Blackcurrants, my father’s favourite, the harvest begins
Blackcurrants, my father’s favourite, the harvest begins
I am feeling the winter blues
but let me tell you
about a couple of bright spots in these early days of winter.
First, a gift for me, imagined and crafted by my daughter ~
Second, the arrival of a new battery for my old Panasonic Lumix camera. Arrival? Yes, arrival! One of the quirky aspects of living in a small country which is home to much other quirkiness; read, kiwifruit and kiwis and a pregnant Prime Minister
is that replacement lithium batteries for older model cameras aren’t readily available. They must be ordered and then shipped to New Zealand. My battery, assembled and packaged in Australia, took 8 weeks to reach me. Delivery day to my doorstep was an event; a celebration; an arrival; an eagerly awaited occasion.
No longer am I reliant upon my little mobile phone camera to capture my moods with feeble clarity.
Now, I can focus on finding some light in the gloom.
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;
the noisy, bustling, tilted world of recent weeks,
restrained, then replaced by sweet moments
of the rightful order of a steady, subtlety silent, tick by tock.
With thanks to Nath at Beautycalypse for introducing me to the reframing of time via the Slow Watch.
Do you know that :
~ instead of a bridal gown, Marie Curie, “wore a dark blue outfit, which for years after was a serviceable lab garment ” ?
~ 2015 marks the centenary of the execution of British nurse, Edith Cavell?
~ the Cavell Nurses’ Trust is organizing a fund-raising ascent of Mount Edith Cavell in Jasper National Park, Canada, 22nd – 29th August 2015?
Do you know that :
~ beginning in the 18th Century there was a craze for seashells called Conchylomania ? As the name suggests, it was the shell equivalent of Tulipmania. Some shells were bought and sold for more than a Vermeer painting.
( This is not a Vermeer painting! 😀 In the 17th Century Balthasar van der Ast perfected the art of painting shells. )
Do you know that:
~ Dr Maria Montessori, educator, physician, humanitarian, and founder of the Montessori method, and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, was an unwed mother? Do you know she sought refuge in India during World War 2 but was later interned there as an enemy alien?
How about this? Do you know that Florence Nightingale ‘owned’ about 60 cats during her long life? Her favourite cat, a Persian, was called Mr Bismarck. She also had a pet owl named Athena.
Do you know the Christchurch City Council Library has excellent online resources, a great Facebook page , and an informative and entertaining blog where, just occasionally, there are wonderful surprises, like the Kobo eReader competition, which I won at Matariki ?
Thank you Christchurch City Council Library and library staff. 🙂
Do you know if your local library has a blog, or wonderful digital and paper resources like ours?
Check out all the resources I found at our library!
Spirals in Time
The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells
Scales, Helen 2015
An Illustrated Work for Amateur Collectors of New Zealand Marine Shells, With Directions for Collecting and Cleaning Them
Moss, E. G. B.
Book – 1908 https://christchurch.bibliocommons.com/item/show/161551037_beautiful_shells_of_new_zealand
Marie Curie And Her Discovery
Book – 2015 https://christchurch.bibliocommons.com/item/show/894783037_marie_curie_and_her_discovery
Book – 2000 – Chinese https://christchurch.bibliocommons.com/item/show/594982037_florence_nightingale
Rose of No Man’s Land
Perry, Anne ~
Pre-loaded Audiobook – 2013 https://christchurch.bibliocommons.com/item/show/810767037_rose_of_no_mans_land
( Quick question. Do you know the history of Anne Perry? https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/heavenly-again/ )
Website or Online data https://christchurch.bibliocommons.com/item/show/578459037_maria_montessori#bib_info
If you were to look at a New Zealand calendar, there’s a good chance you would see 18 June marked as Matariki ~ 18 June being the official start of Aotearoa’s New Year. I have written previously about Matariki, the traditional Maori New Year and its connection to the star cluster, Pleiades, as well as its connection to my life. You can find the post at this link.
This New Year, instead of a re-hash of my own limited knowledge of Matariki, I invite you to join me over at Juliet Batten’s blog, http://www.julietbatten.co.nz/musing-on-matariki/ , where you can see the wonder of one of New Zealand’s own seasonal events through a different pair of eyes. Juliet is the author of ‘Celebrating the Southern Seasons, Rituals for Aotearoa’. In her book, she writes with wisdom and clarity about our inherited ( Pakeha ) festivals, and how we can attune them to the seasons of New Zealand, and the traditional observances of the Maori calendar.
Despite Juliet’s clear instructions on locating Matariki in our southern skies ( “start with Orion, move diagonally down to the left, past Taurus and look low” ), I have failed to do so: mostly because I am functionally illiterate when it comes to reading the stars, but also because, this year, the weather has, so far, been distinctly unhelpful. Like this, in fact, ~soggy ~
with both night and day cloaking themselves in the same dark, dense, water-logged fabric.
Now, whilst I may be failing at star-craft and Pleiades-tracking, I have spotted the return of another visitor, this Matariki. It’s none other than SOFIA, the ultra sophisticated and ultra modern star-gazer, from afar.
Sofia, a stratospheric observatory, is a joint venture between Nasa and the German Aerospace Centre and will be based in Christchurch until July 24th. There will be 18 missions during the six-week deployment, each lasting ten hours. Although the main focus this year is Pluto, I am sure the crew on Sofia will get some fine glimpses of the Pleiades.
This is a photo I took of Sofia during her visit in July 2013. My old post on Sofia can be found on this link. https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/2408/#comments
If it weren’t for the dripping state of the landscape,
I would have been out getting you a new photo of Sofia. But, as it is, I prefer being indoors,
salivating over gazing at the stars of my kitchen laboratory:
Tarte Tatin ( the first I have made );
Apricot and Feijoa Cobbler;
Piping hot pumpkin soup;
Hmmm……looking at my kitchen creations, does anyone else get the impression that I am hungry for the sun? Thank goodness, the solstice and the rebirth of the sun are nigh. 🙂
Happy New Year. 😀
12.51 pm ~
that dreadful moment, 4 years ago, today, that ripped apart what was left of our quaint, quiet world.
I am remembering it.
My heart doesn’t want to anymore, but my brain and my body insist. 12.51, and all the other moments, beginning Sept 4, 2010, are imprinted on my being ~ indelibly. They have leached to my very core. Part of who I am and what I will be, forever.
Four years on and I still stiffen at any unexpected movement in the house, even if it’s only the wind, or a shake caused by a truck rumbling on the road. I startle easily. And, then, there are those moments that come, out of the blue, and screech through my head for an intense few seconds, saying, ” Is it going to happen again, NOW? Is it, is it? What will I do? What will I do? Will I make it? How will I hold on? Can I hold on? ” I am standing again in the bathroom doorway, holding on to frame and fear. Indescribable fear.
Then it’s over. I survive, and move on. Slowly. On shaky legs.
I set the table, in some trepidation, with my great-grandmother’s china. (Please no shakes, please no shakes.) I remind myself it has survived more than a 100 years. It is chipped, cracked and crazed, but its beauty and value remains.
A friend brings apples.
She has gathered them from an abandoned, earthquake-damaged property in her neighborhood. She calls them gravestone apples. I like that. They are, in a way. The property on which they grow is like a forlorn graveyard.
I eat the apples. I bake them. They are given new life, new form.
I bake bread, to share.
I want to feast on life, not fear.
Join me. Take a slice,
a spoon, a fork, “dig in”.
Something to ponder as you digest :
The china used in this post is a metaphor for continuity. The Flow Blue semi porcelain plates which belonged to my maternal great-grandmother were produced about 1912. The pattern is Vermont. They were made in England by Burgess and Leigh. The small blue plates, which I purchased just prior to the earthquakes, are also Burgess and Leigh. They are made in the same way and in the same factory as the Vermont china was all those years ago. One pattern is Felicity, the other is Chintz. Felicity is a small, delicate flower pattern reminiscent of elder flowers in a gentle pale blue originating from the 1930s. Burgess Chintz is a delicate blue chintz pattern dating from the early 1900s, derived from the wild geranium. How any of this china survived the shaking, I will never know.
Star-God burns afar
sparkles rata into flame
calling time on berries ripe
O Te Waru Haere Mai
February 2nd ~ Groundhog Day, Candlemas, Imbolc, First Fruits, Lean Time, Te Waru, Lammas, Lugnasad ~ by whatever name we know it, the underpinning story is the same. The earth is sifting seasons. Do you hear its trickled lilt? What does it sing to you?
The Star-God is Rehua (Antares). Te Waru is the eighth month of the Maori calendar. For more information on our southern seasons, read Juliet’s beautiful post on Lugnasad here.