Like many people I know, we are always broke. Ross calls it being ‘in a very Queer Street’. At first thought he was suggesting he was so broke he had to pimp his tattooed arse on street corners but, it turns out it means to be in ‘financial trouble’. (Being married to a man from a past generation it’s only fitting we use this term instead of the more contemporary vernacular of ‘strapped for cash’ or ‘up against it’.)
Yesterday, early, after checking the sky wasn’t falling I decided it was time for the reveries of the family walk. ‘Ain’t no one gonna make me pay to walk’ I thought as I stuffed prunes into an old marmite jar. We donned our jackets, hats and as Masfield popped into my head I declared “ We must go to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky!’
The $10 pushchair rolled and crunched down Devon Street to Central Park, along Owhiro Road and came to a stop at the Happy Valley playground. Here, we ate the prunes, brushed up our knowledge of the 1827 massacre and checked out the swings.
An unusual northern arc watched over us as we inspected bull kelp, leapt from rock to rock, searched for crabs, and played Dashkin’s favorite game….King of the Castle V’s The Dirty Rascal.
We had a blast. A cold and chilly blast. Finally, after a 15km round trip we arrived home, treated ourselves to a warming Milo and each wandered off to ‘muck around’. Dash fashioned a wonderfully creepy moustache and beard combo. Ross hit the hay and I did some cleaning. While dusting the bookshelves my eye caught ‘The Captain’s Verses’ by Pablo Neruda I pulled it out and the pages fell open to this poem.
Ah you don’t want to,
you don’t want
to go to the market with worn-out shoes
and come back with the same old dress.
My love, we are not fond
as the rich would like us to be,
of misery. We
shall extract it like an evil tooth
that up to now has bitten the heart of man.
But I don’t want
you to fear it.
If through my fault it comes to your dwelling,
if poverty drives away
your golden shoes,
let it not drive away your laughter which is my life’s bread.
If you can’t pay the rent
go off to work with a proud step,
and remember, my love, that I am watching you
and together we are the greatest wealth
that was ever gathered upon the earth.
Budget be dammed.
Interesting Factoid Number One: The term ‘Queer Street’ is often associated with Carey Street, where London‘s bankruptcy courts were once located.
Interesting factoid number two: Owhiro means “moonless night” which comes from Whiro, “the first day of the lunar month”. //www.wellington.govt.nz/services/heritage/pdfs/teara.pdf