Category Archives: Gallivanting

Does your life have a soundtrack?

Most of my readers will know  about the earthquakes we experienced in Christchurch  in 2010 and 2011 as well as the continuing  aftershocks.  The aftershocks are now minor and infrequent, yet the enormous impact of the initial earthquakes lives with us still.  It is inescapable. It is omnipresent.  The mark of the earthquakes is as good as branded upon us, seared into our being and into our land; indelible, ingrained, forever.

Yet our branding mark is no longer as raw and painful as it once was.  There is healing.  Healing which comes through significant milestones, like the recent  opening of  Helmores Lane Bridge; the only surviving 19th century timber bridge in Christchurch.

After 5 months of  earthquake repairs, and restoration work, the bridge is once again open to pedestrians and cyclists, and sheep! http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/83922014/christchurchs-oldest-timber-bridge-reopens-after-1-million-restoration

I didn’t attend the official opening, but the following day I visited the bridge for the simple pleasure of crossing it, and then standing midway to take in one of my favourite views in Christchurch.

This is what I saw. It was not what I heard.

I added a soundtrack to the video to drown out the earthquake reconstruction din which permeates the air almost everywhere in Christchurch.

The true soundtrack of our lives is an impromptu, improvised, unfinished symphony which I call “Earthquaked.” You can hear a bit of it in this next video ( and, happily, some birdsong, too.)

Unfortunately in my attempt to keep my video as short as possible, I edited out most of the noisiest noise. Hopefully, there’s enough left  to give you an idea of “Earthquaked”, within the first 48 seconds; which is the average viewing time on my You Tube channel. 😉

p.s. Readers who are sharp-eyed grammarians will notice  I have not placed an apostrophe in Helmores Lane.  It is my natural inclination to do so, and the media articles, including one by the City Council, on the opening of the bridge certainly use an apostrophe.   BUT it is my understanding that city councils in New Zealand do not  usually use  the apostrophe in street signage, and the New Zealand Geographic Board does not usually do so in place names. There are exceptions, of course. As far as I know Helmores Lane is not one of them. I am happy to be corrected on this apostrophe.

 

© silkannthreades

 

 

 

 

Flirting

Dearest WordPress friends,

We have an open and generous relationship, so I know you won’t mind if I let you in on my latest dalliance. You see, I have neglected you shamefully because I am  flirting with You Tube. It’s an innocent enough flirtation but I am rather shy about  admitting to it.  It seems a bit silly  flirting with You Tube in my older years.  ( And probably making a fool of myself in the process. 😀 )

If you would like to see what we’ve been up to, You Tube and I, come on over to Gallivanta H.  You may find something to make you smile; like this

And, don’t worry,  as much as my flirtatious fling with You Tube is fun, my heart belongs to my WordPress family. 🙂  I am not planning to desert you.

Your friend in blogging,

Gallivanta.

Warning:  you may find ads on some of my You Tube videos.

 

On a more sensible note, I am trying out You Tube because I am curious to see how it works, particularly in terms of monetization. And I am keen to see how I cope with the challenge of making videos.  At the moment I find the process difficult, and my admiration has grown, in leaps and bounds, for those who make beautiful, skillful videos. Lens caps off to them.

 

© silkannthreades

It’s me time

Just a quick post to let you know that I will be away quite a lot from my blog (and your blogs) for the next  6 weeks.

I will be preoccupied with family matters, visiting, and being visited.  It’s also my 60th birthday towards the end of March. I am not planning a big celebration, or even a small one, but I am planning some ‘me’ time.

This is not of me, but a painting made for me. I am very fond of it, and it somehow sits well with my upcoming birthday and my proposed time for myself.

Growing Younger Each Day

Growing Younger Each Day

Be back soonish.

© silkannthreades

 

 

 

Unexpected places

I have been absent from my blog, as well as your blogs, for some time.

I am spring cleaning heart and home~

oh, and the computer files, too, where I found the first WordPress post I wrote, almost three years ago. I did not publish it at the time  but, considering the topic, now seems the right moment to  give it an airing.

2012

“This year, in August 2012, we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary.  The weather was perfect and the magnolias were in full bloom. ”

Magnolia Time

Magnolia Time 2012

2015

Next week, we will mark our 33rd wedding anniversary. Hopefully the weather will be perfect again and the magnolias will be as beautiful as they were today.

Magnolia ` at home, August 2015

Magnolia, in soft focus, at home, August 2015

When I was a child I imagined  ( a little) what marriage might mean for me. However, even in my wildest, most outlandish imaginings, I did not foresee an hilariously unconventional wedding in Botswana,

Cutting the Cake, 1982

Cutting the Cake, 1982

and a future 33 years later in New Zealand.

Life and marriage take us to some odd and unexpected places, as some  millions of  users of Ashley Madison are suddenly figuring out. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/ashley-madison-life-on-the-internet-after-the-adultery-website-hack-will-never-be-the-same-10464950.html  Whilst the number of people searching for affairs is disturbing in itself, also disturbing ( to my mind) is the small group of email addresses linked to New Zealand Government agencies responsible for confidential, private files. If the addresses prove genuine, then I will be worried about our Government’s ability to employ people who are a) honest and b) sensible enough to protect the  personal data we, the citizens, are  constantly obliged to offer the Government.  ( And, of course, in addition  to my  concerns, I am feeling sad for all the innocent people and families caught up in this debacle. )

Whether in a relationship or not, may your days be blessed.

 

© silkannthreades

Family matters

I have been busy, offline:

learning about a network of family in New Zealand, Canada, and Scotland that was previously unknown to me; reveling in the new-found solidarity of knowing where I come from; knowing where I stand in the world.

David Millar, my great, great-uncle, born in Scotland, settled in Mangawhai.

David Millar, my great, great-uncle, born in Scotland, settled in Mangawhai.

I have been busy, offline:

celebrating the birthday of one our longest lived family members, my father; he turned 95 in early May.

I have been busy, in real life:

helping my sister put together a creative activity programme for our 92-year-old mother; it is already producing wonderful results,

Painted Lady inspired by Pauline King's art, painted by Mother

Painted  Collage Lady, inspired by Pauline King’s art,  by Mother

including an increase in my own desire to explore painting,

Playing with Paint by Gallivanta, inspired by Pauline King

Playing with Paint by Gallivanta, inspired by Pauline King

and to play.

In moments of down time, I have played with Facebook and WordPress,  and the camera on my mobile phone.  Using the WordPress app was interesting, but not particularly satisfying. I am happy to be back on my laptop, where reading, commenting, and writing are all so much easier. I am happy to have access to my usual camera again.

These recent days, offline, have been enriching. But were mostly made so because of  the wonderful inspiration I gain from my WordPress family. In particular I would like to thank Ellen Grace Olinger for encouraging my interest in colouring and colouring pages, and Pauline King,  The Contented Crafter , for her artistic support and guidance.

Family matters, in real life, in digital life, in history, and in the here and now. Bless you all.

ps: Having written this post, I went to read the newspaper and found this in my horoscope ~”Family matters are favoured today.”  Indeed! For once the horoscope and I are in agreement. 🙂

© silkannthreades

 

Differing Sensibilities

To state the obvious: when people of different cultures and differing sensibilities meet for the first time, there can be life-changing outcomes.

I am thinking here:

of the literary fame that followed  Flaubert’s romp through Egypt; of  Maxime du Camp’s ground breaking travel photography;

Stele at  Karnak, Egypt, Calotype taken by Maxime Du Camp, French writer and photographer (1822-1894)

Stele at Karnak, Egypt, Calotype taken by Maxime Du Camp, French writer and photographer (1822-1894)

of  Edward Lear’s beautiful sketches of the Nile;

Edward Lear, near Malatieh, 1867.

Edward Lear, near Malatieh, 1867.

and of the courage of New Zealander, Ettie Rout, who, though demonized in her own country, fought strenuously and eventually successfully for the issue of free prophylactic kits to our World War One troops.

On a quieter, more gentle scale, there is my own life-changing encounter. It goes like this: –  with music if you wish, by  Omar Khairat  https://youtu.be/re78QlR0rhI

                                       ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 I once lived in an apartment complex in Cairo. At the front of the building there were two small, square gardens, separated by hedges, and a concrete slab path, leading to the five storey stairway, at the building’s entrance.  One of the gardens became MY garden. It actually belonged to all the apartment dwellers on our side of the building. No one seemed to mind that I supervised its care. The garden opposite ‘mine’ was claimed by the building’s caretaker and his family. It was their domain.

Our caretaker or Bowab, Ahmed*, was of a weather-worn, indeterminate age. Perhaps in his 60s,  perhaps not. He had lived in the city for many years, yet he remained a country man at heart.

"The Banks of the Nile" by Sayed Mahmoud http://www.wissa-wassef-arts.com/bm.html

“The Banks of the Nile” by Sayed Mahmoud http://www.wissa-wassef-arts.com/bm.html

He didn’t have much time for the refined and tidy rows of my city garden. Grudgingly, he would admire the salvia, the gazanias, or the begonias, or whatever was the flower of the season, but it was his own garden that held his heart.

He was very proud of his creation, and knew each plant within it. He delighted in introducing me to the new, and usually self-sown, arrivals in his garden. But Ahmed’s greatest pride was reserved for his small collection of ‘baladi’ roses.

He had a half-dozen of these ‘baladi’ rose bushes growing in the centre of his garden, under the partial shade of a small pine tree. I don’t know how to translate  ‘baladi’ precisely.  I like to think of it as meaning an ancient rose of Egypt, as opposed to the newer  varieties that grew in my garden.

Baladi kittens with a touch of Egyptian Mau http://www.emaurescue.org/index.php

Not Roses but Baladi kittens with a touch of Egyptian Mau ? http://www.emaurescue.org/

 

Ahmed was rightfully proud of his ‘baladi’ roses. They were exquisite in their shape and colour, and scent. And, almost every morning, after I had walked my children to school, Ahmed would be waiting in his garden to give me the first rosebud, or buds, of the day.

Over time, this early morning meeting developed into our own special ‘baladi’ rose admiration society. In honour of the rose, and in the best tradition of meetings, our proceedings followed a protocol. Each meeting began with the presentation of the rose. I, then, gave a vote of thanks, after which the floor was opened to discussion. The words were almost always the same, but, to the utmost limits of my limited Arabic, we extolled the virtues of the ‘baladi’ rose. We exclaimed over its merits, and we expressed sorrow for the poorer relative who inhabited my garden.  We shook our heads over my outwardly lovely roses because they could never know the true joy of being a ‘baladi’ rose. In quiet accord on the overwhelming superiority of the ‘baladi’ rose, the meeting would end with another vote of thanks from me, accompanied by  an appreciative inhalation (aka a jolly good sniff) of the rose’s perfect perfume.

We loved those roses, Ahmed and I. We were devastated when the ‘baladi’ roses, perhaps tired of city living, decided to curl up their roots, and die. We talked about buying replacements, but, though Ahmed seemed to search everywhere, no new ‘baladi’ roses came home.

Strangely, the loss of the ‘baladi’ roses did not herald the end of our admiration society. Each early morning, as I returned from the school trip, Ahmed would present me with a rose or two picked from my own garden. The thanks would be the same, but we would wrinkle our noses over the paucity of the rose’s aroma, and we would commiserate over its deficiencies; its lack of integrity and stature, when measured against the one true standard of roses; the ‘baladi’ rose.

That same year of the death of the ‘baladi’ roses, my family and I left Egypt. It was hard to go; to leave my on-loan garden, our street,

Trash collection, our street, Cairo

Trash collection, our street, Cairo

our friends.

Shopping on our street. What's on Gallivanta's list?

Shopping on our street. What’s on Gallivanta’s list?

It was hard for them to let us go, too. The night we departed for the airport, Ahmed was there, by the taxi, waiting to say goodbye.  He first shook hands with my husband, and then crushed him in a bear hug. As he released my husband, I saw Ahmed surreptitiously wipe tears from his face. I turned away. I didn’t want to say goodbye. I didn’t know how to say goodbye to the giver of roses. As a woman, I couldn’t offer him the bear hug hiding shyly within me.   That was out of the question. I had not, in all our day-to-day contacts, even dared to offer a hand in greeting.  Perhaps a smile and a thousand thanks would have to do. But, before I could prepare my face and words, Ahmed stood in front of me, hand outstretched. Briefly, but firmly, we shook hands.  I didn’t hear his words. I didn’t hear mine.  I was conscious only of tears and the rough, earthiness of his palm.  There were no ‘baladi’ roses to give, yet, in that short, final meeting, we exchanged a priceless rose in a class of its own.

*Ahmed (real name not used )

© silkannthreades

 

 

 

Longevity

Longevity

requires a willingness to ‘go the distance’.

Cape Gooseberryhttp://www.edible.co.nz/fruits.php?fruitid=50 has travelled from the wilds of the Andes to colonize the world. South America to the world.

The Cape Gooseberry has travelled, over the centuries, from the wilds of the Andes to colonize the world.

Longevity

requires stickability and a willingness to adapt to whatever life throws at you.

 

Longevity needs a thin skin that understands, and responds to, the changing of the seasons.

Delicate elegant skin

Delicate elegant skin

Longevity needs companionship, creativity, determination, and careful crafting.

 Physalis, Winter Cherry, a paper collage by Mary Delany. Copyright British Museum.http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/pd/m/mary_delany,_winter_cherry.aspx

Physalis, Winter Cherry, a paper collage by Mary Delany. Copyright British Museum. http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/pd/m/mary_delany,_winter_cherry.aspx

Mary Delany had it ‘in spades’ )

Sometimes, longevity requires sheer bloody mindedness, as well as generous good luck,  but always, always, longevity requires an open, tender, sweet heart 🙂 ,

Sweet centered physalis with nasturtium and marigold

Sweet centered physalis with nasturtium and marigold

( and a never-mind attitude to the all-important gritty bits that hitch a ride ).

Happy Anniversary, Mum and Dad, celebrating 67 years together, this February.  Longevity, it’s a long road.  😉  Travel well.

Longevity is a long road and a long row to hoe.

Longevity is a long road ( and a long row to hoe ).

© silkannthreades