Sunday, May 31, 2009

National Gypsy Day

I've been reminded that June 1st is fast approaching. Not only the birthday of my youngest but National Gypsy Day! Oh, and also this is Queens Birthday long weekend. Not that that matters a toss to anyone, it's just an excuse for a long weekend.

Throughout rural New Zealand there will be an increase in stocktruck traffic as 1 June draws closer. I noticed it on our road yesterday although it took a while for the penny to drop. You know how you notice something without really noticing it and then the minute you turn your mind to it, you find the explanation. My aha moment came when I stepped out the front door into a cloud of dust as a stock truck and trailer rattled on up the road. "How many more?" I muttered to myself and that was when I realized that without knowing it, some part of me was paying attention to what was happening outside the door.

1 June is the date dairy farms change hands, the day share milking and other milking contracts start and end. Throughout the country young people will be starting their way in the dairy industry, others will be stepping up the ladder towards farm ownership, some will be taking over their first farms, others moving on to bigger and/or better farms and, at the other end of the scale those who have served their time will be bowing out, heading for retirement.

And it all happens on this one date. I call it National Gypsy Day. Herds of cows are being moved from one farm to another, along with farmers and their households. Some going north, others south, east or west. All crisscrossing the country.

For it all to happen it has to start a few days before. I wonder if city folk notice the increase in the number of trucks on the highways.

Of course, no sane dairy farming couple would choose to have a child anywhere near 1 June, not unless they have already purchased their first farm, and even then it is too close to the time cows calve to be sensible. And especially not on the same day that their first share milking contract begins. So I missed my first National Gypsy Day, was otherwise occupied.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Shoot out

I really feel like I've joined the blogging world now. I'm joining a gang of bloggers who every Friday have a My Town Shoot Out on a chosen subject. Thank you so much for the welcome, Reggie Girl.

Trouble is, I don't have a town. I live a good 35 minute drive from any town so I've decided to define as 'my town' the area in which I live my day to day life. This takes me to Whangarei occasionally - to visit the doctor, see a movie, etc - and to Ruakaka once a week. Last week my activities took me to Waipu as well.

This week's topic is water. Both Whangarei and Ruakaka are by the sea so there is no shortage of water. And here on the farm we have two little creeks. The road to either Whangarei or Ruakaka wends its way beside the creek into which our little streams feed. And, of course, there are no livestock on a farm without water, it's our lifeblood. So I will concentrate on water in its raw state.

The rain starts up here in the mountains


Flows past us in this little stream, after rain recent in this shot


A better place for children to play when there hasn't been rain for a while.
Note the fancy water line strung across the stream.


Water is a child magnet (just don't forget your ladder)


and a dog magnet too


and still looks beautiful after its been sitting around for a while.

You can see how close to the road the creek is.
Little wonder the road is so prone to flooding.



Ruakaka Beach with Marsden Point Oil Refinery in the background


At the beach, water plays with sand


Creates its own art gallery


Waipu Museum sign reflected in a carpark puddle


A quiet backwater

And of course there is always....


A water baby!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Airports

One is catching up, the other has shot past

I stopped at the Kaipara Lookout on my way to Auckland on Saturday with food scraps for the pretty chook but she was nowhere to be seen. I didn't take that as a bad omen about my son's homecoming the next morning, just assumed she was happily chilling not far away. And no, not in some mean person's deep freezer but in the fashion of my younger son, who has "laid back" down to a fine art.

There were no second calls early Sunday morning when my daughter and I arose to go to the airport to meet Bernie off his flight from Buenos Aires. Just excited mother and sister exclaiming at the beauty of the sunrise and hoping Bernie was getting a view of it as he approached home.

Justine and I both love airports. They have to top the list of people watching spots. I can't think of any other that comes close. Other than Bernie's flight, people off flights from Seoul and Singapore were also being processed. True to form, I was watching a passenger off Bernie's flight who had emerged some time earlier when Justine nudged me and said, "Here he is!"

Little fish hooks tugged at the heart! Justine commented he had lost some weight, all I saw was his smile. Mothers check for the darndest things, don't they? With me its the eyes, are the eyes clear, bright and happy? Do the eyes match the smile? Yep in all cases. My boy is good.

Our little reunion would have passed unnoticed by the majority of others in the waiting area, except perhaps for the avid people watchers.

But there were two others in the time we waited that really touched me. The first I might not have noticed had not the greeter not been sitting behind me and I heard his whispered, "Mama" as he leapt to his feet and rushed forward to greet a very old looking Asian lady. To me Asian ladies hide their age very well, so I do indeed think this lady was quite ancient. An airport ground staff was pushing her trolley for her. Mama's boy bowled down the Exit chute, taking Mama completely by surprise because she didn't see him coming and have time to brace her frail old body for his embrace. I muttered, "Easy, son!" under my breath, scared he was going to hurt her! But he recovered himself quickly, took charge of her trolley, tucked her arm into the crook of his right arm and sedately escorted her from the terminal. But his head was inclined to the right down over the top of her head and I imagined her was still embracing her emotionally. A touching scene!

The other was simply joyous beyond description. I will try but to try to capture the joyful energy of the little boy concerned would be like trying to contain the little man himself. I'd say he was about three, topped with blonde curls, accompanied by a heavily pregnant Mum. Mum leaned down and said something to the little fella. He stopped, looked, spotted his Dad and took off. Ran, laughing, with a little hoppity skip every four or five paces, curls bouncing. Launched himself at his Dad who lifted him up, their laughter blending into one, hugged him then spun him around in the air. But not for long, his little legs started kicking madly to be put down only to start running on the spot. We could only catch words here and there. "C'mon. Let's go! Let's go!"

And away they went, hand in hand, Dad trotting to keep up with the little bloke with his hoppity skip run. And Mum still trudging along, not yet to the greeting area, looking heavy and tired - but happy!

I'm still wondering about the guy I was watching when Bernie appeared. Did someone turn up to meet him? Was he being met by the young Brazilian man who had flopped down beside me in the waiting area, slapped a sign to his chest, had a few words with me, yawned and prepared to go back to sleep. He meets this flight every week, very casual about it. But the young traveller hadn't glanced in our direction as he'd come through the Exit door, so had not seen his sign. Another sign on the opposite side, attached to one of the desks chauffeurs use to put up the names of their customers, displayed a name that was obviously South American and he had headed toward that. He kept wandering away and looking around - me sending mental messages, "Look over here! Look at this sleeping guy!" Then he'd wander back and look at the sign again. It was hand printed but somehow he seemed to be hoping it would change and he would see his name. I hope they both found who they were meant to find!

Our wait was a bit prolonged. Traffic slowed, the waiting area was emptying. I almost agreed with Justine when an extremely handsome Latin man went past and she said, "They've got him. They always think he looks dodgy. We'll be here all day. Let's take that one instead!"

But he eventually appeared and explained he had thought he was in for the third degree coming through Customs, etc. He had the dirty shoes he'd worn on a farm in his luggage, so he had to wait while his shoes were chemically cleaned. (Tip: If you want a really good shoe shine, tick that box, they do a marvellous job of cleaning your shoes!) Then the officer started asked dozens of questions about what he did in Brazil, why he was visiting home, etc. Turns out the officer is going to Brazil soon and wanted a job. Bernie gave him his card.

The reunion at Leone's house was a little more uninhibited. I wanted to get photos of the look on Bernie's face when he saw Michael towering over him but got caught up in the moment. And, of course, within minutes it was as if he'd never been away with him scruffing with the kids and annoying hell out of Jami.

Grrr...."You're asking for it, Uncle Bernie!"

Friday, May 22, 2009

Elegant cat and pretty hen

Cats are not one of my obsessions although they have been featuring in my thoughts a bit the last couple of days following the sad demise of Mimsy.

I could write a book about my youngest and her cat, Lola. And that is not an exaggeration! When I'm around them, I'm constantly grinning and shaking my head uttering "I've never seen the like!"

But it's little Mene who is amusing me right now. Mene is a very pretty grey cat, svelte and elegant. She has this air of French sophistication about her. I've grown very fond of Mene after caring for her whilst house-sitting.

But I'm afraid little Mene has been so adored she now has delusions of grandeur. She now thinks nothing is too good for a cat as splendid as her.

Recently she leapt daintily on to a small table is her lounge room, tippy toed to a bowl of rose petals and scratched around amongst the petals. Tail raised! Preparing to......n

It must have been such a shock to her when she was scooped off her feet and deposited outside the door to pee like any other common cat.

And when I went looking for a photo of Mene the only one I could find was one of her in her rose garden.

And that reminded me about the pretty chook I spotted at a lookout on my way back from Auckland recently. She obviously is living in the rough feeding off scraps left by tourists and other silly buggers like me who still like to stop on a clear day to take in the view of the Kaipara Harbour. But she doesn't take living on the wild side as an excuse for not looking good!

I'm off to Auckland again tomorrow - my younger son, Bernie is returning from Brazil for a holiday. I'm too emotional to write about that right now. Maybe after I've seen him again, assured myself with my own eyes that he really is here, I will be able to.

I'm going to make a note to myself to take some food scraps for the pretty little hen. I've been relying on the goodness of people I've never met to be kind to my son while he's been so far from home so maybe the little hen is a metaphor for him.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mimsy

Life can change in a second, can't it?

There I was around 5 pm taking a quiet moment to read the paper. The little girls were all happy. We'd got through the after school snack and news of the day without any hiccups.
"She didn't eat all her lunch, she was too busy playing."
"I was not, I wasn't hungry."
"She took two pieces of cake and you said one piece each."
"I did not."
Just the usual squabbles.

TV viewing had been negotiated. Georgia was snuggled up under a blanket watching her choice of programme. Krystal and I had just had a nice time doing her homework. Now she and Shayde were jumping, chatting, laughing on the trampolene.

Then blood curdling screams! I nearly fell over myself getting out the door. In time to see, out of the corner of my eye, Jack, the biggest farm dog, disappearing through the hedge with something in his mouth. Krystal was standing in the yard just screaming and screaming, tears bucketing down her face, a look of shock and horror on her face. Shayde was also screaming, crying and running, stumbling after Jack as he trotted off down the hill, something dangling from his mouth.

It didn't take me long to figure out his kill was their kitten, Mimsy. I wrapped my arms around Krystal and hid her face in my chest but what to do about Shayde? The same old problem I used to have when I cared for the twins on a daily basis when they were little toddlers. How do you give solace to both at the same time?

I had to yell and yell at Shayde to come back. She couldn't hear me above her own screams. I knew the dog would just keep on trotting off ahead of her, the kitten would be dead. Eventually she came back and I had my arms around both of them, doing my best to give comfort. Thinking don't come outside now, Georgia, I have my arms full.

Oh, how they shook and cried! Poor little buggers. Happy playing one minute with their kitten asleep under the tramp. The next witnessing life in the raw.

These farm kids know about death, usually accept it easily. But not when it's a much loved pet. Not when they witness, close up, a brutal death. Dear little Mimsy, so laid back and smoochy.

Georgia came out of the lounge when her programme finished. I still had my arms around Krystal and Shayde and told her what had happened. Her big brown eyes filled with tears and she wedged herself in between her sisters for a family hug. She didn't make a sound.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Patience Pill

I need a patience pill. Yeah, I know. I should take one daily and just take a booster when I'm child minding.

Early morning I was doing well. Three little girls were dressed, brushed and fed, school lunches prepared, school bags packed in good time. They were even ready 10 minutes early. I think that might have been when the wheels fell off. I agreed they could watch TV for a few minutes. Seemed reasonable. Having the TV on in the morning had never been heard of when my kids were their age but, hey, I can cope with change. Trouble was, Shayde decided to go outside and kick a ball around instead, so when I went into the lounge to tell them to get their bags it's time to go, she was nowhere to be found.

Yesterday morning I was unpopular for sending them off five minutes before they thought they should be leaving so I wasn't making that mistake again. No, this morning when I said "Time to go" the big hand was pointing straight up at the 12, not a tad either side, straight up. But it was creeping around a bit by the time we found the ball kicker and she retrieved her bag from where she couldn't remember leaving it.

So Shayde is finally out the door, Georgia is waiting for her and Shayde says, "Where's Krystal?" She's is standing in the middle of the yard looking around for her, bouncing that cursed ball again. Krystal is located hiding behind a a bush. Geez!

"Put the ball down and get a move on."
"But I'm taking it to school."
"You are not, you're not taking a ball on the bus, there are plenty of balls at school, put it down."
"But, but."
"Do I have to put a cracker under your tail to get you moving?"

Finally they meander off down the hill towards the road.

A couple of minutes later are meandering back up the hill as the school bus is disappearing along the road.

I'm not known for my patience but I was still doing well at this stage. After all I don't have any pressing engagements or anything. Nothing wrong with a drive to the school and back. And the girls had the good sense to realize missing the bus was their own fault and were now on their best behaviour so there were no cross words during the trip.

I was quite looking forward to driving back home, by myself, admiring the countryside. Lovely day with that clear shining you get after rain. Until, there had to be an until, didn't there? Until I came up behind another car going my way.

Now this is a rather unusual happening for me. The little girls tell me I drive slowly but that is just in comparison to their parents and the majority of other locals. I no longer think I have to get wherever I'm going quickly. The thing is I know I don't drive as fast as most other users of our road and I know what the rear view mirror is for. And I pull over to allow low flyers to be on their way.

This morning's car was a very, very slow car. Extremely slow. Patience sappingly slow. Yep, that slow! Fair in the middle of the road. Overtaking on our road is not possible unless a vehicle makes way for you. A little courtesy is required. This fellow traveller had obviously never driven down this road before and was approaching every corner with trepidation. Which is wise; there are a few nasties along the way. And maybe he wasn't accustomed to driving on a dirt road. Obviously he felt uneasy about one lane bridges. One such bridge is on a slight bend and he came to a stop before lining it up and creeping forward on to it.

That was my patience pill. It was so bizarre I had to laugh. The thought crossed my mind that maybe he was checking to make sure there was no Billy Goat Gruff.

After that I decided that maybe it would be best if he didn't remember he had a rear view mirror and take his eyes off the road!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The baglady

I’m a bit late for a Mother’s Day post, aren’t I? Wouldn’t mention it except I wondered what I’d been doing in the week since then.

Thanks to my friend’s sister, Bev at http://www.kaingahappenings.blogspot.com/ (I don’t know how to insert a link and if I looked it up now that will be today gone) I have been on a sewing bender. Once upon a time, when my children were small, I was a sewer. Everything the family wore was made by yours truly. Except my bras – I drew the line at that. But everything else from our underwear to our coats was made on my trusty old Elna sewing machine. The same machine I am still using.

I took the Elna to Auckland when I visited my daughters to allow them to spoil me for Mother’s Day. On the Monday Justine and I modified some of our clothes. We have both lost a bit of weight which is wonderful but saggy baggy clothes aren’t.

I’d mentioned to the girls my renewed interest in sewing and showed them the bag I had made for myself, with its matching make up bag. Also, I gave Justine her birthday present. Her birthday isn’t till June but I probably won’t see her between now and then and there’s no way that child could have an unopened present in the house for that long. I gave her the little camera bag I’d copied from the one Bev had made for her sister, my friend, Chris. I’d used an old pair of jeans to make my bag so the girls dived into their wardrobes to provide me with more old jeans, jackets, skirts that I can recycle into bags.

Recycled jeans

I now have four bags in the completed pile. One is definitely for my youngest grand-daughter’s 6th birthday in August. Definitely a little girls bag. Another is long and thin and heavily padded – I think it would come in handy to carry a bottle of wine. Maybe with a bottle of wine in it, it would make a nice gift?

Little girls bag and wine carrier

This week I am staying at my son’s house looking after my three grand-daughters while he and Heather are away. I took them to netball on Saturday morning, feeling thankful it wasn’t raining or cold. Memories of freezing on the sidelines watching Sat morning sport! Ah, the good old days, huh?

Netball in foreground with rugby and hockey in the background

Krystal and Shayde aren’t as competitive as my children used to be. They were perfectly happy having been beaten 12 nil. My kids would have made everyone’s life a misery after a result like that! Maybe the current generation is really buying into “It’s not about the winning, it’s about taking part, playing the game.” I remember one of my kids saying to me after they reached adulthood, “Oh, yes, you always said that but we didn’t believe you for a minute!”

Tonight we are off to gymnastics!

Nearly finished bridesmaid dress recycled to dainty purse

Friday, May 8, 2009

Stormy weather

Crikey, it's a horrid day. Wet, cold, scattered thunderstorms, a random hailstorm yesterday. My idea of a good storm is lots of heat induced thunder and lightning, not this blustery winter crap.

One day not long after I moved to the farm, when Georgia and I were out walking we left the farm track and ventured across a paddock we hadn't explored before. In doing so I hadn't noticed we had gone behind a hill and could not see the Vodafone tower on top of the highest hill in the forest near us. It's a prominent landmark. Georgia became mildly nervous, nothing obvious but she had a firmer grip on my hand and seemed to be constantly looking around for something.

I was concerned that a huge black cloud seemed to be heading our way and it was quickly getting dark.

Georgia agreed that we turn for home, that we didn't want to get soaked.

She was still clinging to my hand and looking around and she seemed a bit tense.

I started to wonder what was bothering her. Thinking it was the dark cloud, I told her not worry, we could wait under some trees if she wanted. She informed me she wasn't scared of a bit of rain and we carried on.

As we came out of a paddock on to the track again her hand relaxed, her whole body relaxed, and she said, “There it is!” I followed her eyes and she was looking at the tower. I realized then how tense she had been, she had lost sight of her beacon, her direction for finding her way home. For a minute I thought she didn't have much faith in her granny to look after her and get her home safely.

Then I realized it was because she had such trust in me that she carried on with me regardless of her fear.

She obviously forgot about the lost tower pretty quickly but the storm clouds must have stayed on her mind.

A few days later she looked out my window and said, “Clouds are coming. Do you know how to tell if a cloud is a rain cloud, Granny?
If it gets darker and fluffy around the edges it might be.
If it comes closer it might be.
If it comes closer and gets darker you can be pretty sure.
And if it rains, you know!”

Georgia is a couple of years older and much wiser now. She wouldn't have to look twice at today's sky to know we are in for a bit more rainy weather.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Secret Life of My Father Part 2


I think it must have been my father’s voice admonishing me for taking my eyes off the puck during a game of indoor hockey the night before, that reminded me about my father the next morning while having coffee with my friend.

My brothers and sisters and I didn’t find out about our father’s past secret life until his funeral. He took his secret to the grave as they say. If I could think of any worth keeping I’d like to do the same.

But I’ve now learnt that once you have gone, you have no control over what the mourners might talk about.

It unfolded like this. One of my brothers was talking with one of our cousins, one of the Marsh boys. Marsh boy was telling brother how much he and his brothers loved our dad, their Uncle Andy. How they looked forward to his visits. Telling how they would save up their comics for Uncle Andy and after he’d had a cuppa in the kitchen with their mother, he would sit on the verandah and read his way through their collected comics.

Unless you have been raised by a father who has forbidden the possession and reading of comics you may not understand the consternation resulting from this simple statement. It took a while before we could actually believe it!

The old hypocrite! Letting us believe that reading a comic was equal to kissing our brains goodbye! That we would never amount to anything if we so much as looked at a comic. Reading comics was comparable to laying a book face down or turning down the corner of a page to mark your place.

No, no, come to think of it, it was probably worse! Being caught with a comic might lead to a clip around the ear whereas the defacing of a book would just get you a good telling off.

The strict, righteous father - and all the time he was reading comics on the sly!

I know that’s a pretty pathetic “secret life”. It doesn’t compare with the axe murderer or the chinaman who apparantly existed amongst my maternal predecessors. But, really, would I want my father to compete with them?

Nah, a closet comic strip reader will do me. Especially as I can't think of anything that would cause consternation at my graveside.

I can't honestly be saying my father was more interesting than I am, can I? Can I?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Secret Life of My Father (Part 1)

My father’s words resounded in my head last night while I was playing indoor “no rules” hockey at my weekly exercise class. This hockey game, which I think is the favourite part of the class for all participants, is played with plastic hockey sticks (but it still hurts if you get a good whack with one). The goal area is painted on the wall. The group is part of the Green Community. Why green I have no idea. It is government funded through Sport Northland. Costs a gold coin to take part. But to be part of the group you need a Green Prescription from your doctor, which is very easy to get. Just ring the surgery and ask for one and a nurse will write it out for you and forward it to Sport Northland. My interpretation is “this person could do with some regular exercise, let ‘em join.”

A staff member from Sport Northland sets the group up, by advertising it through Seniors Groups. When it is up and running they find a local person to take over. Grant, very fit, somewhere around 40, is our local leader. Our group are mainly over 60, a couple younger, most closer to 70 or 80. Hence the hockey is ‘no rules’ – very few of us would be capable of remembering them!
Just add a few years - like 40 or 50 - and you've got the picture!

82 year old Tom is one of the hockey stars. Old Tom, who does a 20km bike ride every Sunday come hell or high water. If you want to feel ashamed at your lack of fitness, just try marking Tom. Harold, hard to guess his age, looks like butter wouldn't melt in his mouth, 70 something I would guess, is a bit slow to get to the puck but when he does he sure can whack it and is aim is terrific. Alex is fiercely competitive and can get a bit rough. Alex is to be avoided if bruising is undesirable. Occasionally Grant has to tell the group to slow it down a bit, be careful, accidents lead to a mountain of paperwork for him. I’ve come away with bruises and blood has flowed during this game. I know I’m competitive but wouldn’t really be considered so by the majority of our oldies.

Most of the ladies in the group mix it as best they can with the men who make no allowances for gender. Although there is an upspoken rule to back off and give the older and more infirm a ‘fair go’. Lovely Fay (who last night was wearing her pearls to the class and really isn’t in very good shape but is prepared to have a go) scored three goals! And I suspect most in the class do what I do, mark someone about my own age and level of fitness.

Last night I marked a newish lady to the class (don’t know her name yet, must remember to ask her) and during a tussle I got the puck clear and was set up for a sure goal. Except I knew I was on a bit of an angle to the goal mouth and I guess even my eyes don’t work as quick as they used to. I lifted those old eyes to check the angle and, damn it, clear missed the puck when I took my ‘dead cert’ shot.

That was when I heard my father shout - Don’t take your eye off the ball! Sorry, Dad. I hope I didn’t disturb your heavenly rest for too long!

Anyway, this little aside was meant to be an introduction to the Secret Life of my Father. But I'm still on my sewing bender and have other things to do, so the rest can wait till tomorrow.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Lousy dream


I’ve discovered there’s a big difference between what I dream when I’ve been sewing and my usual dreams. I don’t even know if its dreams that I’m talking about. Is there a name for the state where you are asleep and thinking about something and it wakes you. If that’s dreaming, then it’s seriously over-rated. I prefer my dreams to be a bit more adventurous and entertaining than that.

Like the dream I had last Tuesday night when I was staying at my friend’s home. I dreamed she was coming in and out of the bedroom where I was sleeping looking for shoes. Then she sat on my bed, very upset that she had put some little treasure into ‘anti rust gel’ and it hadn’t worked, it was still rusty. Can’t remember what the little treasure was though. When I awoke I was very surprised that there was no shoe box on the foot of my bed – that’s when I realized it had been a dream.

And what is ‘anti rust gel’ anyway? Next time I’m in a hardware store I must enquire if there is such a product.

Last night my mind seemed to be grappling with a sewing problem for hours, don’t know how many times it woke me. It’s not as if there is a real problem, or there’s expensive material involved. The material was out of the remnants bin and I’m only making little bags, like make up bags. I’d cut out the material yesterday afternoon but the light faded before I got around to doing the sewing. Even with good glasses I can’t thread a needle at night – and I refuse to wear those hobby magnifying monstrosities. Anyway, I have knitting to do at night. Yeah, I know my life is all excitement! Control your envy!

As soon as I got up this morning I made a beeline to the material and added a few pins to see if it was going to work out as I intended. No potential problem at all! So, what the hell was that silly dream all about?

I was looking for a problem where none exists. Have I become like that with other things as well? Has negativity crept into my psyche? No, no, please, no!! Have I lost confidence when it comes to sewing? Have I lost confidence in myself?

See how a silly dream can lead to so much trauma? And the dream was sparked by an activity. Oh hell, it’s bad enough remembering to only drink decaf coffee after mid day if I want a good night’s sleep. Do I now have to be careful what activity I do as well? Is this an aging thing?
Maybe sewing has to join coffee under the “not after lunch time” heading.

Please note I do not call it a list. Two items does not a list make.

Oh, by the way, the sudden sewing urge was kick-started when I picked up my friend's little camera bag last week. The bag was made for her by her sister, Bev. (http://www.kaingahappenings.blogspot.com/) Bev, is a very creative craftsperson who helped me when she was visiting NZ at the time I got this crazy blog idea. So muggins thinks , "I could make one of those!" And now I'm off on a sewing bender. Don't know whether to say thanks, Bev or blame you for a lousy dream.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

My malaise

Two whole weeks since I’ve felt like writing. That’s something of a drought for me.

I finished my temping job two weeks ago and fell into a strange place, a mood that was very unusual for me. I suppose we can all, from time to time, be gripped by moods that are vastly different from our usual mien. A little random gene that manages to fight its way past all the others that dominate, fights its way to the surface and takes command for a time before being beaten back into the depths by the daily troops. My little random gene held all the others at bay for a week – pretty good going for something that only pops up maybe once a lifetime.

For a week the only word I can think of to describe my mood was a malaise which is a word I associate with Victorian ladies who fainted and swooned and drifted around the place in a dream. Weren’t they always sinking into a malaise at the drop of a hat? In my malaise I just felt exhausted, lifeless, had zero energy, it was an effort to walk to the kitchen to turn on the kettle let alone feed myself. I didn’t feel unwell in any way, I just didn’t feel well.

And my mind was as decrepit as my body, couldn’t concentrate, had to swap books as the one I was reading suddenly became far too difficult to follow. And I even had trouble following the plot in a bodice ripper.

But eventually my daily genes regained command, I woke up one morning and my old self was back. My old self without the urge to write. In its place was a desire to make things, to be creative in my own very uncreative way. I even got out the sewing machine which is over 40 years old. Every time I get it out I think this will be it, it will have given up the ghost this time. And every time I oil it before I put it away (which I have done industriously since the day I bought it) I tell myself it will be a waste of oil. It doesn’t do anything fancy but it has served me well. And in all that time it has had only one service! That was 7 years ago. When I took it to the technician he looked absolutely horrified when told it had never had a cent spent on it.

Anyway, other than my malaise there have been two other highlights in the past fortnight. I hadn’t been to my regular exercise class for ages because of the flatulence problem, which you will be pleased to hear is back to normal, can’t claim it is gone because I’m not dead yet. On Tuesday I rejoined the group. It has grown in my absence, there are a couple of new men in the group and that has really changed the group dynamic, added a competitive edge. Our indoor hockey game was stunningly fast and furious for such a bunch of oldies and it was terrific fun. Weird to claim getting breathless, hot and sweaty fun when the fun is had in public, huh?

The next afternoon my friend, Chris and I went for a long beach walk. It was one of those truly glorious times on the beach. No wind, the surf was up and the misty spray from the water just hung over the beach, making it soft and hazy, very pastel coloured. Not many people on the beach, a few out surfing, a few fishing, a man exercising his dog. It felt quite magical. I regretted not having my camera with me but probably wouldn't have been able to capture it anyway. Magic is magic!