider each day of the weekend) my body rallied and I was not taken by any lurgy.

Nevertheless, on the Monday night after work I fell asleep as soon as my daughter was in bed, waking to the noise of a strange sit-com featuring Sarah Michelle Geller and Robin Williams. It was set in an ad agency and they were trying to re-brand Australia to some densely comic Australians. It was pretty funny. I hadn’t heard of the show and was surprised to see Robin Williams doing TV.


The Crazy Ones

The next day, as I aqua-jogged in the pool, rehabbing the ankle and Achilles I had surgery on over summer I thought about the challenging 3 days of the previous week. How each illustrated how close we are to not being here. How my friend’s scare was by far the worst. How 2 years ago, as I watched my parents struggle for life (and the release of death) over a few short months, a mix of 6 old colleagues/friends/acquaintances from various past lives had all chosen suicide. How could such a cluster happen? And why…

Though they seemed randomly connected (all male, all around my age), I know that we are built to inject meaning into seemingly-related events.

The next-to-last was the closest, a former bandmate from my formative years. The day before his funeral a colleague had picked up a guitar pick from the floor of the hall where we were working, saying to me, ‘you’re a musician, you must have a use for this.’ I took it with me to Auckland, and when my (then) 4 year-old daughter insisted on viewing Stephen in his coffin, I gave her the guitar pick to place with him.

Later, at his wake, while my daughter played and ate food, I uncovered the final stanza of this inexplicable group. A friend’s partner had lost her fashion-shoot photographer to suicide in the months before. As he said his name I knew that I would know him. What I didn’t know was that Craig had married the Brazilian model I had met at that party in Auckland. Small world. Strange life.

When I got out of the pool last Tuesday after thinking about that strange year, I checked my phone, succumbing to dumb addiction. That’s when I saw that Robin Williams had died.

I felt sad, yet unsurprised. Not because of the co-incidences. More because I had been thinking of that year of loss of those I had known. How it sat in such a strange cluster. Which thankfully ended. Why? Why?!

When I came back to bed and my daughter on Sunday morning, I asked about the Stupid Death song… had she made it up? No, she said, it’s from Horrible Histories! I was so relieved.

Craig was a wild-card, a crack-up, full of life. Stephen was clever and caring; sharing so much beauty with the world.

There’s a Chinese saying I am fond of, ‘no co-incidence, no story’.

I don’t believe that gaffer tape X was marking where the student fell. It was for something else, surely.

People chose death for different reasons. Everyone who expressed pain and loss (or anger) when the beloved Mork left us looked to different, personal explanations.


Rocket-ship Castle (TV not included)

When, later on Sunday, my daughter went to stay with her mother for the next 2 weeks, I knew what I had to write. As soon as she went I started bashing it out but it was too bleak, I was exhausted. I didn’t want to show this face to the world, it would serve no good. But why did I feel this need, to what end?

Instead I went to the couch and dozed to the bland noise of silence. I awoke feeling awful. The only thing I could do was write or exercise, and as I still could not face this topic, I marched off to the beach to stretch-out my slowly recovering Achilles.

At the top of the path down to the sand, full of anxiety and impotent distress, I found this new piece of graffito.


At Bay

I think I laughed.

I had something difficult to write. It’s taken a bit. But some things can’t be avoided.

Knock knock

What a strange feeling seeing my daughter’s door shut and wondering if I should knock. It’s always open. Always.

She only shuts it with a conspiring friend inside or after a storming huff, and I never knock in those situations.

Maybe she is tired and having a nap. It is the second day of the 6 week summer break, her first one, something she’s not entirely down with.

This is a child who got up and walked into the kitchen on the morning of the last day of school crying, “I don’t want school holidays”.

Who on the first day of the school holidays snarled, “I hate school holidays”.

There have been play-dates each day and we have read books together, been up in the garden, hula-hooped on the deck. But it’s only day 2.

I imagine she misses being part of a gaggle of children most. So many friends to flit about, so much to do and say in a world built for them.

With a cast on my leg I’ve been spending a lot of time down there, it’s a different world at their height, eye-to-eye with a 5 year-old. I can see why they leave so much on the floor; it’s a very handy surface with everything in reach.

It’s at least 45 minutes since she tootled down to her room after playing by the Christmas tree while I did the lunch-time dishes. I came down to see what was up about 15 minutes ago and, finding her door closed, slipped next door to the office to wonder if I should knock. Maybe my girl is growing-up, wanting private time? Or is she just having a nap?

I shall knock quietly as I imagine she will indeed be asleep. We’re not far off the longest day so each day stretches out with a tiring reach. She had a sudden snooze yesterday, in the sun on the spare bed while I wrote. She hasn’t napped here with me since she was 3.

It’s been a big year: her first at school.

She has learned to read and found a singing voice: grown noticeable inches in sudden spurts.

There is one other ‘maybe’ and that is maybe she is crying. But that is the smallest maybe of all.

Here we go. Knock-knock.

Wait, how do I knock on crutches?

I guess I’m about to find out.