Tag Archives: enoyment

For my sisters

Plaque

Anonymous quote

I have written about my sisters before, but in case you don’t know, the three of us live in different parts of the world.  If we tried we couldn’t be further away from each other.  Christine, my elder sister is in Los Angeles, USA; Marianne my younger sister is in London, UK and I am in Wellington, NZ.

We were born and brought up in the East End of London.  Some of you may have seen the TV program “The East Enders” but real life was not like that.  We lived in a comfortable, loving environment surrounded by parents and relatives.  In this we were particularly fortunate as since growing up and moving on I have heard horrendous stories of how people were treated during their formative years.  When I read this post on Fatherhood from Misty it made me realize once again just how lucky we were.

As I have said before there was little money around and certainly no luxuries.  But we were well fed, clothed and warm and in this loving environment, what more could we ask for?

My childhood memories are good.  I had my two best friends always close by and if any one of us was ever in trouble, we ganged together and put up a united front. As Pam Brown says “When sisters stand shoulder to shoulder, who stands a chance against us? “

And so it has always been with the three of us.  We live far apart but yet are always there in thoughts for each other.  I wrote a poem to my younger sister to tell her (and you) how much I appreciated her.  I wrote a blog about both sisters early in my blog writing career.  I love and honour them both and wish that we could spend more time together.  But it is not to be unfortunately.

I wish that we could share our daily lives with each other.  I wish that they could accompany Lotte and me on our walks around this city.  I wish that I could introduce them to my friends.  I wish, I wish …

But we rely on emails and phone calls to keep our relationship with each other strong.  Commiserations to those of you who don’t know the special bond that exists between sisters.

Mother and girls

Mother with her three daughters

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

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The Gastronome

Gastronome definition -a connoisseur of good food; gourmet; epicure.

Looking through my very old copy of The Anti Bull Cookbook once again, I came across an article about a gastronome.  We have all met them.  “He’s portly, fruity and rather pretentious, not to say on many occasions, downright pompous.”

Fortunately, these people seem to become more rare as this 21st Century progresses but I clearly remember such a person.

When we were newly married and very young and living in London, my late husband and I had been asked for dinner by one of his business acquaintances.  It seemed to be a good thing for Robert’s career prospects and as we were being asked to a first-class restaurant, he accepted with alacrity.  Oh dear, what a mistake.

The host was so very pompous and as soon as we were seated in the restaurant began by telling us all the places in the world where he had eaten.  Many were Michelin star rated and he proceeded to give them his own rating.  He then took over the process of ordering for all of us.

Having accomplished this the Sommelier was called  – no mere wine waiter for him – and a lengthy discussion ensued on the correct wines to have with each of the courses.

Then followed two of the most boring hours I have ever endured.  This man was used to laying down the law to his underling sycophants.  He knew everything about everything and he had strong views on all things.

The food was excellent but that I suggest was nothing to do with him.  He had chosen one of London’s (then) top restaurants.  How could he fail?  But how the time dragged.

These people were at least 25+  years older than us.  Can you picture it?  A 20-year-old and her 28-year-old husband, out ‘on the town’ with this pompous 45+ gourmand?  His wife who was a quiet little mouse said very little. After being introduced to us she sat back and let her husband take over.  From the dreamy look in her eyes, she had taken herself off to some other, more interesting place.  No doubt she had plenty of practice and no doubt she had heard his ramblings many times before.

It was an interesting evening. I had never met anybody quite like him before and there was the added bonus of a Michelin starred restaurant in which we ate. And in retrospect, I did learn a lot from him, once I could put aside the bull nonsense and listen to what he said about food and wine.  But  I wasn’t in any hurry to repeat it.  I couldn’t imagine having these two for dinner in our one-bedroom, ‘garden flat” – here read’ semi-basement with access to rear garden’ in a not particularly upmarket area of London.  And as at that time, my husband’s expense account was measly, we didn’t reciprocate.  I did know enough to send a thank you note to the wife the next day with some flowers.  But spend time in his company again – never!

“A man is in general better pleased when he has a good dinner upon his table, than when his wife talks Greek”  Samuel Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playing With Words

Words

“Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.
Buddha

I love words.  I like the sound of them, I like to see them written down and I like to see them used by others in different ways and I just like playing with them.

Today, from somewhere in the back of this elderly brain, came the word Onomatopoeia.  I am sure you know what it means but my dictionary defines it as – “The formation of words whose sound is imitative of the sound of the noise or action designated, such as hiss.”

So after playing around for a time I came up with this –

Onomatopoeia

Actors mumble

Birds flutter

Cats purr

Dogs bark

Eagles swoosh

Friends chatter

Guns boom

Harnesses jangle

Insensitives belch

Jellies squish

Kites swoosh

Lovers whisper

Mothers murmur

Noses sniff

Orchestras zing

Pigs snort

Queens giggle

Rain drips

Snakes hiss

Trains rumble

Unicorns whoosh

Victors roar

Water laps

Xylophones twang

Yaks shuffle

Zealots blare.

So what can you add?  I am sure you can come up with many others.  But it was an interesting way to spend an hour today.

Until tomorrow then.

And Today’s Offers…

Yesterday I received an email from a very good friend that included some of the funniest aka craziest ads that ever were promulgated published.

Toothache drops

Why is everybody rushing to the shop?

Cruise

Wouldn't this go down well today?

And do you want to lose some weight?  Try some of these – but remember the tape worms have been ‘sanitized’.

Weight loss posterVitamins

Or feeling a bit lethargic?  Try a few of these they will immediately buck you up.

Husband and wife

And do you have a new baby?  These will most certainly help

Baby and colaMother and baby

And when you visit the doctor with your baby remember

Doctors smoking

Wish listAnd gentlemen.  Do you have a problem on deciding on a gift for your wife, particularly at Christmas.  Worry no more.  The answer is here.

Vacuum cleaner

Smoking

And if you don't have a wife, here's a sure fire way to attract that woman of your dreams

Kenwood chef

And gals - just in case you've ever wondered

And did we really believe these  ads?  Were we really so gullible? Certainly as a new young wife I thought the house had to be perfectly presented, the children had to be perfectly behaved but I never ever accepted a household appliance as a gift – Christmas or otherwise.  But these ads while giving us a chance to laugh show just how far we have come in 50 plus years.

Which is your favourite one. No prizes will be offered but I should just like to know.  My favourite is the tape worms.  I really wonder if people bought them sanitized or not.

Note – I have assumed that as these images have been circulating freely around the internet that they are outside copyright.  If this is not the case then I apologise wholeheartedly for any misuse.


BOROBUDUR YOGYAKARTA, INDONESIA

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”  Mark Twain 

August in New Zealand is deep mid-winter.  Each year, my husband and I would take ourselves off for a few weeks or occasionally months, to get away from the dreary days of winter.  And way back in 1989 we chose to go to Bali in Indonesia.

We had been several times before and had thoroughly enjoyed the place and the charming people of that island.

Paneeda cottages

Paneeda View Hotel, Sanur

We decided on a simple Balinese hotel for one week.  The Paneeda View hotel was recommended to us by our travel agent.  It was set right on the beach and was a lovely, gentle way to start our holiday.

Sengiggi Beach Hotel

Sengiggi Beach Resort, Lombok

 This was to ne followed  by a week at a 4 star resort on Lombok Island (the only resort on the island at that time).

Putri Bali Hotel

Putri Bali Hotel, Nusa Dhua

and a final week at a fantastic hotel at Nusa Dhua.

The Peneeda View Beach Resort in Sanur was idyllic.  Very laid back and charming.  Unfortunately, several years later this area of Bali became infamous for the Bali Bombings that killed 202 people many of them overseas visitors.

However, when we were there it was a lovely, peaceful part of Indonesia in which to holiday.

We had explored the island on previous trips including Ubud the arts centre of the island.  We had seen the rice paddies set in terraces on the high slopes and watched the ducks being herded to market along the streets.

Borobudur temple

So this time we decided to venture further afield to Java.  I had heard of Borobudur the 9th Century Buddhist Temple in Jogjakarta and the biggest in the world.   I knew that it had been constructed as a ten-terraces building and rose to 42 metres.  The first seven terraces are in a square form, two upper terraces are in a circular form and the top terrace is where the huge Buddha statue sits facing west.

One has to walk clockwise from the entrance to the temple to understand the sequence of the stories that early sculptors set into the concrete.

We got up really early to cram as much into our day as possible.  We were told that one simply turns up at the airport – no pre-booking –and boards a plane.  We bought the tickets and were given 2 snack boxes.  Then the plane arrived and the locals rushed to the gate to grab a seat.  We were pushed and shoved and eventually we found two adjacent seats.  The seat back on mine was broken and I had a most uncomfortable journey.

Merpati Airline

via Wikipedia

Merpati is the domestic airline of Bali and I must say I really hoped (and still hope) the maintenance of the engine is better than the maintenance of the interiors.

The hostess passed around small packs of lukewarm ‘juice’ and then we opened the snack packs.  We were each faced with a curled up white bread sandwich and a soft biscuit.  Needless to say neither of us ate that ‘lunch’.

When we left the plane (having left behind the snack packs of course) we were accosted on all sides with noise, people and smells.  Traffic in Java is manic.  Six or seven lanes moving each way, ignoring traffic signals, other traffic and pedestrians.

Jogyakarta traffic

Jogyakarta traffic

But all was forgotten and forgiven when we got our first sight of Borobudur.

Borobudur stoopas

via Wikipedia

What a magical sight and surely this building must rank up there with the pyramids for the sheer scale of what was achieved all those years ago.

Borobudur

Image via Wikipedia

Our guide told us it was is a shrine to Buddha and was built over a period of some 75 years in the 8th and 9th centuries.  Constructed out of an estimated 1,600,000 blocks of volcanic stone, dredged from the river and assembled solely by human labour, and is famed for its 1,500 intricately carved reliefs, covering a total length of five kilometres end-to-end.

The first archaeological study of the site was initiated in 1814 by Sir Stamford Raffles, founder of Singapore. First restored in 1907, the monument suffered from neglect and war and was almost rebuilt in the 1970s under the guidance of UNESCO, who designated Borobudur as a World Heritage Site. The massive restoration process involved the removal and refurbishing of over one million blocks, rebuilding the foundation and adding drainage systems.

When we visited one could get inside the temple and also climb the hundreds of steps to the top layer.  Unfortunately, my late husband was unable to climb and so stayed down enjoying the sunshine and the views.

I still think about this magical day.  The return to our hotel was equally as frenetic, but it was all worth it to see this magnificent building.

And now some 22 years later, I still get ‘goose bumps’ when I think about Borobudur.  It ranks with my first sight of the Grand Canyon for sheer, breathtaking beauty.

“I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything.”
Bill Bryson, American travel author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While Walking the Dog

It’s quite amazing the different things I see when walking around the suburb with Lotte, the Tibetan Spaniel.

Smiling boy

Photo - Pavel Lovesky

For instance today I saw a little boy, maybe 5 years old, giving his baby sister a lick of his ice-cream because she had dropped hers.

I didn’t hear any coaxing from the mother for him to do this but I heard her giving him lots of praise.  What a lovely thing for this child to do.

I walked further along and saw this elderly couple (older than me?) walking along holding hands.  I was somewhat envious that they are spending their final years together in harmony.  Well it looked like love and harmony to me.

Then I turned a corner and beheld an amazing sight.  Spray painted onto the pavement/sidewalk was the following:

“I could write you a letter or sing you a song or I could just tell you that I think of you all the time, you are the air that I breathe and I love you.  I would have said yes if you had asked me.”

I now wonder who wrote those words and what the outcome was.  Is there some desolate soul pining for his lost love, or is she pining for the lost opportunity.  I wonder whether we will see the next episode written on the pavement in the next week or so.  I do hope so and I hope it turns out well for them both whoever they are.

And this reminded me of something I saw a couple of days ago when walking on the beach – Will you marry me?

How very romantic and I do hope he or she said yes please and they went off together to celebrate.

Yes, I am a romantic at heart.

And what else did I see today?  Children playing on the swings and slides at the local park and lots of budding ballerinas coming from dancing class dressed in pink tutus.  They all looked frozen as their mothers hurried them off to the waiting cars.

Dancing class

Dancing class

And this reminded me of the card my elder sister sent me for my birthday.  She remembered us as ballerinas when we were very small.  She gave up quite early but I kept going until I was too tall to be a ballerina any more.

She thought that this card was very appropriate and I agree.  Well done elder sister for finding it.

I saw two dogs fighting and their owners/handlers trying really hard to get them apart.  It was a little frightening as one of the handlers was a youngish boy.  But they managed to separate them and each go on his way.

I saw a girl delivering flyers into letter boxes.  More junk mail.

I saw a neighbor with her two young children bringing them home from kindergarten.  I always have to stop and speak to the elder of the two girls (she is almost 3) because as she told her mother and father today ‘We are friends”.  She often waves to me from behind the blind in her bedroom when she is put down for a nap or to go to sleep at night.

I saw my next door neighbor walking his dog.  A very young, strong Labrador who needs a lot of walking.

I saw a group of pensioners from a rest home going to the movies.  The van was parked at the door and they all disembarked laughing and thoroughly enjoying the outing.

I really love this suburb in which I now live.  It is like a village but only 10 minutes by car or bus to the center of town.

Wellington city bus

As a senior I can travel on the bus for free during the off-peak hours and so I take advantage of this and leave my car at home when I go to town.

So this is one perk for being older.

And today’s quote is on age or as Shirley MacLaine has it “Sage-ing While Age-ing”

The other day a man asked me what I thought was the best time of life.  “Why,” I answered without a thought, “now.”  ~David Grayson, 1870 – 1946  American journalist and author.


Changing Seasons

Sunflowers at Waiheke Island, NZ

Sunflowers at Waiheke- Photo Barbara-Ann Kerr

Here in Wellington, New Zealand we certainly have four distinct seasons.  We have been enjoying a lovely summer, with long hot days and warm nights.  Fortunately, in Wellington we don’t suffer from the high humidity of many other areas of the country.

But now the days are closing in.  Darkness is coming earlier and there is the occasional autumnal nip in the air.  The plane tree that nestles right over my roof is shedding masses of leaves onto the back courtyard  Pretty when the leaves stay on the tree, but what a mess in my little courtyard. Oh well, another daily task.  But perhaps I should add this to my gratitude list – thanks that I am able to wield a broom to clear the courtyard and thanks that I have a courtyard and a broom.

We also enjoy daylight saving from September to April so very shortly (April 5) the clocks will fall back an hour.  We will all have to adapt to the changed time and this usually takes a few days.

So Lotte (my dog) and I will continue to enjoy the lovely days and we will put off thinking about the coming winter until we have to.

Now excuse me while I go to sweep up the leaves.  Then with Lotte, I  will walk around the streets of Brooklyn (my suburb) admiring the gardens as they morph into autumn.  Until tomorrow.


Young at Heart



On the subject of being young at heart, have you heard of the group of elders who form the chorus Young at Heart?  If like me, you have heard of them and seen the movie then you know what I am talking about. If you haven’t seen or heard of them, beg, borrow or buy a copy of their DVD.  It is heartwarming and certainly uplifting.  See the trailer here.

This very active ‘gang of seniors’ has taken the world by storm.  They have traveled the world and were even in New Zealand recently although unfortunately, I was unable to get a ticket to see them.

They are so enthusiastic and full of life.  Fred (see the photo here) who was dependent on oxygen to get through his days and had difficulty moving around so spent most of his time in a wheelchair,  got totally into the spirit of the group.

“The current performers in Young@Heart range in age from 73 to 89. There are some with prior professional theater or music experience, others who have performed extensively on the amateur level, and some who never stepped onto a stage before turning eighty. None of the current performers of Y@H were part of the original group that formed in 1982, but they have kept alive the spirit of the early pioneers and continue to push the group into glorious new directions. So says Bob Cilman the man behind this amazing story.

You can meet some of the members of the chorus here

When Bob Cilman and Judith Sharpe organized the Young@Heart (Y@H) in 1982 all of the members lived in an elderly housing project in Northampton, MA called the Walter Salvo House.  Some had lived through both the First and Second World Wars but still felt young enough to enter into the spirit of this amazing adventure.  They will tell you that it has been an adventure.  Many have traveled the world and many of those say they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to travel if it hadn’t been for the chorus.So don’t say you can’t do something because of your age.  Life is an adventure.  Let’s all live it.

I am certainly inspired by these elders and am waiting to see what next awaits me on this journey.