Monthly Archives: April 2022

More for Ukraine

Thank you Caterel for sharing the poems. Perfect follow up to my recent post The Question Remains Unanswered


Like many others, I read the news (because I can’t bear to watch) about the war raging in Ukraine, and feel helpless, powerless. I grew up in the industrial Midlands of England during WW2, and my lullabies were sirens and bombs exploding. But I never experienced the horror of an armed invasion. How long can we sit back and refrain from action?

These are my translations of two more of Nelly Sachs’ poems that are as topical and relevant today as when she wrote them. The poem about the sunflower, in particular, as a symbol of Ukraine, is chilling in this context.


You lookers-on
Who saw murder done before your eyes.
Just as you feel someone looking at you from behind,
so you feel on your back
the gaze of the dead.
How many dying eyes will look at you
when from the hiding places you pluck a violet?

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Easter Sunday Soliloquy

A World Apart

“Do not abandon yourselves to despair.
We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”
Pope John Paul II (Karol Wojtyła)

In this very troubled world the above quote from Pope John Paul II brightens my day.

Whether or not, we are celebrating a religious festival/commemoration we can enjoy the days. But not everyone can. I lamented hard and long on the wars being fought around the world in my postThe Question Remains Unansweredand I don’t intend to go over it again. I would rather brighten your day and mine, so look instead atGood Morning, Good Friday.

So to today. Looking back at all the Easter Sundays I have enjoyed over this long life, I remember

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…

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More deep thinking from Chris.

A World Apart

I was talking to a friend today and part of the conversation was about my post about Black Spruce and fire and nature’s way of regenerating. I mentioned how excited I get when I learn something new. Something completely unknown previously.

I suppose it might seem a little silly to get excited about learning. I confess, when I was in school it was all about the passing not necessarily the learning that mattered.

Once I got into my nursing career things changed. Then it was all about learning as much as I could. But the excitement I feel now makes me want to pursue the unknowing (quite similar to the unknown of course). I seem to have developed ’an appetite’, and I mentioned to my friend that it’s a shame I am coming at the closing chapters of my life at least in this world.

If I knew learning was…

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Good Morning, Good Friday

I wrote this yesterday on the other blog A World Apart and then reblogged it here. But WordPress was playing up and it has disappeared. So here it is, a day late.

“Easter is joy, hope, love, and renewal.
Easter is proof that we can begin again.” 
Richelle E. Goodrich,
American Author, Novelist, & Poet 

Growing up all those years ago, Good Friday started with a visit to church with my sisters. Yes, even before breakfast. Then home and later a visit to my father’s father whom we saw not as often as mother’s parents.

Of course, we had new clothes for Easter. It was a very important time in our lives.

Now, here in New Zealand, I don’t go to church but instead I think back on all those years and what I learnt from regular church attendance. I know my life has been built on the lessons I learned then.

Today is a Public Holiday which means most retail outlets are closed. For some reason, dairies (the small Mom and Pop grocery stores) are exempt from the law. Garden centres continue to flout the law. They have worked out that the money they make being open on Good Friday and Easter Sunday far outweighs the paltry sum of $500 which they might be fined.

For most of us though, it is family time. I started this Good Friday with coffee and hot cross buns, some home made and some bought in, at my grandson’s house, with his partner, my son and daughter-in-law and their other son. What a lovely surprise. I hadn’t known Grandson No 2 was here from Auckland.

So now sitting in the sun on this glorious autumn day (19C) all that is left to do is wish you all a very Happy Easter however you choose to celebrate it.

I Know it’s Almost Winter..

“Every winter,
When the great sun has turned his face away,
The earth goes down into a vale of grief,
And fasts, and weeps, and shrouds herself in sables,
Leaving her wedding-garlands to decay –
Then leaps in spring to his returning kisses.”
Charles Kingsley, 1819 – 1875  English priest of the Church of England,
university professor, historian and novelist

I know it’s almost winter because today I had my annual flu injection.

Here in New Zealand these injections are free to all over the age of 65 and anybody with a life threatening condition.  This year it wasn’t necessary to go to the GP, the local chemist/pharmacist was administering the injections.
She was a very efficient young pharmacist and about 15 minutes after I arrived I was on my way out.  Of course, it was necessary to fill in a consent form, isn’t it always?  As I sat there for the mandatory 5 minutes following the injection I thought back to 2011 when I had the shot.  At that time, flu injections were administered in the doctor’s office. And on that day, I was greeted by a nurse who introduced me to a trainee nurse and asked if I minded Melissa being there, and would I allow her to administer the injection.

After asking how many she had administered before, I was met with a beautiful smile to be told that she had been a ‘body piercer’ for 13 years before beginning her nursing training. That is/was the only time I have met a body piercer.  And yes, I did get my injection after hearing some things from her on the subject.

I know it’s almost winter because sweaters and cardigans, and winter slacks and skirts have been taken from the wardrobe, washed or dry cleaned and are sitting ready to wear.

I know it’s almost winter because the days are getting shorter and the nights longer. Lights are on earlier and occasionally it has been necessary to put on the heat. Oh yes, I know our winter is nothing like many of you suffer in the Northern Hemisphere but still..

I know it’s almost winter because my son can have his fill of “Mummy’s Soup”.
Since he was a little boy he has told everybody that nobody makes soup like his ‘Mummy”.  So in winter, when I go to their house I take some soup. And always enough for him to freeze for another day.  
Isn’t it great how we can still please our children so very easily?

I know it’s almost winter because the beach is almost deserted when I go for a walk. I really like the beach at this time with the wind and waves hurling around, making it almost my private walking place.

And I will know when it’s winter because I will have time to sit inside and read some of the books that have accumulated in the pile during the summer months.  And because I won’t be able to get out into the garden, I will spend some blissful, uninterrupted time with my books and of course, the ubiquitous cup of tea.

“Brew me a cup for a winter’s night. For the wind howls loud and the furies fight;
Spice it with love and stir it with care, And I’ll toast our bright eyes,
my sweetheart fair.”
~Minna Thomas Antrim, 1861 – 1950, American writer

And then suddenly I am reminded of the quote by Percy Byte Shelley –

“If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind.”

Each day that quote shouted at me from the walls of the tube (London Underground) as I made my way to and from work in the cold London winters.

JB Ainterpril 13, 2022

Today JB has a post reflective of my thoughts

A World Apart

And the question remains unanswered. So while our AWA is designed to bring light, laughter, or perhaps just amusement, somethings must be said when thought weigh heavily.

I have a friend 10 years older than I, who grew up in Germany during the war, and who now is sickened by the memories that come flooding back in her golden years.

Dark days are upon us. We keep repeating history so we know exactly how it will go. Extermination. And even though we say Hitler succeeded as much as he did because good men did nothing. And this time good men, if there are any are doing nothing.

So please skip back to the post before (that BTW I accidentally trashed and then had to resurrect).

So from North of 43 I hope you find some pleasure or comfort in your day, somehow.

Chris G April 11th ’22

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The Question Remains Unanswered

“It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished 
unless they kill in large numbers 
and to the sound of trumpets.”

In August 2016 I posed the question “What Has Gone So Wrong”

Then I compared the current day (2016) with the life I lived as a young child during the Second World War. In 1940 there was one war. in 2016 according to the Heidelberg Institute of International Conflict Research there were “226 politically motivated armed conflicts worldwide during 2016”. many are described as minor but they are still conflicts if not total war.

Of course, the one that we saw news about daily on our televisions was Syria. What began as a peaceful uprising against the president in 2011 still the civil unrest/war continues, with no end in sight.

And today we have Ukraine on our TV sets night after night. We can take sides and decide whether Russia and Putin are wrong, or we could say they are only defending their place in the world. Putin is quoted as saying Ukraine was a constant threat and Russia could not “feel safe, develop and exist”.

So 10 million people inside Ukraine and beyond have been displaced and as the Russians pull back leaving death and destruction behind, has he won the war?

Deep thinking from this elderly mind today. Never mind, the cheerful JB will be back with some simple social activity with which to bore you. But the questions remain- what has gone so wrong, and will we never learn.

Today is my daughter’s birthday.
I say she is the kind of daughter every mother should have.
So happy birthday Cate.

And what does Mary Oliver have to say on the subject?

“I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in singing,
especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.”
Mary Oliver

JB April 11, 2022

Grappling with Graupel

I am not very sure when you will be able to! Usethis.

A World Apart

Friday, April 8th 2022, 9:18 pm – Southern Ontario was hit with multiple rounds of what appeared to be hail this week, but it has a whole other name for it. So sayeth the wise ones at our meteorological centre.

It seems the old if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it is a duck, doesn’t work here. What looks, feels, and even sounds like hail isn’t actually hail. It’s graupel.

We are told, ‘Over the past few days, a stormy pattern set up across southern Ontario, with isolated showers and thundershowers in some locales. Among the storm reports were photos and videos of ice, something that resembled hail. In reality, what you saw was actually graupel. 

In meteorological terms, a pesky, closed upper-level low stalled out over the region. This brought cold air aloft down to the surface…

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Sunny Saturday

More ramblings from this ancient mind.

A World Apart

“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience:
this is the ideal life.” 
Mark Twain

The sun continues to shine on this April day when really, we are into Autumn. The leaves are falling from the trees and/or turning from green to brown. The days are shorter, the mornings darker, but the sun continues to shine and still has a lot of heat in it.

Today was one of those days, warm and wind free (note this is the Windy City) and we took advantage of it. I am one of a group of four not-quite-old women who are close friends and who call ourselves MAS, the Mutual Admiration Society. I have written about this group of octogenarians who still consider themselves to be only middle-aged and often act accordingly.

Even though we meet regularly through the week for coffee or lunch, once each month we plan something special. Usually…

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A conversation about Scandinavian sea monsters, things that aren’t, and hard times.

A World Apart

My eldest son came to town this weekend to take me to lunch and as usual we engaged in stimulating conversation.

We went to one of his favourite spots here in Kitchener.

Not an Irish bone in the family tree, so to speak, but we do embrace the idea of all Irish and of course great food.

A bit of catch up about this and that and then some things about the state of the world.

He quoted from G. Michael Hopf’s novel, Those Who Remain:

Hard times create strong men.

Strong men create good times.

Good times create weak men.

Weak men create hard times.

Now that wisdom can actually be traced back to at least the ancient Romans. It’s cyclical as so many things in life are.

I had mentioned how after the second world war my father talked about how the world got through the first great…

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