Judith Collins’ first column

I’ve known Brian Standardrate for a decade. He’s worked with his hands for 93 years. Pretty much all of his natural life and part of his father’s also.

The other week he popped over to my Papakura house to work on my deck. Anybody who knows me knows there’s nothing my husband and I enjoy more than relaxing on our deck with an ice-cold milk. Unfortunately, due to a recent incident involving an effigy, there appears to be a large charred hole thwarting my relaxation. Brian said he could easily replace the lost Indonesian mahogany and we’d be back on our chaise lounge in no time.

While he was unloading the rainforest timber from the back of his Hiace, I noticed Brian was limping. I asked him about it. Initially he wasn’t keen to talk about it but I pressed and eventually he said it was down to a workplace injury. This worried me. Why would someone, so clearly injured, continue working? This is a very important question and one I immediately texted Camoron Slater about. He’s planning an investigative exposé at some point in the near future – depending on whether or not his hacker is available.

As Brian scraped away the blacked edges of my deck I couldn’t help thinking that this might actually be a fantastic opportunity – a fantastic opportunity for growth. Why not use this builder’s issues with his lower limbs to construct a narrative that suggests I’ve been thinking about things a bit recently. Why not indicate to New Zealand that I’ve been reflecting on my life. Why not paint a picture with my words that portrays me as a caring women thinking only of others. Why not spend some time crushing The Crusher.

As Brian fell into the hole in my deck I wandered inside and turned on the desktop in my study and started typing. Half an hour later I had a column ready to email to the editors at Stuff.co.nz for publication.

I’m not sure what happened to Brian. He might still be working on my deck. I guess we’ll never know.


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