Category Archives: New Zealand

A Conversation with Kiwi – Me

It is Matariki, a time to remember, to celebrate, to gather together, to share stories, and to look forward to a New Year in New Zealand. Thank you, dear Rebecca Budd, for encouraging me to share my story at this time of new beginnings; at this special time when we are celebrating our first national holiday for Matariki, a uniquely New Zealand holiday.

My story is a small one, just one of the millions that make up the story of New Zealand. Rebecca, as many of you know, is a gracious and very kind host whose mission, with the help of her husband, Don, is to bring our ‘everyperson’ stories into the light of the world. I hope, dear readers and listeners, that you will enjoy my story. It is not perfectly told but that’s okay. I know you will be kind and understand that my heart is in it even when my words don’t quite match what I meant to say.

Please join in the podcast conversation at Tea Toast & Trivia. https://teatoasttrivia.com/2022/06/20/season-4-episode-26-travelling-to-new-zealand-with-mandy-henderson/

Season 4 Episode 26: Travelling to New Zealand with Mandy Henderson

In Mandy’s Garden (Photo Credit Mandy Henderson)
RETURN
I am home again.
My house seems too large, too empty.
In the silent hollow,
I fill vases with flowers.
Flowers for the kitchen window sill,
Cornflowers, lavender, nasturtiums.
Flowers for the bedroom,
Geranium, roses,
And some for the table.
The old posy ring brims full,
And in the stillness of the blooms,
There travels birdsong without,
And words within.
 Mandy Henderson (Written in Dec 2014, after a family visit in Timaru)

Tea with Mandy in her Garden (Photo Credit Mandy Henderson)

Welcome to Tea, Toast and Trivia.

Thank you for listening in.

I am your host Rebecca Budd, and I am looking forward to sharing this adventure with you.

Living in the reality of Covid-19, travel has been curtailed, internationally as well as domestically.   While travel is coming back, I have found, over the past months, that travel is possible through the alchemy of technology.

Welcome to Tea Toast & Trivia – “The Virtual Journey” which will explore new horizons through the eyes of a friend.  As Marcel Proust reminds me, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

Today, I am traveling to New Zealand to meet up with my blogger friend, Mandy Henderson. New Zealand is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses: the North Island and the South Island and over 700 smaller islands.

I invite you to put the kettle on and join the conversation on Tea Toast & Trivia. I have never been to New Zealand and am excited to be sharing this adventure with you.

In Mandy’s Garden (Photo Credit Mandy Henderson)

https://open.spotify.com/embed/episode/5hikVZcpHmkDi1V83NixFU?utm_source=generator

If you want to learn more about Matariki ( New Zealand’s newest public holiday) click on this link .

The ‘kiwi’ poll I mention in our conversation was organised by the fine young people who publish THE SYSCA DAILY NEWSY Their latest newsy has a lovely article on Matariki, too.

Now, as Rebecca always says, “until next time we meet, keep safe wherever your adventures take you”.

Silence ~ an Advent Quest ~ at rest

My garden: festive feijoa

I retreated into silence last night to consider whether it was time to end my quest. My original intention was to post every day of Advent. But that has not happened to this point and, during my little retreat, I decided  there would be no more posts after this one.

After 15 posts (16 including today’s) on silence, my quest seems to have come to a natural conclusion. For now, I am replete with silence. I feel no need to continue.

My quest has been an enriching experience. I am immensely grateful for your participation in my search for silence. Through silence and contemplation, and with your wonderful companionship, I have for the first time, in a long time, been able to create an accepting, peaceful, space in my heart and home for Christmas.

As Linda (Shoreacres) writes in her post Homes Made for the Holidays ” Christmas is coming, after all, and its spirit will find a dwelling in even the smallest or poorest of spaces.”

And so it has, already. In the silence, it came to me.  From my humble home to yours, I send love and best wishes for peace and goodwill now and always. Happy Christmas.

 

The interfaith tree in my dwelling space, 2018; this tree, fully decorated, was given to me in 2016 by a Buddhist friend. The skirt of the tree and the embroidered white cloth come from Christmas celebrations in Cairo. The green prayer beads were a  Hajj gift from a friend in Egypt. The beads help to remind me of another Christmas tree; a fully decorated  Christmas tree given to us by a Muslim friend for our first Christmas in Egypt.

Silence ~ an Advent Quest ~the web of years

In silence, understanding, the tapestry of my life

In my quest, I begin to understand how the woof of many  silences is woven through the warp of my life. The  unfolding pattern surprises me, delights me, comforts me, saddens me, enriches me.

 

In the light of the silent stars that shine on the struggling sea, 
In the weary cry of the wind and the whisper of flower and tree, 
Under the breath of laughter, deep in the tide of tears, 
I hear the Loom of the Weaver that weaves the Web of Years. 

from the The Loom of Years by Alfred Noyes (1902)

ps The image features a selection of gifts received over many years. The wooden sculptures come from Malawi.  They were given to me over 30 years ago and have travelled to many countries with me.  Faithful friends, I call them Thomas and Sarah.

Silence ~ an Advent Quest ~the silent guest

 

the unseen guest, the silent listener, be present at my table

Who is the unseen guest at your table, the silent listener to every conversation?  The traditional response is Christ; “Christ is the head of the home, the unseen guest of every meal, the silent listener to every conversation.”

My silent guest list changes for almost every meal. Sometimes the guest is an absent family member, or a far off  friend. At other times, I eat in the company of  loved ones who are no longer living.  Often, it seems to me, my little table is a host to a multitude of  absentees. They outnumber those who are physically present.  It would be crowded and noisy, if it weren’t for  the guests’ gentle, profound, and caring, silence.

 

This post is dedicated to Eileen at Laughter: Carbonated Grace , and to all those who will be missing a loved one at their table this Christmas.

 

PS This is my attempt at a flat lay photo. The two flower photos in the centre of the image are not mine. They were a gift from my photographer friend, David Dobbs.

Silence ~ an Advent Quest ~ silent stars

How silent to me, yet heard by the bee

 

Borage is the silent star of my garden. Silent to me, but a siren song to the bee. How  differently we hear silence.

“How can one who does not hear a sound contrast noise with silence? Most people use their ears so constantly, they do not realize that the skin of our bodies is so sensitive that we perceive countless vibrations in the air and in objects we touch. For instance, I am extremely susceptible to the noises of machinery, whistles and the irritating jar of multitudes out of step. In the peace of my little garden I usually can escape from disturbing vibrations, but at present I am greatly annoyed by the metal hammers pounding on the new subway that is being constructed through Forest Hills.”

from The Beauty of Silence (1935) by Helen Keller

PS I will be silent again until Monday. Thank you for being with me on my Quest.

Silence ~ an Advent Quest ~ food for earworms

The silence of one but which one?

Silence, food for earworms, not always pestilential ones.

These lines happily tunnel through my stillness:

‘One is one and all alone
And evermore shall be so.’

from Green Grow the Rushes O

Silence ~ an Advent Quest ~ silent, velvet footed

There had to be cats, there always are

In silence, I contemplate the presence of cats at the Nativity.  There had to be cats, still small voices of calm.

And, quite possibly,  there were fleas, too. 🙂

THE CAT’S CAROL
(Sister Letitia)
Tune: Once In Royal David’s City

Come you cats of every colour
Kittens, too, of every size
See, the Lord who made the tiger
Lowly in a manger lies.
Praise him all his little tigers
Let your joyful purring rise.

Siamese and stately Persian
Homely black and Tabby gay,
Leave your cushions, leave your roof tops
Call a truce with mice today.
Swift and silent, velvet footed
Hasten now down Bethlehem way.

See, he smiles to see you coming
Mary welcomes you within.
Joseph with a friendly finger
Gently strokes your furry chin.
Ox and ass are there beside you
Sheep and camel peering in.
All creation sings his praises
Voices, music, sharps and flats
Join the chorus, cats and kittens
Praise him, just by being cats.

 

Silence ~ an Advent Quest ~breaking the silence

Absorbed, in its world, one frog

 

Breaking the silence
Of an ancient pond,
A frog jumped into water —
A deep resonance.

Matsuo Bashô: Frog Haiku translated by Nobuyuki Yuasa 

I fear I may be drowning us all in silence, so I will take a break until Monday.  Until then

 “Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.”

Silence ~an Advent Quest ~merry and bright

Said one silly chook to the other,” Well, I did warn you that your bed of roses ideas would sink us.”

laughter in silence, silence in laughter

THEN
Daddy fell into the pond!

And everyone’s face grew merry and bright,
And Timothy danced for sheer delight.
‘Give me the camera, quick, oh quick!
He’s crawling out of the duckweed.’
Click!

Then the gardener suddenly slapped his knee,
And doubled up, shaking silently,

Daddy Fell Into the Pond by Alfred Noyes

Silence ~ an Advent Quest ~ let it be

Late afternoon, lily of the Incas, heavenly bamboo, Nana’s jardinière, memories

facing west, twilight on its way

‘The night is for stillness.
…….

It is night after a long day.
What has been done has been done;
what has not been done has not been done;
let it be.’

Evening Prayer 

from © A New Zealand Prayer Book He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa 1989 p.185