Monthly Archives: December 2012

Down by the River

We went down to the banks of the Avon River this afternoon to see what was happening there on the last day of 2012. We parked at the corner of Montreal Street and Cambridge Terrace and enjoyed the view; some of it shady, some of it sunny, some of it serene and some of it busy with traffic and people, and, even, bumblebees. And, of course, what is a Christchurch water scene without ducks. They never miss out. I took so many photos that I decided I would try putting them together as collages; something different for me.Down by the River

Here are the photos closer to the water. Guess who lost her footing and nearly fell in the water, whilst she was taking one of these shots? It was a warm afternoon, but not warm enough for a dunking, in my opinion. Can you see the bumblebee?By the river side

And to mark the end of 2012 and the beckoning of 2013, here is my first attempt at photo editing. Are better things to come? ūüėÄLight in the window

© silkannthreades


It’s a little bit magical

Remember that little bit of free fruit ?pretty plum jewels

I put it in a pot and added a little bit of unfree fruit

Apples and Lemonand simmered them together for a while. Then I strained the cooked fruit,  in my usual rough and ready manner, and mixed the juice with some brown sugarBrown sugar, rose bowland boiled the mixture for 10 minutes, and a bit, and the result was a little bit magical; a small dish of utterly delicious, delectable and delightful apple and plum jelly.  Apple and Plum Jelly

YUM, JELLY!Magical

© silkannthreades

Will 2013 be this muddled? Absolutely!

For me, part of the fun of being a WordPress blogger is learning, learning and more learning. Another part is just having a go, for fun. A day ago, thanks to fellow blogger,kiwiskan,I found out about Wordle. And, a few days before that, another blogger Playamart – Zeebra Designs¬† ¬† introduced me to Irfanview. So, for the beginning of 2013, I put my two new learnings together, in the spirit of “having a go”,¬† and came up with this New Year wordle. It’s far from perfect but that is appropriate to life, where sometimes everything gets muddled and messy yet usually turns out well enough, albeit with¬† plenty of room for improvement.Let it Be

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Free Food Time ¬© silkannthreades

On my early evening walk with the dog, I noticed that it is already time to gather free food/fruit.¬† Last summer I exhausted myself foraging. This season,¬† I will try to restrain my enthusiasm for nature’s bounty. Sigh….but I hate to see it going to waste. Even the birds can’t keep up with the summer’s offerings. Here are some red plums. red plums

CherriesWild cherries

Green plumsgreen plums

The crab apples are thriving. The crab apples on this tree are absolutely delicious. I think someone else knows about them because I have to be quick to get any once they ripen.crab apple divine

A bowl of admirable restraint…..this is all I brought home with me, though I did eat a few plums during my walk.pretty plum jewels

Some of the photos suffered from the fact that I had the camera in one hand and, in the other hand, a dog straining on his leash because he wasn’t very interested in stopping to admire fruit. Fruit, what’s that! Actually, he does like apples and pears and I know where I can find those come the season¬† ūüôā

© silkannthreades

A little lady lost in lavender ¬© silkannthreades

I haven’t devoted much time to my great-grandmother in recent months. I went by to see her today and decided she was taking good care of herself. There are a few weeds scattered about but the lavender, alone amongst all the plants we have placed on her burial plot, is thriving.¬† I think shemust love it ,and the bees that come to enjoy it.

The lavender bush is so large now that my great-grandmother is almost lost to view; from the roadside, at least.Lost in Lavender

Another visitor buzzes by to enjoy the lavender;Buzzy VisitorThrough the lavender looking glass….farThrough the lavender looking glass and nearA closer look and then back the way we came. Looking Back I brought¬† two stalks of lavender home with me. Hopefully, if I don’t lose them, they will remind me to return in a few weeks to see if the lavender is ready to harvest.Lovely lavender Thanks for the sweet reminders, Great Grandmother.Sweet reminders

© silkannthreades

In the company of trees

On Christmas Day we had a small gallivant which came to rest under the cool, green, shady trees of Cranmer Square. For most of the time we were the sole visitors there. Cranmer Square is one of the four founding squares of the city, none of which are particularly square in shape. It was originally the heart of an educational precinct but now the only school remaining on its perimeter is The Cathedral Grammar School. Other than the surrounding buildings, some of which have been  lost to the earthquakes, Cranmer Square is much the same as it always has been; a pleasing and gentle exercise in geometry and greenery. Geometry Lessons in Cranmer SquareIn days gone by, I have usually been in too great a hurry to look closely at Cranmer Square, but, with the luxury of a leisurely Christmas Day, we were able to spend some quality time together, most especially with the trees. What wonderful companions they are. Serene, welcoming, and  willing listeners to our words, both silent and spoken. And they, in turn, share their stories in their gracious ageing limbs, if we but care to listen and look.

Trees to the right of usTrees RightTrees to the leftTrees LeftTrees alongside usTree CompanyTrees above usTree Shelter

I don’t know how old these trees are but I have seen their younger selves in a photo dated 1919. The Square, itself, was established in the 1860s.¬† I do know the trees are old enough and precious enough to have earned the status of ‘protected.’ They wear their ages with dignity and calm.¬† Tree History

Tell me Tales of Long AgoTell me more And it seems that others like to be in the company of trees too. Companion plantingAccording to the Christchurch City Council website, the protected trees are:

English Ash (Fraxinus excelsior)
Oriental Plane (Platanus orientalis) (x13)
London Plane (Platanus x acerifolia) (x 6)
Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)
English Oak (Quercus robur) (x8)
Common Lime (Tilia x europea)

© silkannthreades

The Filling in the Sandwich

Like many of my fellow Antipodeans, I have journeyed the world and marvelled at its wonders, from the Pyramids of Giza to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and most everything in between and beyond. At places as diverse as Oxford, New Delhi ,Paris, Florence or far Kathmandu, I have feasted my senses on the glorious club sandwich like  monuments and ruins created by layer upon layer of history. Emperors, fire, wars, kings, queens,revolutionaries; they, and many more, have all played their part in the sights and scenes we love to absorb in to our very souls.

Yet, it was only yesterday, in a church yard, that I had an inkling of what it was like to be the mashed egg or the sliced salami in the sandwich. In other, more sensible, words, what it is like to be the present moment in the history of events. Today, we can stand in awe at, say, Coventry Cathedral, but how did the people feel about its brokenness when first it was bombed? Horrified, angry, shocked, despairing and, perhaps, slightly hopeful of a future. Did they imagine people would come from all over the world to see the cathedral  in its new manifestation?  Did they realise that the essence of their experiences would be enfolded into a creation that spans not only their experiences but those of multiple generations? Could they sense a future building, made all the more beautiful by its layering foundation of tragedy.

I glimpsed all those puzzlements, and more, as I stood on the rough, stony ground that once supported¬† St Luke’s in the City.The surroundings were sad, lonely and mostly broken to bits; the solitary bell tower excepted from the broken category.The City minus St Luke's Then I spied a poppy,Lest we Forgetand some more poppies;More Poppies

wildflower signs, leading the eye to the Labyrinth ;Labyrinth

a new incarnation of the canvas labyrinth previously housed within the now vanished St Luke’s. This one is made from materials recovered from the earthquake devastated Church. As with the originally commissioned labyrinth, it is a replica of the 13th Century labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral.

A replica of a replica of an originalSo there it is, in its raw, stark simplicity; a half kilometre pathway, encapsulating a church community’s essence and its¬† experiences. It stretches way back to 13th century France, and then onward and¬† inward and outward to the current Christchurch community, as an offering for its healing and peace. It is a foundation for whatever may come next.

How did I feel at the threshold of the Labyrinth? Hopeful, connected, a small part in a larger picture (or a bigger sandwich). Still a little forlorn, but not quite alone anymore. No longer aloneAnd, what was that I heard faintly in the silence; bells ringing, songs singing, people smiling and loving and admiring whatever combination of old and new that has arisen. How delicious!

Question? Does seeing history in terms of club sandwiches, make me one sandwich short of a picnic? ūüėÄ

© silkannthreades

Outside In

One corner of my garden is growing like a little wilderness, faster and more prolifically than the other areas. I am wondering if the exuberant growth has something to do with the long hours of summer daylight coupled with the night light from a very bright, very large, street lamp. I attempted a teeny, tiny trim of the plants this morning and brought some of the trimmings indoors to refresh my vase of kitchen flowers. Once the foliage and flowers were in their new setting, I realised that I now had a miniature version of the garden corner inside the house. And the scaling down of the corner into one compact area gave me a wonderful perspective on the genius of nature’s colour coordination abilities.Cornered

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In the gardens of the Buddha

In the build up to Christmas this year, I have managed to maintain some equanimity. This is the first time in years that I haven’t dreaded the arrival of Christmas. Partly, this is the influence of my¬† blogging, where I am required to focus on the present and the task at hand. Even so, there are moments when I want to flee Christmas; all of it, the commercial and the religious.¬† Such a moment happened on Wednesday, so we took ourselves off to the Wat Buddhasamakhee on Marshlands Road. Here there was respite under the peaceful gaze of the Buddhas.

I love the openness and the clean, clear lines of these monastery and Temple gardens. They lend order and simplicity to life but, at the same time, allow for the accumulation of everyday chaos, evident in the children’s toys abandoned exactly where a child would naturally leave them.The Tricycles and the Buddha

This is a pathway to the Temple.Towards the Temple

Here is a  closer view  of the Temple. There is a wonderful orchard  behind the Temple as well as retreat rooms. Chillies, and even banana plants, grow in the huge tunnel house.TempleHere is a view towards the road

Towards the Rose Garden

And this is a view of the newly constructed, mandala shaped rose garden. It is a work in progress, bordered by bricks and weeds.Rose Garden; a work in progress

A new version of a stone wall now separates the rose garden from the road. (There used to be a fence of tall trees.)¬† It doesn’t separate the roses from the traffic noise, however, so a certain amount of tranquility is lost from that area. It is interesting, though, to watch the traffic travelling by as if they were driving along the stone fence. .¬†¬† New version of a stone wall

The animal menagerie continues to grow and gives new meaning to the life of plants.Animal in the Plant

The sky was a soothing blue during our visit.¬† The golden lamp bearers looked like glittering jewels on high, though you wouldn’t guess that from this photo where the golden effect appears tarnished.Lighting up the Sky

Away from the main rose garden, I found this beautiful rose with deep fiery colours,Fire of Life

lighting up the sky, as if it were nature’s very own candle.Nature's light in the sky

© silkannthreades