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Archive for the ‘Things I like’ Category

(The 18th in a continuing series)

  • A heart full of love and enthusiasm is vulnerable, but the love is worth it
  • Life isn’t fair*
  • Never complain about being normal. Some people aspire to it.
  • Having bacon every day is not so bad either.
  • We have to be brave (and prepared) when technology lets us down
  • The best Aunts and Uncles spoil you
  • There is fun to be had when devices are absent (voluntarily or involuntarily).

* I knew that one, but it’s worth remembering

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My last four weeks or so have been very much focused on end-of-life issues and death, and even my x365 blog project has Horror and Suspense as its October theme, so today, I want to focus on some things that make me happy:

  • Pasta and Chardonnay nights have started again for the summer
  • I’ve lost a bit of weight, though I have a long way to go, at least the scale is going in the right direction
  • I’ve been saving for a new lens on my camera, and have got enough for one of two lenses I like the look of, but I can’t decide.
  • My husband seems to have decided on where he wants to go for his big birthday-with-a-zero next year, and so finally I get to look forward to it and have fun planning.
  • I found a new recipe for an orange cake, and have made it twice in recent times, and it is delicious.
  • Every year about this time we have two visiting geese that pass through our valley, and I heard them the other morning again.
  • I’ve had a really slow reading year this year, but currently I’m reading two books which I am enjoying, and it is a pleasure!

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This last week, New Zealand has been celebrating 125 years of women’s suffrage, as we gained the vote back in 1893. I wrote a poem on my daily blog about it back in August – it was Poetry month – and thought I’d reproduce it below, not because it merits it, but because the subject matter does.

It is significant when we realise that the US will have to wait until 2045 to celebrate 125 years of suffrage, the UK until  2053, Australia will have to wait until 2087* and Saudi Arabia, until 2140.  When I joke that we are ahead of the rest of the world (due to our position next to the International Date Line), I’m not entirely joking.

125 years later, our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is this week at the UN. She said at a public session the other day,

“We’ve had three female Prime Ministers. It’s really no big deal, guys.”

Unfortunately, for so many countries, it still is a big deal.

 

A Suffragette’s Abecedarian

“As children, with no
Brothers, living in the
Country, we
Did
Everything a boy would, and more, because – mere
Females still – we were taller, stronger, faster.
Glimmers of hope for the future, were
Helped by remembrance of the past.
In our nearby town, there stood only one statue, which
Justified my hope that with
Knowledge and determination, my
Lot wasn’t predestined.
Margaret Cruickshank, my statuesque inspiration, was
NZ’s first woman GP, and alive in 1893, when
Our country led the world. Time has
Passed, 125 years now.
Quality is what matters, not
Restricted views on
She or he, no
Thoughts that might
Unfairly restrict our
Vote.
We celebrate our suffrage this year, though Pope St.
Xystus 1st would no doubt not approve of our leader, a
Youthful, unmarried, new mum. But fear not, men, this is no
Zugzwang. There’s no battle, and no loss.”

 

* Australian indigenous people, men or women, did not receive the vote until 1962.

 

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After an invitation had been impulsively given and accepted on Friday, Saturday saw us venture over the hill for the first time in months. We spent the morning at home, while I baked a cake for dinner; though if I’m honest it wasn’t the baking that took several hours, it was having to make multiple trips to the supermarket twice to get ingredients I kept forgetting!

We usually drive over “the hill” (the Remutaka Range) in the morning or early afternoon, and it was a treat to drive over in the late afternoon, enjoying the different light on the distant Wairarapa plains as we wound our way down from the summit. We tracked cloud formations being caught by the setting sun in a halo effect but, of course, just as we drove through the little town (which uncannily reminded me of my hometown on a wintry Saturday night in the 1970s) and out the other side, and turned into their driveway lined with promising daffodils, that gorgeous light disappeared.

Daffodils

An early sign of spring

The man of the house was busy cooking up a curry storm in the kitchen, so pre-dinner champagne and olive oil from the trees outside (accompanied by a stunning sunset) flowed into a delicious dinner (curries, and very successful orange almond cake), lively conversation, and even the rugby result was easier to take when we commiserated together.

P1090193

The next morning, after a late but yummy breakfast at the little wine town’s stylish hotel, we said goodbye and, with an hour or two to fill before a busy afternoon scheduled back in Wellington, drove down to the coast, through vibrant green farmland under sunny skies, reminiscent of the land where I grew up, though newborn lambs were the only thing missing from the winter scene, still a few weeks too early for them to arrive. We drove to the end of the road, and – along with others basking in the sunny morning – mucked around on the beach, enjoying just being out in nature, and I, of course, played around with my camera and tripod.

It was tempting to stay, but duty called, so we packed up, drove back along the country roads through the flat green fields, slowing to pass dairy cows and calves wandering along the road (such a New Zealand scene) and their Filipino farm workers, before we headed back over the hill that seems to separate everyday life from freedom, friendship, and leisure.

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  • Our house is really beautiful on a sunny day, flooded with light and shadows and gorgeous views from most windows, and especially in winter when we can embrace the warmth the sun provides.
  • Book month on my x365 blog, because I don’t just get to remember books that I love, but I get to read about books that my fellow bloggers love too, and I’m adding a lot of them to my already ridiculously long To-Read list.
  • Finding some of my favourite books as a child online when I had forgotten their titles, has reminded me of the joy and magic of these books that has stayed with me for almost 50 years.
  • My daily blog project has meant that almost every day this year I get to read Helen again, whose posts and comments always make me smile, and who I missed in the years when she wasn’t writing.
  • Planning dinner this evening, with an old favourite Thai dish that I haven’t eaten in years, thanks to discovering it in my very first Thai food cookbook.
  • Watching amazing tennis at Wimbledon, and having the flexibility to be able to stay up all night and sleep most of the day to do so.
  • Continuing to learn and improve my photography, although to be fair last night I had to get my husband to remind me of one of the controls on my … cough … easy-to-use tripod!
  • Writing my blog posts with rain on the skylight above me.

 

bty

View from my desk

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I’ve had a post half-written for a while inviting you to come for a walk with me, using words alone. But today I’m going to be lazy, and will take you on a very short part of that walk with my camera. This morning was bright and sunny, I felt like getting out of the house, and so I grabbed my camera, and decided to do one of the exercises from my photography course that is meant to help me become more creative. Essentially, I was to go for a walk, and take a picture every 15 steps or so, forcing me to focus on the plants, flowers, weeds and fences! Here are the results starting in my driveway and – my phone tells me – walking about 800 steps down the street, and back.

We start in my driveway, with the concrete blocks we dug up some years ago, and plan to use for a steps in the garden, before walking up to the street,

P1080912 concrete blocks cr

and the neighbours’ plants.

We then cross the road and see a sign,

P1080942 sign bw

encounter plants I can’t name, and a few weeds,

a protea

P1080961 protea

some flowers even in the depths of winter,

and a few fences.

The final fence, and the bare tree behind it, remind me that it is winter,

P1080989 fence tree

but the green cabbage tree welcoming me home is always lush and vibrant.

P1080996 cabbage tree

 

 

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She doesn’t really belong on this Friends-I-have-not-yet-met list, because, you see, I have met her. She’s Slovenian, and truly puts the LOVE in Slovenia, reaching out to give and receive love. She taught me to love Slovenia too, as I would never have gone there if she hadn’t been, at the time, a Friend-Not-Yet-Met (so, clearly, she does belong on this list after all).

A beloved wife, friend, aunt, and dog’s best friend. A true linguist, for more than three months, she wonderfully commented on my Lemons to Limoncello blog in Italian to help me practice mine.

She loves her summer garden and cooked us lunch using her home-grown produce. She and her husband recommended driving a mountain pass that, she casually mentioned, she had cycled once (or even twice?). As we wound around sharp, steep corners up, up, and further up again, I thought she must be crazy, though, in truth, she enjoys exercise and appreciates being out in nature.

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