Monthly Archives: August 2014

Indigestion

What to write for this post has been bothering me as much as that vexing, never-ending question of ‘what to have for dinner tonight’. I have all the ingredients, collected during my last excursion into town, but I don’t know what to make of them. I have sorted through several ideas but none of them seems quite right.

I have my lone young magpie,  usually a strange sight in the central city, who makes

me think of ‘country come to town’, or ‘nature reclaiming the spaces we usurped’, though the magpie, like us, is an introduced species. Which all makes me recall the haunting poem by our own Denis Glover,

The Magpies

When Tom and Elizabeth took the farm
The bracken made their bed,
And Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle
The magpies said.
……..
Elizabeth is dead now (it’s years ago;
Old Tom went light in the head:
And Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle
The magpies said.

The farm’s still there. Mortgage corporations
Couldn’t give it away.
And Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle
The magpies say.

 

Then I have The Bull, Chapman’s Homer. Remember  him?  He’s back. He’s been in seclusion for a while but he’s been let out for some fresh air, and to watch over the renovations on his soon-to-be new home; the Christchurch Art Gallery.

Chapman's Homer outside the City Council building

Chapman’s Homer outside the City Council building

Looking towards the Bull's new home

Looking towards the Bull’s future home, the Christchurch Art Gallery

These items present me with ideas of ‘civilization in nature’; and ‘civilization’ itself; ‘what it is and is not’, and ‘the thinness of its veneer’.

And the entirety has me wondering about ‘cultural collaboration and collision’ and ‘what is left standing When a City Falls’ , and, if what is left, provides a big enough foundation to support a new city. The remains look so terribly small in the face of the vastness of the concrete rebuild jungle.

Confused? So am I. But, perhaps, that is just how it is in our city, where we still seem to be searching for the right recipe to put us back together again.

So what is for dinner tonight?

Brace yourselves. It’s not four and twenty magpies baked in a pie, boeuf bourguignon or smoked eel. No,  I have decided on leftover fish and chips, that traditional New Zealand take away, supplemented with homemade buttermilk corn bread,  which mish-mash is bound to bring on culturally confused indigestion ….but, right now, it’s the best I can come up with.

© silkannthreades

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Such a pretty me…. a true story

So, in her older and, most likely, dowdier years, my great great grandmother was gifted a ketch* . How, I wonder, did she feel about that? Did her spirits expand with the unfurling of the sails?  Did she feel elated, rejuvenated, loved, twirly, joyous,  prettyfull…..?

… And much the same as I did, when in my older and flabbier years, ( as in, right now 😉 ),  I received the gift of a sketch, straight from the kind heart of the lovely Lucy at Visual Fling. Not a randomly selected sketch, but one specifically of me, for me, and carrying my name. Here it is: Gallivanta’s Herb Garden.

Gallivanta's Herb Garden by LucyJartz  http://visualfling.com/2014/08/18/gallivantas-herb-garden/#comments

Gallivanta’s Herb Garden by  LucyJartz

How generous is that?  How beautiful is that?

It’s not often that those of us who belong to the ageing, greying, wrinkling Ordinaries of the world are honoured in graceful works of art, be it in the form of ketch or sketch. When it happens, it’s time to express delight and exuberance; time to celebrate our reimagined looks, like this ~

If, after listening to the gorgeous Julie Andrews, you would like to know about the pretty wonderful boy in my life, take a peek here.  Adorable, and ever so handsome, isn’t he? With eyes that reach  the truth of this story; which is the beauty of the soul.

Artistic Licence:

* Ketch is my linguistic paintbrush at work. Amelia Sims was a topsail schooner.

Although the sketch Gallivanta’s Herb Garden has been gifted to me, the copyright is owned by Lucy at Visual Fling. Please do not copy or reproduce this image without permission from Lucy at http://visualfling.com/about/

© silkannthreades

 

In the lay of the land

Serious questions ~

Who was the bright spark in ancient geekdom who decided that family history should be defined by lines and begats?

Who were the brighter sparks who devised the rigid wheels and stylised trees to chart and constrain the abundant, multi-dimensional landscape of ancestry?

For a landscape it is, our ancestry; a landscape of wide open spaces,

Wide open spaces

Wide open spaces

crisscrossed with highways and byways, one way roads and slender bridges, little lanes, and streets that go nowhere, signposted for all directions.

A landscape of well-defined boundaries, as well as soft, slippery edges, fluidity and possibility.

A landscape that reveals both the neat and the orderly, the tidy rows of heritage,

Orderly family trees

Orderly family trees

and the more common, impenetrable thickets of entwined limbs and leaves.

Impenetrable thickets

Impenetrable thickets

 

A landscape replete with the swathes and layerings of old growth and new.

Old and New in Kaiapoi Domain

Old and New in Kaiapoi Domain

And let’s not forget the twists and turns which lead to small surprises and unexpected delights.

 

Yes, family history is embedded in the lay of the land,

The landscape of ancestry

The landscape of ancestry

entrenched, without doubt, in terra firma;

or so it seems, until the land falls away, alters and shifts and, suddenly, one is all at sea.

Amelia Sims, the scow built and named for my great great grandmother, formerly of the Isle of Wight

Amelia Sims, the scow built and named for my great great grandmother, Amelia Sims, housekeeper Kaiapoi, formerly of the Isle of Wight

Topsail schooner, “Amelia Sims,” (120 ft., 98 tons) at old wharf, Motueka, about 1903. Built in Australia it reached the home port—Kaiapoi—in 1901 and though having an auxiliary screw for berthing purposes sail was its chief means of propulsion. In moderate weather “Amelia Sims” would carry ten or twelve sails and be a worthy sight in deep water.
—Photo by courtesy of Miss Nina Moffatt, Motueka.http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-NHSJ02_06-t1-body1-d4.html

Gallivanting Note

This post came about following a little jaunt in the countryside at the weekend. I traced some family history, found more questions than answers, and discovered, to my great surprise, that my great great grandmother’s second husband built her a ship, the Amelia Sims which was one of the fleet of sturdy  scows which played an important role in New Zealand’s early transport industry.

© silkannthreades

One of the Many

This is my great-uncle.

My great-uncle

My great-uncle

This is where he lived with his mother and father, brothers and sisters.

Family Home

Family Home

This is the ship that took him to war.

Troopship MaunganuiDeck scene on the troopship Maunganui. Atkinson, J :Photographs taken in the Middle East during World War I, and postcards of New Zealand. Ref: PAColl-0095-002. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23169854

Troopship Maunganui Deck scene on the troopship Maunganui. Atkinson, J :Photographs taken in the Middle East during World War I, and postcards of New Zealand. Ref: PAColl-0095-002. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23169854

This is where he was wounded. In the guts.

Poppies, Gallipoli

Poppies, Gallipoli

This is where he died; on a hospital ship.

Place of Death     At Sea, HMHS Neuralia ex Gallipoli Date of Death     15 August 1915 Year of Death     1915 Cause of Death     Died of wounds

Place of Death At Sea, HMHS Neuralia ex Gallipoli
Date of Death 15 August 1915
Year of Death 1915
Cause of Death Died of wounds

Buried at sea, 1915, August 15, somewhere between Gallipoli and Alexandria.

But remembered here

Lone Pine Memorial, Lone Pine Cemetery, Anzac, Turkey

Lone Pine Memorial, Lone Pine Cemetery, Anzac, Turkey

and here.

One of Otago's 1900

One of Otago’s 1900

He was one of the many;  one of the 1,900 young ones, of Otago, killed during World War One; one of the 18,000 New Zealanders who died between 1914-1918; one of the 888,246 British and Commonwealth fatalities. One of…….. the list that never ends.

 

Does he rest in peace?  I can’t.

 

Acknowledgement: with thanks to my brother for his photos of the Poppies and the Lone Pine Memorial, at Gallipoli.

© silkannthreades

My Signature Summer Look {Tag!}

Nath at Beautycalypse  is hosting a  Signature Summer Look Tag for green beauty bloggers because, as she says,  “why should make-up brands have ALL THE FUN”
of determining what should be the signature style of the season.

I am not a green beauty blogger. I don’t wear make-up and it’s not summer, here, but I want to have FUN, so this is my take on Nath’s Tag.  In its own way, it’s very green, both in the ecological sense and in its naivety.

Here is my adventuring with signature style. ~

A flock of nymphs I chanced to espy,……
And each one had a little wicker basket
Made of the finest twigs, entrailed curiously,
In which they gather’d flowers to fill their flasket……

Two of those nymphs meanwhile two garlands bound
Of freshest flowers which in that mead they found,
The which presenting all in trim array,
Their snowy foreheads therewithal they crown’d;

 from Prothalamion by Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)

 

 

Calm was the day, and through the trembling air
Sweet-breathing Zephyrus did softly play – 

from Prothalamion by Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)

 

So what thinkest thee?  I had fun. Did you?

The only slight ‘downer’ on my fun was that I was only brave enough to venture in to town with one of my signature styles; and it wasn’t one of my better efforts. If people noticed at all, it would have been to wonder if I had been working in the garden,  had become entangled in a bush, and had forgotten to check in the mirror before leaving the house, bush in tow. 😦  Sigh.  Also a touch sad is that I live in a society that deems it natural (  indeed, almost obligatory ) to disguise gray/white hair with unnatural dyes, and deems it unnatural ( if not eccentric ) to appear in public, on an every day basis,  with  natural flowers in one’s hair.

 

~~
A lily of a day
Is fairer far in May,
Although it fall and die that night;
It was the plant, and flower of light.
In small proportions we just beauties see,
And in short measures life may perfect be.

from Proportion by Ben Jonson ( c. June 11 1572 – August 6 1637)

TAG!

If you would like to join Nath’s

My Signature Summer Look {Tag!}

please do.

© silkannthreades

Something old, something new

In case you hadn’t noticed, I love blue; any blue;  all blues.

Inside

Inside

Inside, outside, any side, I will take blue any way I can, including  in edible form.

Even many of my books are blue, or so I discovered after Letizia reminded me to check what lay under the dust jackets. Mind you, in the case of these books, most of the dust jackets have long since gone to mysterious parts unknown. ( Where DO dust jackets go?  The same place as missing socks?)Book blues

So, in love with blue as I am, is it any wonder that my eyes lit up when I saw the cover  Britt had chosen for her latest novel, Nola Fran Evie?

I wanted to get my hands on it but, but…..here was the problem.  The book was only on Kindle (as far as I could tell) and I didn’t have a Kindle or any kind of e-reader. What to do?

Well, in the spirit of Britt’s book, I came up with a game plan.

First Base ~ download Kindle app, with accessibility plugin, for  PC

Second Base ~ download Nola Fran Evie

Third Base ~ start reading, and testing Kindle … ( including an attempt to read with my ears, via Microsoft Narrator; not the best of experiences, but good to know how these apps might work for those who really need them )

Home ~  decide Kindle is great/user-friendly and go to store to buy one; strike it lucky; the Kindle I want is on sale. 😀 😀

Gallivanta's world is set alight as she enters the Kindle age

Gallivanta’s world is set alight as she enters the Kindle age

Score ~ Amazon two; me one; Britt one.  I guess that’s a draw of sorts…..maybe?

Now, if only  the Kindle were blue……..

© silkannthreades

 

The Snow Nymph

The nor’wester blows.  Summer-like heat bruises the body; compresses the air within.     Barely emerged from winter chill, not yet accustomed to the freshness of spring on my shoulders, I flail under hot air and bluster.  Bring back the southerly, I wail; a gentle one, dipped in iced water, iced with snow, one that I can enjoy like an ice cream cone.

Some of you will remember that, a few months back,  my daughter was hospitalised. She has been out of hospital for a while now. She is working slowly towards a better state of well-being. In recent days she has been able to return to writing poetry and has felt strong enough to publish one poem on her new blog, where she goes by the lovely name of ousel. If you would like to read her poem, The Snow Nymph, you can find her  here    I confess that I don’t always understand my daughter’s poems because they are full of allusions and references which are beyond my small brain, but I always find them beautiful. 🙂

Afterword:

The michelia in my photo is very bedraggled as a result of our capricious weather. It seems to be flowering far too early, this year.  Last year it didn’t flower till late August/early September.

And a special note for Steve , at Portrait of Wildflowers, who teaches me new words, almost daily: the corolla of my  michelia is fugacious, as fugacious as this summer heat in early spring.

Tomorrow, our temperatures are expected to return to more normal ones for the beginning of August. The michelia is likely to be bitten by frost. 😦

© silkannthreades