A wet and dramatic weekend; a good first performance of Waiting for Greta, our reinterpretation of Godot a la climate crisis and a lovely story telling circle for The Survival of Thomas Brunner.

But drama on the home front as well. Friday night Harvey and his mates over indulged and decided on a practical joke: kidnapping our rooster and depositing him in Austin’s house bus, thus giving him a rude awakening. The traumatised rooster was ejected by a disgruntled Austin and was reported later in the morning to be wandering disconsolately in the empty section next to Wendy’s. It was pissing down with rain and I went searching to no avail. It seems that Wendy’s rooster, now sheltering under an old truck. had chased him away.

BY now the story had spread through the village and Harvey was protesting innocence, but the sack in which the rooster had been transported was found and traced back to its source.  I had a talk with Harvey about the concept of utu. ‘I’ll find the rooster for you,’ he promised. But it continued to rain. Our hens began to wander. ‘Without a male, they lack boundaries,’ Gaynor, our next door neighbour told me.  She’s a woman so could get away with that statement.

Our rooster had had a stroke a couple of years ago: classic symptoms, falling over, dopey look on his face, but amazingly it forged new circuits in the brain – apart from lust – it stopped bonking. Anyway, come Monday I was off to Wellington, but got a message from Cynthia: Someone’s taken over your facebook identity and is sending around a begging letter. I had no idea what to do but Carl in Westport rang to tell me he’d contacted facebook.  And then Paul from the shop drove in to tell me the rooster was on Mike’s section. It was suddenly a classic story structure – all these gatekeepers blocking my ritual journey.

Caroline and I went around to the section: old bus sitting in mud, a sheep tied up. plus, incongruously, a red sports car – and the rooster sheltering under a flax bush. Using the African hunting walk technique (learned off Grotowski, the Pole) I crept up and got close, but the beady eye decided I was danger and the rooster hopped over a ditch. The game went on but eventually I caught him in a desperate and vulgar Kiwi tackle. Back home the chooks had wandered off but we locked the rooster in the pen and he crowed three times in biblical fashion.

I told our neighbour to tell Harvey the rooster was back but utu was still on the agenda before cleaning sheep shit out of the treads of my boots and heading into town to catch the bus. Still pissing down we drove the Buller Gorge with a strutting driver I could imagine at a Mussolini rally. Next day, via the flash new Nelson airport, I entered the sophistication of the city.

A footnote: Greta Thunberg continues to amaze. Not only does she begin a movement which in six months can have four million young people take to the streets; she can, with one look, destroy Donald Trump. Her superpower? ‘I don’t play the social games you people are so fond of.’

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