I handed him the bottle and he read the label. ‘Bowmore Cask Strength Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Thank you, I’m deeply moved.’ He found two cloudy glasses somewhere; maybe he washed them every six months, I don’t know. He poured for us both and I added water from a kettle that was sitting on some sheet music. He tried his neat. ‘Here’s to whatever,’ he said, and swallowed a little. Then he coughed, blew out a big breath, wiped his eyes, added water, and said, ‘This must be serious.’
from Linger Awhile
- One copy left nestling inside the Saturday edition of the New Zealand Herald at Gloria, my local café, on Anzac Avenue, Auckland.
- One copy given to my friend, fellow blogger and boozing buddy, Rob, for distribution on his current ‘road trip’ around the North and South Island of New Zealand (he has read and enjoyed Riddley Walker).
- One copy to my friend Mark (subeditor of Sunday magazine) in Rise (formerly called Cuba – see below), a bar in Parnell, Auckland. Mark is just about to start a job at the Listener and is not a Hoban reader. We were not drinking single malt at the time.
Happy 81st birthday, Russell Hoban: Saturday, 4 February 2006.