Category Archives: Roses

Year out, year in; begin again?

Have you ever tried to sum up your blogging year

in a photo?

Like this ~

2017 ~ Flowers and Friends, Wabi Sabi, and slightly out of focus!

Or in  a poem?

Like this ~where I play upon the titles from this year’s blog posts, plus the title from my first blog post in 2012.

 

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

at my desk ~  on the road,

delving
into past and present:
Gandhi Jayanti;
chelonian tales with a difference;
t.i.c.k. t.o.c.k.

floral interlude

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

from my desk
the great debate,
year out, year in,
begin again?

gallivanting and roses,

on the road, at my desk,

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

t.o.c.k….

 

Do any of the titles stand out for you? Or prompt you to remember a post of mine which you particularly enjoyed?

And, without researching, can you guess which title/words belong to 2012?

Would you like to have a go at a blog title poem?  Feel free to add it in the comments. I would love to read it.

As this year ends, and as I prepare for the next, I want to thank you for your wonderful  readership, support, and comments (and emails and visit ) in 2017.   As usual, and as is the case for most of us, this year has had its share of the good and not so good times; you’ve been with me every step of the way, and I love you for it.  Blessings and bon courage for whatever 2018 holds for you.

Aroha nui

Amanda Anne aka Gallivanta.

#loveyourshell

© silkannthreades

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Christmas is coming

Christmas is coming

The geese are getting fat,

Please to put a penny in the old man’s hat.

If you have no penny, a ha’penny will do,

If you have no ha’penny,

then God bless you. *

 

Christmas is Coming

Christmas is Coming

 

I am in the  ‘God bless you’ category.  How about you? 😉   But I am rich in blessings so the lack of pennies is really of no account ~ but, sigh, I would like that world trip.

The Christmas is Coming nursery rhyme/carol has several versions. * The one I give is my memory of the rhyme I sang as a child.  For more information, you may like to read one account of its origins here https://treasuryislands.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/origins-christmas-is-coming/

 

© 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

 

 

 

Of an evening

Jasmine and sweet rose
linger long on waning light
summer’s parting bliss

Jasmine and Sweet Rose

Jasmine and Sweet Rose

linger long on waning light

linger long on waning light

summer's parting bliss

summer’s parting bliss

When I posted my evening photos on Facebook, many people seemed  to prefer this one

Of an evening ~in full colour

Of an evening ~in full colour

to the black and white.

I was intrigued.

Sometimes my days are so saturated with colour, I need the lullaby of black and white.

 

© 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

Ring out the old, ring in the new

This time last week I was in tropical Far North Queensland with my parents and my siblings. We were gathering round the Manger, at my sister’s home,

Old Manger New Setting

Old Manger, New Setting

preparing to celebrate Christmas as of old. There was warmth in the air, in our hearts, and in the prolific poinciana glowing near the front door.

The Christmas spirit in a tree

The Christmas spirit in a tree

This week I am home again, in cooler Christchurch. My house seems too large and too empty, but the quiet stillness gives me time to prepare for the New Year. I fill the vases with the flowers that have bloomed in my absence.

There are flowers for the kitchen window sill,

Cornflowers, lavender and nasturtium for the kitchen

Cornflowers, lavender and nasturtium for the kitchen

 

flowers for the bedroom,

Roses, nasturtium and geranium to ring in the New Year

Roses, nasturtium and geranium to ring in the New Year

and some for the table, too.

 

Around the silence of the blooms, there travels bird song without, and words within…..

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind….

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land….

 

“Ring Out, Wild Bells” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1850 ).

And with bells ringing, there comes music swelling into the emptiness of the rooms.

 

Let the old go, let the new come. Welcome the year with unburdened, open arms. Greet it with love and warmth and the expectation that it will be good  (but not necessarily easy). Know that with kindness and hugs you will have the fortitude to do your best. As it always has been and always will be.

All hugs welcome here.

All hugs welcome here.

If you would like a gentle blessing to ease out the night, I would suggest  listening with me to Benedictus by Karl Jenkins.

 

© silkannthreades

 

 

Advent mysteries

As I make my way through Advent,

What mysteries will manifest this Advent?

What mysteries will manifest this Advent?

an unexpected, personal Advent calendar mysteriously opens up before me.

It is a calendar that comes in the form of box or drawer that daily reveals, from the depths of clutter, long forgotten wonders and joys,

like this poem I wrote, for our church magazine, not long after our arrival in New Zealand.

The Strangers’ Christmas

Dark outside is the winter sky,
a strange, foreshadowing sky
to catch the warmth
of the midnight candles,
tightly held and sheltered,
in our tent of strangers.

Dark outside is the winter sky,
a strange, foreshadowing sky
to hold the guns
of strangers standing,
as black-robed angels,
cornered to our circled light.

Dark outside is the winter sky,
a strange, foreshadowing sky
to loose the star
of the warm, sweet babe,
delivered to Mary, carefully cradled,
in the stable of strangers.

Dark outside is the winter sky,
a strange, foreshadowing sky
to gather the ages
of then and now,
and the light that is the warmth,
within the lives of strangers.

The poem is a reflection on a Christmas Eve service in Maadi, Cairo,  in the late 1990s, during a time of terrorism and tension.  I am trying to capture the peculiarity of the lovely warmth of a service celebrating the “The Prince of Peace”, yet taking place under the protection of armed soldiers and police. Like Mary, we, too, were all strangers far from home, full of joy, but also anxious about the world to come.

The service, organised by the Maadi Community Church was held in a tent attached to the St John the Baptist church in Maadi.

Both churches continue to offer fellowship, a home away from home,  and solace to strangers, to this day, and seem to be thriving.  St John’s was established in 1931. Throughout the Second World War it served troops from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Paton, Harold Gear, 1919-2010. Brigadier Kenneth MacCormick and Mrs MacCormick leaving the church after the marriage ceremony, Egypt. New Zealand. Department of Internal Affairs. War History Branch :Photographs relating to World War 1914-1918, World War 1939-1945, occupation of Japan, Korean War, and Malayan Emergency. Ref: DA-02075-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23112562

Paton, Harold Gear, 1919-2010. Brigadier Kenneth MacCormick and Mrs MacCormick leaving the church after the marriage ceremony, Egypt. New Zealand. Department of Internal Affairs. War History Branch :Photographs relating to World War 1914-1918, World War 1939-1945, occupation of Japan, Korean War, and Malayan Emergency. Ref: DA-02075-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23112562

These days St John’s (Anglican/Episcopal) serves a diverse English-speaking congregation from many different backgrounds, ( Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans and Catholics ), and provides worship space to the Maadi Community Church, and Korean, Sudanese, West African, French Reformed, Scandinavian and Egyptian congregations.

In 2006, to commemorate its 75th anniversary, St John’s commissioned artist Debra Balchen to design/make nine stained glass windows focusing on the role of Egypt in the Bible.

Windows by Debra Balchen, commissioned by St John's Church, Maadi, Cairo.

Windows by Debra Balchen, commissioned by St John’s Church, Maadi, Cairo.

I would love to see these special windows in situ. Maybe that is an Advent-ure (thanks for the word, Linda 😉 ) that awaits me.

© silkannthreades