Monthly Archives: April 2020

A Totem?

“It is impossible for light not to get noticed,
especially in the dark.”
― Matshona Dhliwayo
Zimbabwean-born and Canadian-based Philosopher.

 

Several Christmases ago, among other things, my daughter gave me a salt lamp. Since that time, the lamp has glowed 24/7.  I never switch it off. I have had to change the bulb on occasion, but that was the only short time it hasn’t glowed in my living room.

With the door open into the living room, it is a reminder during the night, that tomorrow will come and with it, the light.

But on arriving home on March 21 from my brief dog-sitting stay at my son’s house, I found my lamp was off. Unfortunately, this coincided with day one of the imposed lockdown of seniors here in New Zealand. Added to that, the electrical supplier is open only until mid-day on Saturday, so my lamp has to remain off until such time as I can purchase a bulb.

And now my thoughts trundle around and I think this will be my totem. Once the pandemic is under control, and life returns to some kind of ‘normalcy’, my lamp will glow brightly once again with a new bulb

And then I remember the wartime song, bringing hope and lightness into the very darkest days of World War Two.

When the lights go on again all over the world
A kiss won’t mean “goodbye” but “hello to love”
When the lights go on again all over the world
And the ships will sail again all over the world
Then we’ll have time for things like wedding rings
and free hearts will sing
When the lights go on again all over the world.”
And for those of you who are not even nearly as old as me, here’s the link to Dame Vera singing this song during the war. Perhaps it can bring hope to us during this dark time when there is so little to celebrate.
Meantime my lamp will stand as a reminder that there are ways and means to lighten the darkness.
“The most precious light is the one that
visits you in your darkest hour!”
― Mehmet Murat ildan
Turkish author and playwright .1965 –

 

 

Sunday’s Sunshine Saunter

“I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks – who had the genius, so to speak, for sauntering: which word is beautifully derived “from idle people who roved about the country, in the Middle Ages, and asked for charity, under the pretense of going à la Sainte Terre,” to the Holy Land, till the children exclaimed, “There goes a Sainte-Terrer,” a Saunterer, a Holy-Lander.”
Henry David Thoreau, American essayist, poet and philosopher. 1817-1862

My walks these days are more a saunter than a brisk walk. But while sauntering  I have time to take in the sights and the scenery. Yesterday, I ventured further into a park that houses the outside swimming pool. Nobody was in it and I omitted to take a photo of this sad, deserted area, But I did get some others.

The street leading to the park

Deserted play area

Almost a country lane
but so close to town

I wonder where this drive leads.

The path through the woods

0FEC6764-1FA5-4B28-8C0B-CA4845D40003The path not taken

And so, as the day is drawing to a close on an. autumn day, I make my way home again to a warm drink and my book.

When we walk, we naturally go to the fields and woods:
what would become of us, if we walked only in a garden or a mall?
Henry David Thoreau

 

Six Word Saturday

 

Lest we forget. ANZAC Day 2020

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We Will Remember Them.”
LAWRENCE BINYON 1869-1943,
English poet, dramatist and art scholar.

I have written about ANZAC Day most years since I started blogging in 2011.

April 25 is a special day here in New Zealand and Australia. celebrating,  commemorating, and remembering all those who have fought, suffered and died in all wars. In both countries, it is a Public Holiday. Services of Remembrance are held throughout both lands. And on this day in Gallipoli in Turkey, those brave souls who suffered and the many who died there are also remembered by the laying of wreaths at the Gallipoli Memorial.

On April 25, 1915, thousands of young men, far from their homes, stormed the beaches on the Gallipoli Peninsula in what is now Turkey.

For eight long months, New Zealand troops, alongside those from Australia, Great Britain and Ireland, France, India, and Newfoundland battled harsh conditions and Ottoman forces desperately fighting to protect their homeland.

But this year during the Covid-19 pandemic all public commemorations have been cancelled. No poppies were sold but some of us had those from an earlier year and we wore them, and many homemade poppies have been seen this year.

The Prime Minister suggested that as we can’t go to the dawn services at war memorials people should stand at their gates or front doors at dawn in memory of the fallen.

A very different ANZAC Day but we will not forget.

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Thursday’s Tirade

No matter how dark the night we know that whatever happens,
the sun will rise tomorrow and then all the shadows

will be chased away.”
Judith Baxter 1938 –

Stay home

What part of this message do people not understand? We have a Minister of Health who has broken the lockdown on two occasions. We have an outspoken, and well-regarded doctor in the far north, who reprimanded the citizens of his home town for ignoring the Stay Home notice. Now we find that he went kayaking over the weekend.

And out of the spotlight, I have neighbours whose daughter and young children visited yesterday and a friend whose son visited. We now have only five more days in the current Alert Level 4 and at 11.59 pm on Monday less stringent rules will apply to lockdown. Our bubbles can then be extended. Can these people not wait five days?

Jacind

Our Prime Minister congratulates almost all New Zealanders for obeying these strict rules and helping to keep Covid19 under some control.  Foolish, and unthinking actions like these will quickly undermine all the good that has been achieved over the preceding weeks.

Selfishness and Me Me attitudes cannot be allowed.

OK End of the rant; well at least for today.

Here in Aotearoa, NZ, we are getting our first taste today of the winter to come. Rain and wind met me when I woke this morning. No sign of the fabulous Indian Summer we have been enjoying over the last few weeks. Here, winter is mostly grey and wet: maybe thoughts of winter encouraged today’s rant.

But I am English and like the mail, we go out in the wind and rain for our daily perambulation; suitably dressed of course. I don’t know if there will be photos to accompany me on the walk and to share with you.

And a reminder – a pluviophile is a lover of rain.

“Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.”
Roger Miller, American singer-songwriter and actor
1936-1992

 

 

 

 

Musing and Meandering on Monday

April gave a party; The leaves by hundreds came–
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet and everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing, Professor Wind the band.
The Chestnuts came in yellow, The Oaks in crimson dressed;
The lovely Misses MapleIn scarlet looked their best;
All balanced to their partners And gaily fluttered by;
The sight was like a rainbow now fallen from the sky.
George Cooper (1840-1927) was an American poet and composer.

Another beautiful autumn day had me scurrying out for my walk before lunch.

Today, I found yet another lovely pathway to walk along. I could hear the people on the dog park, exercising their dogs and chatting with each other; the dogs were barking; the children were laughing and the adults were chatting. Almost, but not quite, back to normal. But dogs don’t understand social distancing as we do.

And the walk –

 

Then back home in time for a video call with my grandson No 4. He is at university in Christchurch and today the university re-opened following the Easter break. All learning will be covered online. So he will be kept busy, if not amused, during the lockdown. How lucky am I to have these young men in my life and how grateful I am that they want to include me in theirs.

 

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And today there was no 1pm televised update with the Prime Minister and the Director-General of Health.  Instead, we were glued to the television at 4 pm to learn that we were to come out of Alert Level Four and move to Alert Level Three at 11.59 pm on Monday 27 April. This will have been good news for many businesses but for most of us, there will be little change. The main one that will affect me, is that I will be able to travel in my car the 8 kms to once again take my favourite walks along the beach.

And so another day in the life of an aged lady comes to an end.

and from Mary Oliver, of course:

“As long as you’re dancing you can break the rules.
Sometimes breaking the rules is just extending the rules
Sometimes there are no rules.”

Note – apologies to Mr Cooper. April is autumn in our part of the world, not October

Tuesday’s Trundle

We are still enjoying lovely warm, late summer days here in Wellington; but we are reminded that it is autumn/fall because the leaves are turning colour all around us.

Taking advantage of this weather, I have been walking each day. Just around the neighbourhood and I am finding out that it’s a delightful area in which we live. Today I found a new park and walkway. I have often walked past the sign to Cummings Park next to the local library; today I decided to visit it.

The park forms part of the Northern Walkway, a walk of 16 km around our capital city. One can enter it at various points and one day I shall go further from this starting point. I have walked most of it in parts and at various times. This is a new find for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And then, because it is Autumn and the nights are drawing in, I hurried home as the sun and the temperature dropped.

“When I’m in turmoil, when I can’t think when I’m exhausted and afraid,
and feeling very, very alone, I go for walks.
It’s just one of those things I do.”

― Jim Butcher,  American author. 1971 –

 

Easter in Lockdown

“It is a serious thing just to be alive
on this fresh morning, in this broken world.”
Mary Oliver

Along with the rest of the world, our plans for Easter this year have had to be abandoned.  This was to be a special Easter. My baby girl was having a special birthday on the 11th April, the Saturday of Easter. She was born four days before Good Friday and often since then, Easter has been around her birthday.

But now 60 years later (can I possibly be that old?) I had booked a cottage in one of the wine-growing regions for us.

My daughter, her two sons and girlfriends (if they wished) would all sally forth on Good Friday, spend three nights there and then head back home. We would spend our days wandering the vineyards and sampling the wines. We have a built-in driver as my daughter doesn’t drink. Does she know what she is missing?

The boys, now really young men, are both good cooks so those duties would be spread amongst us. I had told myself that for one breakfast I would make them Fairy Bread aka French Toast.  As little boys, they loved my “Fairy Bread” and nobody else was allowed to make it. But now instead of just lemon juice and sugar, I would serve it with stewed apples, banana, blueberries and maple syrup.  But this time, the only one who had that breakfast was me, eaten alone at the dining table at home.

I then got to thinking about other Easters in this long life.

When I was growing up in London all those years ago, Easter was an important time in our calendar.  We, three girls, went to church in our new clothes to celebrate Easter but of course, Mother, who was Jewish, didn’t accompany us.  And I am not sure why Father didn’t come, but he didn’t. Friday service was always very solemn and left us in a sombre mood for the rest of the day.

But we all looked forward to the Easter Parade on Easter Sunday.  On this day most Londoners congregated in Hyde Park to see ‘the toffs’ parading in their finery.  What excitement for three young girls.

Even as far back as the middle ages, many cultures would strut their new finery on their way to church or visiting friends on this Sunday.  A more spiritual slant is that this ritual represents the procession that followed Christ carrying the cross.

To read the rest of this post, click here

There was the awful Easter in 2014 when somebody set fire to the storage area containing my worldly goods.

 

An arsonist was caught on camera entering the facility and when charged, claimed innocence. Luckily the things  I lost were replaceable, although unfortunately/stupidly  I had forgotten to insure the stored-goods. You can read more of this here.

There was a  memorable Easter spent on the French Riviera in an unheated caravan. Great memories of fun and laughter; another Easter with my parents and our baby daughter and yet more when our family was increased by the birth of a son.

And so many other memories of Easters spent around the world; until 1998 with my DYS (Dashing Young Scotsman) who by 1998 while still dashing, was no longer young and my children and then with their children. Then several years here in New Zealand without him but with family and friends, and a few short years with my Late Love, The Architect. Most  Easters has been memorable in one way or another and all sit safely in my Suitcase of Memories (thank you Patti,  of A New Day Dawns) to be taken out and enjoyed all over again.

But this Easter will surely go down in history as the strangest of all.

“Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am
to be blessed.”
Mary Oliver

And a final quote from Pope John Paul 11

“Do not abandon yourselves to despair.
We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”

― Pope John Paul II (Karol Wojtyła)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five Sentence Fiction

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

We are now at week three in our new challenge.

The Challenge is to write a story in only five sentences.  Are you up for the challenge? it’s fun and something else to do in this lockdown time.

Last week’s challenge was PROMISES. Here’s my attempt:

School days were supposed to be the best days of our lives, but I didn’t believe that.  I had no friends, I didn’t fit in and I didn’t know how to mix with these girls; I missed Sally, my best friend. 

We had promised we would be best friends forever and would always keep in touch wherever in the world we went and now I found myself miles away from my old home and school. My father had a new job and so we had to sell our house and move to the other side of the world where we knew nobody.

How would I ever make friends here when everything was so different from anything I had ever known before.

But when my phone rang it was one of those girls asking me to go to the mall with her on Saturday, so maybe life could get better.

Now for this week’s word – WAITING. See what you can do with it. Remember only five sentences and it’s fiction.

I hope you play along. And please link back to this site so others may see what you write. Good luck. Have fun!

“There is no doubt fiction makes a better job of the truth.”
Doris May Lessing, British Novelist 1919 – 2013.

 

 

Bright Orange Balloons

“But there are other words for privacy and independence.
They are isolation and loneliness”.     
Megan Whalen Turner, American writer of
fantasy fiction for young adults.

 

OK, so we are now on Day 15 of our nationwide lockdown. And how are we surviving?

Oh, I miss coffee mornings with friends; I miss the camaraderie of the new friends I meet on the courses I run; lunch alone doesn’t have the same excitement or interest as lunch with friends; drinks on Facetime somehow don’t fill the need for interaction and on and on.

But these are not problems.  I can overcome each of them and all the others. But what of folks whose lives are set in and defined by schedules. Those who can’t understand why their world has to change in such a way. “Why can’t I go to school?” “Why can’t Jason come to play?” “Why aren’t we going to church?” they cry.

There are many in our midst who suffer this way, either for themselves or through their children. One such is Luke’s Mum. Luke’s Mum lives with this 15-year old’s autism, bravely and well, I might say. She is worthy of our support so please go over to her blog to see how well she is doing in Bright Orange Balloons. 

Found on Pinterest.A

And while I haven’t yet been bored; there’s plenty to keep this aged mind active, and involved,  I have no intention of falling into the trap of complaining about self-isolation.

My Father’s Hands

Day 6 of Daily Prompt is hands.

Immediately I thought of my Father’s hands and knew I had posted on that subject. So..

I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

I have said before that I read and use Judy Reeves “A Creative Writer’s Kit”  As part of this kit there is a book called ‘Prompts and Practices”.  Each day of the year has a suggestion for what to write.  And today’s was “Write about your father’s hands”.

Well if you have been reading or following me for a while now you will know that I consider myself the luckiest person alive in that my father was a fabulous person.    I wrote about him in September last year – Memories of My Father. He was a special man.

But now his hands.  These were the strong hands of a working man.  He had been a cabinetmaker all his life and so his hands were rough to the touch and scarred from using and being nicked by his tools.  The hands were strong and capable.  Apart from being a master craftsman, he…

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