Today is grey and cold, a suitable day to mourn what proved to be a lovely, long weekend. I am not feeling so great today so here is a selection of photos to take the place of brain draining writing.
Sunday – Henley Lake
More Watery Stick please!
Then home to prepare and slow cook a Beef Bourguignon, hearty Autumnal fare for sure.
The coast road out to Cape Palliser, about an hour and a half from where we live. Seals and shags and sun. Picnic on the beach with inquisitive Bumble Bees. Hot, metallic, autumn sun. Wrecked crayfish carapaces, flat, warm, grey stone and tiny baby paua.
So clear you can see the South Island – The Kaikoura Coast with snow on the mountains. Time to start the long road home as the shadows lengthened and the air began to cool. Second night of Beef Bourguignon – always tastes better for sitting, with carrot and swede mash. Tired Toasty and tired humans, these holidays sure take it out of you.
I cheerfully admit to being a crap blogger lately, sometimes I am just not in the mood and so busy it just get missed out. I am trying to write in the morning but that is not working out to well – will keep trying.
And then there is the other riveting news that my front tooth has fallen out again. Bit into a kebab on Friday night and tooth just popped out. I think that it wasn’t stuck in properly and am hoping that nice Mr Wong the dentist will not charge me again. So that is where I am off to this afternoon – that and dinner at Yvonne’s house, eggplant casserole, which will be good because pretty much everything I have eaten of hers is. Must be the Italian in her coming out.
Yesterday was spent at Ocean Beach, a rough (unswimmable) beach about half an hour from Featherston. Tons of driftwood to make a shade shelter and we spent the afternoon relaxing, reading books and admiring the lunatics floating off the edge of the small hill just up from us.
I am on to another lot of books now – A Spoonful of Jam by Michelle Magorian, one of my favourite authors. I was late catching onto her, I found an copy of Goodnight MisterTom in a book sale last year and after reading that I had to rush to the library to try to get hold of all the rest of hers, not terribly successfully. Which is fortunate really because it stopped me reading them all at once.
The second book I am reading is called Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin. The writing in this is a bit disappointing after my three previous reads but I am bearing with it, purely to see what happens in the end. This novel is about a teenager who is killed while riding her push bike. She wakes up on an ocean liner heading for Elsewhere – the place people go when they die, and the novel so far is the tale of how she deals with being dead.
My third book is The Luck Factor by Richard Wiseman, this is a reread because I enjoyed it so much the first time. This is the first scientific study into what luckiness is all about and Wiseman comes up with four principles that people use, without realising it, to create good fortune in their lives.
All good stuff and entertaining, makes me wonder what’s coming next.. So many good books, so little time 😉
Outstanding weekend, so outstanding it would have been impossible to write my blog yesterday even with the threat of a cattle prod. I had been up late for two nights and something had to give..
I love going out to my friends place in the country but when a brace of her siblings decide to descend, one of whose birthdays it is, you know the celebration will go on for some time. Next thing you know the sounds are up, you’re on your forth wee dram of some mighty fine scotch and getting a sudden urge to shake your booty with no embarrassment what so ever.
I did do something healthy on Saturday though – went for a icy cold river swim, just what was needed to clear the head in time for Saturday nights fun. We had beautiful weather throughout with temperatures around 28c both days, and cloudless night skies.
I am remarkably chipper today and have got a bit done in the studio so am feeling pleased with myself. I am also happy because today I have heard really good news from two of my best buddies. One has just purchased the most beautiful house, after losing out on a previous one that she really fancied. The other has just found out that the hugely bad financial problem she has had hanging over her head for the last 18 months has resolved itself. So – it’s all good.. and I am thankful for it..
My first go at felting slippers was a bit nerve racking, but fun. I did some research first, looking at many and varied websites and the odd book, but in the end I mostly followed the instructions on this blog – For The Love Of Felt and it worked a treat. Not perfect of course but the next pair will be better.
Felted a spectacle case today to house my much abused glasses. I need two pairs now as I have become long sighted as well as short. I was going to make another pair of slippers, trying out the boot style, but I already had a commission to make a curly heart brooch, my studio was in need of a purging and I had a friend calling for coffee so felted boots were not created. Everything takes a lot longer when you are starting out to learn.
The studio purge has meant that I have FINALLY thrown out my uni essays and my teenage poetry. I kept the essays because of all the work I put into them and some of them I was really proud of – but the poetry? I have no excuse for keeping them for so long. Really I could have given the Vogons a run for their money.
We are heading out to the country to spend the weekend with our friends Julie and Blair tomorrow. They live deep in the Mangatarere Valley and I love it there, I love the darkness and utter silence at night – except for the odd Morepork (owl) or two.
First off – Happy Lammas! The festival of first fruits – all those ffffffffffs..
The 2nd of February marks Lammas/Lughnasadh which is the first of the harvest celebrations but like another important day on the wheel of the year (Sowein/Halloween) it also happens to be the birthday of someone close to me. Sometimes I get swept up in one and need to mark the other another day.
Bloody Hell it’s good being home again. I don’t realise how much I love my own space until I go away – even for one night.
The journey down to Wellington on the train was trouble-free – mainly thanks to my trusty Sony mp3 player, it saves me oodles of grief. Usually the trip is pretty quiet but this time I was trapped in the same carriage with a woman who, if I’m going to be kind about it, liked the sound of her own voice and several shriekey teenage girls in school uniform. Not feeling obliged to listen to others noise I simply plugged myself in and grooved away to the dulcet tones of the BeeGees in full disco flow. I then sat comfortably by myself the entire journey – occasionally wondering how the Brothers Gibb could have thought that singing falsetto would ever be considered manly – even if you do have lots of body hair, medallions and tight, tight trousers. With my mp3 player on random I got to listen to 60’s band Cream and am now a fan.
My Mum enjoyed her trip out for dinner at the Parrot and Jigger for her birthday. My brother, sister-in-law and one of my nephews came along as well and it was good to be able to have a family celebration without the usual mass of dishes to clean up after. My brother had to finish packing to leave at 5.30am to guard the Prime Minister at Waitangi so we had an early night.
It looks like the weather has finally decided it will be summer for awhile. We are going to see Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor at Gladstone Vineyard on Friday evening so will be taking a sun hat.
I love Wellington city – it is only small but packs lots of punch. It has to be coffee capital for a start, and that’s a good thing as far as T and I are concerned. One of the reasons we go there is just to sit, watch the world go by and drink excellent coffee. Our people watching fun was enhanced on our visit last Friday by the presence of what seemed like fifty million ACDC fans in town for the concerts and the passengers from two huge cruise ships parked at the docks. You could certainly tell the difference between the two 😉
I, of course, also go for the shops – lots and lots of lovely shops, full of interesting and beautiful stuff that I covet. On this visit I was determined to find a shop called Minerva that Lisa from my craft course had told me about. Minerva, she said, was up the very top of Cuba St, opposite Fidel’s Cafe. Now I have been up Cuba St many times but always on a limited time budget. It’s filled with great shops and I because of this I have never managed to get to the top, so this was a bit of an adventure.
Well – Minerva was sooo worth going to see, its shelves filled with craft books, I was like a pig in muck. Also it was torturous. We have limited finances at the moment and with most books costing forty, fifty, sixty bucks each, buying one was not an option (roll on Amazon UK). However I did splash out and buy a copy of my latest magazine fixation, the incredible Cloth, Paper, Scissors, subtitled Collage, Mixed Media, Artistic Discovery, it is filled with all sorts of ideas and how tos for making stuff. Right up my alley.
The Christmas issue of Cloth Paper Scissors that had been lent to me, introduced me to what could become another fixation – Zentangles . Zentangle is the term invented to described the drawing of repetitive patterns as a form of meditation. You do not have to buy the Zentangle kit from the website – all you have to do to create your own is the following.
Make a pencil dot at each corner of your paper. Connect the dots. Draw the “string”, a squiggle/swirl.
Use a fine tip pen to fill in the sections with “tangles” – repetitive patterns.
Use the pencil to add shading, and a paper stump for blending and smudging.
Happy New Year to all of you out there! Hope you had a good start to it, I know that the eve itself can sometimes be a huge let down, that’s the problem with building things up and trying to enforce celebration, sometimes it can all turn to custard. Not this time for me however. I had one of the best New Years Eve I have ever had. I also had the photos to show you but I accidentally deleted them, hmm – there was much grumbling and groaning in the household this morning when I discovered that fact I can tell you.
Happy, good-hearted people, liberal quantity’s of alcohol, a damned good sound system, a huge outdoor fire and balmy weather made the night a massive success. It was also wonderful for me as I had the most extraordinary conversations with people, strange, delightful and hilarious, and mostly with people I had only met that night. To top it all off we had a full blue moon which only comes around once every couple of years. According to Wikipedia the next blue moon will be in eighteen years time, when there will also be a total lunar eclipse Hope I am around to see it – although I will be sixty-five and that will be more that enough to celebrate.
Many of my friends are initiating big changes in their lives this year. At last count there were ten of them who, either singularly or as couples, are moving overseas or to other parts of N.Z. And adding to that total will be ourselves, heading back to the U.K. at the end of May to live and work and travel. Where we will settle this time is still up in the air as it really depends on where Mr T can find a job (despite the recession there are still jobs for bus drivers), but at the beginning it will be back to good old Swansea and our bestest UK friends Julian and Kath -the added bonus of being there this year will be attending their wedding in September.
I owe this new opportunity to venture out into the world to my return to good health. I now feel certain that with a bit of luck, I will be able to work and help to fund lots of travelling. And let’s face it – I am very lucky!
I am also HUGELY EXCITED about the move – BUT, am trying hard to stay in the present and enjoy where I am now, in this beautiful country, with these beautiful people, and make the most of it. My oldest friend and her family are leaving in just over a weeks time to live in Whangarei, which is right at the top of the North Island, about 12 hours drive away, and we are having them to our place for a b.b.q this Saturday night. Although I will miss her a lot, I’m not really upset that she is going. The more I’ve travelled the more I have realised that the world is actually a small place and we will meet again – apparently they will be in the UK this December;-)
And I tell you what – I hope the British weather goblins have saved some snow for next Yule – or there will be trouble!
Summer Solstice/Christmas presents
My best Solstice present was a ring made of a computer key – how about commenting and telling me what yours was?
Terry Pratchett is responsible for my heading today, he has been interviewed for the Guardian Book Club, you can read a report of it here. There is also a video of part of the conference and I was so pleased to see that the illness he suffers from has not got him down yet.
I am thoroughly enjoying Unseen Academicals, I try to read it when I am not tired as it is quite complex in some ways. I know that he has another book on the go – with one of my favourite characters, Tiffany Aching in it. Yahoo!
We have spent part of our Saturday visiting friends and chopping down their trees (they did ask us to). Or Tude did the chopping and I just sat around looking pretty 😉 Our last trip of the day we visited Yvonne and her lovely brood of animals, which include amputee Titan, the dog who I reported on in my last post. He greeted us happily but is not quite his old self yet of course. I forgot the camera, so maybe next time I will get a photo of his beautiful mug.
The weather is shaping up well for the Summer Solstice and I have my eye on a bottle of Nelson Boysencider which I spotted in the supermarket today and will make an interesting change to take along to the party.
It is going to be a quiet weekend, although I have been promised home made popcorn later tonight along with the unbelievable United States of Tara.
It’s been a weird week health and mood wise. Mostly on a fairly downward trajectory, culminating in a doom laden yesterday when I could quite happily have dug a large hole and buried myself. I have been trying hard to cope well with the return of the hypothyroidism but actually my report card would read – ‘Needs To Try Harder’. It’s almost like I was holding myself together until my Mother left on Thursday, and then I could fall apart.
Today, however, is a different story. Getting dressed this morning I shocked myself by feeling in such a good mood that I looked at myself in the mirror and shouted- really shouted, Yay!. Then I did it again twice – just because it felt so good. Then I jiggled my naked self about and had another laugh. TMI? – to bad 😉
I managed to keep my mood and energy levels up most of the day. I even did some housework! Granted I needed a few breaks where I just lay down and didn’t want to get up again, but I can cope with that as long as the mood stays up. The house work was accompanied by a good solid dose of comedy, Radio Four – two episode of ‘The News Quiz’ (I love Sandy Toksvig) and then ‘Jo Caulfield Won’t Shut Up’ which was bloody good, I am looking forward to next weeks edition. Those who say women don’t make good comedians are fuck wits.
One of the bonuses of being energy hormone deprived is that you tend to watch a lot more telly. I have just watched Stephan Fry’s documentary on Bi-Polar Disorder for the second time, well worth watching if you are interested in such. Also Wim Wenders, 2004 movie ‘Land of Plenty’, I don’t usually do depressing, but this was so good it was compulsive. I have been thinking about it all day, looking forward to Tude coming home so that we can watch the rest.
It is our anniversary today – twelve years, OMG! Anyway Tude, the poor sod, is not able to be here as it is the Toast Martinborough event today and he is needed to bus hundreds of drunks around the vineyards. He did it last year and it sounds like hell – but with interesting stories. Like the loon who decided that he wanted to get back to Featherston to catch a train, so he stole a bus and drove it into a bus stop.
Off now for a walk down the shops with the constant dog. Hope you all out there are having a good one too 🙂