Random Play by Graham Reid


Every Rose Has Its Thorns

As with many people, every day last week when I picked up the Herald the news made me feel a little . . . Uneasy? Unclean? Uncomfortable? But I have no wish to re-litigate that trial of those cops -- because that is being done over dinner tables and at barbecues.

And no matter what side you are on -- and yes, these do seem to be sides -- everyone I know is coming back to the same question: what is it with the wives of those guys in the slammer? And the one who is now pregnant to her man who is also inside for the rape?

We just don’t understand these people.

But everyone is having their say about that, the “not proven” option, a certain person’s inappropriateness to be in any position at all in the police, and also -- but I am only hearing this when I have raised it with people -- just how much harder it is this week to be an ordinary hard-working cop than it was 10 days ago.

But this is not what I am here for, I have something else to comment on. It is this.

After reading the paper on Saturday morning and all those grim and grimy details we looked at the sky and the tide table and went to Mission Bay, a lovely beach just 10 minutes from Queen St. We swam and lay in the sun for a while, watched young mothers pushing their kids in pushchairs and old people out for a morning walk, and smiled at fellow citizens lolling about on the sand.

There weren’t many people there, but we were early and had gone by about 10.30. It was beautiful. There were yachts skittering across the water and beyond was Rangitoto, and the islands of the Gulf.

On the way there and back we drove cautiously around all the cyclists who were out, noted that there seemed to be some kind of fun-run planned, and then went home via the Domain where they were setting up for the Teddy Bear’s picnic. That night the Lantern Festival was still on.

Back at home Megan rang her Dad who was briefly in Auckland on his way home to Northland after a big gathering back in Samoa. He’d had a great time with his family.
Later she went over to her sister’s place, took her niece to a birthday party, and just hung out.

I stayed at home and sat in the garden listening to some great new albums (Some of which have been posted under Music From Elsewhere here ). And then I read a book.

It was gorgeous day and the suburbs were quiet, except for the sound of cicadas.
Later that afternoon we drove out to some friends for dinner. They live at French’s Bay in Titirangi (I guess it is) and we sat on their deck until well after dusk drinking excellent wine. And looking at the view across the bush to the bay beyond.

He is originally French, his wife is South African, and their friend Neil who was also there seemed to know a lot about Finland. We spoke of all these places, exchanged stories and laughs, had a delightful dinner (barbecued corn with chilli and lime is eye-rollingly wonderful) and listened to music.

It was a wonderful evening, and That Cop Case only got a fleeting mention in the last 15 minutes.

On Sunday morning we went back to Mission Bay for the 9 o'clock-ish high tide, the runners and cyclists and rollerbladers were out again, there was a Kite Day at Bastion Point, people were walking in the sun, kids were laughing.

Back home later I did a wee bit of work on the computer -- mainly to keep out of the sun -- and Megan baked a cake which we took over to Moana’s house.

She and her band are going to New Caledonia tomorrow on a short tour and she had invited a bunch of people over for a barbecue and to hear them run through a few numbers in their back garden.

So there we were, maybe 60 people (about four times the number as were at poor Jon Auer’s gig on Friday at the Schooner) eating great food, listening to songs in te reo and English in a garden in Grey Lynn surrounded by nikau and banana trees. And more cicadas.

After they had finished others were invited up to sing something from where they came from: there were people from Germany, Samoa, Mexico and Poland in the gathering and most got up and sang. (For your information I sang -- unaccompanied and solo -- The Cherry Rhyme which I learned as a wee boy in Scotland. People applauded, but people can be so kind).

We met Tui and Monsieur Escargot from The Mamaku Project -- who play the Domain this Saturday before the huge fireworks display -- and any number of other interesting people. We met strangers who greeted us like long lost friends.

It was just a relaxing, delightful afternoon and when we left we stepped onto Great North Road after dark to see a glorious full moon so close you felt you could touch it.

It was a wonderful weekend for us in our hometown: it was unconsciously multi-cultural and fun, people were intelligent, good humoured, doing things and glad to be in each others company.

This week Camera Obscura play at the Kings Arms, the Auckland Festival AK07 kicks off, the French Film Festival continues it run (it ends at the Rialto tomorrow), on the weekend there is Pasifika, Music in Parks . . .

Why am I mentioning all this?
Maybe it’s just to remind myself that there is another real life beyond the headlines.

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