Amidst all the gloom here’s some wonderful news to lift the nation’s spirits.
Yesterday I received a phone call from prominent Lower Hutt lawyer, David Butler. But rather than the usual tirade of abuse about Wellington QC Hugh Rennie, David’s longtime rival for leadership of our Flat Earth movement, he was on a high.
“I’ve finally got round to doing something I’ve held off for decades through never having the time,” he explained and went on to outline his achievement, namely cataloguing his massive collection of British royalty memorability. Apparently it comprises 236 photograph books, the first dated 1946 called “The Young Princesses” about Elizabeth and Margaret. The rest cover the coronation, royal tours, weddings and so on.
“Plus,” he said excitably, “there’s the commemorative mugs, 46 in all, covering royal weddings and the like, also 28 souvenir teaspoons with inset photos on their ends of Princess Di, Fergie, the Queen and the rest of the mob.
There’s also 22 commemorative tea-towels, all beautifully framed,” he assured me.
But pride of place are his 18 strong limited edition commemorative plates. “The fact they’re a limited edition gives them special panache,” David pointed out, “Alongside each is their certificate of authenticity, also framed”.
“What sort of limitation?” I asked.
“Well, there’s my Charles and Di wedding plate. I’ve got number 182,124 out of 400,000”.
“Hardly suggests a scarcity factor,” I advanced.
“To the contrary,” he exclaimed. “That high number is plain evidence of their demand”.
At that David fell silent, then after a pause, somewhat solemnly said, “this shutdown virus business reminds one of one’s mortality”. Then with a sob he added, “I’ve decided to donate the collection to the nation”.
“Well…” I said, but was lost for words.
“The thing is,” he continued, “the National Archives will want it but that’s no good as they’ll be stored away out of sight. So I’m going to give them to Te Papa with the proviso of a permanent public display. They can get rid of some of their maori rubbish covered in red paint. Far better to have things people actually want to look at that are meaningful”.
“I’m sure they’ll be delighted,” I said encouragingly. “They’ll probably want to name the display room after you”.
“Well of course, that is, I mean, as it were, all things considered, I suppose it would be rather churlish of one to refuse them that,” he responded, then, after another pause he added, “the worry is with all the unemployed loitering about ahead of us, thanks to the lockdown stuffing the economy, the mobs of viewers could get out of hand”.
Here I was helpful. “Tell them to emulate the procedure the Kremlin used to have with Lenin’s embalmed corpse, and for that matter Hanoi with Ho Chi Minh’s corpse. Have security guards insisting everyone keeps moving. Slowly of course, out of respect. Also, suggest they keep the display open to midnight”.
“Brilliant!”, David exclaimed. “I’ll get on to them pronto”.
So there’s something to look forward to in the dark days ahead.