Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Rastus settles in (No 5)

Our unexpected stay over at Penny’s that weekend was a great success. Well it was certainly that way for Rastus. He settled in as though it was his home and had a contented look on his face. Hopefully there was contented look on my face as well, but Penny wasn’t quite so sure.
You are about to ask “How did we get on?” We got on very well, she was soft and beautiful and both attentive and receptive to my caressing and kissing. Rastus seemed satisfied too as he lay at our feet more than contented with his day and the fact we were together. When I let him out last thing at night for his final walk around the garden I said “Behave, no chasing possums.” He returned a few minutes later but reported no sightings.
Penny and I talked too. We talked about work and family and our childhoods and were very comfortable in each other’s company. However at one point at a break in conversation she paused then came right out with it. “You have been hurt haven’t you?”
I nodded.
“She dumped you.”
“Those are kind words. I would say I was jettisoned. Thrown overboard like rubbish from a ship.”
“I often wondered what the difference was between flotsam and jetsam. So what is flotsam?”
“Goods lost from a ship accidentally, I think. But if it washes ashore grab it quick before customs know it's there.” By this time I had returned to stroking her feet gently and counting her toes.
“Five, on each foot” she stated.
“Just checking.”
At bedtime she suggested I share her bed.
“What is the alternative?”
“Floor with Rastus, couch with a blanket, or in the garden with the possums. You choose.”
“I have no PJ’s, toothbrush or night cream.”
“I have a spare toothbrush, the rest you can share with me.”
We all slept well that night. It must have been the wine. Goodness knows what Rastus drank.
We went for another walk in the park early in the morning. It was so different at that hour. There was an early morning mist over the water at the lake and a mob of kangaroos were drinking unconcerned. Luckily I had Rastus on the lead so we steered away from them and took a circular route around the park watching the birdlife assert themselves in their chosen territory.
When we got back to Penny’s place I said to her “We will give it a try then, if that is OK?”
Penny turned to Rastus and said “What do you reckon?”
Rastus looked at us both grinning at him and barked an affirmative.
Let’s hope he keeps us together.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Ahuahu investigates (Part 28)

Ahu had more time to worry about the appointment of Ahuahu to the village council as on the following day Ahuahu was sent for by the chief and returned some hours later with a worried look on his face.
Ahu was weaving a basket as he returned as he sat down beside her. She smiled at him and said, “So they want us to plant more oca roots so we will be well fed, do they?”
He smiled back, shook his head and spoke quietly to her. He sat so close that she could feel the warmth of his body against hers and she had a feeling of desire for him as he reached around her to touch Hekehoru who was playing with the small pieces of reed.
“I have to lead a small party to investigate reports of sighting of pakeha to the south of here.” He pointed to the south east where there was a long stretch of coastline before the big river estuary half a day’s journey away.
“Is it the smelly, pink faced men again?” asked Ahu looking apprehensive.
“It could be nothing but strangers fishing from further south who have been blown off course and have now gone again. It is my job to find out. We will set off tomorrow.” Ahu paused then he went on. “I have suggested I take Kamaka with me so that he feels involved with the work.”
Ahu tried not to smile as she said, “Why don’t you go and ask him now as you have not had a discussion with him yet about the village council.”
Ahuahu hesitated a little then agreed with Ahu and went to Kamaka straight away.
Kamaka was quite happy to go with Ahuahu when they discussed the expedition. “I missed out on seeing the pakeha last time” he grinned “perhaps I can judge myself how ugly they are.”
“I was concerned that you would not approve of me being on the village council,” said Ahuahu.
Kamaka laughed outright and slapped Ahuahu on the shoulder in his normal way. “They asked me too, but I declined the offer as I had too many other family concerns as you are aware. It was me that recommended you.”
Ahuahu shook his head with a grin, “Even Ahu did not guess that. But who else should we take with us on this investigation?”
“How about we take Aata and Hunapo, even if we find nothing it will still be good day hunting.”
“So you think it is but a test?” Ahuahu said disappointed.
“Perhaps, but whatever we find we should try to make it worth our while.”
The two other young unmarried men were pleased to be asked to accompany Ahuahu and Kamaka and they all set off the next day travelling south parallel with the sea over difficult terrain with a succession of deep valleys leading down to the sea. Eventually they headed for the coast and looked for signs of disturbance in the dunes, of trees felled and fires lit. Most camping spots were old and appeared to be used by Maori like themselves where campfires were carefully extinguished and covered. There were no signs of footprints where there were solid imprints rather than bare feet, which was a sure sign of the ugly pakeha trampling through the terrain. They kept going south until they reached the Big River estuary. They could see a few boats in the water fishing in the tidal stream from villages’ further inland. They advanced to the river’s edge and spoke to one group who had just come ashore. They told them they were from Black Sands and of their search for the pakeha. The fishermen shook their heads and started to return to they boat.

“What’s the fishing like here?” Asked Kamaka.
“It is good for us but bad for you.”
Kamaka laughed, “That is a good answer.”
Ahuahu pointed to the wooded hill overlooking the river, “Is your village up there?”
The man suddenly looked frightened. He shook his head “That is a sacred site. It is better for your health that you return by the beach the way you have come.”
Ahuahu nodded, “May the gods be with you.”
They took their leave and returned to the beach to make their way back to Black Sands.
After they had walked a little way along the shore and were out of sight of the river. Ahuahu stopped and then said “We should accidentally see this sacred site. I did not like the look on that man’s face.” Kamaka nodded in agreement.

“Will you take Hunapo and check it out?” asked Ahuahu. “We will slowly walk along the beach in case they follow our tracks.”
Kamaka and Hunapo then set off inland immediately while Ahuahu and Aata made their way along the beach. Some time later just as Ahuahu started to get anxious, Kamaka finally appeared with an excited Hunapo.
“The pakeha have been but they have been eaten.” Kamaka then produced a buckled shoe from his pack. “Fishing can’t be that good at the estuary.”

Pakeha - Foreigner (normally white men)

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Rastus and me go up the hill (No 4)

It is one thing to dog sit a neighbours dog, quite another to take full responsibility for him. Mind you Rastus was quite indifferent to the changes occurring in his life. After my elderly neighbours last visit to hospital she sadly did not return home again. I took over the ownership of the dog and all his chattels with the express approval of his mistress’s relations who must have forgotten that there was someone else living in her house and the need to cover the evidence before the property could be put on the market. Rastus had accepted the change months ago and I could see his concern as each time my neighbour was permitted to go back home again to look after him. That is not to say he didn’t love her, he did. He tended to love anybody subject to smell. Which if his detection system could sense the faintest trace of food on them, for him it was love at first sniff. So Rastus took up permanent residence with me and his licence was duly cancelled and transferred to my name. By this time the metal dog tag was now a plastic one and instead of a tinkle there was a quieter “thuck, thuck” from the disk so he was duly and officially renamed Rastus.
In a braver moment I actually phoned Penny now living in the hills a few miles outside the city and told her of the change. She sounded quite pleased.
“Why don’t you come up this weekend, I can cook if you like,” she says laughing, “We can have bone stew.”
Curiously her saying that took me back a few years when our family did indeed have bone stew. I think is was a concoction of a really cheap cut of lamb cooked in the oven for hours with potatoes, carrots and other vegetables and the necessity of having a bone bowl on the table to extract the bony and gristly bits when you found them in the meal to plonk them in the dish. I think we spread curry powder on top of ours. It was a very tasty meal and I am sure Rastus would have liked it but perhaps without the curry powder. Mind you Rastus would eat almost anything. I must have been silent a little too long as Penny then said, “It’s OK, I am only kidding.”
So I arranged to visit that weekend with Rastus as she wasn’t rostered on at the hospital for change. So we got in our car and drove up the hill into the leafy area that was full of little townships and winding roads and inviting pubs and a myriad of new smells for Rastus to enjoy. I knew there would be problem with him with all the extra sensations and debated whether allow the window to be open for his head to be poking out so he could appreciate each new scent with his nose wet and twitching and his tongue hanging out and of course the self satisfied smirk on his face as well. But in the end I was strict and kept the window on his side shut until we had got off the freeway and had started to negotiate the winding roads through the villages at a more leisurely pace. He was miserable at first especially as my side window was open but he settled down as soon as he could get the breeze on his face and the smell of eucalypts on his nose and half closed his eyes in pleasure with the seductive smells of the country to savour.
We found Penny’s place after passing it once in error and drew up in the driveway. She was very pleased to see us both beaming at her with delight. Looking at how pleased Rastus appeared I hoped I didn’t look the same as him with his tongue hanging out with a stupid grin on his face. So we had to have an inspection of her place. So we traipsed around her little rental cottage and while Rastus does the real inspection of sniffing in corners for rats and cats I observe Penny who is happy and voluble telling us of how she likes it there and how peaceful it is after living in the city. She is so relaxed and I fall in love with her all over again, not that I had fallen out of love, just out of reach.
“I have a present for you’ I say, giving her a little wrapped gift.
“It is not a dog biscuit that I have to share is it?”
I shake my head while she opens the little package. It is silk scarf that belonged to my mother. It is pink with a flowing flowery pattern on.
She is stunned. “It is so beautiful.” She says looking at me with moist sparkling eyes. “I love pink.”
“It was my mothers. It is just one of the things that I just couldn’t throw away…I thought it was beautiful too. But I couldn’t wear it, could I?”
Rastus had got fed up with the tour and decided to plonk himself down at our feet.
“Up you get Rastus” she says, “We are going for a walk.” He jumps up straight away and grins at her and she tells me that there is a park close by.
Unlike the park in the city this one is far more natural with gum trees, scrubland and winding trails and a shallow lake drying out in the summer heat. We are alone and tentatively I let Rastus off the lead. He bolted off and sniffed his way around looking round every now and then to check we were following. He chased imaginary animals and completely missed the koala sitting asleep in the trunk of a tree directly above him.
We sat down on a fallen tree that was hollow and he attempted to discover what was inside and had to give up after several attempts to put more than his nose in.
After we had worn him out we made our way back to the entrance holding hands and put him back on the lead. His misery was obvious at first but he soon realised that all the exercise had made him thirsty and as we passed the lake he urged us in that direction to have a few laps of water and to threaten the ducks and moorhens by his presence.
When we got home Rastus drank a complete bowl of water and the settled down for a nap.
“I’m doing Lasagne tonight, you happy with that?” Penny called out as I was looking at her bookcase of books. She obviously liked Janet Evanovich.
“Yes that fine.” I replied.
“I have a Pinot Grigio in the fridge, you do drink don’t you?”
“Well, not if I am driving... perhaps one glass.”
“You can always stay the night, have you any other plans?”
She had come out of the kitchen and stood looking at me with those beautiful smiling eyes. "Rastus has made himself at home, why don’t you?”
Rastus was snoring happily on the floor while I remained speechless.
“I could tell by the way you looked at me that very first day we met,” she said and was about to say something else when I interrupted.
“We would be both pleased to stay.” Meanwhile Rastus snorted an affirmative in his sleep.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Ahuahu and the Village Council (Part 27)

Ahu and Ahuahu had been at Black Sands for over three years. Life had returned to a comfortable easy way of life without the stress of disputes, earthquakes and family concerns. For all that ease in their lives Ahu did not put on any extra weight as some women did. Hoata said it was because they both had so much to do. Quite apart from the rearing of children there was the constant need to dig the vegetable plots, harvest the produce and to make cloth and tools and ornaments to barter with others.
Not one moment of their days was spent in idleness and at days end, Ahu would relish being attentive to Ahuahu who was always very pleased wrap her in his arms once inside their house.
After their evening meal and the children were put to bed, Ahu set to and combed her hair for Ahuahu to admire. She loved his faithfulness which had been tested by their time at Black Sands.
He came up to her and took the comb from her hand and combed her hair himself. She leaned over so that their bodies touched as he did so and was surprised that he started speaking to her rather than attempting to arouse her.
“Ahu, I have been summoned to a meeting of the village council tomorrow. Has there been gossip from the women why this should be so?”
“No, Ahuahu, I have heard nothing.”
“I am thinking of who I may have offended. Let us hope it is but a trivial matter.”
Ahu turned to him and looked into his eyes. “Let us hope you will not be asked to take a grieving widow to please her family. I am a jealous woman and I do not need to share you with anyone.”
Ahuahu laughed. “I am in more danger of being clubbed to death by a young suitor that I do not know so that you will be a beautiful widow for him than that a family would want an outsider like me to take their sad daughter away.”
“You are no longer an outsider, Ahuahu. You are respected in this village.” With that she pushed him on his back and leaned over him and rested her head on his chest.
The next day, Ahuahu did not go fishing but presented himself to the village elders. They bade him sit in the meeting house. The village head, glanced at the other members and they nodded.
“Ahuahu,” the chief said, “You have been summoned here at our command. Listen to what we have to say and then you may reply.”
At this point Ahuahu was feeling a little concerned, and merely nodded his agreement.
“Ahuahu, it has been decided by the elders that you be invited to sit with us on this council. Since you have been in this village you have shown yourself to be a worthy and valuable and hard working member of the community.”
The chief paused, then continued, “We are aware that you were not born here but your work is valued very highly and your assistance with many of the families in this place and beyond has persuaded us to offer this honour to you. Will you accept this great responsibility and work for the good of the village?”
Ahuahu was so relieved he had not offended anyone in the village he responded straight away. “My chief and elders of the council, I am surprised and greatly honoured have voted for me in this way. If there is none other suitable I should be glad to be a member of the village council and will continue to work for this village and its people.”
The group of elders all nodded with agreement and came up and rubbed noses with Ahuahu and slapped him on the back.
The chief then indicated that was the whole of the business to discuss that day and the meeting broke up.
Ahuahu found Ahu tending the vegetable plot with both the children with her later that day. As she was on her own he went up to her and told her what had happened. She looked puzzled for a moment then a smile appeared on her face. “Am I allowed to sleep with one of the head men?” she asked.
“Only if you ask my permission first,” he replied, then after a pause went on, “and that head man is me.”
Later at home Ahu could see that this honour may indeed be a burden that would be hard to bear if other members of the village were offended, especially Kamaka the husband of Hoata and Ahuahu’s best friend.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Rastus and me lose Penny (No 3)

One of the problems with having a dog as a friend you tend to start thinking like one. Well no, not to the extent that I could say to Rastus “Hey, look at that bitch do you see the way she walks! Let’s go and smell her.”
This was mainly because he tended not to look at bitches that way any more since the big snip. However in my mind he would reverse the conversation and encourage me with looks or a change of direction to check out any likely birds for me to inspect. Well that is what I thought. He was in all probability getting his nose to home in on the possibility of free food. Now you might think that all food for a dog was free. You are so wrong there. Being owned entitled a dog to be fed something akin to wages so the regular meals at home were his due. You wanted me so there is wage to be paid. Rastus was very keen on overtime and being paid accordingly. He was quite adept at doing this, cocking his head to one side with a quizzical look, fetching things like the local paper that was thrown over the front fence and by chasing rats in the back garden. I don’t think there were any rats but he certainly made it look as there were. He would stub his nose against the back door, utter an excited whine to be let out and then go flying up the garden on patrol duty seemingly just missing out on catching the sneaky rat. I was not fooled. It was all part of his wage negotiations showing how valuable he was and therefore should be paid more in the way of Schmackos or liver treats. I swear he would try to look thin on a walk to attract sympathy from other humans in the park that might want to fatten him up with a biscuit or half a sandwich. Though I must admit he tended to spit out cucumber. I felt him say to me once, “Cucumber is 99% water, if I want a drink I’ll drink out of a puddle.”
Here I must mention liver treats and to warn other pet owners (meaning dog owners) to avoid these like the plague as they smell awful. However, buying these for your pet will show that you really care about them a lot, to give him something really smelly to eat. I put it down to dogs’ development through the ages. We humans thousands of years ago discovered that meat that fell in the fire by accident tasted a lot better than meat that didn’t. Dogs in the same way not being able to strike a match for a fire found that meat that had been dead a few days was easier to eat and had more flavour than food that was fresh. I personally am amazed that supermarkets praise themselves for how fresh their food is, when it would be easier to eat when after it has started breaking down. Cooking just accelerates the decomposition process. However I am digressing.
Now you will be saying, “Well who did Rastus live with? Me or my elderly neighbour?” This was a grey area. Rastus was her dog but there were many times when it was necessary for me to take him in when she was away. At first there were her trips to her children interstate which clearly didn’t do her much good as she was so relieved to be home afterwards Then there were the not infrequent trips to hospital to sort out one thing or another. So Rastus came to regard my home as part of his territory more and more.This was the impetus to fence the veggie patch to ensure all my lettuces and beans were not dug up by my house guest.
As I worked from home this was no problem and even if I had to spend some time out he was quite happy to have a walk first around the neighbourhood to read the dog news at every pole and fire hydrant before I left and there were the frequent trips to the park and the beach as well so he was not deprived.
You are probably about to ask what happened to girl in the park; well some good and some bad. We did meet her again a few times. The interaction was all between Rastus and her with a condescending nod to me now and then. She did however tell Rastus her name which was Penny. Rastus looked at me with that warning look meaning “Skip the joke about a penny for your thoughts” so I just kept dumb.
She did talk to me a little too after that. It was mainly about work or travel or her flat mates. Nothing I could use to get any closer to her, but it was an acquaintance with the tiny solace of her company whilst Rastus got all the petting.
The day came when she came up to us and started the conversation.
“Sorry.” She said. “I am leaving…a transfer.”
I could see the disappointment of Rastus’s face. Whether it was the loss of the free food supply or the knees to place his head on I don’t know which. However she turned to me and gave me a peck on the cheek.
With that Rastus gave out a moan of canine sorrow.
“It’s OK, Rastus” she says as she bends down to pat him showing him her cleavage. “You are still my special boy,” in vindication of his faithfulness.
And then she was gone, but I did get her phone number. She had written it on a small card with "Just in case he needs me" with tiniest of kisses at the end.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Ahu and the Good Life (Part 26)

It was summer again and Ahu was walking on the beach with Hoata. Their two boys were running along black sands with sticks in their hands whooping and laughing scampering in and out of the water and being splashed by the breaking waves.
Ahu’s little girl Hekehoru was toddling along between the two women and running after the seagulls if they came too close and clapping her hands with delight as they took off in the air and landed further away.
Ahu then sat down putting her basket by her side and stretching out on the beach, looked up at the sky. “Life is good, Hoata, we must thank the gods for that.”
Hoata nodded in agreement. “I agree, although I am always worried when it is quiet in our house. We have had so many disasters in over the last few years it seemed that was what we should get used to.”
“I am glad for you Hoata. It must have been a great help that both Hinewai and Hatiti have settled down with their husbands. I am glad too that neither of them looks at Ahuahu anymore,” she said with a smile. “And Kamaka he is happier now?”
“Why do you not ask me outright, Ahu? I know what you mean. Does he love me like Ahuahu loves you? He is much better at tending to my needs.” She laughed and then went on. “Mind you I must tease him a little with a little chatter while I brush my body against his as though I am doing it by accident.” Hoata paused again. “Yes, Ahu I think he loves me now.”
The two women were silent for a moment just watching the children. Then Hoata went on.
“Hinewai still is not pregnant. I am sure she would like to be after losing her first baby.” Ahu nodded in agreement but kept silent.
“Look at those boys; they are growing up so fast. They come home after being with their fathers and smell of the sea and of fish. Even now they would rather be in the boats.” Ahu looked at the two splashing in the shallows.
“Fish is all very well but I like the taste of the fat animals that Ahuahu found in the forest,” said Hoata.
Ahu shook her head. “No, I am glad they are all gone. They were a constant reminder of the pakeha. We are better off eating the fish from the sea and the birds in the forest rather than have to face those ugly smelly men again.”
“You are right Ahu,” replied Hoata, “We have an abundance of food here even though we have to work hard for it.”
Ahu laughed as she looked Hoata’s disappointed face. “Well perhaps they could drop a few of those animals off on this beach for next winter, but for now life is so good.”

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Rastus and me in the Park (No 2)

After my first encounter with Rastus (aka Tinkerbell) we got on famously. We were birds of a feather you could say if you liked mixed metaphors, him being a dog and me not! I suppose I had been a bit of a dog in my past and that is what he liked about me. You may have noted that I didn’t say I was human. I did so deliberately as at times I despair of the human race. So with Rastus I was happy to run along with the pack as it were, an overstatement seeing there were only the two of us.

We are having a walk now, and have stopped for a paws. I know it is a bad joke but it is the sort of humour that Rastus likes. You note I haven’t told you my age, well I am older than Rastus and because of that he defers to me and for what he can get out of me. So I look for a bench in the park we are in. I find one but it is occupied by a human of the female persuasion. So I sit right on the end of the seat and Rastus after a sly glance at the girl, sits on the ground between me and her.

Rastus is a real flirt and after checking her out for sign of canine aversion decides there is none and edges a bit closer to her. She is eating a baguette, it being lunchtime, so there is a good reason for him preferring her at that moment as I had brought no consumables with me.

It’s at times like this I wish I was a dog. His steely eyes focused on the baguette as he forgets himself and edges so close to her that his chin is all but resting on her knee. She knows he is there but tolerates him as he is somehow emanating his lovable dog aura. Meanwhile I am watching the pigeons on the grass with just half an eye on my pretty neighbour. I too have noticed her knees emerging enticingly from her dress. They are very pretty knees and Rastus at this time agrees and plonks his chin on them and gives her the “Surely you need some help in eating that baguette” stare, that he is so good at.

Compliantly, she breaks a tiny piece of from the baguette and gives it to him. It gets wolfed down without touching the sides and Rastus managed to kiss her hand all in the same go with the quickest of licks.

I cannot but not notice their foreplay and decide that it is time for me to do something about it.

“Sorry about him, he’s a bit forward.” I say.

She turns to me. Hell’s boots, she is beautiful. I could lick her too. I wonder whether she would mind?

“What’s his name?” She asks hardly looking at me.

“That depends. When he is at home he is Tinkerbell, but when he is with me he is Rastus.”

At me mentioning his name Rastus turns his attention from eyeing the baguette to me for half a second affirming that statement.

“Oh, so he is not yours?” She says.

Clearly Rastus is a bit annoyed that more baguette is not coming his way, decides on another tactic and decides to lick her bare toes. She squeals with delight and looks directly at me with a smile on her face as though as I had done it.

I wish I had.

“No, I walk him for a neighbour. She can’t manage to control him any more when he’s out so he gets his exercise with me.”

She didn’t reply as she was finishing the baguette but swept the crumbs off her lap which were quickly vacuumed up by Rastus.

She then produced a carton of juice, drank that down in silence as Rastus leaned against her passively. She then turned to me and announced “Well back to work” nodding at the small private hospital across the park.

I took the carton from her and put it in the bin on my side of the seat.

“Thanks,” she said getting up. “Probably see you around.”

I nodded. “We often come through the park.”

“I know, I have noticed, but you spend most of your time talking to Rastus though.”

“That could change,” I finally muster a reply.

She shook her head. “No, I will have to have a longer conversation with Rastus first to check you out.”

With that she got up, patted Rastus on the head and with the most engaging twinkle in her eyes glanced my way. She then turned and walked across to the grass to the hospital.

Rastus looked up at me and seemed to say “Well that went well” as I hitched him back on the lead and we too left the park but in the opposite direction.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Ahu and Hinewai (Part 25)

Slowly things appeared to get back to normal at Black Sands after Hinewai’s return. Ahu and Hoata helped Hinewai get over her abuse by her husband Tui from whom she was now separated and free to marry again.
Luckily she was young and the bruises and wounds soon healed, but not however her shock at being so abused.
Hinewai showed no signs of her previous flirtatious manner and appeared to help Hoata and even went to see her sister Hatiti at the Hot Springs. Her step mother Hoata had not told her that Hatiti was pregnant and it was with sadness she returned home that night and was quieter than normal and spoke only a little of her visit.
“Hatiti is happy isn’t she?” said Hoata in more of a statement than a question. “I think she is happy with Kaihutu”
“He is ugly,” responded Hinewai.
“But a hard worker” protested Hoata. “Let us hope you will find a kinder man to love and look after.”
Hinewai nodded without much enthusiasm and her father then returned home from fishing.
“Now you are better Hinewai could you help Torangi the widower? He has not been looking after himself and needs a woman to tidy his house and get him organised. Men do not have the skill of housekeeping.”
“I thank you father for bringing me back, but do not try to marry me off again. It must be my decision to live my life in the future. However I will go and do as you ask if you have told him that I would.”
Torangi was much older than Ahuahu. His wife had given him a girl and a boy child. The girl had married a year or more ago but both his wife and son had died in the tidal wave. He was a quiet man but not morose. He accepted that the gods ruled their lives and that man was just a plaything for them, but secretly wished they would stop looking on him.
Hinewai noticed what a quiet natured man he was and he was satisfied with all that she did for him.
“Would you like me to prepare your meal for you occasionally,” she offered as she left him after her first visit.
“Thank you Hinewai; that would be good after a long day's fishing.”
So it was that Hinewai became his housekeeper. They even rubbed noses when they greeted each other and the Black Sands community nodded with approval.
Kamaka expressed his gladness to Ahuahu that Hinewai was happy again as they went fishing.
“Ahuahu, your children are still but young but the joy you have now will almost certainly turn to grief. I was wrong as I can see it now to have beaten Hinewai all that time ago. She thought that it was normal for those that loved you to treat her in this way. But she seems to be happy now looking after Torangi”
Ahuahu nodded, “Perhaps we were all wrong. I too felt that her youthful playfulness was a threat and should not have reacted as I did. Who can read all the signs and omens that the gods send us in order to plan our lives? How can we interpret the flight of birds or the distant thunder and decide our action? All we can do is hope that what we ourselves do does not upset the gods.”
Kamaka slapped a friendly hand against Ahuahu’s arm.
“May our work today be blessed by the gods,’ he said as they proceeded to launch their boat.
Ahu visited Hinewai that day as she was working in Torangi’s house, carrying Hekehoru with her. Hinewai was sitting in the porch outside the house eating some fruit. Little Tangaroa ran up to her and hugged her, and she hugged him back.
“Hoata said that you may move in with Torangi,” said Ahu.
Hinewai nodded. “He is gentle and kind…" She paused here weighing up her words, “...But a little dull.”
Hinewai beckoned Ahu to follow her into the house so they could speak in private.
“He is still grieving for his wife, but he also wants to touch me. I let him because I have never been touched by a gentle man before.”
She then indicated she would like to hold Hekehoru. Ahu extracted her out from the sling and handed the sleeping child to her. Hinewai clasped her to her breast and sighed.
“Papa-tu-a-nuku,” she prayed, “Please send me a child.”
A few weeks later she and Torangi were married.

Papa-tu-a-nuku - Earth mother goddess

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Rastus and me

I have always loved dogs and they have tolerated me as perhaps a poor substitute for them but happy for me to go along for the ride.
So it was with Rastus. That wasn’t his real name, and he wasn’t my dog but I will tell you how I met him. It was a year or two back and Rastus was owned by an elderly neighbour of mine. Rastus didn’t know this, he thought he owned her. She had got him from the pound, she wanted a companion in her widowhood and had gone along to choose a dog and found Rastus waiting for anyone to spring him from jail, so was on his best behaviour when he was introduced. He was probably a bit quiet too as he had been deprived of some of his essential parts. My neighbour was probably given the usual sob story of a placid dog wanting a loving home to be a companion and all that trash, while he bored, ignored the implied instructions of how he was to behave. So he went home with her with his dog tag jingling on his collar. They don’t jingle these days as they are made plastic but she in her wisdom was entranced by this tinkling sound and called him Tinkerbell!
It wasn’t long before he had settled in and had made carnage of the back garden but she didn’t seem to mind as she couldn’t spend as much time tending the plants there as she would a have liked. This is where I came in and before long I was spending few hours a week tidying the place up and acquainting myself with Tinkerbell. Clearly he was out of control so I suggested I take him for a short walk after my gardening stint and have a cup of tea with her later when I brought him home. It took some time for him to understand that I was taking him for a walk and not vice-versa and it needed a few jerks on the lead for him to catch on but by the time I returned to her house he was happily walking by my side with an occasional glance up at me to acknowledge my status of nearly equal to his.
We got back to the house and were duly given a drink, me tea and Tinkerbell water and it was as I was sitting down in the Lounge Room chatting with my neighbour that I started noticing a few marks on the furniture and the cushions. I pointed out these puncture holes from the dog’s teeth to her but she had not noticed them. Clearly her eyesight was fading.
“Oh, Tinkerbell, you naughty dog,” she said.
He ignored her completely. So I suggested he be given just one room in the house to stay in, preferably the kitchen or laundry when she was out and she reluctantly agreed. He took no part in the conversation and decided he wanted to go into the garden so I got up and let him out and he straight away deposited a load in among the rose bushes, reversed and then covered it with dirt.
“Oh you are a rat’s arse.” I say. He wagged his tail, came up to me and jumped up to put his paws on me as if to say "Well that is a better name."
”I can’t call you Rats Arse,” I whispered. “I will call you Rastus instead, is that OK?”
I could swear he nodded his head, and that is how he and I became friends.
(To be continued)