Thursday, 31 December 2015

New Year Gold

Playground early evening; Queenstown, New Zealand 

Dear Reader,

I write this from my husband's birth-place in Queenstown, New Zealand; appropriately enough for the day that I write these words, is his sixty-first birthday. We are celebrating it (as we as a couple have done most years now for the past forty years) with extended family. 

This year it is the first birthday without his father, who passed away early spring this year. As his mother has stated a couple of times, we keep expecting any minute to see him appear. It still feels very early days since his death.

I am also missing my mother, who died a year and a half ago. I miss her especially on those occasions when family matters - such as birthdays, anniversaries, Mother's Day, Christmas and New Year.

Thankfully, the strength we have inherited from our parents, stands us in good stead when the time comes to weather the grief of their passing. 

up the creek and among the lupins with daughter-in-law and grandchildren

Robert's 61st birthday pavlova

our daughter-in-law from Japan made omurice (requested by Robert) for the birthday dinner 


Home again and time to look ahead to a new year.

writing desk awaits

New Year's eve wine and Christmas lilies - for me, the smell of these lilies always announce Christmas - New Year more than anything else does

I have high hopes for this new year. (Maybe it'll be a year of striking gold; metaphorically speaking).

Robert, our daughter-in-law and grandchildren, gold-panning in a creek by the Arrow river - more practice than anything else as the chances of finding gold in a subsidiary flow, is unlikely

symbolic - new leaf with gold-seekers in background

Last year was a year of letting go and farewells. Even our cat, Aggie died! (As she was aged 17, she'd had a good run).

We also had to say good-bye to our car, Ruby. Our new car is a white station-wagon we call Shiro - the Japanese word for 'white'. This time I believe the car is a male and I've dubbed it, 'Shiro my Hero'. Because they were parked for a short time beside each other in the car sales yard, I am trusting that Ruby took the opportunity to pass on to Shiro her mantle of a well-behaved and reliable machine. (Yes, Robert thinks I'm crazy too!)

by the Arrow river, Arrowtown, NZ

Another farewell - in June, after they'd spent autumn with us, we bade adieu to our son, his German partner and their baby daughter, when they headed back to Germany. (Thank the good Lord for Skype).

Also that month, we moved out of what has been our home for 20 years, which meant packing away a lot of 'extra stuff' into boxes and storing them in the garage.

We are now happily transplanted into our new apartment downstairs; our son and family living upstairs.

The close proximity of grandchildren has been a novelty and a delight, even if it has meant letting go of what was previously un-interrupted, long lengths of writing time.

pastel-pink lupin growing wild

I wonder what the year ahead will bring? I'm hoping for some good writing time, whatever form this takes.

I will keep you posted.


Friday, 11 December 2015

Glint of Ruby

purple pansies, Granny's garden, Queenstown, New Zealand

Dear Reader,

All of a sudden, it's December again.

Here in New Zealand, that means summer and a summer Christmas. To people in the northern hemisphere, this may seem topsy-turvy, but to us southern-hemisphere dwellers, how we twirl in the universe is just how it is and having Christmas in summer, feels very normal and right. Even though images of snow, holly, sleighs and roast-meat meals followed by plum-duff puddings are somewhat out of synch with our summer season, we have adapted.

sweet peas against schist rock, Queenstown, NZ.

I've had to turn a deaf ear to my novel's murmuring for attention and abandon it for now, as Christmas preparations kick in and I devote my time to making Christmas presents

Why 'make'?

You may well ask.

I am posting the explanation below, via a newspaper article that appeared in our local newspaper.


rock garden, Queenstown, NZ

The presents I am making for Christmas involve sewing seams by hand. Back stitch is the preferred stitch; superior to tacking, it edges forward, then heads back to double-check that all is well; all is anchored; before making its next advance.
In this way, the sturdy and reliable back-stitch creates its own momentum of insurance.
As I stitch and when all is working together as it should, save any knots or glitches, the silver needle starts to fly and I can't help but think of how life too is a mixture of going forward, then checking to secure the present to the past before progressing farther.


Who knew that ruby sand was even a thing?

Last month I attended a sesquicentennial in a special place (which I have talked about often before, but this time will leave un-named).
It is a place by the sea that is my heart's home. Hallowed ground. For me, it is ancestral ground and my feet never stand as firmly as when I am standing in that place.

And in this place, it is possible to find ruby sand.

I never knew there was such a thing, but during the sesquicentennial celebrations, a woman came and sat down beside my aunt and me and during our conversation with her, quietly produced two minute phials filled with the dark-red glint of ruby sand. She explained what it was and how it is procured and then proceeded to offer the phials to us, as gifts. As tokens of our brief return home.

This ruby sand is sure to make an appearance in my novel - even if only to prove that happenstance forms a major part of any writing. (Even lamenting novels that have found themselves languishing on the back-burner until Christmas is over).

And how I want Christmas to be over.

There are aspects about it that I enjoy, but it always feels so good when it is all over for another year, taking with it all its accompanying, manufactured hooplah.

For it seems to me that for nearly a century now, the commercialisation of Christmas has caused the whole season to go insane - to lose its reason. But I'll leave any in-depth analysis of that particular angle (note, not 'angel') for another time (which may also mean, never).

Take care out there.


ruby-red raspberry, ripening in the sun in Queenstown, NZ

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...