Monthly Archives: October 2020

Winsome Weekend

This has been a busy, exciting weekend.

On Friday I had been asked to attend the opening of the Art exhibition at the Karori Arts and Crafts Centre to write an article for the local suburban newspaper. I have had some things published in newspapers in the various places I have lived, but have never been asked to provide an article. So that was a first.

The evening started when I arrived at the Centre to be surrounded by 116 artworks, hanging on all the walls.   What an amazing sight. The works were to be judged in three categories, Traditional, Contemporary and Drawing.  In addition to the major awards, one further piece was given a merit award in each category.  I am pleased I didn’t have to judge.  The judge was a well known and much admired Wellington artist who had a long involvement with Karori Arts and Crafts. 

A fun couple of hours spent mingling with the winners and also many other artists.

Saturday dawned and as my No 3 grandson was home for the weekend, we had brunch at one of my favourite restaurants. Drew, his mother Cate, his girlfriend Alyse and me.  I love spending time with my grandsons and listening to their take on life.

Saturday was also General Election Day and what a landslide victory to the incumbent Prime Minister and her Labour Party.  If you have any interest in politics in this far-flung part of the world, you might remember that at the last election in 2017 they didn’t win, but with the assistance of a couple of the minor parties, they were able to form a Government.  And Jacinda Ardern has proved her worth through three major crises during her three-year term – the Christchurch earthquake, the Christchurch terrorist attacks and of course, Covid. So she and her crew deserve another term.  But already people are saying that the Labour-led government didn’t keep all the promises made in 2017, so what will they not do during this three-year term.

In addition to the General Election, we had two referenda on which to vote – he legalisation of cannabis and the End of life choice. We are told that the results will not be available for two or three weeks.   

So to Sunday.  After the excitement of the last two days, I was happy to stay home, reading and writing and returning a couple of things I purchased yesterday, one of which was a kitchen trolley. This was a flat pack and I know I cannot put things together, no matter how easy I am told they are.

Flat pack car
Flat pack cat

But all is not lost. The kindly gent in the store offered to replace my one in the box for one he had just made up for display. So another good thing to report for this weekend.

And now it’s time to write a memory for our Memory Writing group tomorrow.

For those of you just starting your day, I hope it’s a good one. Take care and remember to be kind to yourself. You’re doing the best you can. And as always, remember too –

Friday’s Fond Memories

I have often written. about my father in earlier posts. As I have said, he was a great and inspirational father who gave his three daughters much love and the confidence to do anything they wanted – with the proviso always, that it hurt nobody else.

But what of my mother? Little has been written about her.

She was the typical Jewish mother who grew up in the East End of London in the early part of the 20th century. She was the only daughter in the family and from what we could discern from the ittle she shared with us, the two boys were favoured while she took on many household tasks to help her mother,

Mother was of the generation of women that saw their men going off to the Second World War; some of whom probably could remember their fathers going off to the First World War.

These women then, left behind to take over all the responsibilities of family life. How brave: how stoic were these women!

And particularly in London and other major cities where Hitler and his cronies and his superior (at least in number) force, bombed the city day after day, night after night, in an attempt to bring Britain to its knees. I am pleased to confirm he/they were unsuccessful.

During this time, many women took jobs but not Mother. She concentrated on her three daughters, their health, safety and wellbeing. We learned that she was generally known as ‘the woman with the three girls’

May 1944 Christine next to Marianne, on Mother’s lap and me on the left.

Life was hard for these women. Everything was rationed and there was very little of anything. If Mother found somebody who would swap her sugar ration for butter she was onto it. And of course, many women hadn’t had to make decisions, this being well in the region of men’s tasks. So they were thrown into the deep end, making decisions on money, schooling and all manner of household things that always before, having been left to fathers, husbands or brothers. I know that apart from spending her weekly household allowance, she had never made any other decisions.

Mother was always busy. Even if she were sitting reading in the evening, she would be knitting.

She had. cast-iron rule. Housework was to be done in the morning. What wasn’t done by 1 o’clock wouldn’t be done that day. Then she would change and get ready to pick up her two eldest daughters from school and take her three girls to the park, always with a picnic packed. This habit continued well after the war and the only change was when her daughters became old enough to make their own way to and from school.

The war ended and the men returned. I have a clear memory, I would be six or seven, coming home with Mother after Saturday shopping to see this man sitting in our living room. He was a virtual stranger to us. But after a brief hug between them, life settled back into a routine. But how hard it must have been for those women to hand the reins back to their husbands.

Sadly, the deadly Alzheimer’s claimed this strong, vibrant woman and her last few years of life were spent in a care home, visited daily by her loving husband and the one daughter who still lived in London.

I wrote about visiting her a few years ago, but for a particular challenge –

“A moment of clarity in the land of the confused brought on a rush of memories both to her and to those of us visiting her.  This once vibrant, strong woman had been reduced to a pale shadow of herself under the strong grip of Alzheimer’s. Disease.  Suddenly she was once again our mother, even if only for a very short time, when she knew our names and recognised each of us. The joy and happiness was unbounded and in that short time many happy moments and happenings were remembered.  But all too soon, the veil of the Disease dropped down and once again she retreated to the confused old lady she had recently become.”

Mother and me 1995
With Mother shortly before she died

So I am left with a firm understanding of how much she loved us and how lucky we are to have had her in our lives. With Father, she provided a safe and loving home and a memorable childhood. I do know how very lucky I was/we were to have had this woman to call Mother.

Thursday’s Thoughts

“Listen–are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?”
― Mary Oliver

Greetings from far away Aotearoa, the Land of the Long White Cloud aka New Zealand.

Blogs from here have been few and far between since we entered into lockdown in March, but we are now at Alert Level 1 so are among the very few who can now live a ‘normal’ life.  In fact, there are very few restrictions imposed on us.  Yes, we do know just how lucky we are.

Oh, and we know it’s Spring. The clocks went forward on 27 September and we prepared for a lovely Spring.  Well..something went wrong.  Seven degrees here at 11 am today.

And of course, there are no international tourists this year.

All the holiday spots are available and on the occasion we had a good Saturday, crowds flocked to the beach and to the resorts that are now mainly empty. But good Saturdays or any other day, have been few and far between so far this year.

We watched in horror as bushfires destroyed dozens of homes in Lake Ohau, a peaceful lakeside village in the South Island.  Authorities are reported as saying it was “a miracle no one was hurt when a wall of orange descended on the remote village”

In the last few weeks we have had the wildest winds anyone in Wellington can remember. For me, a glass-topped table was lifted and landed in a raised garden bed. Then two days later the wind lifted the same table, but this time it didn’t stop at the garden bed. It went through the fence taking several palings with it, and landed in the garden next door. But the garden is well below ours so my son and grandson are to come here to retrieve it. I must say the garden owner was very pleasant when I eventually found how to access his house. Next door but round the block and up a long, steep, winding and shared driveway. My thought after eventually managing to turn the car round to descend the driveway? Imagine coming home after a night out!

The gardeners were here yesterday so all we need now is some good weather so we can sit. outside and enjoy our lovely surroundings. Wishful thinking..

So thank you friends, for still being there even though I have been MIA for a couple of months. I hope to do better in the following months.

We each hear different drummers,
but still find music to dance together.”
Judith Baxter, Mother, Grandmother, Sister, friend and confidante
1938 –