Category Archives: Uncategorized

One Day

This is where it all begins.
Everything starts here, today.”

David Nicholls, One Day 

Have you said to yourself One Day I shall

  • Start to exercise and lose this excess weight
  • Read a book of fiction rather than for a reason – self-help, weight loss or whatever
  • Reconnect with that friend to whom I haven’t spoken since we had that disagreement
  • Go to the sea
  • Take a trip
  • Talk to my neighbour
  • Begin my walks
  • Finish my …..?

Well, today is that One Day.

  • We can start by leaving the car behind and taking the walk to the store.  This can also be your exercise for the day.
  • Or take a trip to the library.  The librarian will be happy to discuss recent books with you and help you choose just the right one for you.
  • Pick up the phone and call that friend.  Someone has to make the first move and someday that person may no longer be with us.
  • Call the neighbour and ask her/him over for a cup of coffee.

Today the sun is shining, or at least it will have risen even if it is hiding behind the clouds.  Celebrate today it will never come again.  And at the end of the day, how I hate that expression but here I mean it literally, when you look at your To Do List and see what you have accomplished you will be glad you decided this was to be the One Day.

Butterflies

And of course, my favourite Mary Oliver quote (are you bored with this one yet?)

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
― Mary Oliver

To Give Thanks

Those of you who know me, know that last year following my big adventure, I ended up at ABI – Acquired Brain Injury.  Following a short stay in the Regional Hospital, I transferred to ABI.  How lucky I was that there was a bed available to me.  And I have written at length about the wonderful service, care and attention I received there.

And then as I thought about this, my Attitude of Gratitude really clicked in.  So many things for which to be grateful and so I updated my page headed My Gratitude List.

Many of the things for which I am thankful, seem to be quite small until I consider those people who don’t have a caring family, group of friends, warm house, money in the bank or whatever.  So I shall continue to say thanks for all of them.

And then a couple of days ago, one of my sisters of choice (I have 3), Chris at Bridges Burning wrote Today is Mine.  I do agree that we can make of this new day what we will.

“When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully.
When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.
When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it.
When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway.
When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back.”

Those are the opening lines of Dare to Be by
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

 And for me, today the sun shines.

Westin Denarau

Photo courtesy Westin Denarau

I’m looking forward to a few days in Fiji where the sun always shines (or so it seems) and then later in August, a trip down to the South Island of New Zealand to see more of the sights of this beautiful country on a Tranz Alpine Rail Trip. Take a look at the video.

TranzAlpine-Aerial-Down-by-the-River-JT2

So as I sit preparing for my Writing Course this evening, I am very happy with my life and hope that you are too.

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart,
it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Thinking of Moving?

Several years ago – well 5 actually – I wrote a couple of posts about houses/homes with a difference.  The Water Tower was one such and subsequently, I received an email from the woman who bought the tower and was making her home there.  Unfortunately, she didn’t respond to my request for photos of the finish.  And another time I wrote about Castles for sale.

Well during a cold autumn day, while reading the newspaper I came across an article on ancient Italian buildings for sale.  From ancient castles, monasteries, convents, and towers to old farmhouses, schools and inns, over 100 properties are being given away for free by the State Property Agency which has joined with the Ministry of Cultural Heritage to carry out the new scheme, under which the country’s majestic yet dilapidated properties are handed over free of charge to entrepreneurs who commit to restoring  them to their original splendour and open them to the public as restaurants, hotels or spas.

Successful bidders will be given a 9-year lease with the possibility to extend it for a further 9-years.

We are told, “Successful applicants will be given an ‘Art Bonus’, available through a government scheme launched in 2015 which grants tax breaks on art-related charitable donations, such as for the maintenance and restoration of historic buildings.”

italy-Puglia_Barletta_Villa Bonelli_Via Francigena-large

Abandoned Castle in Puglia

 

italy-Puglia_Barletta_Scuola rurale_via Francigena-large

Abandoned Rural School in Puglia

So if the idea of living in a castle, monastery or old school appeals, you have until June 26 to make an offer.

More information from The Telegraph here.

“I’ve got the key to my castle in the air, but whether I
can unlock the door remains to be seen.”
From Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, 1832-1888

Note photos courtesy of The Telegraph.

 

 

I’m English; I drink Tea; I ask.

A couple of months ago I mentioned my strawberry tea set. And today we had tea but not in my tea set, rather in delightful Rosenthal cups.

teaset1

Can anyone tell me why tea tastes so much better when drunk from a thin, bone china cup?  Even a bone china mug is not as good. This is just one of several problems on my mind today.

And why does it seem OK to have a “toes up” in the afternoon when you are away from home but not when you are at home?

Can anyone tell me why tidying dishes etc around someone else’s kitchen seems less onerous than when doing the same chores at home?

And why when you are away from home, do the shops have a better choice of things than your local shops?

And why is the sky bluer, the sun warmer, the air clearer, the waves better and the sea more inviting, when you are away?

The Eight

Those of you who have stuck with me for any length of time, know that I am obsessed with words and the English language. We all learn at a young age certain rules for spelling the words.  And probably the one that we all remember well after leaving our English classes far behind is I BEFORE E EXCEPT AFTER C.

But hang on, there are exceptions to the rule and the exceptions prove the rule.  Here I have to say that our English teacher, most appropriately named Miss English, told us that the comment was that exceptions probe the rule.  Which did you learn?

But wait, how does the exception prove the rule? Wouldn’t it do just the opposite? Doesn’t it prove that the rule does not hold for all cases and is therefore not a rule at all?

Today when noodling (my sister’s word) around the web I came across this.  And I just had to share it.

I Before E.jpg

Oh and another new word, just in case you aren’t impressed with The Eight.  Do you know this word?

Balter

Thanks to my sister in Los Angeles for this.  And as I said to her, I always thought I was the dancer in the family.Here endeth tody’s English lesson, except for this quote that I found once again noodling around the web.

Here endeth tody’s English lesson, except for this quote that I found once again noodling around the web.

 

Drawing on my fine command of the English language,
I said nothing.
Robert Charles Benchley.American humorist, and
newspaper columnist
1889-1945

 

Giving

“Every sunrise is an invitation for us to arise and
brighten someone’s day.”
Richelle E. Goodrich from Smile Anyway:

Today I have a question for you.

Do you give your spare $20 to one man or do you give a little to several?

This has been bothering me as I walk through town today.  I took the train to town and as I got off, I saw a young man sitting in the underpass with a sign asking for help to get to see his daughter.

I stopped to speak to him and he told me his daughter was 2 yesterday and he needed help for the train fare to get there and back.  He was 17 years old and unemployed.    He was very respectful and blessed me when I gave him $2.  He said the little girl lived with her grandparents as the mother was still at school.  He acknowledged they had made a mistake but loved his child and was glad they had her.

I walked away feeling pleased that I could help him even if only in a small way, but later the question rose and lingered.  I don’t have an answer, do you?

There are more and more young people looking for help.  Some are raising money to go on a school trip, some are looking for money for food and some, like his young man, need a little help for a particular reason.  I know we can’t help them all, but we can help some.

Friends in Far Flung Places

“Friendship is born at the moment when one man says to another
“What! You too? I thought that no one but myself …
CS Lewis 1898-1963 – Four Loves

We are so lucky to have all the things available to us that weren’t available in our parents’ time.  In particular, I mean Skype.

I have just finished a call of 1 hour and 20 minutes to two of my sisters by choice, Chris at Bridges Burning and Joss at Joss Burnel Author.  And yes, the link to Joss’ blog is all about me.  How’s that!

Anyway, we have this weekly chat and get together.  Three women, who are true friends but who met through the wonderful world of blogging.  Very far apart in miles but so close together in friendship and love.  How I wish Skype had been available when my parents were alive.  How much better it would have been for all of us, especially the children, to have been able to have long family chats whenever we wanted to.

Now back to today.  Unfortunately, Chris is recovering from a bad cold and departed early in the call to lie down and recuperate.  That left just two of us.  I’m particularly interested in Ecuador and what it is like as an expat living there.   Joss and her ‘sweetie’ Gerard have been in Ecuador for about 3 years (I think) and they are thriving.  Joss has a group of friends with whom she shares time and experiences and writing.  And Gerard? Well Gerard does what Gerard does.

Having just finished a successful Writers’ Conference, Joss and her cohorts/friends are just organising another conference for next March and I thought I should like to go.  Oh I know it’s so far away, but we can all dream can’t we?  And I even looked up flights.  Well yes, one can get from Auckland, New Zealand to Quito, Ecuador for about $12,000 return economy fare.  I didn’t even look at Business Class. But I think I shall have to wait until somebody has some specials on flights to Ecuador, or maybe I’ll win Lotto tomorrow. Note to self – buy Lotto ticket.  And Joss, it isn’t a 7 hours flight as you had earlier thought, it’s it’s one day and 4 hours.  Oh yes, we have already laughed when you shared your thoughts on the time of the flight.

So now, having been brightened on this autumn day by speaking with my friends, I shall spend the rest of the day, reading and drinking tea and looking forward to next week’s chat.

book-tea

I found this on Pinterest. I hope I’m not impinging on anyone copyright. 

Stormy Weather

“When all is said and done, the weather and love
are the two elements about which one can never be sure.”

― Alice Hoffman,  American Novelist 1952 – 

 

Here in New Zealand, we are all bracing for what has been described as the storm of the century.  Ex-tropical Cyclone Cook is due to hit us just about now – 6.00 pm  Thursday 13 April 2017.  Rain is already causing problems and this is purported to be the worst storm since the Wahine Disaster in 1968.

According to New Zealand History  “The Union Steam Ship Company’s 8948-ton roll-on roll-off (RO-RO) passenger ferry Wahine, the largest ship of its kind in the world when completed two years earlier, left Lyttelton at 8.40 p.m. on the evening of 9 April. There were 734 passengers and crew on board.  Storm warnings had been issued, but rough seas were nothing new in Cook Strait. As it turned out, the Wahine was about to sail into one of the worst storms ever recorded in New Zealand. The ship reached Cook Strait as tropical cyclone Giselle swept south and collided with a southerly front. The combination of warm tropical air and cold air dragged up from Antarctica produced exceptionally violent turbulence. On 10 April, in a bad storm, the Lyttelton-Wellington ferry hit a reef.”  See the timeline to disaster here

Early the next day the Captain called for the ship to be abandoned and would be rescuers lined the shore in the atrocious weather as the Wahine succumbed to one of the worst storms recorded in New Zealand history and others raced to a further beach where many of those in the water were being washed to.

It seemed impossible that so many lives could be lost so close to shore. Fifty-one people lost their lives that day, another died several weeks later and a 53rd victim died in 1990 from injuries sustained in the wreck.  A number of people who reached shore alive did not receive medical attention quickly enough to prevent death from exposure. Others were drowned or killed when thrown against rocks.

The Cook Strait that connects the North and South Islands of New Zealand is 22 kilometres (14 mi) wide at its narrowest point and is considered one of the most dangerous and unpredictable waters in the world.

The Wahine Disaster is known about and discussed by many to this day.

So now, some 49 years later, we are faced with a similar storm.  At this time the sailings across Cook Strait are not canceled although I suggest that many people will change their travel plans.  The airport in Wellington has been closed on and off for most of the day as have several other airports.  Severe weather warnings are in place for many parts of the North Island and the top of the South Island.

 

Ohope2

Ohope Beach in front of the Architects A-frame.

 

Ohope 1

Several areas have already been evacuated including the Westend of Ohope where the Architect had a holiday home.  It was almost on the beach so I suggest there will be little of it left when the storm passes.

auckland harbour bridge.jpg

Schools have been closed today in anticipation of the storm.  There has been some discussion about closing Auckland’s Harbour Bridge.  Many businesses have closed early allowing their employees to get home before the worst of the weather hits.   But this means that roads are even more clogged than usual.

So is this going to be a Happy Easter for us?  I suggest it won’t be for many people.  So while I wish you all a very Happy Easter I’m taking

So while I wish you all a very Happy Easter I’m taking time to think of all those people who will have to return to devastation and flooding, some of whom haven’t yet recovered from last week’s storm, courtesy of ex-cyclone Debbie.

Today’s the Day

Granny on computer

Procrastination – well, it’s alive and well here in Wellington New Zealand.

Every day since I wrote the blog on Continuing the story on 23 March I have planned to live up to the promise.  Good intentions but so much gets in the way.  So two weeks later I am continuing the story.

You will recall that we left our ladies in confusion following the visit of Thomas Anthony William Fotheringham known as Billy AKA the Swarthy Gent in the Panama Hat.  The fellow had arrived at Maisie’s door unannounced a couple of days ago and then had returned at an agreed time, to present Maisie with the claim that he was related to her husband.

So to continue…

As the three friends were quietly contemplating what he had said., the door to the room burst open and there stood Maisie’s daughter Julia.  Knowing her and how she acted, Juliet and Imogen decided to leave and decided they would catch up by telephone later in the day.

“Whatever have you been up to now, Mother?” demanded Julia in that voice so like Reggie’s.  “Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is to hear that one’s mother had been away from home for two nights and nobody knew where?”  Oh, how truly tedious her daughter was, thought Maisie.

“What have you heard that has upset you so much?” enquired Maisie, making no attempt to answer her daughter’s questions.

“Oh Mother,” said Julia.  “I do wish you would act responsibly and see rather less of that Juliet Drummond who is such a bad influence on you.”

Julia had never really liked her mother’s close friend Lady Juliet Drummond, after whom she had been named.  Julia being quite a different person and having a totally different personality to her mother, found nothing attractive about her mother’s closest friend.

She discoursed at length about how unseemly it was for these two women to have been missing over two nights.  Gossip as to what they had been up to was rife and Julia felt strongly that any hint of scandal, should it fall upon her mother, should not be allowed to fall upon her.  To Julia, being in the right ethically and morally was paramount.  Any hint of impropriety was abhorrent to her.

Oh, she liked her mother well enough but she considered her weak and easily led.  It was to her father that she was most drawn.  She shared his puritanical outlook on life.  She looked up to him as a paragon of virtue and hoped that her betrothed, The Hon Toby Grimshaw, would turn out to be as upright as he.

She strongly disapproved of the new trend of women smoking and drinking cocktails in public.  She thought that once a lady was married she should be content to remain at home, running her household so that her husband and children would be totally comfortable in their environment.

Julia was aware that her mother smoked both in public and at home and also drank cocktails every day and was quite convinced that her mother would do neither without the unsavoury influence of Lady Juliet.  She also knew of course, that Juliet had been her mother’s friend and confidant for many years, ever since they had met at school and that nothing would break this friendship.

“You haven’t answered my question” she railed at her mother.  Whatever could you have been doing that you can’t even tell me?  And have you told Father yet?”

Her daughter was unaware that Reggie had moved out to the house in town, so of course, Maisie hadn’t had the opportunity to tell him of her adventures,  She knew that he would be strongly disapproving of her having been to the cinema without a proper escort.  And the only proper escort in his considered opinion would have been himself or one of his brothers.  And she knew how he would react to the rest of those adventures, with supreme disapproval.

So “No I haven’t had the chance to discuss it with your father yet.” She told her irate daughter.  “He has been in town for a few days, but I shall, of course, do so at the first opportunity.”

When Julia looked as if she would then burst into questions about opportunities, Maisie thought it time to change the subject.  She and Reggie hadn’t discussed the issue of telling their offspring about the separation.

In Maisie’s estimation, Julia had always been a difficult child and as she grew up her proselytizing became more marked and to Maisie, very infuriating.  Just how she would react to the news was something Maisie dreaded to even think about.

“Now let’s talk about your engagement and the plans for the wedding, shall we?” asked Maisie.  There followed a pleasant 30 minutes when mother and daughter discussed these plans.  And no thank you, Julia declined the offer of a cocktail when her mother asked Jackson to bring her a Gin and tonic.

And Maisie had more important things to worry about than wedding plans.  She knew her overbearing daughter would arrange everything with little or no input from or discussion with her mother.  But how and when would she tell Reggie about Billy Fotheringham and his claims of relationship?

Trouble with WordPress

Today has been one of those days.

First, I lost a blog post that had been published, it attracted at least one comment.  So I redid that post.

Then my site theme was lost and I have spent the last several hours trying to reinvent what I had.  But I don’t know where that has all gone either.

What did I do to WordPress I wonder?  But I do know that several others had strange happenings on WordPress today.

So let’s hope tomorrow is a better day for WordPress.

confused

 

Meantime

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