Sunday, April 21, 2013


The list of my prospective next husbands is growing. And my friend and my other friend – who don't even know each other – are squabbling about which one of them is to be my bridesmaid and which my flower girl. That is, when they aren't rolling their eyes. They will have to wait quite a while because the choice has become bewildering.

Cottage Garden Mix
Until recently my requirements were simple: my next husband would have to walk upright and preferably be able to dance. But since the earthquakes began I have been open to other possibilities. A dazzling parade of suitable applicants has visited me during the last two years, bearing clip-boards and often wearing hard hats and hi-viz vests.

They wander through the house and measure things or mend things, they climb onto the roof, they peer into cupboards, they walk round the garden examining the ground, shake their heads at the drunken fences. They are unfailingly charming and kind – really, I can hardly believe my luck. They have set me quite a dilemma that expands as time goes by, although I haven't yet got around to enquiring about their dancing abilities. To slightly misquote from The Beggar's Opera, "How happy would I be with either, were t'other dear charmers away".

The list of required qualifications has grown too. I'm getting more discerning. Ignoring the trifling impediments of currently attached wives or girlfriends (and most of them don't look old enough to have acquired either, but then nobody does to me these days) I tell my friend and my other friend that I have decided on one fellow because of his Paul Newman eyes, only to tell them a week later that he has been superceded by the next candidate because he has absolutely the most enchanting smile and also fixed the TV aerial. Or that the man who came to examine the sopping carpet in the spare bedroom was The One because – oh I don't know, I can't remember now, there have been so many. If it was legal I would marry them all.

To add to the dilemma, now that New Zealand has, with a resounding majority, just passed a law allowing same-sex marriages, the field of potential husbands has doubled overnight. It is now possible – and legal – that my next husband could even be my wife.

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