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Archive for the ‘Things I like’ Category

Wellington, my city, is filled with native trees, the large majority of which are evergreen. But I grew up in the South Island, where years of colonisation and farming have ensured that rivers are lined with willows, poplars are used as windbreaks, and autumn colours are everywhere. But it has been 35 years since I moved to Wellington, so I had forgotten how gorgeous autumn can be in the south. I’d even forgotten when autumn occurred there, and had expected to miss the autumn colours on our trip south last month. But I didn’t.

Whilst I love the poplars, the willows were my favourite. They now adorn the header of this blog, as you can see. I was just so happy every time I saw them.

Whilst our natural lakes and fjords are mostly lined with native trees (future tree posts), this isn’t always the case in more arid areas, or with artificial lakes, where willows are often planted on the shore’s edge. At least, I think they are willows. Who cares? They’re beautiful.

Another in the Thursday Tree Love series – find all the other bloggers doing it here.

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I’ve been doing some cleaning out of boxes of junk in my office, and came across a few things that made me smile:

  • The farewell card from the company I chaired, when I resigned to go to the Middle East and Italy. Aside from the lovely messages from the staff, and the gift of a beautiful silk scarf (which is currently in my handbag to help out with any unexpectedly cold autumn days), they all provided their favourite travel tips for Europe. The tips included favourite places in France, eight Kiwi cafes with the best coffee in London, a cottage in Oxfordshire, a pub in Essex, and a patisserie at the bottom of the steps of the Sacre Coeur in Paris, a b&b in Ravello on the Amalfi Coast, recommendations for shopping in Dubai, information about border crossings into Israel, and recommendations about Petra and Wadi Rum in Jordan.
  • A letter from my mother (she’s been gone five years now) talking about her recent trip to visit me, and the birthday surprise we gave her (a visit from my younger sister as well, and a performance of World of Wearable Arts). It was two years after my father had died, and she had been suffering anxiety, so the holiday away was just what she needed. She sounded enthusiastic about learning to use the computer and was about to start lessons, she was going to an exercise group, and had joined a tai chi group too. It was only a few years later when the Alzheimer’s started affecting her, but it makes me happy and proud of the efforts she made to build her own life after 50 years with my father.
  • Genealogy information of my mother’s family, which I didn’t realise I had. Pays to look at every document in a box full of junk.
  • Postcards from all over Europe, sent by British friends we met in Bangkok in the early 90s.
  • A recipe for Sponge Drops, a very traditional light sponge in individual cakes (drops), sandwiched together with cream and raspberry jam. I might just have to make some sometime soon.
  • The itinerary for our first trip to South Africa more than ten years ago, for my husband’s milestone birthday. It was an amazing trip, so highly anticipated, and lived up to my expectations so wonderfully that we went back for my own milestone birthday a few years later, and I was hoping to go back again next year for another such birthday. I’d been hoping friends and family might join us then too, but whether we will be able to or not is anybody’s guess at the moment.
  • An article about the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust winning a UK National eWell-Being Award for its website and messageboards that built a community. I used the site and then volunteered on the site for a decade.
  • Cards and drawings from Charlie, when she used to have an amazing time visiting us.

I still have lots to sort through. I wonder what else I might find?

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For 18 years we had at least one cat. We got them as kittens in 1993, shortly after we returned from Thailand, and almost immediately after we had moved into our new house. This house. One of the things that made me feel that the house was right for me was a cat lying in the sun in the window when we first visited. Cleo and Gershwin were good cats. They tolerated being fed at different hours in the evening, we had a fake Christmas tree every year and the worst they did to it was redistribute one or two ornaments on the floor overnight, and they never destroyed our curtains or furniture. Gershwin had a drooling problem, and Cleo liked to tap the bedroom door to be let in starting at about 6 am, but these were minor issues, and we loved them.

Gershwin gave up the ghost when we were in Malaysia on holiday in 2010, and we had Cleo alone for almost another year. The house seemed empty without them. They were part of so much of our lives. They saw us through good times, and comforted us during bad. When they died, we took some time. We had been travelling at least once a year, and wanted to continue to do that without worrying too much about putting cats into a cattery every time. With two, it got expensive, even though all the different catteries cheated and put them both together (which was never ideal), and they always took time to adapt when they got home. Anyway, we took a break from cats.

After our six month Middle Eastern/European trip in 2013, it might have been a good time to get cats again, as it led into quite a long period of no big trips. We didn’t know this would happen at the time, of course, but I had some health issues, we had a lot of eldercare issues both in this city and elsewhere, I broke my ankle, and then there was a pandemic! So it could have been a decent time to still have cats.

Post-pandemic, and now with no responsibilities keeping us here, we hope to have a few years of intensive travelling, but we don’t know yet if that will even be possible. After that though we might be able to get a cat or two – but the fact that they can live till they’re close to 20 means that they are a big commitment. And their care issues become much more complicated in their later years. Would I cope? Would I be able to have cats if we (or one of us) had to move? After all, in 20 years time, we will (if we’re lucky) be in our later years too. What if new cats weren’t as easy as Cleo and Gershwin?

We’ve always said we’d like to have cats again. (Funnily, two days after I’d written the first draft of this post, we passed a pet store and my husband suggested we go in and look at the kittens.) I miss having cats around the house. There’s nothing like having a cat in my lap, or snuggled up next to me on the bed or the couch, or purring loudly curled up in a box behind my desk when I am here blogging. There are real mental health benefits to having pets too, especially as we age. Sigh. I am definitely a cat person. But I’m a bit worried. Have I missed my cat window? I hope not.

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