Tag Archives: active body

My Mother always said

“You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm”. Colette, Novelist and performer, 1873-1954

My Mother always said – “God looks after fools and drunks” I wonder what she would have said about this drunk man caught on tape.  Click here to see video uploaded by the Sun Newspaper in  the UK.

One has to wonder whether he is really drunk.  Look at the way he falls down those stairs and gets up and continues.

If he was really drunk, I wonder how he felt once he found that this tape had been broadcast to the world.

And fools abound.

Baldwin Street

Baldwin Street, Dunedin

Baldwin Street in Dunedin (in the South Island of New Zealand) is considered to be the steepest street in the world.  In March 2001 a 19-year-old University of Otago student was killed when she and another student attempted to travel down the street inside a wheelie bin. The bin collided with a parked trailer, killing one of the occupants instantly, and causing serious head injuries to the second.

Evel Knievel

Evel Knievel via Wikipedia

And we all know of the antics of this fellow.  “The 433 broken bones he suffered during his career earned an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as the survivor of “most bones broken in a lifetime.” according to our friend Wikipedia.

But were either of these fools looked after by a higher being?  I leave it to you to decide for yourself.

And I know that I have done several foolish things in my life – what’s that you say, only several?  But they have never bordered on the dangerous as the people above have, including the drunk man.

Have you been involved in something foolish that could also have been dangerous?  Please share with us if you dare.

“A fellow who is always declaring that he’s no fool, usually has his suspicions.Wilson Mizner, 1876 – 1933,  American playwright, raconteur, and entrepreneur. .


No change today

“Better a little which is well done, than a great deal imperfectly.”Plato, classical Greek philosopher and mathematician

and  “Well begun is half done.” Aristotle, Greek philosopher and student of Plato.

Ready for the paving

The sun is shining, there is no wind, the area has been cleared but where are the contractors?  I was full of excitement this morning when I saw the sun shining after a weekend of almost constant rain and wind.  Surely the contractors would be here bright and early to finish what they started on Friday.

But no sign of them yet.  With the rain over the weekend, the area that was cleared is showing a great abundance of sprouting weeds.  But I guess the paving just goes over the top of that – hmm?

On Saturday, in a frenzy of excitement that while the patio was not finished, it was at least started, I went to the local Garden Center to buy plants for the gardens to be made around the patio.

Garden Centre

Lotte quite likes going there and she is a great favourite among the staff.  She wanders around on her lead, of course, checking out what is new since the last time we were there.  Well, I think that’s what she is doing, maybe she is just checking out which other dogs have been there before her.

The choice of plants is amazing.  I wanted several plants for different reasons

Jardiniere

Something that didn’t mind having its feet wet for the jardiniere.  There are no drainage holes in the jardiniere and so it fills with water as can be seen here.  This shot is not helped by the fact that no weeding has been done here for weeks. I settled on a Heucherella ‘Brass Lantern’.  I am assured by my trusty friend in the garden centre that this will thrive in my concrete pot.

Hebes

Something to fill in the spaces left when all the old plants have been removed.   I thought the Hebes would do well there and my friend at the GC agreed.  Here they are in the box just dumped there on Saturday in the pouring rain.

I have lots of pots from my living in apartments with only balconies instead of gardens, so I needed some more plants to fill a couple of these.

Australian Radermachera

Radermachera Summerscent

This is an Australian evergreen which I am reliably informed will do very well in a pot, is drought and sun hardy and tolerant of shade and cold.  And as a bonus, it has highly scented flowers.  A perfect plant for me!

Acacia Fettucini

Acacia Fettucini

and this Acacia Fettucini will also look good once planted as it will droop over the side of the pot.  There was a very large specimen at the Garden Center not for sale.  I am hoping mine will spread and droop in the same way.  And I love the name.

Pansies.

Then I saw these little pots of instant colour and decided that is just what I need to brighten a winter garden so I bought ten.  They will look good and welcoming in smaller green pots on the steps to the front door.

Camellias in pots

Camellias in waiting

And finally, some decision will have to be made about the four camellias I bought and then had no place to put them.  They have languished in pots at the front fence for months.  Finding a place for them in this very small garden will be a challenge.

So whether or not the contractors arrive this afternoon, I shall be busy and I shall start with my instant colour pots.  I do wish I could paint as they are the prettiest little darlings.  Blue tending towards purple with little yellow smiling centres.  This will be a lovely way to spend a cold, but sunny afternoon in Winter.

I found this quote from Abram L Urban in one of my books of quotations but cannot find anything about him.  Do you know of this writer?  I should be very pleased to have something to add to this quotation.

“In my garden there is a large place for sentiment.  My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams.  The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful”

STOP PRESS! STOP PRESS!

Concrete truck

The concrete cometh

It’s now 12.30pm and just as I was about to stop for lunch, the contractors arrived followed shortly by the concrete man.  So the patio will be worked on this afternoon and I am told they will be back to put the finish on it tomorrow.

So watch this space.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am Becoming the Woman I’ve Wanted

“I am becoming the woman I’ve wanted,
grey at the temples, soft body delighted, cracked up by life
with a laugh that’s known bitter but past it, got better,
knows she’s a survivor –
that whatever comes, she can outlast it.
I am becoming a deep weathered basket.”
Jayne Relaford Brown, American poet and teacher of Creative Writing.

This poem Finding Her Here opens the book I am Becoming the Woman I’ve Wanted.

Today’s blog was ‘inspired’ by a comment received on an earlier post.  I am sure that the commenter did not mean any disparagement but said words to the effect that he was surprised to find such a well-written blog and by a 72-year-old widow at that.

So I began to think what do others expect of older widows?  Granny duck

  • When my eldest grandson was at kindergarten the class was asked to talk about their grandmothers.  Most children apparently, gave glowing comments on how their grandmothers baked or knitted.  James piped up that his grandmother wore a hard hat and went on building sites – I did.
  • I wonder how Ruth Rendell’s grandchildren would describe her?  Ruth Rendell is a Socialist baroness and is the author of the highly successful Inspector Wexford mysteries  Including those of Wexford, she has written more than 70 books and is still writing well into her 80s.
  • And Barbara Walters is well known to all who live in North America.  This vibrant  American broadcast journalist and author also is in her 80s.  A year ago she underwent heart surgery and she is still involved and asking probing questions on air .
  • Isabel Allende is a Chilean novelist, author of several novels and a short fiction collection, as well as plays and stories for children. Born in 1942,  she has received international acclaim for her writing.
  • And the list goes on – Jean Auel, author of Earth’s Children® books, a series of novels set in prehistoric Europe is 75 and still writing;
  • Kuki Gullmann of whom I wrote in an earlier post is 68 years old.  Novelist and founder of the Gullmann Memorial Foundation in honour of her husband and son who were both killed in Africa;
  • Maya Angelou, born 1928, is an American author and poet who has been called “America’s most visible black female autobiographer”.
  • Apologies to the many amazing older women I have left out.  This is not because I think the accomplishments of those listed here are of greater worth, but simply because I would need to write for a couple of weeks to cover them all.

So to the person who made the comment – I thank you for the gracious things you said about my blog, but draw your attention to the fact that I still have many more years to live and many more adventures to have.  Writing my blog is just one of them.

Granny on computer

“The strength of women comes from the fact that psychology cannot explain us.
Men can be analyzed, women merely adored.” –
Oscar Wilde

 

I Know it’s Winter Because…

“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 winter because yesterday I had my annual flu injection.

Syringe

via Wikipedia

Here in New Zealand these injections are free to all over the age of 65 and anybody with a life threatening condition.  So I made an appointment with the GP and went along for my shot.

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.  There followed an interesting conversation on body piercing and oh yes, I did get the shot.

I know it’s winter because sweaters, scarves and umbrellas are the order of the day more often than not.

Woman in sweater

So much younger

The children are all muffled up against the cold as they walk past the house on their way to school.

They look absolutely miserable, whether from the weather or just simply because they would rather not go to school, who knows?

I know it’s winter because the heating is on every day now.  While we don’t have the extremes of temperature that many places have, it does get cold here.Fire alight

And it rains and the wind blows so it is great to come into a warm house after walking the dog, or grocery shopping or whatever.

I know it’s winter because  Lotte doesn’t want to get out of the warm bed in the morning.

Lazy Lotte

Too cold to get up

She looks so comfortable on my bed and only gets up when I move her so I can make the bed.

She does get more alive when the lead is produced, or the car keys come out and she know/thinks it’s time for a walk.

I know it’s winter because I can walk along deserted beaches with only Lotte and the gulls  for company.

Gulls on beach

Photo - Bill Peters

The beach in winter is usually deserted apart from the seagulls and us.  I can spend hours just looking at the distance and thinking without any disturbance from other people.  On occasions I see nobody else in the hour or so that I walk the beach.

I know it’s winter because I have time to sit beside the fire and read some of the books that have accumulated in the pile during the summer months.  And Pile of booksbecause I can’t get out into the garden I can spend some blissful, uninterrupted time with my books.

The weeds are growing apace with the rain that seems to fall constantly and it is so warm in here with my 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


I know it’s winter because my son can have his fill of “Mummy’s Soup. 

Bowl of soup

via Wikipedia

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. Enough for him to freeze and take to the office for lunch. 

Isn’t it great how we can still please our children so very easily?

And because as Percy Byshe Shelley asks “If winter comes can spring be far behind?” I am posting my favorite rainbow knowing that spring will break through the gloom and rain and the world will awake from its long sleep once again.

Rainbow

My rainbow - looking forward to spring

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:  it is the time for home. ” ~Edith Sitwell, 1887 –  1964  British poet and critic.


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My mind is full of Scorpions today

Photo – Jim Parkin

I woke this morning thinking of scorpions.  I don’t know why and where the thought came from.  I have never seen a scorpion and did you know that a group of scorpions is called a Cyclone?

Scorpion

Via Wikipedia

Ugly looking things aren’t they? According to Wikipedia “Scorpions are predatory arthropod animals of the order Scorpiones within the class Arachnida. They have eight legs and are easily recognized by the pair of grasping claws and the narrow, segmented tail, carried in a characteristic forward curve over the back, ending with a venomous stinger.”

One of the first blogs I read today was from my blogging friend Val at http://absurdoldbird.wordpress.com/2011/05/01/i-am-crying/.  I feel for my friend at this time of sorrow.  From there I clicked on the link to http://www.josephinecarr.com/blog/index.php/yom-hashoah/ and that really got this cyclone of scorpions out of control.

If you do click on Josephine Carr’s post I am sure you will feel as distraught as I did.  I felt this huge rage and guilt that we didn’t know just what was going on in Europe.  As a toddler, I could not have done anything but I still feel the collective guilt.  We can use all the excuses that technology was not as it is today and reporters were not allowed into the camps etc but these scorpions are buzzing.

The next blog I read was on the subject of atheism and I am sorry that I cannot give you the link here.  The post has disappeared into the blogosphere.  But the gist of the post was that the writer hasn’t told his family that he is an atheist and so is being put into the unenviable position of having to say a prayer at a family gathering.  He feels that his family would not be able to accept the fact of his atheism.

In this ‘enlightened age’ shouldn’t people be allowed their own beliefs and be able to discuss these openly with friends and family.  More buzzing from those scorpions.

And a news flash that police are concerned about the safety of a nine-year-old girl missing from her home since 2 o’clock yesterday afternoon.  Her parents and friends searched for some hours before calling the police, but she hasn’t been seen since then. She’s now been missing for about 20 hours and how worried her parents must be.  More buzzing.

So now some good news. 

Butterfly

Photo – Ed Dear

I read Egypt intends to open its border with Gaza permanently to alleviate the suffering of Palestinians under an Israeli blockade but the mechanics of such a step are still being worked out, the Foreign Ministry said.  That has to be a step in the right direction.  No buzzing just butterfly wings flapping.

More butterfly wings with this clip from that Royal Event .  This darling little girl found the noise all too much.

And some more good news.  Watch this video of Dave McCalman and his bionic legs.

And on that note I will finish this very strange post.  I hope I haven’t spoiled your day but I really think some things need to be said – to be brought out into the open and discussed.

So until tomorrow. I leave you with this quote from my favorite book, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol :

“I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night? Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is ‘Who in the world am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle!”

One Award, One Wedding, Great Celebrations

Versatile blogger

Because of the other world-wide event (clue Will and Kate)  happening on the same day I got my award, I put off the thank you rather than find myself speaking in an empty auditorium.  Seriously though, I am touched that Chris nominated me as one of her 15.  Thank you Chris. Follow  this fascinating and thought-provoking woman at – http://bridgesburning.wordpress.com/2011/04/28/versatile-blogger-award-thanks-kieran/.

Chris was one of the first people to post a comment when I started blogging.  Was that only two months ago?  I feel as if I really know her so well.

Now I am called upon to tell you 7 things about myself.

What would interest you about me?

  1. I am the widow of a very special human being who was my love, my supporter and my mentor for 41 years.  How I miss that man!
  2. I have two great children, who with their spouses and their children give me love and support when most needed.
  3. I am ‘Granma’ to four good-looking, talented grandsons who are growing into fine young men – and no, I am not biased in any way.
  4. I have two sisters, one in London and one in Los Angeles.  Could we have moved further apart?  But emails are great for keeping in touch.
  5. I am English but choose to live in Wellington tagged ‘Coolest little Capital in the World’ by Lonely Planet.
  6. I love to write.  Always have notebook with me.  I unashamedly watch and listen to other people when I am around and about each day.
  7. I have been a Realtor, small business adviser, property developer, commercial property manager and am a certified Life Coach.  All these things have brought me to where I am today.

And if you are not too bored with that list, please read on.

I am also called upon to pass the award on to  15 other bloggers.  And after much soul-searching and thought, the nominees are

Cat with pencil

Photo – Roman Dekan


A Foggy Day

“A foggy day in London Town
Had me low and had me down
I viewed the morning with alarm
The British Museum had lost its charm”

from  A Foggy Day by George and Ira Gershwin; sung by     Frank Sinatra

London bus in smog

I am old enough to remember when London was shrouded in smog on many days during the winter.  The smog was a combination of soot and smoke from all the open fires burning in people’s houses and the fog that rolled in most days.  This combination and fog plus sulfur dioxide gas combined to form deadly smog.

In the winter of 1952, the smog was really bad. From December 5 to December 9 this thick layer of smog covered London.  It was caused by a period of very cold weather, an anticyclone and virtually windless days.  Living in London we were used to ‘pea-soupers’ and Londoners went about their business in the usual way.  Some of the smog penetrated into houses and offices it was so bad.

Open fire

As usual, when cold weather struck, Londoners reacted by pouring more coal and occasionally some wood, onto their open fires and this of course, only exacerbated the problem.

At the time, the major problem appeared to be the disruption of traffic due to lack of visibility.  Again, Londoners were used to this.

For my part – we had moved house and it was decided that my young sister would continue at her original primary school for the rest of the year.  Being 3 years older (about 11 I think) I was designated to pick her up from the bus and bring her home.

It was a usual foggy day and as the day wore on and night approached the smog got thicker and the street lights that came on did nothing to penetrate the gloom.  Visibility was practically zero.

I arrived at the bus stop and to get out of the cold a little, I stood in a shop doorway.  What I didn’t know was that the bus had already arrived before me and my sister was standing in the next shop doorway.  No shopping malls then.  Just shops side by side along the high street.

It took a while for me to realize that my little sister was waiting for me.  But all ended happily when we reached home and were given a warm drink in front of the open fire.  In a cup of course.  No coffee mugs then.

warm drink

Photo – Pamela Hodson

 But in the weeks following the December smog of 1952, doctors were reporting the major effects on the human respiratory tract.  It has been estimated that as many as 4,000 people died prematurely and thousands were made ill because of the smog.

Coal lorry

Courtesy lvvs.org.uk/

Most houses were heated by open fires.  Few had central heating.  We had a coke-fired “boiler” in the kitchen that heated the water for the house and also reticulated hot water to the one radiator located in the hall.  This meant that our house, that also had two open fires, was considerably warmer than many others.  But coal and coke are heavy and the local coal men delivered it in hundredweight sacks each week.  My first memories are of a horse-drawn cart used by the coalmen but later they progressed to lorries (trucks).

Following the terrible experience in 1952, the burning of coal in open fires was banned and the use of electricity to heat houses became common.

So while Frank Sinatra sang  “A Foggy Day In London Town” Londoners were choking on the fog for real.

And now that oft-repeated quote from  Samuel Johnson (also called Dr Johnson) 1709 – 1784, English author and diarist.

“Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”

London Collage

via Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more memories of this period see Pat Cryer.

ANZAC Day and Easter Monday

How sleep the brave, who sink to rest,
By all their country’s wishes blest!
When Spring, with dewy fingers cold,
Returns to deck their hallow’d mould,
She there shall dress a sweeter sod
Than Fancy’s feet have ever trod.
By fairy hands their knell is rung,
There Honour comes, a pilgrim gray,
To bless the turf that wraps their clay;
And Freedom shall awhile repair,
To dwell, a weeping hermit, there.
~William Collins, 1721 – 1759 English poet
.

Dedication ceremony 1931

Dedication of the Cenotaph, Wellington, NZ 1931

This year Easter Monday coincides with ANZAC Day a public holiday both here in New Zealand and in Australia.

Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance and is commemorated by both countries on 25 April every year.  The day is in honor of the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I.

Gallipoli Campaign 1915

Via Wikipedia

The Gallipoli Campaign, or the Battle of Gallipoli,took place at the peninsula of Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire between 25 April 1915 and 9 January 1916, during the First World War.   In an attempt to secure a sea route to Russia through the Black Sea,  a joint British and French operation was mounted to capture the Ottoman capital of Constantinople/Istanbul.  Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of this Allied Expedition.  The Allied force landed at Gallipoli on 25 April and met fierce resistance from the Turkish Army.  The Expedition failed.

Dardenelles fleet

Fleet heading to Gallipoli

What had been planned as a bold strike to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate.  The campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915, the Allied forces were evacuated after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. The casualties included 21,255 from the UK, an estimated 10,000 from France, 8,709 from Australia, 2,721 from New Zealand, and 1,358 from British India.

News of the landing at Gallipoli had a profound impact on Australians and New Zealanders at home and 25 April quickly became the day on which they remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in war. While the Gallipoli campaign undoubtedly failed in its military objectives of capturing Istanbul and knocking Turkey out of the war, the Australian and New Zealand troops’ actions during the campaign bequeathed a powerful legacy – the ANZAC legend.  This  was the first time that the Australian and NZ armies fought an enemy  representing their own countries.  This gave each country a new found sense of national identity.

In 1934 Ataturk, who had fought in the war and subsequently became the first President of Turkey, sent the following message via his Home Affairs Minister to the first visitors to Gallipoli from New Zealand, Australia and England:

“Those heroes that shed their blood, and lost their lives …
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore, rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side,
Here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries …
Wipe away your tears.
Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace.
After having lost their lives on this land, they have
Become our sons as well.”

A memorial containing those words was unveiled by the Australian Veteran Affairs Minister on 25 April 1985.  The cove has been named ANZAC Cove by the Turks.e from Australia, New Zealand and England in 1934.via his Home Affairs Minister to the first visitors who had come from Australia, New Zealand and England in 1934.via his Home Affairs Minister to And now to 2011.  ANZAC Day is commemorated/celebrated by New Zealanders and Australians.  It has changed to be a day of remembrance for all those who lost their lives in a war.  The day begins with a Dawn Ceremony of Remembrance at 5.45 am.  Here in Wellington it is at The Cenotaph.  Each year scores of people march to the Cenotaph and hundreds of people gather to mark this day.  It is surprising to note the number of young people who attend.  Some of these march wearing their grandparents’ medals, others (like my grandsons) just stand in silence and remember.

Later in the day there are services of remembrance at many churches in and around the city.  And there is a Dawn to Dusk Vigil mounted at the grave of the Unknown Warrior in the National War Museum.

Shops must remain closed until 1pm.  So you see, ANZAC day has more meaning for us than Remembrance Day or Veterans Day. This is our day to honor our dead.  Poppies are sold by the Returned Services Associations and are worn by most people as a sign of respect.

So while we are celebrating Easter here, we are also commemorating the men and women who have given their lives for their countries.

Anzac Poppy

Laurence Binyon’s poem ‘For the Fallen’  – the fourth verse of which is so familar to us today was quoted by Sir Winston Churchill, 1874 – 1965, British statesman and politician, Prime Minister of Britain during the Second World War:

“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.”

And just because Rupert Brooke is a favorite of mine, and I can’t resist this poem.

“If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
that is forever England. There shall be
in that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
a dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam;
a body of England’s breathing English air,
washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.”


A Life Being Well lived

“I learned what every dreaming child needs to know – that no horizon is so far you cannot get above it or beyond it.”
Beryl Markham, (26 October 1902 – 3 August 1986)  British-born Kenyan aviatrix, adventurer, and racehorse trainer.

I discovered Kuki Gallman when browsing in the airport bookstore for something to read on the long flight to London.  This was way back in 1996.

Kuki Gallman is an Italian writer and poet. Born in Treviso, Veneto, she moved to Kenya in 1972 with her second husband and son (from her first marriage) and is now a Kenyan citizen.

The book I discovered was “I Dreamed of Africa and this book was made into a film in 2000 starring Kim Basinger. In this her first book, Kuki Gallman tells of her ongoing fascination with Africa.  She tells of being given an essay to write when she was 12 years old.  The theme was what she wanted to do and be in 20 years time.   The teacher dismissed her essay with the words “Why did you have to write about Africa?”  Her response (copied verbatim from the book) “But I do want to live in Africa.  I do not want to stay here all my life.  One day I shall go to Africa.  I shall send you a postcard from there, signora in twenty years time.

Twenty years later, I did”.

Her book tells her story of traveling to Africa with her second husband,her son, Emanuele  and the two daughters he had with his late wife.  The two girls were sent home but Kuki, Paulo and Emanuele loved Africa and stayed.

The book tells of finding the perfect place to live and the dangers and thrills of setting up life in a totally different country, where they neither spoke the language or knew the local customs.

“Between 1972 and 1980 they acquired Ol Ari Nyiro, a 100,000 acre (400 km²) cattle ranch, on the edge of the Great Rift Valley, in Northern Kenya where they created the first ever anti poaching squad to protect the largest population of Black Rhino in Africa and large populations of elephants, buffalo and leopards. Kuki became deeply involved with conservation.”( Wikipedia).

Kiki  had a daughter in 1980.  Paolo, her husband had been killed  in an automobile accident shortly before the child was born.  He had decided to have a crib made for the new child and while bringing it home for their unborn baby was killed when a lorry crossed into his lane.  This was the first death.

Black Mamba

Her son Emanuele was fascinated by and loved snakes.  Three years later (at only 17) he died of a snake bite while trying to extract viper venom for antiserum.

Kuki founded the Gallmann Memorial Foundation in honor of Paolo and Emanuele and has dedicated her life to saving the environment and wildlife of Kenya.  She still lives in Kenya with her daughter, Sveva Makena Gallman , who is also involved in conservation and helping African children preserve their heritage.

The second book, “A Night of Lions” I discovered a few months later.  This an illustrated collection of stories about the African land and people.  In reading this book you get the feel of her total love of the land and its people.

I strongly recommend both these books to you.  In particular, I loved “I Dreamed of Africa”.  It captured me from the outset and I hope it will capture you too.

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people move our souls to dance.
They awaken us to a new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom.
Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon.
They stay in our lives for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.”
Flavia Weedn, American author and artist.

Flamingo

Photo – Steffan Foerster


There must be a reason

Juvenile Red billed gull, Petone, Wellington, ...

Image via Wikipedia

There must be a reason for rivers to flow.
For beautiful trees and flowers to grow.
And why have the birds wings to fly?
There must be a reason why.

The changes from season to season,
The dawning that brings the new day.
These wonders must all have a reason,
It was intended that way.

So sang Frankie Lane eons ago.  If you are not old enough to remember the singer or this song click here.  Oh sure it’s a love song, but I wanted to write today about not only the changes from season to season but the changes from day to day.

If you read yesterday’s blog (what there was of it) you will know I was close to retreating into my cave.  Now today I am my usual self and ready to take on the challenges of being over 70 in today’s fast-moving world.

Petone beach

Yesterday the sun shone and it was a good day to take my small dog for a walk along the beach.  I was in Petone having lunch with a friend and a walk along that deserted beach was a great idea.  Where else in the world would you find a beach this deserted on a public holiday?

Lotte (the Tibetan Spaniel) enjoyed the change of scene and it certainly lifted my spirits.

Petone Settlers MuseumPetone is a thriving suburb of Lower Hutt City, Wellington’s nearest neighbor.  On the shore is a memorial built to commemorate the arrival of the first New Zealand Company Settlers on Pito-one’s shores on 22nd January 1840. Serving also as a bathing pavilion, the Wellington Provincial Centennial Memorial became the heart of Petone’s thriving beach scene.

Petone beach wasn’t thriving yesterday though.  But it was just great for a solitary walk accompanied only by my best friend.

Lotte

And then the camera batteries died and as it was Good Friday, none of the shops were open.  We have strange laws about Easter here.  Coffee shops and restaurants can be open on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, as can gas stations but not Supermarkets, electrical/hardware shops or Garden Centers.  Go figure!

Bathing women

Photo: Charles Adshead. Collection of Petone Settlers Museum

So now to today. And here is the rainbow I’ve been looking for

Rainbow

The rain has gone

Easter Saturday.  All shops are open now that I don’t need them.  Batteries are recharged so the camera can operate once again.

The day dawned as overcast and threatening to rain.  So once again no gardening.  How sad!  If I was a real gardener I would go out for a couple of hours.  But the weeds will still be there tomorrow or the next day.

Anyway,  a friend and her son and his family came to visit.  Her son lives way down in the south island and so we don’t get to see them often.  But he and his sister grew up with my family and his sister is one of my surrogate daughters.

Now they have left. So what next?   Once again I am spoiled with choice of what to do (having decided what not to do).

Bowl of soup

via Wikipedia

The chicken is in the pot making stock for soup.  And now I ask myself what soup to make.  But I know I shall make Mulligatawny soup.

The books are in a pile just waiting for me to get at them.Pile of books

Lotte escaped this morning and is now looking for me to take her for her walk. But I think she will have to take her ‘escapologist adventure ‘ as her walk for today.

Fire alight

The fire is alight and looking so inviting – perhaps I shall just read a book while I wait for the stock to be ready.  In fact, I know that is what I have decided to do.

And here is a particular favorite quote.  Enjoy.

“Next time a sunrise steals your breath or a meadow of flowers leaves you speechless, remain that way. Say nothing, and listen as heaven whispers, “Do you like it? I did it just for you.” — Max Lucado, 1955 – best-selling author and writer and preacher

Sunrise