Tag Archives: Friendship

Another Day, Another Lunch, Another Pool

The third and final day of this holiday weekend found me driving over the Rimutaka Hill with a friend for lunch at yet another friend’s house.  What a social butterfly I am becoming!

The sun was shining brightly when we left but before we reached the Hill the weather became overcast and really looked as if it would rain.

Rimutaka Hill Road

The Rimutakas Range is one of several mountain ranges in the North Island of New Zealand that form a ridge running parallel with the east coast between East Cape and Wellington.  The narrow and winding State Highway 2 crosses the ridge from the Hutt Valley** to Featherston. At the summit is a lookout point where there was a cafe, but after disputes over toilets and land ownership between the Greater Wellington Regional Council and a series of tenants the building sat empty and was severely damaged by fire in April 2009 and later was demolished.

So we wound our way over The Hill with the steep drop on our left (our driving side) and as always we were  glad to reach the summit and to know we are on the way down.  The steep drop is still there on our left but somehow going downhill is not as scary.  Of course, the same thing happens on the way home but this time the drop is someone else’s problem.

 

Greytown

Our destination was Greytown, best known for its collection of beautifully restored Victorian buildings and boutique shops, one of the most complete collections in the entire country. The main street lined with trees and impressive examples of colonial architecture is also home to a wide selection of cafes and restaurants. For those in the mood to shop, the quirky local stores and designer boutiques feature everything from jewellery to gourmet chocolates and antiques.

Westwood

And then to the house.  

Another day, another pool, another lunch.  Of course, my friend, the owner of the house, greeted us warmly and as always, made us feel very welcome.  This friend established a bed and breakfast operation in the house when her husband died very suddenly several years ago.  Westwood is a boutique, thriving operation.

Lunch was a beautiful smoked chicken salad eaten beside the pool, complemented with a bottle of Moet provided by the friend who accompanied me today.  And as I wasn’t driving, I had a glass or two.

How lucky I am to have the opportunity to visit friends and family who live quite close but in different parts of the Wellington Region. 

“Friendship is a rainbow between two hearts”
Judith Baxter, Mother, Blogger, Friend
1938-

** Note – The Hutt Valley is where I used to live with The Architect. It’s approximately 37km NE of Wellington City.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note – The Hutt Valley was where I used to live with The Architect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Strength to Strength

“You gave me strength to stand alone again
To face the world out on my own again
You put me high upon a pedestal
So high that I could almost see eternity”
You Needed Me sung by Anne Murray

Today’s post is all about me.  I heard Anne Murray singing this song on the radio and these four lines jumped out at me.

Family, friends both in the real world and in the blogosphere have given me the “strength to stand alone again” after the sudden death of the Architect.  So thank you all.

Have you read Sara Henderson’s “From Strength to Strength”?  It and the follow up “The Strength in Us All” were given to me  by my sn on his father’s sudden death some 18 years ago  

Sarah tells of her early marriage to a gung-ho American entrepreneur in the 1950’s, his infidelities in Hong Kong in the 1960’s, and finally, upon her husband’s early death, discovering he has left her virtually bankrupt on a million acre property in the Australian outback with 3 young daughters to raise alone. The book delves into her struggles to prevent the bank foreclosing, but much more than that, it tells the story of one woman’s courage and will to go on.  So with this example I picked myself up and went on with life.  And I’m doing so again now.

If you haven’t read these books I suggest you get copies.  Both are available at Amazon in print and kindle form.  Enjoy.

“Don’t wait for a light to appear at the end of the tunnel,
stride down there and light the
bloody thing yourself.”
Sara Henderson

Thanks

You Are Beautiful

In Other Words

“Nothing makes a woman more beautiful
than the belief that she is beautiful.”
Sofia Loren

This is the challenge this week from In Other Words

Use the quote or the author as inspiration;
post a story…fiction or non-fiction, a poem, a commentary, opinion or a picture.
Add your post’s link to, In Other Words.
Somewhere in your post add a link back here.
The link is open from Wednesday until the following Tuesday.

Thank you Patricia at patriciasplace  for bringing us this quote as our Wednesday challenge.  The Wednesday challenge is an event open to all fellow bloggers.  Check it out.

——–

“You are beautiful,” he said, holding her gently and kissing her face where her tears fell freely.

“How could this be?” She asked herself. “How could I be this lucky again? To meet somebody when I’m in my 70s and find love again?”

During the years following the death of her husband, she had made a life for herself but had quite convinced herself that she would continue the rest of her life alone. Oh she had plenty of friends with whom to go to the movies, lunch or dinner, the theatre, museums etc but always she went home alone to her small dog sitting on the window seat, waiting patiently for her return.

And now she had reconnected with a man whom she had known many years ago and he thought her beautiful.

Did he have rose coloured spectacles or was it wishful thinking on both their parts? They had enjoyed meeting for lunch and/or dinner over the past couple of months since they reconnected but she thought they were friends. His wife of many years had been dead only a couple of years. But here he was telling her she was beautiful not only to look at but inside too. He loved her and wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. Could this work at their age? Were they each too settled in their particular ways to make room for a new love? And how would they merge the two families? Would their children accept them? So many unanswered questions but the main and most important one was did she love him and could she imagine spending the rest of her life with him?

She didn’t have to ponder the question for long. They had a history together (albeit a working relationship), they liked the same things – music, theatre, old buildings (he was an architect) travel, reading – oh so many interests in common. And they had many friends in common. Although this was the Capital City it was quite small so this was not unexpected. But then she realised that over the past months she had come to love this man. So very different in all ways from her late husband but this was to be expected and she wasn’t looking for somebody to replace him. This was a new and different love. Not the heady love of youth but the mature love of two older people.

He waited for her answer. She gave it to him with a smile on her lips. “Oh yes, I will come and live with you and we will grow old together” she said as he wiped the tears of joy from her face.

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Six Word Saturday and Five Day Challenge Day 3

Today I am covering two things – Six Word Saturday and Day 3 of Five Day Challenge,  So here goes.


And the Five Day Challenge is

Post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge.

A SWEET TREAT FOR THE ARCHITECT

Choc cake

I had lunch yesterday with two friends, leaving the Architect to fend for himself.  Well of course, he is perfectly capable of doing so.

It was a lovely lunch in a newly opened restaurant in town.  The owner is Louis Sergeant a French-trained Chef de Pâtisserie born in Lille, Northern France.  So aside from delicious savoury dishes there is an array of sweets to satisfy the most sweet-toothed among us.

I had the Caesar Salad which was perfect while my two companions each settled for the tomato Tarte Tatin.   They both said how much they enjoyed it.

Then on the way out of the restaurant I stopped to look at the goodies on display.  There were so many to choose from but I settled on the chocolate mousse with salted caramel.  I can vouch for the fact that it was delicious as my generous friend agreed to share it with me.


Sharing

“Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness;
it has no taste.”
Charlotte Bronte

 

Awake and  sharing –

  • The early sunshine peeping around the curtains
  • That comfortable feeling of knowing you are in the right place, at the right time, with the right person
  • An early morning walk along the beach to get the weekend newspapers
  •  The almost deserted beach with four seagulls
  • The ocean with four surfers
  • The holiday feel in the air – Waitangi Day weekend*
  • The buzz as I pass the surf club, its members getting ready for competition
  • The smell of bacon and eggs cooking on the barbecue when I return from my walk
  • Conversation and jokes with friends visiting for the weekend
  • Memories of my sister who visited from London 12 months ago and

SHARING our corner of Paradise with my friends in the blogging world.  Wish you could all be here with us to share.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
Mahatma Gandhi

Writing 101: Your Voice Will Find You

This is the assignment I have been putting off because I really don’t know what I am being asked to do.  The assignment from October 2 is:

Think about an event you’ve attended and loved. Your hometown’s annual fair. That life-changing music festival. A conference that shifted your worldview. Imagine you’re told it will be cancelled forever or taken over by an evil corporate force. How does that make you feel?

The plaque at the entrance to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum

The plaque at the entrance to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice

For several months I didn’t write a post.  As John Lennon said “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”  But what exciting and fun filled months they were.

I did pen a post when I was in Italy. We had been to Venice and were looking forward to going to Spain with our Italian friends who live in Como.  We started in Madrid and just happened to be there when the two local soccer teams played each other in the football Champions League semi-final.  Real Madrid won but we were assured by almost everyone we met that the other team Atletico de Madrid was the better team and should have won. Anyway, the excitement was felt by all even those of us who are not soccer fanatics.  I made the mistake of buying a Real Madrid scarf when our guide took us to see the stadium – my son quickly put me right on that score, but my soccer-mad grandson graciously accepted the scarf on our return to NZ.

Then the next day we went to Toledo a fantastic town built on several levels and dating back to Roman times.  We saw mosques, churches and synagogues and were told that the three cultures lived peaceably side by side for many centuries.  We wondered aloud what has happened to our world to make this impossible today.  Are we all too caught up in ourselves to consider the next person?  Is it possible to return to those more peaceful times or is it too late?

We went to the Prado museum and saw a wonderful display of modern and ancient art.  Here we saw the Hieronymus Bosch “The Garden of Earthly Delights” – truly amazing.  This is a triptych with so much in it that I stood transfixed until my companions called to move me on to the other fantastic paintings housed in the   I hadn’t heard of Hieronymus Bosch until I started reading the books by Michael Connelly with Harry Bosch as his protagonist.  Good reads by the way.

We saw many other paintings including Diego Velázquez’ ‘ “The Family” that I had seen shown in books but here was the original.  Obviously, it was so much better than any reproduction I had seen.  I now have a mouse pad at the side of the computer showing The Family.

After lunch, we went to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum which is very close to the Prado.  More art. We were told that this was the collection of the Baron’s wife.  With over 1,600 paintings the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection was once the second largest private collection in the world after the British Royal Collection.  Here was a dazzling display of Old Masters, 14th and 15th centuries Italian, Flemish and Dutch painters, and among other things a collection of North American art from the 18th and 19th centuries.  This last we were told is unique in European Art Galleries.

We spent several hours there and I could have stayed all day.  I wanted to return but we had only a few days in Madrid. We really enjoyed our time in Madrid.

 The next stop was Seville. We took a boat ride on the river on a lovely spring evening and oohed at the sights. One afternoon we spent several hours wandering around the old part of the city, getting lost and found again.  We came across an old market where all sorts of fresh food was on sale and we stopped for coffee and chocolate cake at a very small bar inside the market.  The owner came and insisted that my partner try a Spanish wine from a local winery and I had to try Manzanilla (?).  A very pleasant half hour was spent there talking with the owner and his son.

We went to Cordoba and again marvelled at a town that had been in existence since pre-Roman times.  And again we saw how the three cultures managed to live side by side in peace and harmony.

Then Granada which has to be my favourite of the cities we had visited in Spain.  Of course, we had to visit the Alhambra – a 3-hour walking trip that wasn’t nearly long enough to see everything.  We managed to get left behind the group as my companion was busy doing what he does on holiday, taking pictures.  Never mind we managed to connect with the bus before it took off for the city again.

And then when our friends had to go home, we left for Barcelona.  But this has to have a post to itself.  The buildings, the food, the people all were exceptional.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Oxford Adventure

“There behind me, far away, never more beautiful since, was the fabled cluster of spires and towers.”
From Surprised by Joy – C S Lewis.

With Sallyann2 On Saturday we spent the day in Oxford with my blogging friend, Sallyann from Photographic Memories.  Sallyann lives in Oxford so we were lucky in having our own private tour guide.

I have been to Oxford several times before but have never seen many of the places Sallyann showed us.  Sallyann is the intrepid photographer but for this day, I took the shots.Oxford TubeWe went on a bus from London – 3.5 hours ride from London to Oxford.  Sallyann met us at the bus terminal and we decided to start our afternoon with lunch.  Had we ever been to the pie shop?  No so let’s all go there.  The Pieminster is one of a chain of pie shops and this one is set in the Covered Market in Oxford.

Covered Market

Covered market, Oxford

Sallyann hadn’t been there either; her daughters had suggested that she take us there. Sallyann and my sister each had Kate and Sydney (steak and kidney) and I had Chicken of Arragon pie (chicken, smoked bacon and tarragon) all served with mashed potatoes and gravy.  We all declared them very good and ate up every last bit.  This was different to the pie shops that abounded when I grew up in the east end of London.  These pies there were beef, served with mashed  potatoes and liquor – a gravy made primarily of parsley and a taste unlike any other I have ever had.  But back to Saturday and our pies and the rest of the afternoon.London September 2013 007We started in the castle precinct.  Oxford Castle is a large, partly ruined Norman medieval castle.  We didn’t go inside but we went to the prison (part of the castle precinct) that has now been turned into a high class hotel. – Malmaison, Oxford Castle.  We are told that the rooms are made from joining two cells. Unfortunately we were too late in the day to see the rooms opened as they were being cleaned.London September 2013 016We wandered around with our own personal tour guide, down alleys  and little streets that one would hardly think could have traffic going in both directions – many looked too narrow for cars to pass each other.

Narnia doorHidden-away squares adorned with Victorian style lampposts made us feel as though we’d  stumbled out of the wardrobe and into Narnia.  We saw the Brasenose College Door said to be the inspiration for C S Lewis’ “The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe”  with the close by,  Radcliffe Camera.  C.S. Lewis, creator of the Narnia stories, created them right here in Oxford when he was a professor at Magdalen College.

London September 2013 078We were taken to a 13th century  pub – no we didn’t go in.  It was full of students and visitors on a busy Saturday afternoon.  But without our guide we would never have stumbled upon this gem.

We all agreed it was a great afternoon.  It ended with coffee, laughter and promises to keep in touch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Very Sick Dog, Very Scared Owner

Thursday was a normal day.  The sun was shining brightly and all was well with my world.  Just another Thursday, that is until about 2pm.  Lotte was lying contentedly in the sunshine, the painter across the road was listening to his quietly playing music and I had just sat down for a cup of tea after lunch.

Suddenly, the air was filled with an unholy screech coming from Lotte. my Tibetan Spaniel.  I rushed outside to see her and she was lying limply on the ground with her eyes way back in her head.  Once before she had suffered a seizure from being too hot and the vet I saw then said to sit with her for a while until she came out of it.  However, this time, she shrieked again and I knew she had to see our own vet Dr Michael.

Michael took one look at Lotte and rushed her into the consulting room.  There he agreed that I had a very sick little dog and when he checked her heart rate was 20 compared to the usual 136.  Very sick indeed, and when he looked in her mouth he declared that she was going blue and promptly rushed her off.  I was left to sit and wait for a verdict.

When he returned he asked several questions such as had there been any big changes to her diet, did I have problems with a neighbour who didn’t like dogs (apparently there have been a couple of poisonings in the neighbourhood);  had she wandered off and could she have eaten something poisonous; did I have any poisonous plants in the garden?  etc etc.  Well Lotte is confined to the premises and doesn’t go away unless it is with me, she rarely eats what I put down for her so she is unlikely to eat anything else, she doesn’t scavenge, my neighbours all make a fuss of Lotte and  so the answers to the questions were not at all helpful.

Dr Michael said he had given her adrenaline, oxygen and intravenous fluids as she was dehydrated.  He thought that she had suffered an anaphylactic shock caused by an insect sting, and said he would keep her in for the afternoon to monitor her.  As you can imagine it was a very subdued owner who went home without her dog.

Several hours later following a call from the surgery, I picked up a very docile, Lotte having been given the after-hours contact in case of an emergency and also was asked to bring her back the next day for a further raft of tests.  The evening and the night were spent with Lotte lying close to me, but thankfully there was no cause to call the emergency number.

Lottte with coloured boots

Lotte sleeping after her visit to the Vets

The next day she went back for a series of tests including a”blood tests, fluid therapy, radiology, ultrasonography and histology”.  The outcome of all these tests was the verdict that she had suffered a heart attack and as we knew had been very close to dying when I brought her into the clinic.

So now I have a very quiet little dog, who is not allowed any exercise and is confined to “House rest for 10 days”.  We are just spending the next few days quietly with each other – two best friends looking out for each other.

“If you’re alone, I’ll be your shadow.
If you want to cry, I’ll be your shoulder.
If you want a hug, I’ll be your pillow.
If you need to be happy, I’ll be your smile.
But any time you need a friend, I’ll just be me. ” Author Unknown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

..And here’s a rainbow in case you need one today

Rainbow

My rainbow

`

A Very Simple Pleasure

The area in which I now live is a mix of young families, grown up families, single people, professional singles and couples, and retirees like me.

The other day my day was made when I arrived home.  As I was getting out of the car I heard two little voices calling “Judith, Judith” and there were the two,  little girls from across the road calling me to come and talk.  These delightful little ones are 4 and 2 years old and I was thrilled that they wanted to speak to me.

They showed me the treasures they had gathered that day with the elder one prompting her sister all the time.  The treasures were leaves, a couple of flowering weeds, a pebble and a bird’s feather – what innocence they displayed. We ‘chatted’ for some minutes and then I was told by the elder one, that they were waiting for friends who were coming for a sleepover.  I was told that one was only a baby and so wouldn’t be playing but her big sister would.  I heard that they would stay the night and then go home to their own house the next day.  This information was imparted with such seriousness and then when the car carrying the friends arrived, their excitement knew no bounds – I love that expression and it really tells how they were.  Jumping up and down and calling their friends’ names.

This simple interaction with these two little girls brought me so much pleasure  and I thought after I left them that often we look for happiness in the big things, when in fact happiness and pleasures are all around us if we just take the time to look.

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
“Leisure” by William Henry Davies, Welsh Poet & writer 1871-1940.

Davies plaque

So tomorrow take some time just to be and to look around and see the little things that make life worthwhile.  Two little girls made by heart sing that day – what makes yours sing?

Weddings

I dreamed of a wedding of elaborate elegance,
A church filled with family and friends.
I asked him what kind of a wedding he wished for,
He said one that would make me his wife.
~Author Unknown

For several years I acted as the Wedding Coordinator at an historic church here in Wellington.  New Zealand is a very young country, so historic in this instance is only some 140 years.  However, I enjoyed my time there and loved being involved with so many brides and grooms.  Each year we had around 90 weddings, so there were plenty of people for me to interact with.

For whatever reason, today I found myself looking through some of the poems that had been read at the ceremonies.  Of course, there were those that were used again and again, eg  from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

“….Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away,
and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.
Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground,
and when all the pretty blossom have fallen from their branches,
they find that they are one tree and not two…”

and the Apache Blessing

“Now you will feel no rain,
for each of you will be shelter for the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
for each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there will be no loneliness,
for each of you will be a companion to the other.
Now you are two persons,
but there is only one life before you….”

and of course 1 Corinthians 13

“… Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things…”

And many others.

During my tenure I made many friends.  I have heard from some of the brides and grooms on where/how they spent their honeymoon, when their first child was born, how they celebrated anniversaries and generally they have kept me in the loop.  I received several invitations to the reception that of course I always refused and have many thank you letters filed away.   I feel very honoured to be treated this way.  After all, for most of them, I was only in their lives for a very short time at a very busy period in their lives.

And many have given me approval to use their photos in my blogs so here are a few:

BrideBride2Bride and groom