Category Archives: Music

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

 

 

 

 

Along Came Funny Bones

Most of us like to post our best possible work, but, sometimes, our best possible work is not all that flash.

Such is the case with my latest video. The camera work is poor, the editing is  poorer, the captions are poorly synchronized,  and so on and so forth…..

Should I subject you to it?  Probably not, but even the poorest of efforts has some merit. Surely?

You may watch (or not) and decide for yourselves.

For me, there is merit in the slow-ish progression of the video, which gives one time to move through weariness and respite to  jaunty, dog-eared joy. There is merit in learning new skills, such as caption writing. And there is merit in finding my public voice again.

But the greatest merit of all is the mirth that came to me from the video,

because it reminded me

of how slowly I talk ,

and of another slow-talking character called Jones,

Slow-walkin’ Jones, Slow-talkin’ Jones, immortalized/mythologized  in song http://www.oldielyrics.com/lyrics/the_coasters/along_came_jones.html and in  Cary Cooper’s film,  Along Came Jones.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAweLY10lUo

I started out bone weary. I finished with seriously tickled funny bones. The best possible outcome, I reckon, from my less than perfect but best possible effort.

ps I am not tall and thin, nor lean and lanky; I am more teapot, short and stout.

pps The monarch butterflies and their offspring have joined the cicadas in the garden  since I made the video.

© 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

 

 

 

I get by with a little help …from friends, flowers and family

I have been in a rough place since my last post. Almost a month ago, I wrote that I wanted to feast on life, not fear.  And I really meant it. I really did. But Fear, with its fiendish companion Anxiety, decided it was time to make a meal out of me. They set their teeth into me, tore me apart in their jaws, and tried to devour me chunk by chunk. Most unpleasant. ( I hope they got indigestion.)

Friends and family rallied round and helped me prise loose those nasty jaws, and patched me up.  But the struggle has left me tired and short on creativity. Yesterday was the first time in nearly a month that I felt energetic enough to take some photos.

They are not particularly good photos but I am posting them as a way of saying thank you to friends everywhere, and to family, for keeping me steady and upright in recovery.

You are the flowers around me,

The flowers that surround me

The flowers that surround me

you are  perfect companions,

Buckwheat, a perfect companion

Buckwheat, a perfect companion

and help to keep my pathway blooming.

The pathway blooms

The pathway blooms

And, just for fun, let’s lighten the mood with my song of the day

Postscript

The reasons behind my rough patch are multiple; some are earthquake related stresses, and some are family-related. For privacy reasons I am not able to discuss all of the family-related issues.

© silkannthreades

Lilts

Star-God burns afar
sparkles rata into flame
cicadas chatter
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?

Chilean Guavas: New Zealand Cranberries

Calling time on berries ripe

This post was inspired by Juliet Batten’s book Celebrating the Southern Seasons ~ Rituals for Aotearoa,  and Earthbornliving’s blog, Nona Hora, the Ninth Hour.

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.

© silkannthreades

All Good Gifts ~ a balance sheet

Still in the spirit of keeping track of myself ~

ALL GOOD GIFTS  ( Incomings):

from Cynthia, author of A Good Home, a dedicated post, accompanied by flowers;

from Clare, at  A Suffolk Lane, an introduction to the lovely tradition of the Blessing of the Plough on Plough Sunday, and a reminder of the wonderful hymn ” “We Plough the Fields and Scatter”;

from Robbie (and her friend Lori), at Palm Rae Urban Potager,  notification of Save our Soil Blogger Action Day (21st January ).

 

ALL GOOD GIFTS (Outgoings):

for Robbie ( and Lori ), composting my soil in time for Save our Soil Blogger Action Day, and scattering seeds of buckwheat and wildflowers;

International Soil Day 21 January 2015

International Year of Soils 2015 

for Clare, a beautiful rendition of We Plough the Fields and Scatter,

and a glimpse of a harvest to come,

Cape Gooseberry ~ physalis, amour en cage, golden berry....

Cape Gooseberry ~ physalis, amour en cage, golden berry….

fed on the sweetness of summer raindrops;

False Physalis

False Physalis

for Cynthia, an arrangement

Summer arrangement of roses, mint, sage, borage and heartsease

Summer arrangement of roses, mint, sage, borage and heartsease

for a heart’s ease and a heart’s celebration in all things bright and good, no matter how tiny.

Heartsease,  heart's delight, tickle-my-fancy, Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me, come-and-cuddle-me, three faces in a hood,  love-in-idleness,johnny jump up

Heartsease, heart’s delight, tickle-my-fancy, Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me, come-and-cuddle-me, three faces in a hood, love-in-idleness, johnny jump up…

© silkannthreades

Searching

Timaru Lighthouse http://www.newzealandlighthouses.com/timaru_harbour.htmat Benvenue Cliffs

SEARCHING : Timaru Lighthouse http://www.newzealandlighthouses.com/timaru_harbour.htm  at Benvenue Cliffs

Dear Friends

I may be away for a while. I am on a mission; to declutter, and to regroup.

Yesterday, I realized, to my horror, that I had mislaid/lost some very important personal papers. The last time I clearly remember seeing them was before I left for Cairns in late September. Vigorous searching in the past 24 hours has failed to reveal their whereabouts. In the process of turning cupboards inside out and drawers upside down, I have been confronted by clutter anarchy on an unacceptable scale.

It is time for action! Concentrated action.

I find the work of clearing out and cleaning up very tiring ( which is why I procrastinate about it till it can be ignored no longer). So, at the end of each day, for however long my tidy-up takes , I am planning to recoup my energy by reading, (not blogging!). I want to finish Wolf Pear by blogger  Dianne Gray, and find time to read  Mary Mageau’s trilogy: The Trousseau, An Antique Brooch  and The Rose and the Thistle.

And whilst I read, and/or relax, I hope to listen to some of Mary’s beautiful compositions. How about Sleepy Koala to start with? 🙂

A friend of mine says that if we lose something we should ask St Anthony of Padua for help. I very rarely lose things, so I have only ever sent up a quick ‘St Anthony, could you help me out?’ type prayer. ( He did, eventually. ; ) )

Here is part of a more proper version of a prayer to St Anthony:

Saint Anthony, perfect imitator of Jesus, who received from God the special power of restoring lost things, grant that I may find (mention your petition) which has been lost. As least restore to me peace and tranquility of mind, the loss of which has afflicted me even more than my material loss.

Does it work? Thousands upon thousands believe so. I am going to give it another try, for, more than anything, I am searching for the recovery  of my peace of mind.

See you later!

ps. I will, of course, do a brief post later in the month with the results of my Thanksgiving giveaway. And I will answer all comments you may like to make on this post.

 

 

© silkannthreades

T’is the season

T’is the season for giving thanks and, it seems, for giveaways. Wendy at Quarter Acre Lifestyle and Boomdeeadda had sweetly sneaky ones the other day. Despite the quiet surprise element, their giveaways were a  vocal and  gracious thank-you to their followers.  Now, Heather at Lost in Arles is organising a giveaway. It is her first one. It is her way of thanking her supporters, as well as celebrating four wonderful years of blogging. The giveaway is a beautiful book by Ann Mah, Mastering the Art of French Eating.

As a dedicated follower of Wendy, Boomdeeadda and Heather, guess what I am about to do? Yes, you guessed it. I, too, am going to offer a giveaway. What’s my “excuse”?  ( apart from my wish to try out what  inspiring bloggers do? 😉 )

My excuse is twofold:

a) It’s Thanksgiving season. I want to give thanks to my blogging community;

b) It’s spring cleaning season.  I want to declutter….thoughtfully; as in  by sharing the good fortune of my excess goodies.

You may remember that, owing to the shenanigans of the postal services and various book delivery systems, I ended up with two copies of It’s in His Kiss   by Vickie Lester of Beguiling Hollywood.

One for each handhttps://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/its-in-his-kiss/ It's In His Kiss by Vickie Lester

One for each hand, It’s in His Kiss  by Vickie Lester

A similar situation arose with Sophia Stuart’s (Teamgloria) , How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World.

Both books are splendid additions to my bookshelf but it’s time for the extra copies to be dispatched for the enjoyment of others. Would you like to be that ‘other’?

If so, leave a like or a comment and I will draw out a winner on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday  27th November ( New Zealand time). There will be two giveaways; one for Sophia’s book and one for Vickie’s.

Sophia’s book is a beautiful, restful way to treat yourself, or someone who is in need of calm and healing. It is a pleasure to read, and a pleasure to hold and behold. ( Little secret….I sometimes pick up my copy and simply hold it, and stroke the cover, because it’s feels so exactly right to my hand and to my eye; in other words, it’s aesthetically pleasing. 😉 )

Vickie’s book comes with a warning!  Beware where this Beguiling Hollywood mystery may take you. I hadn’t read anything Hollywood, or mysterious, for years. I wasn’t sure if I liked mystery and/or murder tales anymore……..hmmmm…..

W.E.L.L  …….apparently I do. I devoured It’s in His Kiss; next stop was  Nola Fran Evie  by Britt Skrabenak,  followed by Let Sleeping Gods Lie by  Australian author/blogger  Dianne Gray.   Did my murder/mystery ‘kick’ end there? No, indeed, not.  I am now reading Wolf Pear by Dianne Gray. Ms Lester, look how far you have led me astray from my old, fusty reading paths.  Those darn Hollywood Kisses! They sweep you off your feet.

Sophia, whose Teamgloria posts I miss most dreadfully, has also led me off the beaten track into new and interesting territory. First it was via the process of publishing her book, and now she is introducing me to the world of the mobile episodic drama. Yes, the mobile episodic drama! What next, you may ask!  This is a style of writing that is completely new to me, but probably old hat to a digital pioneer, like Sophia. Her drama launches this week via Pocket Gems’ Episode Platform and is called Mayfair Brooks. Here’s the story.   I am going to pretend I am 17 again and check it out. Join me, if you dare.

In the meantime, please have fun with my giveaway. I may be decluttering but I am truly thankful for all the support and joy you bring to me with your comments and readership. It’s time to return some of the goodness. T’is the season for giving.

“We give Him thanks for our supporters, who had charge of our harvests.” from The Thanksgivings by  Harriet Maxwell Converse.

Jennie Augusta Brownscombehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennie_Augusta_Brownscombe, The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, 1914, Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth, Massachusetts

Jenni Augusta Brownscombe, The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, 1914, Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth, Massachusetts

ps If you read my blog by email only, you are welcome to send me an email and ask to be included in the giveaway.

© silkannthreades

I love to tell a story….honouring a long tradition of story telling through the ages

‘I love to tell the story; ’tis pleasant to repeat
What seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet.’  ~  ( Katherine Hankey, 1866 )

Dawdling at the kitchen window this morning,

Kitchen reflections

Kitchen reflections

I reflected on the tradition of Sunday story telling that was part of my younger years.  When I was little, the early hours of Sunday morning were filled by listening to Story Time/Children’s Hour on the radio. The same stories were repeated endlessly.  Yet I was not bothered by the repetition. It was good to hear old favourites over and over. Once Story Time and breakfast time were finished, we were shepherded off to Sunday School where, once again, we listened to stories; stories that had been told, and retold, for thousands of years.

We listened to those stories, we acted them out, we coloured them in, and we sang them, too. Remember this one?  Tell me the old, old story.

Thinking about Sundays and stories reminded me that I have a story to tell. It’s not new. You have heard most of it before; it’s tall but true, as well as sweet and ‘pleasant to repeat’.

It goes like this.

In the beginning there was  Britt , of the beautiful smile and the blue beret.

Britt at Oregon Zoo

Britt at Oregon Zoo

Then there was the Book that Britt wrote,

and the Kindle that Gallivanta bought to read the book that Britt wrote,

The challenge of a new style of reading

The challenge of a new style of reading

which turned out to be a game changer in Gallivanta’s life, and prompted her to be a little sassy and issue a playful challenge to Britt, of the beautiful smile and the blue beret. The challenge:  to locate a totem pole by Chief Lelooska somewhere in Portland, the  replica of which  stood 7,000 miles away, here, at Christchurch Airport, in New Zealand.

 

And Britt, being much like one of the determined women in her Book, took up Gallivanta’s challenge and, with a few choice words like “Gallivanta, you stinker”,  went on a Totem Pole Quest in Portland, Oregon.

Was she successful? You bet. For two months Britt quested and queried and questioned and, finally, she  found Chief Lelooska’s Totem Pole, recently restored and reinstalled, at Oregon Zoo. It was a beautiful sight to behold.

Chief Lelooska's Totem Pole, Oregon Zoo, Portland, 2014

Chief Lelooska’s Totem Pole, Oregon Zoo, Portland, 2014

The End, but not quite…..if you would like to read more about Britt’s Totem Pole quest and the story of the Totem Pole itself, click here and follow the links.

Story telling over, it’s back to more dawdling for me,

Gather round little blossoms and listen to my tales

Gather round little blossoms and listen to my tales

and wondering why the little yellow flower of the sharp tasting rocket is so sweetly scented. Must be a story in that. 🙂

By the way, for the child in all of us, don’t forget that Story Time is still  a regular feature on Radio New Zealand.  Have a listen.

Endnote:

The photos of Britt at the Zoo and of Chief Lelooska’s Totem Pole at the Oregon Zoo are used with kind permission from Britt. Please do not copy  or use them without her consent.

© silkannthreades

The Night is Black

At this time of the year millions around the world are preparing for the triduum of  Allhallowtide, which encompasses All Hallows’ Eve (Halloween), All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. For many the preparations will include stocking up on candles for the rituals and  traditions that involve candlelight.

Millions more have begun another celebration, today, which also requires light; light to vanquish darkness and evil and despair. This celebration is the annual, five-day  festival of  lights, namely,  Diwali.

Having grown up in Fiji, where Diwali has long been an honoured occasion (and now a public holiday), I have a love for Diwali which outstrips any affection I have for Allhallowtide.   Seeing the houses decorated with beautiful Diwali lights was a yearly highlight of my childhood.

So, this week, in accordance with  my family’s customs,  I will light a Diwali candle (candles if I can find more than one).

Light a candle

Light a candle

I will listen again to the gentle singing words of Rabindranath Tagore’s Invocation to Diwali 

and consider the significance of Diwali, so eloquently expressed here:  “The night is black. Kindle the lamp of love with thy life and devotion.” (Rabindranath  Tagore)

Until night falls, however, I will keep watch with the dear, little lights that are ever present , and need no darkness to make them shine.

Little Charlie, a  new  (de) light  to brighten our lives

Little Charlie, a new (de) light to brighten our lives

 

Candelabra

Candelabra; shining light on the shadows

And, if I can organize myself sufficiently well, I may even make a special sweet treat for Diwali;  a rhubarb and apple crumble with freshly picked rhubarb from my garden.

Join me, if you will, in lighting a candle, for the night is black, and we need all the light we can get. Happy Diwali and may the light of the lamp burn brightly in all our hearts.

© silkannthreades