Monthly Archives: November 2012

Simple Rest

Let’s live in this quiet moment before the onslaught of the silly season.

A p r o n h e a d -- Lilly

Everywhere I listen is sound after sound, claiming my attention.

Everywhere I look is noisy color and pattern, underscoring the rapid pace–

the life of busy busy,

of obligation.

And then,

I see you.

Simple, alone,

a dream.

And in this moment, I feel rest.

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Greetings from the Middle of Middle Earth

The Hobbit fever/mania has been building up here in Wellington, New Zealand culminating in the world premier of The Hobbit today.  And according to our daily paper today’s date is Hevensday, Blotmath 28,2012.

To get into the spirit of things today we went for a walk to see for ourselves and to enjoy some of the excitement.  We walked through the crowds gathered at the side of the red carpet that has been laid along Courtenay Place in the central city.  It was a beautiful Wellington Day – as we say “You can’t beat Wellington on a good day” whether we are talking about our weather, our sporting heroes or our movie friends.

Some 100,000 fans have flocked into our city to see the stars arrive for the premier.  Streets around The Embassy Theatre are closed to traffic and many people have firmly staked their place along the red carpet having been there since early yesterday evening hoping to get really close to the stars who will walk along the red carpet to The Embassy where the premier will be shown.  Click here to see what we are watching at 6 pm on Wednesday 28 November 2012.  Earlier Sir Peter Jackson talked about making the movie, then a chat with Sir Peter’s daughter, Kate and some of the cast members and also some of the others who were involved in bringing this story to the screen.

All around town, there are flags declaring this is Middle of Middle Earth, people are sporting tee-shirts also declaring this, NZ Post has a series of stamps both to use and to keep commemorating this event.  Passengers flying into  Wellington International Airport are greeted by a gigantic sculpture of Gollum

Hobbit at Wellington Airport

and even the National Carrier, Air New Zealand has had a 777-300 aircraft painted  in Hobbit-theme initially to bring cast and crew to Wellington for the premier, and after to fly the Auckland Los Angeles London route.  They also released the “Unexpected Briefing” in-flight safety video – viewed over 10 million times on YouTube.  If you haven’t seen it, click on the link now.  It’s really innovative.

Last week a huge installation appeared on the verandah of The Embassy Theatre – including a Gandalf sculpture and what appears to be the front of a Hobbit house.  Again traffic was stopped in the surrounding streets to allow this installation to happen.

So now we are off to get together a simple meal so we can enjoy the rest of the partying.  As my friend lives only one street away from Courtenay Place, the centre of the activity, we can hear the noise from his apartment.  But it is a very happy noise telling us that thousands are enjoying themselves and the spectacle.

























“You think this is just another day in your life…it’s not just another day…today…it’s a gift…”… from the inspirational TED video “Gratitude”

Recently I wrote a Post on It’s Just Another Day but this post really puts it all into perspective. Enjoy!

Pocket Perspectives

Some very favorite “pages”….
with the words from the wonderful Louis Schwartzberg TED video, “Gratitude”


it’s given to us,
it’s a gift…
it’s the only gift we have right now…
and the only appropriate response is gratitude.”

“to open our hearts to all of these blessings”


A wish for today….a wish for us all….
taken from the wonderful TED video, Gratitude,
by Louis Schwartzberg


The video…“Gratitude”
my favorite section begins at 4:44 into the video


A transcript of that favorite section of the video


“Let the gratefulness overflow into blessings all around you.
And then it would be a very good day.”


it’s given to us,
it’s a gift…
it’s the only gift we have right now…
and the only appropriate response is gratitude.”



Added on Saturday, 11/24:  I just found out, just this very minute,  that the…

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The White Dress

White Dress

Occasionally one comes across a picture/photo that speaks volumes and at the same time raises questions.  This picture was included in an invitation to the opening of the summer season for one of our well-known dress designers, Trelise Cooper  Included in the opening will be a showing of photographs by Melanie Mason several of which have been printed onto parchment and will be offered for sale.  This is one of Melanie’s photographs.

The photo speaks to me of some of the villages I saw in Tuscany, set on hillsides with steep roads leading up to the houses.  The houses have deep, sloping roofs and as in this case, many have windows opening over the street and some have very small balconies projecting above the street.

So this photo immediately posed the question of why was the white dress hanging outside the window?  Was it there to dry having been washed, to air before being put away after having been worn, or was it there as a sign?

Perhaps here lives a damsel in distress who needs rescuing by her knight in shining armour.  Her much older husband is very rich but uncaring of her.  He spends his nights carousing with his friends and with harlots and she feels neglected.  And so this married woman has sought love and understanding in the arms of a younger man.  It may be that her husband is away for the night and therefore, this dress which in this case becomes a nightdress, gives the information to her swain that the coast will be clear this evening.

And what will be his response?  Will he arrive after dark so that nobody sees his arrival?  Will he boldly walk through the front door of what I think is a palazzo owned by the husband’s family and therefore, manned by his trusty retainers?  If this is the case, the lovers will have to be particularly careful not to raise any suspicion.  How will they do this?  And would it not be easier to arrange to meet at an hotel or another place away from prying eyes?  But wait, maybe that is what the white dress is saying – “Meet me at the hotel on White’s Road”.  No doubt there will be less likelihood of the tryst being reported back to the husband.

So I vote for the message being to meet at the hotel.

But perhaps after all the more mundane answer to my question is the right one.  No lovers’ message here.  Simply it tells us that the lady of the house wore the dress last night and it is now being hung out to air or dry before being put away to wear again.  Maybe she is greatly loved by her older or even young husband and has no need for trysts with knights in shining armour.

Do you see a message here too?  I would like to hear it if so.

BREAKING NEWS – I have just returned from the showing.  Fabulous clothes but more importantly I met Melanie.  What a truly delightful person she is and I hope to see more of her in the future.  I also bought a copy of her book, Goodbye, which contains a collection of photos with accompanying prose.  I was wrong – the photo was not taken in Tuscany but rather in St Remy de Provence, France.  the accompanying prose is by Colette.  As the book is “for times of sadness and loss” the prose deals with loss.

“It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer… and everything collapses. ”





















I Know This Place

Have you ever been transported by someone’s words to a place that you have never visited but somehow you feel you know?  Is it the magic of the words that so cleverly, and it seems effortlessly, transport you to another place?

Today when reading the blogs that I follow and some that I don’t, I stumbled across this post The View at the End of the Day on Vision and Verb.  This is the first time I have found and read anything here but reading those words, I could feel the heat; the still dry air; that wind clearing out the air in the house and the palpable longing for  ‘just an inch of rain’.   And in that moment I realised that the mark of a good writer is the ability to transport somebody to a place they have never been.  And in reading about it make them feel that they know the place and that they are there.  Eliza who wrote this post, has that magical ability.

Having never been to Africa I know of it only through stories and films.  One of my favourite books is that written by Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke.  This is the story of her life in Africa in the early part of the 20th Century.  Out of Africa was made into a film in 1985 starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep and the opening line from that movie “I had a farm in Africa” is imprinted on my mind.

However, Eliza obviously lives there and through her writing I will learn more of this distant, mysterious continent.  Thank you Eliza and please keep writing, describing your life and your country for us.

AS Time Goes By

I am sure that when you saw the title of this blog you thought I was going to direct you to a YouTube offering of the song from Casablanca.  Well, didn’t you?

And then there was that lovely sitcom in the UK called As Time Goes By.  It starred Judi Dench (before she was a Dame) and Geoffrey Palmer as two people who had known each other years ago and then reconnected.

But that wasn’t what inspired this post.  Today I read this post from my blogging friend Joss Why Can’t Life be Simple?

This set me thinking about different times in different places.  It was particularly odd when we first moved to New Zealand aka the other side of the world.  We gained a day so when we arrived on June 11 it was really June 10 because we hadn’t adapted to the change in time.  And then going ‘home’ on holiday we always gained a day.  When my daughter was nine she had two birthdays.  One in Auckland, New Zealand and the second one in Honolulu.  How lucky is that?

And when I want to make calls to various friends around the world I have to check what the time is where they are.  But my trusty I-phone allows me to do this easily. I choose the places for which I want to know the time and the phone remembers them and gives me the time.  I do remember years ago starting each phone conversation with “What time is it there?”  I was never completely sure that I had subtracted the right number of hours.  We are ahead of everyone else in the world so we always have to subtract.  And my late husband (aka DYS, Dashing Young Scotsman) always asked why I called somebody to check the time!

And not only the time is different but so are the seasons.  Here we are in spring while both of my sisters are in autumn/fall.  That’s another strange thing we had to get used to.  We left the UK all those years ago and it was summer (June 1967).  We arrived in Auckland to a wet, cold winter.  We thought we had the wrong end of the deal.  But then, when you are all shivering at Christmas time, hey presto! we have sunshine (usually).

So another rambling blog is coming to an end.  Thanks, Joss for the inspiration.

And here a quote from one of my favourite teachers:

“Time is an equal opportunity employer.  Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day.  Rich people can’t buy more hours.  Scientists can’t invent new minutes.  And you can’t save time to spend it on another day.  Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving.  No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow. ”
Denis Waitely
,  American motivational speaker and writer.

One Down, Three To Go

Success sign

Another milestone in life.  Yesterday was the last day at school for my Number One grandson.  Apart from going to sit four or five exams, his connection with school days is over.  And now the rest of his life, with all its adventures and excitements is opening in front of him.

This is one laid back almost 18 year old kid.  When I saw him on Wednesday he was getting ready for the leavers’ dinner,  unfazed by the fact that this huge change was about to take place in his life.

How exciting the next few years will be for him as he discovers an independent lifestyle through university and his other activities.  Since he got his own car a year or so ago, he has become fairly independent of his parents, but now…..

And I wonder how his late grandfather would react to this strong, charming young man who was only a toddler when he last saw him.  Would he be proud of how his grandson has grown and is maturing.  I am sure that the answer would be a resounding yes!

So go forth into the world young man, knowing that anything and everything is possible.  It’s your choice what you do from here on and what you make of yourself.  But know always, that you are greatly loved my No 1 Grandson.

Our grandchildren accept us for ourselves, without rebuke or effort to change us, as no one in our entire lives has ever done, not our parents, siblings, spouses, friends – and hardly ever our own grown children.
Ruth Goode
, author, 1905-1997

Related posts

A Sad Card

A funny thing happened on the way to Mary Potter Hospice today.  I went to the mailbox and there , among the usual bills and junk mail, was a pretty card with an illustration of irises on the front  The back cover advised that it was part of the Hope Greeting Collection, made from recycled paper and gave the website

Iris in flower

Inside was this sad plea, and because it was so sad, I will reproduce it exactly word for word as it was written :

“Judith my dear –
I heard of this poor soul who hasn’t
heard from her sisters for almost three
It breaks your heart.
Love you
God Bless

Now, what would you do in the face of such a plea?  Send an email; make a phone call or send a response through snail mail?

I hate to think of this poor soul on the other side of the world (well as Christine lives in California I have to assume that she lives on the other side of the world too) waiting, hoping for a response.

So I immediately sent the following back to Christine via email :


“Oh Christine
Thank you for your card.
Your generous heart knows no bounds.
How lucky is that woman to have met you.
Can she now count you as a friend?
Please tell her that your sisters are both alive and
well, albeit in far flung places, and offer us to her as
surrogate sisters who will keep in touch with her regularly.
Love Judith”

Mother and her daughters c1945

Of course, we have been in touch since she posted this card several days ago.


















It’s Just Another Day

When we lose somebody we love, certain days take on special meanings for us.  Birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas etc all become so much more than just days.  These are the days when we don’t want to be with other people and just want to wallow in memories and maybe self-pity.  But after many years of this, one suddenly realises that yes these are just days.

Today is my Dashing Young Scotsman’s birthday.  Had he lived he would be 83 years old.  I ask myself how would I feel living with an 83-year-old and answer great.  Every year on this day since his sudden death in 1998, I have spent time only with the family.  In the beginning, the small boys helped bring me out of the “slough of despair” and I was so very grateful to them and their parents.

But yesterday I decided that enough was enough.  November 1 is just another day and as I remember my DYS every day of the year, I don’t need to make this day any different or any more special.

But this is a special day as this is the first day of the rest of my life. and so…A few months ago I wrote a poem which I think sums up where I am now and how I choose to live the rest of my life –

My lot is cast
In different places
Not beside the river or the ocean
But in the city with its life and vitality.
Not in the distant years of my youth
Nor the busy years of family life
But the peaceful years of time for me
To enjoy friends and family.
Time to investigate new things
New activities and new friends
Time to be me.

..And here’s my rainbow to help those of you battling with the after effects of Sandy.  My thoughts are with you all in this dire time.

My rainbow