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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 –

 

I Am Not Old

“I will most definitely be outrageous, difficult and undignified,
but not until I am old.”
Judith Baxter, Blogger, Mother, Sister, Grandmother and friend.
1938 –
I make no secret of my vast age. I know how very lucky I am to have had such a long and interesting life. Many don’t have the good fortune to reach this age.
I have bored you with this on several earlier posts.
I compared myself to a classic car in Vintage?  “I too am kept in a warm dry house (rather than a garage) away from the vagaries of the weather.  I’m cleaned, polished and primped.  I have regular services, hairdressers, facials, manicures, pedicures, dentists and the occasional visit to the GP”
I gave you fair warning that I wasn’t going to age gracefully ” So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised When suddenly I am old and start to wear purple”
And again in Rambling with an OctogenarianI mused on growing old along with others and said  “When I think of old I imagine an old person sitting in a chair doing nothing active. I don’t want to be that person. I have said in the past that I want to hike into my old age. “
And of course, we all know that Strange Old Lady who seems to inhabit all our houses as we get older – “Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I looked in the mirror and saw this Old Woman looking out at me.” 

Granny on computer

(sigh….. bet that strange old lady is on “her” puter too!) What’s a body to do??????

Then today when noodling around the internet with coffee in hand, I came across this:

I am not old … she said … I am rare.

I am the standing ovation

At the end of the play.

I am the retrospective
Of my life as art

I am the hours
Connected like dots
Into good sense

I am the fullness
Of existing.

You think I am waiting to die …
But I am waiting to be found

I am a treasure.
I am a map.

And these wrinkles are
Imprints of my journey

Ask me anything.

~~ Samantha Reynolds’

I find that Samantha h Reynolds is the Founder and President of Echo Storytelling Agency. She is based in Vancouver, BC and says -“I help great people tell great stories. I also talk on the phone a lot and write ideas on scraps of paper when stopped at red lights.”

Getting Ready To Return To ‘Normal’

“Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic ’til I’m gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love ”
Leonard Cohen, Canadian Songwriter
1934-2016 Continue reading

Goodness, It’s Saturday Again

SIX WORD SATURDAY
FIRST SATURDAY IN ALERT LEVEL TWO

“It’s a serious thing just to be alive
on this fresh morning in this broken world”
Mary Oliver

On Thursday we moved down to Alert Level Two from Three.

And now I’m musing about the imposed, and necessary lockdown.

Usually, the week is defined by various activities on specific days: I am out and about daily. But now days follow days with nothing to differentiate one from another.

Yesterday, there was a highlight. A much-needed visit to the hairdresser, many weeks overdue.

And what have I learned in these eight weeks of lockdown?

  • Even though I am a bit of a social butterfly I have learned to amuse myself.
  • I have looked inward and once again have turned to meditation. This was my shield when my husband died all those years ago.
  • I have read and listened to countless books and have discovered new authors.

  • I have walked around this neighbourhood, finding new paths, walkways and streets never before known.

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  • I have learned that just because shops, restaurants and cafes are open again, I don’t have to go there.
  • And I have learned It’s OK Not To Be OK.
  • And mostly I have learned how very fortunate I am. There are so many for whom to mourn, so many without support of family and friends, so many being unable to distance themselves from crowds, so many…

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.
Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

Rumi, 13th-century Persian poet 

 

 

 

Six Word Saturday

 

Friendship Is the rainbow between two hearts
Judith Baxter, friend, confidante, mother, sister and grandmother
1938 – 

 

                        A  DISASTER, RUINED POT, NOW WHAT?DISASTEDISASTER, RUINED POT, SO NOW WHAT?

image_36d65fa7-6823-48da-8eea-c2b705c39272.img_1265

Many years ago I bought my DYS (Dashing Young Scotsman) a cast iron pot. He was a cook and he loved and cared for that pot.  Wherever we lived, the pot was always too big to go into a cupboard and so it proudly sat on the stove, in full view to be admired.

Unfortunately, the pot didn’t survive my cooking attempts. One day, I put on the pot with apples to stew and forgot about it. Disaster. Apples stuck to the bottom of the pot. Several attempts were made to bring the pot back to its original state without success. And in cleaning it I removed some of the coating so it can no longer be used as a cooking vessel.

Tears,  as I thought about how my husband had looked after the pot. Then I thought of how it could still be used and admired again. It now sits outside the french window in full view in its new function as a planter, and happily sits with three cyclamens in the sunshine.

So Recycled, Reused and Redeemed, I am happy once again.

“There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain,
comedy and tragedy, humour and hurt.”
Erma Bombeck, American Humourist,
1927-1996

 

I really hope you are all coping in this time of turbulence, trouble and tragedy. Did my lighthearted post brighten your day just a little?

 

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NOTE – I published this about two hours ago but somehow it got lost in the ether and so I had to write it again. So if you got the original before the ether took it and notice some errors, apologies. Blame WordPress or the Ether or whoever, but never the writer. Haha!

 

Today in Lockdown

With nothing better to do on a sunny autumnal Friday,  I started to read W H Auden’s Collected Poems.

This has long sat on the shelf above my bed and I find I often just open a page and see what he has to offer. Today I found:-

When there are so many we shall have to mourn,
when grief has been made so public and exposed
to the critique of a whole new epoch
the fragility of our conscience and anguish,
of whom shall we speak?

For every day they die among us, those who
were doing us some good,
who knew it was never enough
but hoped to improve a little by liv
ing.”
In memory of Sigmund Freud 1939

How very apt at this time when we are counting deaths around the world including those on the frontline of this fight against the unseen and unknown virus.  And then:

“Goodness existed: that was the new knowledge”

W H Auden’s time was so different from ours – 1907 to 1973. He lived during the Spanish Civil War and both World Wars I and II. His poem titled “September 1, 1939”, speaks out of his concern for mankind and where their unbridled hunt for more and more,  and bigger and ‘better’ things will lead.  It is. sobering poem to read, even though written 81 years ago, it still holds true.

“I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:”

And here in New Zealand, the government is considering moving us from Alert Level 3 down to Level 2. If/when this happens, shops will be opened again and the consumerism will once again be god. How I hope that all we have learned in the past six weeks will not be undone.

Looking at what happened when Level 4 became Level 3 and click and collect was put into place for takeaway and fast food services; lines of cars queued for hours for a burger, chicken or coffee. So we will still feed our personal appetites even with the restrictions currently imposed in this Level and promulgated for the next.

 

 

But here in the sun still shines, There are two new cases reported today after one yesterday. Three people are in hospital and some 90% of those who succumbed have recovered. So it appears that we are on the way to getting it under control.

But we are not complimenting ourselves. We are not unaware that we have many benefits that other countries don’t have. We are a long way from anywhere and we are a small nation – 5,000,000 at last count. We have a determined young female Prime Minister, who is willing to listen to advice and accept help from her advisers and scientists.

And I think of my friends and family in other parts of the world and hope that they will soon be able to say they are on the way to gaining control. And with love, I offer the following –

End of today’s musings.

 

 

 

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