Friday, 30 January 2015

These January Days

succulents defying this summer's lack of water

Aggie basking on our bare lawn. She lies between stone steps that lead to the clothes-line. I think they look a bit like rocks or islands with the tide out. 

Summer's sun and wind have sapped our lawn of green.
A steam train doing a novelty run the other day, caused over twenty grass fires.

It has been for us a month of sprucing up the garden; pruning back over-grown areas and untidy corners.
Also, we've been tidying and clearing, ready for a build. We are converting the end of our very long garage into a self-contained flat. After a frustrating wait of almost a year for the plans to be completed, at last we are underway.

From March on we are expecting two lots of family from overseas, along with offspring. For quite some time, our skinny, long house is going to have to take on the properties of a fat teapot. Cheerfully so.

I was figuring out the other day that this doorknob from my childhood home (the house itself long-gone) must be about 100 years old. As a child, my hand reached out for it many times. Attached to the inside of an outside door, it allowed me entrance into the wider outside world. It is still outside. Where it belongs.

After taking a month off, it is time to start writing again.
Poetry seems easier to achieve than prose at this stage. The poems have been arriving relatively effortlessly (although the wastepaper basket full of paper-balls from all the discarded drafts I've done for each poem, makes a lie of that statement).

Meanwhile, my novel's plot and characters have been left hanging. Poor things. Little do they know that when I do eventually get back to them, I'm going to mercilessly shake the plot all about in order to see who falls out.

For my last two books, I used a laptop to write the poems, cutting out any need to transcribe.
However, the process of writing by hand has again become my preferred method. This has been helped by a recent purchase. A purple compendium. Note: not to be confused with, or for the purposes of, 'purple prose'.

Writing outside is one of life's pleasures. And it's free.

These January days of no sleeves and bare legs. Tanned, bare feet. Walking on cool, wet sand.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Feeling Fine

Christmas at my in-law's is always a splendid affair.

Every Christmas, despite warm, summer temperatures, a roast mutton meal is always served (above, new potatoes and peas to go with)

with snowball turnips in white, parsley sauce

and gravy in the Johnny Walker jug

and pavlova to follow (as well as Christmas pudding, fruit salad, trifle ... etc.) This year, the pav. was a three-layered extravaganza! The photo above was taken before Marg had added the third layer.

Crown Range, on the way to Wanaka

This year Robert and I went over the Crown Range to Wanaka for a couple of days.

Lake Wanaka

verge-side garden, Wanaka

looking towards Southern Alps behind Wanaka

Some of you may be familiar with the Southland towns of Te Anau and Waikaia.
Te Anau is a mountain-lake town and Waikaia is a small Northern-Southland town with a Central Otago landscape and temperatures.
Somehow Wanaka reminds me of both of these places. To me, it is Te Anau meets Waikaia (or the other way around).
Even though Wanaka is on the Tourist Trail and a popular summer-holiday spot for kiwis, thankfully it still manages to maintain its small-town New Zealand character.

While in the area, we went for a walk around Bendigo - a historical site with relics from the mining for gold and quartz that was carried out here in the 1860's and '70's.

local fauna

and flora ...

manuka - the air was alive with the industrious buzz of bees busily gleaning pollen from the flowers

a large display of lichen (scabweed)

part of a man-made road cut from the cliff when this area was being mined for quartz 

The hot, summery air of Central Otago seeps into my body like a tonic.

Now that we are back home in Dunedin with its refreshing, coastal breeze, I find I'm not missing the heat of Central Otago as much as I usually do when we arrive back. The fact that this year Dunedin is actually having a summer, is certainly helping. Long may it continue.

Clocking Out

 I have been neglecting this blog for some months. I think perhaps I should face facts and accept that it is indeed time to retire this blog...