Friday, August 19, 2005


Today I arrived at my parents place in Wanganui. Wanganui can be found on a map by finding the North Island of New Zealand. Then go to the big bump on the west coast of the North Island. Wanganui is in the armpit of that big bump.

I have been going through all the boxes that I stored with them some four years ago when I left NZ for the UK. I started with the approach of thinking I should throw all of it away. Then as I started delving deeper I discovered that there is a whole lotta my life that I would like to hang onto. Old school stuff, a dodgy tape collection, a very good collection of contempary literature, a near new toasted sandwich maker (those were the days when I was a student and lunch could be made with four slices of bread, some cheese, some ham and a sprinking of paprika and oregano), and the finest cheese grater in the world. This cheese grater is sharp and most importantly hexagonal in base shape so it is very stable. Even though I have committed myself to living in the UK for the forseeable future and even though seeing as I haven't this stuff in four years, I am loth to get rid of it. I can always get it shipped over if I really settle down. I have decided to pack the bulk of it away, but have decided to chance my arm with the weight allowance by putting into my baggage the weighty tome that is a collection of James K Baxter's poetry, a copy of the NZ Anglican Prayer book, and a bunch of CD's.

The whole experience of going through my stuff, including my clothes was rather sad. So many things that pertained to a life I once had and no longer feel connected to. There were also some rather pleasant moments when I discovered some of the treasures in my book collection. In some ways it was carthatic too. It is increasingly becoming clear that this trip to NZ is one of closure and I remain unsure of how this sits with me. It has been great seeing my friends and family, but I look forward to being back in Oxford. I know that most of you people don't understand it. When I think of something you can understand that is similar I will try to put it in writing.

I played Taylor Mali's 'The Impotence of Proofreading' to my dad this evening. It was worth it for the look on his his face.


Emma B said...

I was reminiscing about student toasted sandwiches with you... until you mentioned the herbs and spices... you must have been in upmarket studentland - mine were cheese and ketchup :-)
I am empathising with the old boxes of old life too - I was at my parents this weekend and, for the second time of asking, I told them to throw four binbags full away (third time if you count me actually putting it into binbags). i suspect there will be a fourth asking as i doubt they really will do it. somehow its harder for them than for me with that particular selection of things!
get well soon.

richard said...

i shameless stole the paprika and oregano additives from a guy i lived with.

i'm better. still not well, but better. but compared to some around me (little baby alice has viral gastoenteritis in the next room) i am pretty much ok...

And you, are you better now and signed off and able to work again?

(this comment will also go on your log somewhere...)