And on the 307th day The Builder said, “Let there be Light”. And lo! There was light. And we saw the light. And it was good. Bloody good.
Yes, on Friday -- a mere 307 days after the first scaffolding went up outside the sliding doors onto our patio -- the canvas has been removed and we have light again.
Well, more correctly the canvas has come down on one side of our house. There is still scaffolding on our patio and outside our kitchen window. And yes, the scaffolding and canvas is still there outside our lounge windows.
But we can see the light now. Both literally and metaphorically.
At a guess it might only be another month or so before all the scaffolding and canvas is gone and we have our house -- now a non-leaky building -- back. Of course we’ll still have a view of the builders' shed, the saws, piles of timber, the blue Port-A-Loos and the huge rubbish skip -- but we are getting there.
And one day, one day soon I hope, we can get our stuff out of the lock-up and I will have my office back. I can put out my toys and records again, and be able to find books and maps and notes.
We still intend to splash out on a barbecue we can't afford just to feel we have gained some control over our home and garden again.
Of course every now and again life sends a reminder that you really have nothing to complain about: in the grand scheme of things this has been a temporary disruption and things could be worse, as they are for some friends right now -- who live with maybe less chance of light.
On Friday night we went to a fundraiser for a friend who has recently lost both breasts to cancer, and she and her partner look like they could also lose their house as they try to scrabble together money to pay for Herceptin.
They are of course now down to one income and so they can no longer afford the mortgage on the house they only bought about six months ago. Cancer is, among other things, discourteous and doesn’t say, “Hey, I wouldn’t buy that house just yet, I’m going to be dropping by in a few months”.
So these people’s lives -- and that of their families and friends, and a teenage daughter -- have been turned upside down in what, even for someone used to counting days right up until 307, seems to have been overnight.
Needless to say no one at the function -- which had auctions of products donated by D-Vice, vouchers from friends in business, raffles, and three people shaving their hair for funds -- had a good word to say about Pharmac.
Before we went we had some people over for dinner and one of them had a go at me for saying that the Herceptin issue wasn’t as clear cut as “take it and survive” as it seems to have been characterised in some quarters.
Don’t get me wrong, by saying this it doesn’t mean -- as our guest seemed to aggressively assume -- that I am pro-Pharmac and riding with the Sons of Satan to deny dying women access to this drug.
I know from close personal experience that when the “C” word enters your life you will try anything, which is why charlatans like Milan Brych in the 70s could suck money out of the desperate with the promise he had some secret treatment which would arrest cancer, and probably cure you completely.
(My father always used to say that the graveyard in the Cook Islands where he set up shop after being kicked off the New Zealand medical register was full of those saved by Brych.)
We know that Herceptin isn’t a cure-all, but it does seem to have some real success in some sufferers. And that is why it is only right that there seems to be some small movement from Pharmac on the issue.
Not enough for many perhaps, and nowhere near enough for the supportive friends on Friday night to feel Pharmac was about to redeem itself. Fuck Pharmac was the prevailing opinion, and that from people who had done their homework on the issue a whole lot more than me.
On that night when people laughed, were supportive and extremely generous (and when my wife won the D-Vice pack with the riding crop, handcuffs and some interesting looking battery-operated devices) I couldn’t help thinking -- given the delight we had in having the canvas removed just hours earlier -- what life must be like when there is so little light.
And no promise of it . . .
[Apropos of nothing: I have just posted some interesting new Music from Elsewhere here
And there are more Windows on Elsewhere (photos out the window of places I have stayed -- be the view beautiful or bloody awful) and other Images From Elsewhere.
Have a look, the windows and images are nice time wasters -- click on the pix and they enlarge with a description -- and the music is free. I do this weekly so if you like what you hear/see/read then join the subscription list.]
And now I must go. My wife is calling. I’ve been a very naughty boy.