Tag Archives: friends

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. 

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Friendship

“Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another
“What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”
C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

This was posted by Darlene Foster on her Facebook page yesterday.  I have known and used this quote for many years.  And recently I have been thinking long and hard on the power of friendship.

I have waxed lyrical (well, I hope t was lyrical) about all the help my friends gave me last year when I was incapacitated.  Friends who offered physical help, driving, shopping, cooking but also the friends and family around the world including the many I now have through our blogging community who offered support.

We are so lucky in this age of technology where we can communicate instantly by email, messages or my favourite, Skype.  In fact, I have a regular Skype call with Chris at Bridges Burning and now we have arranged that on our next call Joss at The Wise Woman in Me will join us.  How great is that!

And then I looked on Goodreads to see what other words of wisdom Lewis had shared and I came upon two more

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art….
It has no survival value;
rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”

And I think my favourite is

“What draws people to be friends
is that they see the same truth.
They share it.”

So there you have my thoughts for today.  Thinking of the many friends I have both physically in Real Life and in the Blogosphere.  Thank you all for caring and sharing.

And now, as we haven’t seen this for a while, I offer you my waterfall.  The photo was taken at McLaren Falls, Tauranga several years ago but I still love it.

Waterfall

And in case you are interested in my weather comments.  Today there is no rain, the sun peeked through for a very short time and there is no wind.  Maybe the summer isn’t lost; it’s only been resting.

Ain’t Technology Great!

 

Kitchener to wellington

I’m so excited.  One of my earliest contacts in the blogosphere was Chris from bridgesburning.  Over the years we have formed a friendship and have sent each other messages via Messenger and also emails.  But today was a Red Letter Day.  Using our iPads I got to speak to my friend for the very first time.  We live 14,038 kms apart (according to our friend Google) and it was as if we were speaking/sitting in the same room.

She sounded exactly as I had thought she would.  Friendly and seemingly as pleased to speak to me as I was to speak to her.

What did we speak about?  Oh, inconsequential things that two women friends discuss.  We didn’t try to put the world right; to stem the flow of heroin or cocaine; to settle the conflicts in various parts of the world.  No.  We talked about families, and how we have each moved back from other places and how we were settling back into our old lives again.

So thank you Mr Technology whoever you are for giving us this opportunity.  This was the first but I’m sure it won’t be the last.  And next time we are going to see how we can make the video work.  Won’t that be fun.

siliconangle.com

Thanks to siliconangle.com for the photo.

 And  couple of years ago while on a visit to London my sister and I met up with Sallyann from PhotographicMemories.  That was a fun filled day in Oxford and great to meet a fellow blogger in person.   I think my sister and Sallyann have met up for lunch since that day.

 “There is no distance too far between friends,
for friendship gives wings to the heart.”
Anonymous

It’s Wellington on a good day

Six word Saturday buttonSix word Saturday 

It’s Saturday again and time to join the gang at Six Word Saturday. Click on the badge to play along.

This has been the most perfect January day. Temperatures in and around 30 degrees. This is hot in this temperate climate and the pool at my son’s house was in high demand..

Lunch at a friend’s house but we decided it was too hot to eat outside so three elderly ladies ate lunch inside. Much laughter, exchange of stories and general well being. Some three and half hours later we decided that lunch was over.

How incongruous on this hot day the man delivering winter firewood arrived.

Back to lunch and how different was today’s lunch to yesterday’s.  Another beautifulWellington day but this time lunch with a friend who has dementia. Added to that is the problem that she is unable to walk without her Zimmer frame and you can see lunch was not a bundle of laughs.

I picked up my friend and we went to the beautiful Wellington Botanic Gardens. 25 hectares of landscaped gardens, protected natural bush, specialised plant collections and of course the famous Lady Norwood Rose Garden.  Nestled into the Rose Garden is the Begonia House set in a Victorian conservatory. And at the side of the Begonia House under the same roof is a delightful cafe. As you can imagine on such a lovely day it was full of people chatting, laughing and enjoying lunch.

Our lunch was a quieter more somber affair.  My friend who used to be the centre of any gathering was very quiet.  She has trouble remembering. Oh, she remembers names and who you are.  She has difficulty remembering events and words to describe her thoughts and feelings.

How scared she must be and how scared will her family be. She is aware that she isn’t making sense and gets annoyed with herself and there’s no way for me to help.

After a short run around the waterfront (in the car of course) I delivered her back home to her lovely husband.  I made us all a cup of tea and then left once again saying thanks to whichever god is looking out for me.

I really feel for this once vibrant, educated and intelligent woman whose life is now confined to their apartment and who now has to wait for a friend or family member to take her out. When I think of all the ills that could befall one, this would be the hardest to bear.

 

 

Mea Culpa

crying face

Some of us have committed to write a post every day  Well…….

I must apologise. Yesterday was one of those days. It started with a smoothie followed by tea. Then a call from a friend to meet for lunch. So I took off leaving the moving friends to their own devices.

Lunch of course moved into the next stage – two women shopping. Then back to this friends house for a cup of tea. Tea didn’t materialise but gin did. Then the house moving friends turned up so the beginning of a party developed.  Then neighbours were called and it turned out two of the men had been at school together. So one drink turned into several.

By the time we left to go home nobody has given any thought to dinner.  Then, one of those aha! moments.  We were passing the Golden Arches and that’s where we ate

Two large gins and tonic followed by a 99% Angus burger and chips do not make for a settled night.

So my friends that’s why there was no email yesterday. I’ll try to do better tomorrow.

 

 

 

Musing and Meandering

“In a world where thrushes sing and willow trees are golden in the spring, boredom should have been included among the seven deadly sins.”
― Elizabeth Goudge, English author of romance novels, short stories and children’s books. 1900-1984

The rush and bustle of the holiday season has for me at least, calmed down. But of course, for most of New Zealand this is holiday time, the time for the family’s annual vacation.

When I first came to New Zealand oh so many years ago, the whole place shut down for at least two weeks over this time. Every business closed on Christmas Eve and apart from retail outlets all businesses stayed closed until well into the New Year. Very frustrating for a newcomer. Now of course, business is as usual except for the statutory holidays – Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and the following one. Retailers operate on every day except Christmas Day.

So if I’m not on holiday (although when one is retired each day is a holiday) what am I doing? Well at last I have seen the end of the interminable/innumerable packing boxes from my move. This has been the most difficult of all 20 plus moves I have made in my life. The moving was exacerbated by the fact that I was moving into a much smaller space. But now that is done and the Salvation Army has been the recipient of many things that I am sure will be of use to others.

The living room is looking more like home and I know that I can be happy here. Of course, added to this is the benefit of having my daughter and her two teenage boys in the house too.

So I looked around for something to do. I tried my hand at staining an old bookcase and am pleased to say that it turned out quite well. I then started on an old table that had suffered severe water damage from a plant having been placed upon it. That too turned out well. Now my daughter and her boys are running from me in case I try to stain them or any of their belongings.

It’s a good thing I tackled that job on New Year’s Day because since then it has rained almost non stop.

On Christmas Eve the SKY TV man eventually came and installed the television. Lucky for me as today has been mostly catching up on programmes interspersed with catching up on my reading.

Perhaps when I’m thinking of things for which to be grateful today’s rainfall will feature. It certainly will for the farmers in the South Island who are facing drought conditions this early in the summer season.

So nothing much changes in my writing. I write on anything and everything that comes into this aged mind. Until tomorrow dear friends, and thank you for reading my meanderings.

A-New-Book-With-Blank-Pages

This particularly  for Chris and Donna

 

 

 

 

 

A Weekend Away

Imagine a group of friends, all well into their senior years enjoying themselves in a rare weekend away together.

Not for them the quiet talk around the fireside but instead a joyous celebration of life culminating in their opening the doors onto the deck on a cold winter’s night and all joining in dancing and singing to Cole Porter’s “Let’s Misbehave”.

Every one of us felt invigorated to be in the company of our peers, each of whom has decided that ‘age’ is a frame of mind and there is still time to sing and dance.

Those memories will remain.

This post is in response to the 100 word writing challenge from Velvet Verbosity where we are asked to write 100 words inspired by a single prompt. This week’s word is MISBEHAVE

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Italy Calling

Como 1

We are still with our friends in Como and having a really good vacation.

May 1 is a Public Holiday in Italy – Labour Day.  The day dawned bright and clear and it was decided that we would go to the Cernobbio on the lake for coffee and a little look around.

station at Chernobbi

This is a beautiful small place and as we know George Clooney spends much of his time here.  No, we didn’t see him.  We are told that the locals do not make any special fuss for him.  Fortunately we were with our hosts who knew just what would happen at the lake on such a lovely day – crowds of people flocking there on a mid week holiday.  So we went early in the day, found a car park and a lovely outdoor cafe for coffee.  Our hosts refer to 10.30 am as cappuccino time.

Market at Chernobbi

Open air market for May Day

We then walked around this lovely small town in the sunshine, people watching and more particularly for my architect partner, building watching.  He is an avid photographer and took many photos.

Shop keeper just opening for the day

Shop keeper just opening for the day

Street in Chernobbi

A very narrow street

We left before the town became really busy and had a leisurely drive back home for lunch and a leisurely afternoon complete with siesta.

A very wet day and a very bad head cold kept us housebound for the next day except for the necessary visit to the supermercado.

On Saturday we were invited to dinner with friends.  As they live a short distance away around the lake it was decided to leave early and visit Bellagio on the way to Erba.

Narrow road

But as we know ‘The best laid plans…”  We rounded a bend to be confronted by

cars at crash scene

A walk around the next very narrow bend showed us the reason for this long line of cars

car crash 03:05

This is such a narrow road that all traffic in both directions was at a standstill.  We waited (im)patiently for the police and ambulance to arrive

L1000406i

and after having conversations with various other travelers, we decided to reverse (with difficulty) and take the alternate road high above the lake.  This is not a drive for the faint hearted.  The road drops many metres down to the lake on one side and is two way all the way.

We eventually arrived at our friends house and were all very grateful for the drink that was handed to us as we arrived.

Friendship isn’t a big thing
— it’s a million little things.
Anon

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Adventure Begins

Thursday April 24/14. 

At last after a fairly hectic few days we are at the start of our journey.  To get to Como from Wellington we have three flights.  Wellington/Auckland – hour; Auckland/Hong Kong – 12 hours and Hong Kong/Malpensa, Madrid – 13 hours.  This is  followed by a 40 minute car ride to Como.

The adventure is just beginning and a charming young Asian steward brought a glass of champagne before the plane took off.  Then the purser appeared with a beautifully produced menu for lunch.  I chose salmon with apple and wasabi mayonnaise salad, followed by stir fried prawns with XO sauce, jasmine rice and vegetables.  Delicious.  But before lunch the same young Asian man brought me a perfectly mixed Bloody Marycomplete with a small bottle of Tobasco sauce as he didn’t know how much to put into the drink.

We had fully flat beds and after such an early start they looked very appealing.

It is a few years since I was last in Hong Kong and the changes to that airport are amazing,

And the Cathay Pacific lounge has to be seen to be believed.  It is without a doubt the most beautiful airline lounge I have been in.  Carrara marble on every surface and while that sounds awful it was absolutely beautiful.  They call this lounge The Bridge as it bridges two areas each complete with bars and cafes with every type of food imaginable.  But who really wants to eat after a 13 hour flight?  We had some broth and a cup of coffee.

We had four hours wait in this fabulous lounge.  And even at 12 midnight the shops were open offering high class goods.

Friday April 25

Then it was time for the next leg of our journey.  This time I slept most of the way – all through dinner and the next round of snacks.  It is great to be able to stretch out in full length beds and sleep the hours away.  Breakfast was served and suddenly we were beginning our descent into Malpensa.

Our friends were at the airport to meet us and drive us to their home for a few days rest and recuperation after our long flight.

In Italy April 25 is a public holiday – Liberation Day.  It marks the fall of Mussolini’s Italian Social Republic and the end of the Nazi occupation in Italy in 1945, towards the end of the second World War.   This is also a public holiday in New Zealand – ANZAC Day.  It commemorates the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) at Gallipoli, Turkey, during World War I in 1915. This event, also observed in Australia, remembers all New Zealanders who served their country in wars and conflicts. Links to posts written for Anzac Day 2011, 2012 and 2013 are at the end of this missive.

As everybody was on holiday the whole family came for lunch on a glorious spring day.  Small children, adult children and their spouses all gave us a great welcome to Italy. It was such a lovely spring day that we ate outside in the gazebo. But once the family went home, we retired to our beds for a welcome siesta.

Saturday April 26

Another lovely warm spring day and so after breakfast we went into Como to parade around, look at the lake and do some people watching.  But first our host had to have coffee.  What a beautiful old city this is.  The church, duomo, is 12th Century and we decided against going into it as there were so many people around.  Instead we chose to just wander around for several hours.

Then back to our hosts’ house for another siesta.  We were becoming very used to this custom by now.

Sunday April 27

All the family came to lunch again.  As it rained heavily we were all in the house and the children became a trifle grumpy as they couldn’t get out to play.

Monday April 28

Today it rained as if it would never stop.  Typical spring weather in Italy we are told.  good friends of our hosts came for lunch which went on well into the afternoon following which we had another siesta.

Tuesday April 29

A wet start to the day but it improved to hot sunshine later.  We went into Como for the necessary espresso and to acquire Italian sim cards for our phones.  But we didn’t have our passports with us and so we had to go back home to retrieve them.

We did some window shopping, bought another suitcase and had lunch in a restaurant atop a four story building affording fantastic views of both the duomo and the lake.

Buying sim cards and a usb for the internet proved to be more difficult than we expected.  Vodafone would not take a credit card or cash for the usb and after trying several of our cards our host came to the party with an cash card to pay for the connection.  With the difficulty of language, their not taking our credit cards or cash this transaction took over an hour.  So we were all pleased to find somewhere for coffee and then go home again.

“The traveler sees what he sees.
The tourist sees what he has come to see.”
― G.K. Chesterton

Links to ANZAC Day Posts

 

Tie a Yellow Ribbon

The siren call of home has sounded and each day it is getting   louder.  It is now 10 weeks since I kissed my family and special friend goodbye at Wellington airport and set off on this adventure.  And what an adventure it has been.

Wellington August 2013 040

First I visited my sister in London and we did things that sisters would do if they saw each other on a regular basis.  We don’t but we make up for it when we do meet.  We visited family, and aged aunt with Alzheimer’s (although we discovered she is only a few years older than us), cousins, nieces and a special blogging buddy in Oxford.

Sisters

Originally our plans were to both go to Florence, hut these plans were dashed when my sister had to have a series of tests after suffering what was thought could be a heart attack.  She wasn’t allowed to fly so I went on my own.

I felt rather shaky on the day I left London.  I was going off alone to a country where I knew nobody and didn’t speak the language.  But what a great time I had there.  I found my way around very easily and quickly felt at home in this wonderful city.  Paris is described a the City of Light but for me now Florence will always have that soubriquet.

I discovered all the wonderful buildings and artwork that I had read about so many times in the past but I also discovered the back streets where lesser known wonders were housed.  I discovered the joys/benefits of living in an apartment in a suburb as opposed to living in a five-star hotel in the centre of town.  And there is a certain freedom in being somewhere where one is not known and one knows no-one.

I have waxed on and on about the wonders of this now my favourite city in earlier posts and so wont bore you here, but if you have missed them or if you are a new reader of this blog please click here to read of my adventures.

Il Duomo

Click the photo to read some of the posts on my visit to Florence

After almost three weeks the call of family and home was becoming stronger and so I left Florence and went back to London to decide on the next leg of this journey/adventure/experience.  The decision was made that I should return home and resume normal life albeit slightly differently because now my partner and I have decided we want to spend the rest of our lives together.  So another chapter in this long and colourful life is beginning.

Wellington city and harbour.

Wellington City and harbour. Via Wikipedia

Changes to the airline ticket have been made and I am now going home on Saturday 2 November – that’s only “four more sleeps” and I am getting excited about seeing family and friends again. Oh I shall miss my sister,the interaction, laughs,stories and jokes but it is time for normal service to be resumed.

China Southern Airlines

Because of the mix up on the way to London the airline has upgraded me to First Class travel home.  I another reason to be looking forward to Saturday.  I am looking forward to it.

So I will be off-line for a few days, but watch this space.

“Is it possible for home to be a person and
not a place?”
Stephanie Perkins,  American author