Friday, February 29

The Jigsaw that is Family.

I enjoy reading posts about people's families. I like to see the old photos, which can be quite revealing. The body language of couples. The family groups.

My Beloved Brother & I are lucky to know quite a lot about our family tree. Though our parents were parted when we were young, one of our mother's brothers had married one of our father's sisters. Their marriage lasted & so we were always close to them both, & our cousins of course, seemed more like our brother & sister.

Our Paternal Grandfather had died before I was born. I was the eldest grandchild on our father's side of the family. I can vaguely remember our Paternal Grandmother from when I was little, & when she stayed with my Aunt & Uncle after the birth of their daughter, when I was about 7 years old. Granny as I called her, was ill by then, & not a very cheery person. She had known me when I was very young, but since my parents were apart, she did not really know me at all, by that time. I don't really remember her then, & she was in constant pain, poor thing, so probably not inclined to want noisy children about.

I dont have many photos of her, except one as a young girl, & some shadowy little 'snaps', probably taken with a Box Brownie camera.

I do have these following photos of our Paternal Grandfather, who was known for his hunting & fishing pursuits. To the cost of his farm, according to our mother, & also his children! He was not known to like work a great deal, & our mother said he was too 'hearty & fellow well met' for her taste, & she never liked him. We are not sure, but we believe he died of cancer of the stomach, so perhaps his rather short life was spent in some pain.

He had quarrelled with his father, & left home at a very early age, never to return. He did write to his mother all his life apparently, & I wonder at her sadness at his leaving. How I wish I knew more about that history. We still have an Uncle & an Aunt alive, brother & sister of our father. We ask questions to try to learn as much as we can. I want to try to write it all down, so that one day should my children be interested they can refer to it all.

This photo is of our Grandfather bearing a deer head. It fills me with horror, but deer stalking in the season was one of the things our Grandfather, Father & Uncles did. They would eat the venison, & keep the antlers as souvenirs. They also went pig hunting, & would shoot wild pigs. Our mother's brothers went hunting too, & my mother & her youngest brother raised pet pigs from orphaned piglets that were brought home.
I always think our grandfather looked hearty enough in this photo! I have no idea how old he was then.

Here he is, looking older, with a huge trout he caught in the wild Waioeka River, which ran through the Waioeka Gorge.
This next photo, I think is of my Father with a deer he had shot. Horrible. I know the deer are an introduced species in New Zealand, & were taken there specifically for hunting purposes, but it still seems awful to me. Of course they have become a menace, & damage native habitat for flora & fauna.

This is a photo of our father's eldest brother, taken at a beach near where he lives, at Opotiki. He is now 90 years old, & still loves to fish the River when he can. His days of deer stalking are over, of course.

Because we grew up not seeing much of our Father, we never knew our half sisters & brothers, the children of his second marriage. When our father died, we finally got to meet some of them. One brother had died, when he was 16 years old, so we never met him. Another sister lives in Australia somewhere, & we have never met her.
This photo was taken at our Father's funeral. He was buried on what would have been his 73rd birthday. A cold & dreary day.
It always seemed a hell of way to meet our siblings.
My full brother is on the left, & I am on the right, next to our tallest brother.

Blood is thicker than water they say. I am sure this is true.
We really liked all our new found siblings.
It seemed terribly sad that we grew up not knowing them. For that matter, I don't really 'know' them today. I have seen one brother a couple of times since our father's funeral. I hear news of them from our mutual Aunt & Uncle.
My full brother is lucky enough to get to see one brother now & then, & has seen the other brother & sisters since.

The jigsaw pieces that are families.

I am very grateful to Josie, of Cie la Vie, who taught me how to get these posts to keep the paragraphs. I have been meaning to thank you Josie!

Simon & Garfunkel, The Dangling Conversation.

Wednesday, February 27

A Special Birthday

Today, my second-born son, had a birthday. It was his 40th year on the planet.

I have posted all his photographs back to front. I began with now, & mostly moved backwards through his life.

This taken recently, at a Halloween party. We still feel he looks too young to be 40!

This was while he was on holiday, in Switzerland, which he loved. I think this is the Giger Bar"
Switzerland again. His heart was broken, but he did love the country.

Retreating back to the past, here his is with Gom at Dad's day, at Playcentre.
And later, of course, here he is with is niece at his Grandmother's funeral. It seems we are doing the time warp here.

Here he was at his niece's birth. Doting Uncle, which he has always been. I think she was about 4 days old in this photo.

Here, he is with his sister sitting on a Moeraki Boulder. They were such good friends in their childhood, & remain close today.

Here, is my little Pisces Angel. This photographer loved him, & loved to take his photo. Son B got a little impatient, & was fed up, by the time this was taken!!

And here is my favourite photo of them together as little ones. It is almost as if his little sister is whispering a secret in his ear. Perhaps she was.
Neither of them can remember.
This, the final backwards pic.
Proud Mum, with her little son.
He was unwell, hence no smile.
His first cold.
How could my perfect son,
have some sort of infection
Invadinig his system?
Where is the ''god" in all of this??

Happy Birthday, Our Son

We love you, & always will!!

Simon & Garfunkel, Bridge Over Troubled Waters.

Tuesday, February 26

More Blah.

Title in no way means to discredit Molly, who gave me the idea to do this book meme.

The rules are:
1. Pick up the nearest book/your current read [at least 123 pages.]
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.

Page 123 of this book:
They made their way up the stairs past Farrah Porter's flat and on up to the one above it.This was occupied by a young stockbroker and his wife and their baby twins. Farrah Porter's natural constituency, without doubt, but in this case there had been no love lost.

I have not actually read up to that page yet, but am enjoying the black humour of the book, as well as the gory details.

This is just a little Green. My flourishing parsely plant, which has survived in spite of the Garden Vandal.
And here is a little Grasshopper, that I 'stalk' daily. I have learned that it stays on, or around, this flower. Clicking on the photo should enlarge it, so you can see the amazingly long antennae.

Yesterday, we went a little further afield to shop for an item we could not get locally. Why do companies suddenly remove an item which has been on sale for ages, without any warning. I was so disgusted I contacted the company. I did recieve a reply in the form of a telephone call, to let me know they had indeed discontinued the item in question, & would be replacing it with a new 'extra delicious' variety. The caller suggested I try the 'lesser' supermarkets for remaining stock of the old product.

I thanked her for her response. After the call I berated myself for not demanding samples of the 'extra delicious' product! I also forgot to mention that I was sure the new product would be priced 'extra deliciously' too!! Which is indeed the case. $1 more than the old product.

I was not impressed with manky bits of carrot for $1!! Perhaps I should tell them? Why would they think that dried out bits of carrot would be 'extra delicious'? Are they trying to kid us into believing the added slivers of dehydrated carrot & one corn kernel 'vegetables' add nutritional value to the product?

We did, as it happens find stocks of the old product, still remaining on the shelves of a lesser supermarket. As we were standing in the shop there was an announcement on the paging system.

"Would some one come to the front of the store. We have a ..a ..a Code 60!"

A few seconds elapsed, then another more confident call for a "Staff member at the front counter. We have a Code 60!"

Of course, as you may imagine, knowing my irreverance about such things, I was suggesting all sorts of scenarios. I muttered to Gom that "Some one has carked it at the checkout, & vomitted on the till before they died."
Gom looked aghast, & asked me "How do you know? Is that what Code 60 means?"

I burst out laughing & said I had no idea what a Code 60 might be. Who would think there would be a Code 60? And if there was, does this mean there are 59 other Codes which must all be memorised by staff??

As we went to the front of the store, we saw a staff member lugging a bucket & mop go past us. It seems there had been some bottles of water dropped on the floor. It was to be mopped & dried. So now I know. 'Code 60' must be a need for a bucket & mop!
"Yes Gom, I am just going out to Code 60 the kitchen floor".

Roberta Flack, Jesse.

Friday, February 22

Getting Rusty- & a Meme.

First & foremost, I would like to say a huge "Thankyou" to all of you for your kind Birthday wishes. I had a thoroughly lovely day, & enjoyed every minute of it, right until bedtime.

The Camera God, in the guise of GOM came good with a lovely new camera. Now all I have to do is learn to use it to the best advantage. Friends gave me a book about photography- not knowing I had the new camera!

I was treated to another lunch out, by my daughter, on Wednesday, seeing she had missed my actual birthday. So 3 'girls', Nanna, Daughter J & Granddaughter S went off to lunch. It was an All-You-Can-Eat Buffet. We let our hair down! We feasted. We waddled out to the car. I was so satisfied I could not eat any tea!
I had Birthday phone calls from New Zealand.

I had emails from NZ with photos for treats.

This is a pic of BFJ's daughter's new puppy. She is to replace a dearly loved old dog who passed away last year. Who could resist a face like this! Isn't she gorgeous.

She is Jessie.

And here, is a photo of my Beloved Brother, & his handsome Eldest Son, Beloved Nephew D, who is about to be a first time Dad! Woo Hoo, my first Great Nephew!

It seems a long time since I posted. Getting rusty & lazy.

Not much sewing has been done around here for the past 2 days. It has returned to Summer! HOT! Steamy. Makes me want some of the Snow I see in the north of America!
Here is a first attempt at using the new camera.
I had a little grasshopper all lined up, but I got the settings wrong, & I couldn't see the little blighter!
But I did manage to catch Mrs Spider, out of her leaf hideaway. I really tried to capture the spots on her back, but she is very shy.

We had to collect Small Grandson from the school bus yesterday afternoon. He has surprised us all by insisting he is ready to get the bus to & from school, all by himself. He is so proud. He loves everything about school. I hope his enthusiasm remains as he progresses.
When he saw me at the bus stop he came hurtling down the bus steps & flung himself into my arms. I was very conscious of enjoying the moment to the fullest, as I realise he will soon grow out of his unselfconscious joy, & will no doubt retreat into the 'dont kiss me now, someone might see' stage!


I've been tagged.... Katie, of My Sandbox,
It's been fun reading random facts about everyone else!
So here are the rules:

1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.

2.Post THE RULES on your blog.

3.Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.

4. Tag 7 people and link to them.

5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

I have actually done this a couple of times before, but here goes again. If I repeat myself & you recall it as a repeat, I apologise.

Perhaps I am running out of weird!!

1. I used to be really scared of spiders, but since I have seen them more closely, I have a respect for them, & try not to harm them. I have found the more I learnt about them, the less afraid I became. If I find a Huntsman in the house, I will try to capture it, to liberate it outside. Huntsman spiders are very large, & rather hairy! I swear they are really intelligent, & know I mean them no harm when I capture them.

2. I love dogs, & wish I could work with them in some capacity. I used to be terrified of them, until my father, who bred working sheepdogs, taught me not to be afraid.

3. I have some hideous itching condition, which I fear is related to our new carpet. The onset of the condition coincided with the laying of the new carpet. I need to have some tests to determine if it is indeed the case. grrrr.

4. I have 2 grandchildren, a girl & a boy. I am very lucky. I keep dreaming of further grandchildren, which I don't think will be the case. I am aware you 'never know what lies ahead'.

5. My hair is still mostly brown, though it is getting more grey sprinkled. I have a strip of hair, at the front left temple, which was always blond when I was young. Now it is grey, & I refer to it as my "Witchy Streak". I can't be bothered with dyes.

6. Around the time of the full moon, I tend to have very vivid dreams. Perhaps I am a Lunatic??

7. I married a man who is the exact opposite on the astrological wheel. We are indeed, Chalk & Cheese.

Ok, this is where I break the rules. I will tag 7 people, but the expectation for them to reply or actually do this meme, is not rigid. I know most people have done this, & find it tiresome to rehash old oddities, however much we might enjoy re-reading them. One can always hope they have developed new oddities in the meantime, of course!

Rosie, of A Bitch About Brittany.
Love these glimpses into another space.

Kal, of Trauma Queen. Such an interesting blog.

JulieK at Juliek Quilts. Lovely things to see & read about.

Kitty, at Kittywrinkle. A new aquaintance, but she sure is lovely to meet!

Kim, at Ragged Roses. If you want to see beautiful, & tasteful & talented, go visit Kim!

Leslie, In VanCan. Leslie writes lovely posts, has a great sense of optimism & is worthy of a visit.

Randi Crawford, One Day I'll Fly Away

Tuesday, February 19

Officially Old!

Well, today I turn 65. I am now "Officially Old", which is funny really, since I still feel about 23, 3osomething, 45, 50, 58, & all the ages in between.

Having never been 65 before, I suppose I have no idea how I am supposed to feel, but I don't think it is how I really feel. Does that make sense? I can still laugh at the same things I laughed at when I was much younger. I can now laugh at some things that would never have amused me when I was much younger. I feel I have the best of all worlds.

The state of the bod leaves a lot to be desired, but the mind seems to be not too bad. The years I have lived, have taught me a lot of things. I am grateful that at least I did learn. I would rather have learnt many things, in less painful ways. Perhaps the pain was necessary to make the lesson stick. Who knows. I also realise there are many things I will never learn, & that makes me a little sad. I still find I learn something new every day, though, so as long as I can do that, I suppose I am 'living'.

I am forever grateful that one of the worst times of my life, led to me one of the best people I have ever known. My Best Friend J. A treasure in my life. A gem that helped me get through at the worst of times. A life long friend, who knows me warts & all. We have laughed & cried together. We have shared joy, & sadness. We can just take up where we left off, & though she is far away, I know she is there, & the world seems ok. Everyone should be lucky enough to have a BFJ.

It is still raining, & overcast. I know that on the day I was born, so long ago, in a small country town's Maternity Hospital, it was an extremely hot day. My mother gave birth just after 11.30am, & she said the staff all rushed off to lunch, & left her, lying alone, & all she could see of me, were two huge eyes, looking around at the world.

I wonder at her bravery, giving birth to me, all alone, while my father was in another country fighting in a war. I wonder if they had discussed names before I was born, via letters. She gave me an Irish name, which I never liked, & still dislike. Luckily noone uses it except 2 Aunts, & an Uncle. My mother also gave me a middle name. Another name I dislike. I dislike it even more than the first name. It was the name of a friend she was very fond of. I suppose it is a form of vanity to dislike your given names. One of my cousins recieved Mabel, as a middle name, after her maternal Grandmother. She hated it so, she had it changed. Who could blame her!


In the meantime, I am sewing. I have begun my Granddaughter's quilt, with the stitcheries. She doesn't very often read the blog, so I have put some progress pics here. I have done the first 2 setting rounds. I am now auditioning what comes next. I have had several changes of heart about the colours. Quite often a photo will point the way, more so than just looking at the test runs.

I think I rather like that bit of yellow in there. I will have to rummage around & see what various colours in yellow I have.The fabric on the left in the pic, is really a light lilac. It has more of a purple hue than the photo would indicate. The brown on the right is a lot more golden. It is such a dull day, even the light in the window is dull.

I have decided that the container used to cook food can make a big difference to the end result.
I bought this handmade crockery casserole dish some time ago, at a flea market for $1. I bought it purely for it's appearance. We have some high cupboards in the kitchen that have a gap between the top & the ceiling. I decided to put some pottery items up there purely for decoration. I have a basket or two, & thought the pottery would add another dimension.
I loved the look, & the feel of this pot, & decided to try it for cooking potatoes in the microwave. I could not believe the fantastic result. It took less time for the potatoes to cook, than a plastic or glass container, & somehow the potatoes just tasted much better. I use it all the time now, & our favourite, is herbed potatoes. I just throw mint, oregano, & thyme, a little water, into the pot with the cut up potatoes, & cook them for 10 minutes. The end result is wonderfully herb infused potatoes, & best of all, no fat. I often add a tablespoon of chopped parsley just before serving.

I wonder if the potter would feel happy to know their pot is bringing such pleasure? I have also used it in the oven to cook casseroles, & it is equally good for that purpose.

We are going out for lunch. Chinese Yum Cha, my very favourite. I love the Squid!! Our Granddaughter is coming with us, but our daughter has to work.
Our son says he will be up for the weekend, so no doubt we will all get together then.

Gom came bounding in here, & told me Honey sent me a kiss for my birthday.

Then..... He licked me!!

Still not too old to laugh! Thank Goodness.

Paul Simon, The Sound of Silence.

Sunday, February 17

A little progress!

I have been getting the groove back, or getting the mojo, muse, whatever you like to call it.

I have finished the Throw I was working on. Though it is not a project of gargantuan proportions, nor is it complicated in any way, I am still quite pleased to have it finished, & already in use!

I spent yesterday quilting it, in a very simple fashion. I used stitched either side of the ditch & feel quite pleased with the result, as the fabric is a bit of a feature. I would have loved one of those rose motifs or hearts, or Popcorn, that the longarms can do, but seeing I am just using my domestic machine, the limitations will stand.

A close up, that may show the simple quilting. Police, of the quilting variety, need not look at all closely. I claim it has the homely look, & after all, I made it for utility, to be washed often, & used with careless comfort.

Here it is, on the lounge suite it is to be used on, & I think the colours are quite good for blending.

I took this pic outside, to try to get a lighter photo which showed the quilting. I have decided to call it "Time for Roses". Meaning we should all take time to smell the roses in our lives.

I spent last evening dozing & sewing down the binding. I finished the binding this morning, & found it very relaxing, sitting sewing, & I watched an episode of 'Dalziel & Pascoe' we had taped, while I sewed.

My Granddaughter loves a quilt I made featuring Bronwyn Hayes stitchery pictures. (I have blogged this previously, & dont think this will enlarge, as I have moved the pic.) To get to the point, GD asked if I would make her a quilt with stitchery pictures, & I have some already completed, just requiring the 'quilt body' to go around them, so I am thinking this will be my next project.

GD will be 19 in May, so perhaps if I aim to have it finished for her birthday.


We have had more rain, heavy downfalls at times, but nothing as savage as the poor residents of Mackay, & Townsville, up in Queensland
I hope Tracey, Peppermint Patcher, is ok. They have had some floods up there, some really serious water problems. And, like us, have had no real sun, for days. I don't mind the lack of sun, as long as it is cool, temperature wise.

In other news, we must have an almost full moon. I have been having really strange dreams again. My mother, who I did not dream about, for a very long time after her death, featured in one on Friday night. It was so vivid, I woke feeling very sad, realising she is gone.

Last night's feature dream was just strange. I dreamt about my son- he was both an adult and a baby in the same dream, so it was as if he was 2 people. Very distressing, & very vivid, staying with me all day, in great detail. There would seem to be a huge gaping hole in the knowledge of what dreams might indicate in our everyday, conscious, lives, which is an impression I get from reading quite a few other blogs on the subject.

Simon & Garfunkel, El Condor Pasa

Friday, February 15

Critters, & Bittersweet Memories.

This little bright lime green grasshopper came to spend a little time in the garden. My skills as a photographer seem to be lessening!

A wily spider had made herself a cunning little home in this dried leaf. She had woven her web around it, suspended in the air, & though I tried to capture her out, on her web, she seemed to sense it, & quickly dashed back to safety. She had wonderful markings on her back. Yellow dots.

This, last night's evocative sunset afterglow. The promise was false. We had heavy rain during the night, & this morning. Though on reflection, perhaps the promise was not so empty. We had a fine day, & our washing all dried on the line outdoors.

Having had some earlier success with a music clip, I wanted to post another.
You would not believe the hours I have spent trying to get this to work again!

This was the UK No 1 hit in 1950.

I was 7 years old, that year. I remember it as a running theme to the soundtrack of my childhood. I wonder does anyone else have a 'theme tune' to their life?
For some reason this theme has always made me want to cry. I dont know why, but I found the sound of the Zither haunting, & intricate, & I have always wanted to see it played. Now, through the magic of You Tube, I have. I find this version a little stilted, somehow, & feel that the rich original version had more depth. Because Anton Karas was younger? Played with more precision? A studio to record in? I have no idea.

I have never seen the movie, The Third Man. One day, I guess I will see it. I tried to buy it on Video one year. It was 'unavailable'. I have watched several clips from the movie this afternoon, in my quest to find the music. As an older person, (though I was too young, for his hey day) I never could see the attraction to Joseph Cotton. Though technically 'good looking', he never appealed to me.

I didn't 'get' Orson Welles either. Though I tend to like men who are, shall we say, slightly portly, or pleasantly plump, cuddly, I just didn't find Orson Welles attractive. I don't think I could make a judgement really, since I never saw him in a Movie. He always rather reminded me of Bob Hope, or vice versa, & neither appealed to me.

As I have previously stated, I grew up hearing a lot of classical music on the radio, (remember those?) which played most of the day, & the evenings. Another theme track to my life was Mozart's 'Eine kliene Nachtmusik', which I love to this day.

Throughout my teens, those 'troubled years', the pop songs of the day were to the fore. But always in the background the 'Themes' remained, favourites ever.
I am thinking I may do a Portrait Post, or 2. Of people I have known. Just for fun. They might even be caricutures of the written variety.
Randy Crawford, Same old Story ( Same old Song)

Thursday, February 14

The Other Side

Today is Valentine's Day. We don't really observe it, in spite of the best efforts of Hallmark & Florists, & Chocolate makers, to convince us we are cold fish if we don't pour lavish goodies, of the abovementioned variety, on our 'loved ones'.

My English born Grandmother had some Valentine cards she had been given. I think my brother has them still. I was always fascinated with how pretty they were. Cards were the only tokens, she told us, & they were given in secret, so the reciever was left to guess who had sent them.

No doubt we will just spend a quiet evening together, as usual. February is usually an extremely hot month is Australia, & airconditioned surroundings are the best place be. It is also a month, for us, of birthdays of family members. Our youngest son has his birthday this month, a week & a day after mine. His ex-longterm partner's birthday is tomorrow, & we would always get together, & have a dinner out, & celebrate, somewhere in the region of all 3 dates.

This year, it has been an unseasonal February, with many rainfilled days, & dull overcast skies. It is cooler by about 10 degrees from the 'normal' temeratures. I don't mind the cool, I can take as much as we get!

This is my concession to Valentine's Day. A little heart I worked on with no particular project in mind. I have the idea I will do several more, & work them into a quilt for my Granddaughter.
We have had her staying with us for a couple of nights, & she has been such a delight to have. We don't get to see as much of her as we used to, now she is an adult & working. I miss her. We get along very well, now that she is past the 'uglies' of hormone wracked teenagehood.

She was always very close to me, when she was little. Her mother worked, & I was her daytime carer, so she spent a lot of time in my company. She has come out the other side of her torment riddled middle-teen years, the lovely girl she has always been.

Such a 'history repeating itself' effect there. I was such a tormented rebellious hate filled teenager. I thought about that when I wrote my 'I am from'. There are always 2 sides to everything, & the 'darker side' is often glossed over in memory, or memoirs, or recollections. I didn't gloss over that side. I simply omitted it. I recall it vividly. I was the teenager from hell. Both sides of the story are 'true', just different sides of the same story.

I was so lucky, my daughter was nothing like I was. Sure she had her hormone riddled moments, but I recalled how I had felt, & I think I tried to work with my daughter, with that understanding, & those memories at the front of my mind. The terrible uncertainty of being a teenager, the wild mood swings, the angst of it all.

With our Granddaughter it was harder. Luckily, I think the solid grounding of love we gave her, has stood her in good stead, & she has come out the other side, a compassionate, & loving girl, with an understanding beyond her years.

I grieve for her, over her father's refusal to meet with her, but she told me yesterday, that she doesn't, & she is not grieving over the way her 'other grandparents' have treated her so badly. Their actions are louder than their words, & she feels they are not worth knowing.

Yesterday, we had SG here for a time before school. He had made his mind up the day before, that he was going to catch the school bus to school, & insisted his father let him go, alone. An older girl from the school promised to keep an eye on him. He was so proud of himself, & said he loved going on the bus. He was rather disappointed yesterday, when Nanna had to take him, as the bus doesn't come past our place. He went happily off, though after a kiss & quick hug. I can hardly believe he is at school already, & feeling so confident, independant & happy.

Here he is sitting in our lounge, wating to get off to school. He was happy his sister was here, & he ran into her room to kiss her. He misses her when she is not at home, & she is so good with him.

Here is the finished top, of the little throw I have made for the lounge. I rather wish I hadn't put the border on it, but my daughter says leave it. It is small, 37 1/2" x 40 1/2"
I will try to get it sandwiched, & quilted today. I have been putting it off, it is the least favourite part of making the quilt, tacking it all. So hard on my back.
It is raining again, & dull as ditchwater, as my Mum used to say, so it is a good day to sew.

Yesterday, when I rushed home from school, I sat, with tears in my eyes, to listen to, & watch on Television, our Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd's Speech of Apology to the Aboringal peoples.

Lee, of A Curate's Egg, has published the full text of the Apology. Please read it.

Kevin Rudd recieved a standing ovation for his moving speech. The people out on the lawns stood as one to applaud. His colleagues & the Aborigine people present in Paliament House stood as one to applaud his words. There were many tears, & much acceptance from the Aborigines I watched & listened to, when they were interviewed.

I truly hope the healing will begin, as the Aborigines say it will. A positive step forward for this great country. My heart swelled with pride for it, & hope for the future.

Janis Ian, Beyond the Other Side of the Sun.

Monday, February 11

Reflections on Where I am From..

** I want to credit Molly, of The Molly Bawn Chronicles for challenging me to do this. I must admit, it was a journey!
I would like to throw this challenge out to anyone who reads this, to do the same. Don't forget to let us know if you take up the challenge.

I am from young parents, who married in haste, under the dark shadow of World War 2. My mother always said she was reluctant to marry my father. He was about to be sent overseas, & was desperate to marry my mother in the face of all opposition. He simply loved her, with all his being. I am the result of their hasty honeymoon, before he was shipped off overseas, never to return in a sense. He was certainly not the same young man, who had gone to do his patriotic duty. My mother was changed forever, also. I was 3 when he returned, & first met me. I was a hostile little girl, who did not want this strange man in her mother's bed, or sharing their lives.

I was born in a country of Ferns, & beautiful Native Bush. Of strong wild rivers, & deep silent lakes. Of craggy mountains, with snow on the peaks. Wild gorges, with even wilder rocky rivers carving out the land, over time. Hill country, which had been felled, cleared of it's beautiful vegetation, to make way for man's farming. The steep slopes denuded, & bare, the burnt stumps remaining sometimes for years. Their dark, stark shapes were monuments to man's stupidity, it seemed to me, but of course, not in so many words to a child's mind. Later, brought the formulation of those words to fit the thoughts of my childish observations.

I come from a country with another race of people, who claim they owned the land, first. It seemed to me, growing up among these people, we got along together well enough. They often lived lives seemingly different in some aspects, with differing tastes in food, but I always felt we respected each others ways. Now it is claimed we didn't & don't. I aways understood the Maori to be respectful of nature's ways, & to be contemptuous of white men saying they 'owned' the land. The Maori I remember from my childhood were more of the opinion that no man could own the land. The land owned itself. Now that is all changed.

We Pakeha (white) girls all fell in love with the big bronzed Maori boys at school. They were excellent at sports, often, & could run & win most of the races. Their laughing brown eyes, their wonderful skin, the natural talent so many of them had, for art works, storytelling. Their wonderful sense of humour. The girls made fearsome Basketball players. They were our neighbours, our classmates, members of our families. Their love of the sea, & fishing, their Hangi method of cooking, in the ground with hot rocks, & leaves & earth to cover & protect the food.

My ancestors were Scottish, English, Irish. Mostly blue of eye, & fair of skin. My father's family came from very early Scottish & English settlers to the South Island of New Zealand. A large Scottish family of 11 girls, one of whom was my Great Great Grandmother, who married an English settler's son. In fact 4 of those Scottish girls, married the 4 English settler's sons. The Scottish father was said to have stated he wished there were more sons, to marry more of his girls!

I was told by my mother, that I was a 'strange' child. I was also told I was 'awkward'. I was 'clumsy'. My mother took me to ballet lessons- to try to teach me coordination, & some 'grace' I suppose. How I loathed those lessons! I couldn't wait to be done with them. I was lefthanded, so did things a different way to the other women in the family. My brother is also left handed, & so is a cousin. It was a sadness, to our Grandmother.

My Grandmother was wonderful. It is her warm approval I remember, in contrast to my mother's seeming disapproval. My Grandmother loved me to the end of her days, & it was a love of unconditional strength & beauty.
Her love was hot Chicken Noodle soup after school on wet cold days. It was the comfort of scrambled eggs, when I was ill with Tonsilitis. Of comfort food to fill our hungry bellies in the evenings. Of wonderful jams, jellies, preserved fruit, all made with love & care. Of her smiling face, & warm hugs when we came home from school weary or sad. Of knitted jumpers, pullovers, little doll's clothes for me. Her love of family was foremost. She loved all of her grandchildren dearly.

There was a shortage of men in my childhood, in some respects. We rarely saw our father. He remarried, & had another family. Paternal Grandfather had died before I was born. Maternal Grandfather died when I was 8 years old. He had been ill for some of those 8 years, & I wonder how he stood having 2 scrapping fractious children thrust into his life, when he should have been able to read, & dream & relax.
I dearly loved my Uncles, my mother's 3 brothers, my father's 2 brothers too. We were lucky we knew them. My father's 2 sisters were fiercely loving too, so I had wonderful Aunts.

Family is where I am from. I remain close to Cousins, Aunts, my one remaining Uncle.

I am from the Land of the Long White Cloud. Aoteoroa.

I feel it is imprinted in my bones, which were formed in that land. I will always belong to that land, in my heart.

Though I have made my home here in Australia, & it lays great claim to my affection, & feels 'known' from my Australian born Grandfather.

Unfortunately these pics of the sky & clouds are not taken in NZ.
They are from my new home.

Simon & Garfunkel, Homeward Bound.

On re reading this, it seems my mother is not prominent in a positive way. She had a sad life, & went out to work, to support herself & us, & it was mostly our Grandmother who was the one at home, when we got home from school. My mother was small, neat, sad, & quietly loving. She was a shy little Cancer the Crab. The description fitted her very well. She was a beautiful Mum to me, & I did love her dearly, in spite of how this reads.

Saturday, February 9

Flights of Fancy.

Cloudbursts early morning! Rain just pouring down. I think this might be the wettest Summer we have ever experienced since moving to Australia.

I told Gom I didn't think we needed to bother about garage sales, but he got up & got ready so off we went. The rain had stopped, but everything was sodden, & slightly drowned looking.

The people-watching was interesting. The dear little old couple we see regularly, holding hands, supporting each other up a steep drive. Being careful not to slip on the wet concrete. He, with his little, now-bent, legs, & his gnome like ears, with their hearing aids nestling in the fuzzy holes. He cannot hear anyway, unless you are facing him. She, with her neatly combed hair, & makeup. A truly lovely couple who were prominent in the Salvation Army, & live their lives accordingly. No false Christians there.

The dark complected man, who is suspected of being a thief. He has been seen palming items into his pocket. He has a permanent expression on his face of being in pain, or disdain, perhaps from having just dined at the Heinous Anus. Who can tell. An odd waft of curry, emanates.

One wonders who would feel the need to steal from a garage sale? Mostly the items are ludicrously cheap, or can be bartered down to a satisfactory level. Not so many people out this morning. Vendors cramped in their garages, tarps dripping with rain out the front. One sale, up a very steep drive, the most glorious garden, all carefully laid out on the steep bank. Like a tropical paradise, & so lush in the rain.

We made no purchases, & my only find was this wonderful rock, with these lichens richly covering the surface. I leant over the fence to take the picture. Luckily I had taken my shots, before a huge shaggy dog, the size of a pony, came bounding out of nowhere, & barked ferociously! Scared me out of my wits!

Here are some previously posted pics of treasured old china. I have posted these for Sagittarian, who posted some of her treasures for me. This cup saucer & plate set was my mother's & I always loved the delicat pink blossoms. It is called Blossom Time, & is Royal Albert.
This pink striped jug & sugar bowl are the Czechoslovakian set I got from an Antique shop in Sydenham many years ago, for $5. I originally bought it for the bowl, which I was going to use for plants, but I fell in love with it, & have never used either item.

This Nasturtium plate was my Grandmother's & I just love it. I think it is Royal Doulton. The supper cloth it is standing on, was made by my other Grandmother, my father's mother, who did a lot of needlework, & crochet.

Finally to the Flight of Fancy.
Sewing has begun! I have actually cut fabric, been on the machine, been ironing!
No not clothes. They can wait. Ironing seams. Ironing fabric.
Sitting at the machine.
Such a gloomy grey day. Nice & cool! Ideal for sewing. My flight of fancy is that I will achieve an end result this time!

Gom seems reasonably happy to see me at the sewing again. He has his books & his video games he sometimes plays.

Hot Chocolate, You Sexy Thing.

Friday, February 8

Beached at Last.

Yesterday, I convinced Gom I would go insane if I didn't get some beach time I had to go to the beach.
He does not share my mania love for the beach, never has. In our younger days, a trip to the beach would be last on his list of preferrances.

I don't really know why I am so drawn to the sea, but perhaps it is because it was always a part of my life. We have always lived close to the ocean in New Zealand, & some of my happiest memories are of being at the beach as a child.

We went to Terrigal, which is a nice beach. It has a reputation as a great Surfing beach. It is has a very large Resort Hotel on the waterfront, & is a popular destination for Syneysiders wanting a break within reasonable distance of home.

This is not a good shot, the sand is really gold. I just wanted to capture the seaweed, torn from it's sandy bed in the deep, & cast up on the beach to dry & rot, or be washed out again by the next high tide.
Sad somehow.

Here is the view towards the Skillion. Foolish young ones jump from this point sometimes. Sometimes they don't return alive. This facing the East.
This is a bold Pelican, which was strutting about very happily sharing chips & scraps thrown by beach goers, who were enjoying food under the inevitable pine trees. I tried to get a better picture of him, but by the time we got there, he was ready to fly off.

This is facing the North, & was a portent of what was to come later. Gom said he could see a dog in these clouds, but I don't think I caught it.

We could see huge ships out on the horizon, & I tried to capture them. I didn't have zoom or long distance on either of the cameras I took, & one of them had no card. Next time I will take the larger loaner camera.

Here is the sweep of the bay, looking in a northerly direction. There were quite a few swimmers, & the surf was quite boisterous, but not really huge.

Here is trusty lifeguard equipment. I tried to get a little close up.

Here is the little jeep for zooming up & down the sand. The lifeguards are on duty for the whole of the Summer, & I think, much of our winter, which seems to still have the hardy swimmers.

I dug my toes in the lovely golden sand. I waded in the beautiful foamy salt water, like a child, venturing too far, & snatching up my jeans so they didn't get wet.

Gom, who has been down of late, carried my sandals, and never took his off. He just doesn't have the feeling for the beach, or the ocean. He stood, watching me splash in the foamy little waves.

We strolled back up past the huge Resort, to our car. We drove home, via the township, stopping at the shops for a quick purchase for the dogs.

We arrived home at 1pm. By 1.30pm the skies darkened to almost black, there was the rumble of distant thunder, then it got closer, the flashes of lightning clear & close. Down poured the rain, much like a cloudburst.

I thought of the contrast, from the beach, to the dark drenched outlook we were faced with then. As these thunderstorms approach, the air becomes so oppressive with humidity, it almost seems impossible to breath.

As the rain pounds down, & the temperature drops a little, it becomes a little easier, but still retains the heat.

I was glad we got home in time to have the dogs indoors. Leo is terrified of thunder storms & shakes violently. We try to be casual so he wont be worried, but it doesn't seem to help his terror.

Joan Baez, Blowin' Away.