Wednesday, 31 December 2008

A Very Happy 2009

Wishing my visitors / lurkers / regular "stoppers by" a great 2009

Monday, 29 December 2008

It's a blank.

We’ve all heard that saying, “If you remember the ‘60s, you weren’t there”. I would dispute that. I lived through nine years of the 1960’s, but was of course too young to be smoking illegal substances. I just remember my birthday parties with paper hats, balloons and cute little cakes.

In the future, if you ask me the question, “What were you doing on 29th December 2008?” I won’t be able to recall part of it. This morning at 4.45am I woke up in tears, the pain in my throat was so awful. I have been experiencing the feeling of swallowing thumb tacks for the last two days, but just put it down to a bad sore throat and have been taking pain killers. I could take it no longer. My better half took me to the local “out of hours” clinic at 5am and the doctor diagnosed a bad case of tonsillitis.

“Don’t worry, we’ll soon have you fixed up and feeling great”. I think I looked at him as if he had lost the plot, but I my head, ears and throat were screaming so hard, I suspect the muscles in my face weren’t terribly coordinated.

The doctor prescribed an IV to re-hydrate me and a cocktail of no fewer than 7 drugs, one of which was opiate based. He was right, the pain vanished and aside from the discomfort of a needle in the back of my hand, I felt suddenly as fit as a flea. The relief of finally being able to swallow was gargantuan. This lasted approximately two seconds.

I won’t try to convey what happened when I stood up to go home. “Stoned” really doesn’t cover it. For me, normally half the dosage of the average painkiller is enough to get rid of a migraine. I had just imbibed enough drugs to knock out a Shire Horse.

So, no I really don’t remember much between 5.30am and 11am this morning; December 29th will remain a drug induced enigma

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Death of a Star

I was saddened to hear yesterday of the death of Eartha Kitt. I found her the most magnetising entertainer. I met her thirty five years ago, backstage on the set of a play she was starring in with David Kosoff. I was twelve at the time, and totally mesmerised by this gloriously talented lady.

I just wonder, where are the upcoming stars of her calibre these days? When you look at the lightweights in Hollywood who have had charmed (or perhaps cursed?) lives.

I think part of Eartha's weight as a actress/singer/comedienne was that she had triumphed over the rough beginnings she had as a child and young woman. Proof, if we needed it, that it is through the difficult times that our characters are formed.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Lazy Hazy Days of Summer

A highlight of the last few days has been planning what to plant in the newly dug out and weeded areas of the garden. I aspire to yards and yards of lavender, in the hope that our wee patch of paradise can become the “stop off of choice” for the nation’s bees. We bought two varieties today from the garden centre, so I trust it won’t be long before Foxglove Hollow becomes Lavender Hill.

Returning recently from a wedding in the north, we flew over our house on the approach to the capital’s airport. I could certainly spot our street, but not our property, as it is hidden between two clusters of native trees. If the bees fly on the same flight path as Air Zealand, soon they should be able to smell our garden; a lavender patch bed and breakfast.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Things that go bump

On Friday I received what I thought was a “wrong call” at work on my mobile. I picked up, and the caller said “Terracotta or glazed?” I recognised my better half’s voice, but was perplexed by the question.
“Depends what for?”
“A bird bath” came the reply.
In spite of protestations that I didn’t want a birthday present, he insisted. My joyful hobby of garden bird watching was going to have a new addition.

By the time I got home, it was elegantly parked on a bit of sloped garden near the kitchen window, for good viewing.

“I bet Otto will be drinking from it first” I quipped. Our large tom cat loves lapping water in the various bowls I have scattered around the garden.

Then I realised that the basin part of the bath was only balanced on its pedestal. Not going to work with 6kg of klutz jumping on it. He would be brained within seconds.

I notice on my husband’[s grocery shopping list for today, in between yoghurt and soap powder is “Cement”.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Birds of a Feather

Yesterday morning as I hopped off the train at the main terminus, I was greeted by an unusual sight. Well, I should say I heard something unusual before I saw it. On the main concourse was a group of about 50 women chattering away, like a group of migrating starlings. I started to play the guessing game; Greek, Russian Orthodox, Serbian? I overheard a language I couldn’t translate, as the musical chatter ebbed and flowed.
Most of them were dressed in black, some were elderly, some were wearing headscarves over their grey hair, some looked like trendy grand-daughters wearing black leggings and sporting ipods and earphones.

What was unusual? Well, not one of them could have boasted of being 5’ tall. In fact they were all the same height – though I noticed some of the iPod babes were wearing heels.

I have heard the average height of a Kiwi lady is 5’5”, so I already have 4 inches on the average, but I felt like a giant next to this crowd. I quipped with one of the young women “This looks quite an outing, which train are you taking?” She replied that they were all family and going on a picnic to a local beauty spot.


I guess Christmas in that community will be quite an event.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Not doing but being

I am an animal lover. If it has four legs and will stand still, I will talk to it and befriend it (vicious dogs excepted). One of my joys as I dabble in the garden is getting know the native birds and insects. However, this year, I have been conscious of how few bees we have had visiting our lavender and other flowers. In the light of the world wide problem with Colony Collapse Disorder, this has been very disturbing. This summer I have seen the grand total of three bees in our garden.

In my humble opinion, there is no creature on earth as fascinating as the honey bee. If I had a coat of arms, the bee would need to be part of it. I can find no greater evidence of a Divine Creator than this tiny insect. It is hard working, intelligent and our entire life system depends on it. No honey bee, no pollination, no food. Simple.

When I first heard about CCD, and how the scientific community is baffled and alarmed by it, I decided to take action. Every time I saw a bee, or thought there should be a bee around – say when the flowers started to blossom, I prayed for them. OK, I realise at this point you may have hung a loony tag around my neck, but stick with me.

Tonight I experienced a miracle; as I walked through our newly mown garden, I found I was being followed by a bee. I stopped to greet it and cartoon like it froze mid air then butted me on the forehead. Between myself and my cat, this is a normal greeting of affection. She will sit for ages next to my keyboard and wait to be greeted with a head but.

But with a bee?

I guess the prayers are just appreciated.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

One man went to mow..........

After four months of building work on our property, half of the lawn has been chewed into muddy channels where machinery has trundled, dug and dragged 5 meter posts and buried drains. I had wondered if we’d ever be able to look out over that area again without cringing.

We haven’t cut the lawn from probably three months, and now it is summer a miracle has taken place. In exchange for a neatly mown, one in three gradient lawn we have a meadow. It is really extraordinary. There are dandelions, daisies and buttercups, about twenty varieties of grass and lots of tiny ground level flowers and mosses. The birds have a marvellous grass seed takeaway and the cats pretend to be miniature lions in the savannah.

Soon there will be bees and butterflies humming and fluttering. P

Perhaps we should leave it be.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Pass me the quill and inkpot

I work all day with technology, so find it rather disheartening to come home to it too. My computer is dying a slow and painful death, but it will be a while before I can replace it.

Last night, I spent nearly two hours writing an “End of Year” letter, and longing for the bad old days when I would hand write one, photo copy it and stuff in envelopes with pretty stamps. It took far too long to try and find photos and import them into a document that insisted it would be 13MB regardless of how I edited the photos.

I finally thought I’d cracked the problem, emailed out about 200 electronic compilations of the year, only to find out this morning that the photos hadn’t appeared on the email at all.

Next year, I’m buying stamps.