Category Archives: Domestic

From my desk ~ a floral interlude

I am working on a blog post which is consuming a lot of my word power.

I need a break; a refreshment of the mind, a stretching of the senses.

I thought you might like to enjoy it with me.

Here it is; a floral interlude.

 

 

I love this time of year in my garden. Sweet, fragrant flowers  abound; posy-ready and ripe for gathering.

This spring my eye is drawn to the purples everywhere. Are the purple tones taking over, or is it just an illusion created by  the post I have been writing?

Here’s a teaser of what to expect  when you next hear from me. Who is she? I am sure some of you already know. 🙂

Who is she?

 

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From my desk ~ Gandhi Jayanti

Today is a day for birthdays ~ my son’s; Anne-Christine’s; and Mahatma Gandhi’s. To celebrate, I am re-posting an article I wrote on this day four years ago. The original post and comments can be found here .  Enjoy.

In my garden there are native and exotic plants, long plants and short plants;

Choisya

Choisya

plants that are standard and non-standard; and some that are self-fertile and some that require cross-pollination. I have plants that are variegated, plants that are colourful

Japanese Maple

Japanese Maple

and plants that are plain. There are weeds, and refugees from other gardens, and some uninvited guests. Each plant has a unique history, a story to tell, and most contain, in their gene pool, the essence/quintessence of some far off land and ancient culture. There is no homogeneity in my garden, except at that most basic level of planthood; that  fundamental point, whatever it is, that makes them living, breathing plants and not living, breathing animals. Yet, despite the variety and complexity of my garden inhabitants, I find that, if I provide them with water and food and treat them equally with politeness and respect, mixed in with a little song and a few sweet nothings, they thrive. Yes,  even with the most basic of provisions, they thrive.  They don’t fight or squabble, put each other down, rip each other apart for competitive advantage or napalm each other.  They are a miracle of good neighbourliness and co-operative, companionable living, willing and eager to share their environment with birds and bees, wild life,  and humans, too.

The multi-dimensional, multi-cultural and peaceful nature of my garden, reminds me that this time, thirty-five years ago, I was preparing to start the Michaelmas Term at Oxford University. I was a  young seedling transplanted from a small island in the Pacific to one of the most wonderful cities in the world. I was about to flourish, and enjoy one of the best years of my life, within the nurturing environment of the Oxford University Foreign Service Programme.

For one academic year, I , along with several dozen others, from all curves of the world, lived and laughed and learned…. and, yes ,sometimes, drank too much and, sometimes, loved unwisely, and sometimes, cried.  We were a microcosm of the world; we were all faiths, all cultures, all social and political classes, all sizes and shapes and ages, and, as you can see from the photo, all hairstyles 🙂

Foreign Service Programme in West Berlin

Foreign Service Programme in West Berlin (and I am very difficult to find in this photo)

Our common ground was in our education and our human-ness. We were nourished and cared for by the University, our daily needs provided for, and most of us were generously supported by that most British of  British institutions,   the British Council.  And, for  that, one, much too short, year, we were, despite our differences, the embodiment of good and peaceful co-existence; the way our world could be.

This post is written today in honour of the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi who was born on October 2nd, 1869.  Today is a national holiday in India. Worldwide, it is the UN International Day of Non-Violence.

http://www.un.org/en/events/nonviolenceday/index.shtml

to hear Mahatma Gandhi speak click here

Blossom in Peace

Blossom in Peace

For a good read on ‘things British Council’ and the mess of war and displacement, try Fortunes of War by Olivia Manning:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olivia_Manning

Michaelmas 

is the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel and also denotes the first term of the academic year.

© silkannthreades

From my desk ~the great debate

Here it is ~ the great debate which is swirling round my head as I sit at my desk ~

‘A Stitch in Time saves Nine’ or ‘Mending be Darned’.

What say you?

Behind me, I have a pile of darning, occupying an armchair. The pile is many inches high. It stares at me accusingly no matter  where I place it. I try to avoid its gaze but, like Mona Lisa’s eyes, it follows me everywhere. It’s been like this for months. I hear it mocking me, in multiples of 9; “Not stitched in time, 9×9; not stitched in time, 9×10…”

Not stitched in time; more than 9 stitches required

I am not a natural mender. Darning doesn’t come easy, although it should, because I come from a line of excellent darners.  My mother was a diligent darner, and could always be relied upon to mend anything. My aunt was a skilled darner. It was a pleasure to watch her work. Her needle and thread wove magical, near invisible, lines  through the runs in my school stockings. ( Yes, stockings, with a suspender belt…..I am of the pre-pantyhose generation)

My mother’s well-worn darning mushroom, and my aunt’s darning which is barely visible from a distance.

Did they enjoy darning? Well, there is a certain satisfaction  in making something whole and complete again, but I suspect it was necessity and frugality, not pleasure, which drove their darning needles.

Frugality and necessity should drive me, too, but, in front of me, there’s a computer which begs me to use my fingers and my mind outside the domestic realm. It makes me want to say, “Mending be Darned” and “Go create something new”.

So I do, make something new; a  phone photo, for my friends, for myself, of the clematis growing vigorously near the garden gate.

New Zealand clematis by my garden gate

That makes me happy.

But, truthfully, so would a stack of neatly mended clothing. If only I could bring myself to do it.

(Oh, shush, you there behind me. I can hear your sotto voce recitations, “Stitch! stitch! stitch!….  A stitch in time saves 9, a stitch in time saves 9…”,

and don’t you dare start on the 9 times table again. Remember, I know where the nearest recycle bin is! It’s temptingly close by.)

Sigh, the debate is not over yet.

T.i.c.k. t.o.c.k.

For the first time this year I have slipped in to the zone of a ‘Slow Watch’.

My stay here may only last 24 hours 😉 but I intend to luxuriate in every nano second of it :

doors wide open to gentle breeze, soft sun, and cicada song;

table full- laden with gifts from friends and garden;

Gifts of garden and friends

Gifts from garden and friends

the noisy, bustling,  tilted world  of recent weeks,

Busy

Busy

 

restrained, then replaced by sweet moments

Sweet bites

Sweet bites

of the rightful order of a steady, subtlety silent, tick by tock.

The Rightful Order

The Rightful Order

With thanks to Nath at Beautycalypse for introducing me to the reframing of time via the Slow Watch.

https://beautycalypse.com/2017/02/26/productivity-and-sleep/

 

© silkannthreades

The Colour of Spring

In my mind’s eye the colour of spring is tender:  pink and white and violet, and dimpled daffodil yellow; diaphanous blue; soft, lush green; all steeped in  warm, lemon honey sunshine.  But that is not often the reality of spring,  particularly  in Christchurch where, in September, the average sunshine hours per day number 5.5.

No, the colour of spring is more nuanced than my mind’s eye would have it. It is frequently overcast with grey,

Spring Grey

Spring Grey

and dim drizzle,  (skip to the end of the video if you  are interested in the cherry blossom)

and shaded skies.

Spring under shaded sky

Spring under shaded sky

But for all that  my spring is not mental picture-perfect, I still love it. And I will take it any way it comes.

I love spring however it is served.

I love spring however it is served;  but I don’t eat daffodils ~ they’re poisonous ~ just saying ;).

 

An artist-in-residence

I have an artist- in – residence?  Do you?

As a way of bringing a lighter, brighter look to my house, I have let her creative spirit have free rein in my domain.  There are new paintings everywhere.  And some of her old ones, too.

They make me smile. They remind me that spring is nearly here; that the magnolia is about to bloom again. They remind me that my dreary, old soul will soon be revived by  longer hours of daylight;  longer hours of sunshine.

Here’s a look at some of my artist’s work. Do you know who she is? If you are long time reader of this blog, you have met her before.  Of course, she isn’t physically in residence, but what fun it would be if she really were.

The little girl in me

The little girl in me

Portrait of Gallivanta's Magnolia

Portrait of Gallivanta’s Magnolia

More Magnolias

More Magnolias

Just the two of us

Just the two of us

Dog in residence

Dog in residence

Jack, the perfect artist's model-in-residence

Jack, the perfect artist’s model-in-residence

I haven’t taken photos for a while. I am out of practice. It shows.  I think I need a photographer-in-residence!

 

 

© silkannthreades

 

 

 

‘ A Wigwam for a Goose’s Bridle’

Some of you will have noticed that I have been peeking round the cyber curtain lately, much like the child who has been sent to bed on the night of the party, but can’t resist peering round the door to see what  the grown ups are doing.

And, like that child, I am enjoying my glimpses into the other room ( of  WordPress ). Am I ready to cast aside the curtain and boldly enter  into your presence?  Not quite.  Not yet. I am still busy gathering up the riches of a lovely warm autumn; storing them away for the winter ahead.

I have also been gathering memories, like this one. In April I spent time with my parents who live in Australia. My mother and I worked on a small art project which involved threads and beads and ribbons and decorative butterflies. When it was finished I held it up, and said to my mother, “It’s very pretty but I have no idea what we have made, or what it is for? What do you think it is for ?” She looked at it, uncertainly, and said, after a moment’s reflection, ” A wigwam for a goose’s bridle.

I laughed. A truer word was never spoken.  (Though I don’t think she meant the saying  in its “mind your own business” sense. It was more that she thought we had made something nonsensical!)

'A wigwam for a goose's bridle' April 2016

‘A wigwam for a goose’s bridle’ April 2016

And with that piece of nonsense, I am going to retire for the night. I love knowing you are just on the other side, with your songs and stories, your words and your wisdom, your photos and fine art, your feelings and foibles, your heart, your smiles.  In the hush of my room I  listen to  the hum of your cyber chatter.   Bliss…….

Goodnight.