death, robots, maps & moanas… level 4 lockdown, day 3.
my communication will be spotty while this lockdown progresses. think of me like a vintage radio. sometimes clear as a bell. sometimes impossible to get signal.
it’s level four lockdown again here in aotearoa, so get ready for a lot of ash pictures.
he built this “robot” today out of household objects. when i asked why it had two mouths he looked at me as if were incredibly stupid and
“one for eating, of course, and one for whistling”.
apparently the robot’s diet is “garbage and metal”.
it’s so weird; the last level four was over a year ago. i have a totally different child from the child i last locked down with. the last one was still sometimes in a stroller. this one can help me bake banana bread.
i just scrolled back through my photos to grab a photo from ash during the last lockdown. he looked like this. he was 4.
he will be 6 in less than a month.
we are living in a different part of the country. our last hardcore NZ lockdown was spent in havelock north, hawke’s bay.
we were in serious lockdown – level 3 & 4 – for approximately two months, from march to may of 2020. now i’m living about a 6-hour drive north from there, on little waiheke island, population 9,000, a short ferry ride (about 40 minutes) from the city of auckland (new zealand’s largest city, with a population of 1.6 million).
i don’t know why i’m choosing this moment to give you a new zealand lesson. but i am. also, you may see me referring to this country as “aotearoa” sometimes, or “aotearoa new zealand”. aotearoa is the traditional māori name for this place – “the world of the long white cloud”. people here are moving towards embracing that name for the country.
it’s pronounced “OW-tay-ah-row-ah”.
anything else while i’m here? the kids run around barefoot. it’s not just a NZ marketing ploy. they honestly do. hit me with questions. i’m in lockdown and need to scream into the void.
oh and ash is getting really into doing “plays”. he takes all his “stuffies” (that’s what they. all stuffed animals here), arranges them on the couch as an audience, and i design and make (and take) the tickets.
this is the assembled audience for yesterday’s play, which was titled “the treasure hunt”.
from left to right:
alice cooperbear (given to ash by alice cooper himself, obviously, at a concert in melbourne shortly before lockdown)
stick man (mailed to ash from dada in the UK sometime last year)
mickey (donated to ash by izzy in hawke’s bay. izzy was 7, and one of our only friends during the last lockdown.)
here’s a picture of ash and izzy, in havelock north over a year ago…
chewbacca (source unremembered. it’s on the tip of my brain)
yoda (a birthday present from xanthea almost a year ago)
peppa pig (proudly won by ash from the claw machine in havelock north village, outside the dairy next to wright & co. thus cementing ash’s christening of that claw as “the kind claw” not to be confused with “the mean claw” outside the dairy next to wardini’s bookstore, which always just took his money and fleeced him. the clawwwwww!!)
elmer (in the mail from dada, i think)
humphrey beargart (another hand-me-down from izzy, though izzy would not part with humphrey beargart’s bear partner, lauren bearcall)
zombie pirate (won by mama at a fair in melbourne shortly before we came to new zealand)
moana (yet another gift from izzy)
death (hand knitted and presumably a piece of neil gaiman fan art, she was imported from scotland. she figured prominently and often in video calls with dada during the 9 months ash and noel only spoke via video. see: mrs monkey.)
bean the dinosaur (won in a carny game by ash, mama and jamie at a weird dinosaur circus tent in napier last year)
mrs monkey (who was also a frequent video chatter when neil was in scotland; and she also came along in neil’s suitcase when he made it into new zealand. missing: mister teddy bear, who kicked it all off with neil showing ash stuffed animals on video chats, he was the OG, and always “showing his bottom”, which is what silly british bears do apparently).
i’m heading to bed soon.
happy to chat for a while down in comments with anyone who’s up. gimme a holler down there. (it’s 8:48 pm NZ time, friday).
p.s. while i was scrolling through the ash photos from a year ago, i came across this. it was the best birthday present i was given. i was with ash, neil had just left, my life was broken, my mind was broken, i was in lockdown in a foreign land, lost. and nyssa, izzy’s older sister (i think she was 13 at the time), made and dropped off this little drawing for me based on the instagram photo of ash i’d posted. i still love it. it meant the world to me that someone was making art in all the darkness.
——THE NEVER-ENDING AS ALWAYS———
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