Category Archives: Roses

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

 

 

 

 

Results

Am I returning to my blog so soon?  Sigh!  No.

I am just temporarily turning a deaf ear to the clamour of clutter

Clutter in transition

Clutter in transition

to wish you a Happy St Andrew’s Day on this first Sunday in Advent,

Flowers for St Andrew on the first Sunday of Advent

Flowers for St Andrew on the first Sunday of Advent

and to bring you the results of my  T’is the Season Giveaway, which, as promised, I drew on Thanksgiving Day.

The winners are April at  Finding Beauty in Spite of Myself  and Iris at  Wandering Iris.

April wins  How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World by Sophia Stuart; a beautiful and most suitable book for a blogger who writes about finding beauty everyday. And, Iris, who loves to travel  will hopefully be inspired to visit Hollywood (if she hasn’t been there yet) when she reads her giveaway prize, It’s In His Kiss, by Vickie Lester.

Congratulations April and Iris and thank you for your readership of my blog. Would you please send your postal addresses to me at kaahend@gmail.com ?  As it is getting close to Christmas mail rush time, I can’t promise you will receive your books before the New Year, but I will do what I can to speed them on their way. In the meantime, enjoy some of the flowers that were in my house  on the day I closed my eyes and picked your names out of a bowl.

Flowers for Thanksgiving

Flowers for Thanksgiving

Other results:

I plod on with my de-cluttering exercise. It is slow, tedious work but there are small signs of progress, like this tidy drawer,

Disorganised but definitely de-cluttered.

An odd assortment  but definitely de-cluttered.

and there is the occasional merry moment as when I uncovered a wee newspaper snippet sent by my mother, many years ago, about a Cat’s 12 Days of Christmas: ” On the 12th day of Christmas my human gave to me: 12 bags of catnip, 11 tarter pounce treats, 10 ornaments hanging, nine wads of Kleenex, eight peacock feathers, seven stolen Q-tips, six feathered balls, five milk jug rings, four munchy house plants, three running faucets, two fuzzy mousies and a hamste-e-er in a plastic ball.” Ah, mothers and cats, every bit as good as saints when it comes to encouraging us.

And, you, too, my readers are good, saintly friends and encouragers, (like St Andrew), for keeping me company on my clean-up and clean-out, and for being patient with my inability to read your blogs as much as I would like to.  Never fear; in the words of the sign in my grandparents’ incredibly cluttered wash house/outhouse,  ‘Don’t be sad, don’t be glum, better days are sure to come.”  (After all it is the Advent season. 😉 ) See you soon- ish.

 

© silkannthreades

More flowers, more guests, a birthday, and beguiling mysteries

Continuing the story of my blogcation….( Will it ever end? Yes, but not quite yet.)

 

More flowers

New Zealand Cranberries in pink glass

New Zealand Cranberries in pink glass

for more guests

More guests :)

More guests 🙂

and for a birthday….mine!

Birthday Flowers

Birthday Flowers

Update:

The sun was shining when I took these photos almost a month ago but, today, our city’s land and rivers are trying (and failing) to cope with 70mm of rain (in the past 24 hours), with more to come. My garden is a mud puddle which makes me feel that it’s an appropriate time to confess that I am a little bit of a  stick-in-the-mud type, when it comes to my literary tastes.  I like my  “Diary of a Provincial Lady” or my Rumer Godden, and many things quiet and genteel, and gently humorous. Adventure is not my middle name (it’s Amanda, actually 😉 ) when it comes to books. But, every now and then, someone, like my good, well-read, sister-in-law, gives me a nudge and sends me  books like  Two for SorrowThe Sunbird or  The Distant Hours or The Luminaries;  and I have a blast shaking loose from my usual reading habits.

The other day, I was given a similar, small nudge from blogger Vickie Lester at Beguiling Hollywood.   She entrusted me with her precious manuscript for her soon to be self-published novel,  IT’S IN HIS KISS,  with the idea that I might blog about it. I wasn’t sure, at first, but, once I started reading, I was hooked. Once again, with just a teeny step out of my comfort zone,  I am having a blast. How could I not? The main character is witty,  believable, and has my last name, Anne.

So, now, you ask, what is my first name?  I’ll leave you to guess. And I may not tell you even if you guess right because, like Ms Lester, I enjoy keeping a few secrets and a little mystery about myself.  Life is more beguiling that way 🙂 .

© silkannthreades

She’s taking the world by storm…..

The wind changed; the storm roared in, from the deep, antarctic South and, undeterred, like Mary Poppins, she, the Grand Emissary of Sophia Stuart, came; sans umbrella, but rosy-cheeked and just what we were expecting

Only she didn’t land quite as tidily as Mary Poppins, because you can’t without an umbrella, and if you are being delivered by a postman, into a bucket that is posing as a mailbox.

Will this start a new trend?

Will this start a new trend?

Very undignified, especially when the bucket, inverted or not, is being true to form, by behaving as all buckets should during a once in a century  deluge.

Luckily my neighbour saw Sophia’s Emissary floundering; her brown coat, courtesy of Mr Amazon, slowly dragging her down as it soaked up the icy water collected in the depths of the bucket, and he brought her to my door.  She was a pitiful sight; utterly bedraggled. But I helped her out of her coat, gave her a warm hug, a fluffy towel, a cup of tea, and a change of clothes, (and pearls), and she soon revived. Emissaries and world travellers have to be resilient, like that 🙂

A quick chat, and a note dashed off to  teamgloria (*tg*) to let her know that the Envoy of Who-She-is-In-Real-Life had reached her destination, and it was time for the voyager to take to her bed, to recover from jet lag and the general ordeal of arriving on the crest of a storm.

"It's time to rest"

“It’s time to rest” How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World”

Isn’t she lovely?  Nestled next to my welcome sprig of  bay leaves, for sweet dreams and good health.

Sweet dreams and good health

Sweet dreams and good health and victory in all things

Ssshh; softly, softly, we won’t disturb her now, but, maybe, I will come back later when she is fully recovered and we can discuss the dispatches, the  laureate letters, she has brought to me, from Sophia.

What’s that? Someone is not being quiet. You heard a stifled giggle.  Oh dear; it can’t be helped.  It’s *tg*’s fault; for reminding me that being dunked in a bucket has boarding school overtones. We know a lot about boarding school, *tg* and Sophia and I. Sophia has even written a book about it, called  Emerald.  There was no Emerald at my school, (or was there?), but I seem to recall buckets, full of muck, that were used to terrorize the naughty third formers on initiation day, at the end of year. ( Yes, at end of the year, came the dreaded day of Rangi Tangi! ) We all got horribly wet, bucket-dunked or otherwise, and, after the seniors had done their worst, ( which sometimes wasn’t very bad), they got to feast and we got naught. It sounds more ghastly than it was..but I am still very glad we have all grown up to offer the world a kinder experience of life.

How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World

© silkannthreades

In other news….of caterpillars and kindnesses

In other news …

of caterpillars….

this is my first ‘ever’ photo of a monarch caterpillar beginning to pupate, (taken on Tuesday 18 February) .

Preparing to Pupate

Preparing to Pupate

I was looking forward to taking another photo, the next day, of the chrysalis but there was a wild wind storm in the night and, when the next day came, I couldn’t see a chrysalis anywhere. 😦

In other news…

of kindnesses……

A while back, on a whim, I sent a ceramic cat to blogger  Megan , to add to her cat collection.  Megan, as some of you may know, blogs about her life with Chester Cat and K, and her personal journey  with OCD. As a thank you for my gift of a little kitty, Megan sent me  two of her special crochet  blooms from her new venture, the Etsy Store,  Peony Crochet.

Blooms from Bloomington

Rose Blooms from Bloomington

Megan is a staunch advocate for Mental Health wellness, and has recently had success in her efforts to bring more sense and kindness and understanding to the media’s portrayal of mental health. She called it   One Small Victory.

To celebrate, Megan’s victory, I thought I would put a rose in my hair,

Bloomin' Beautiful

Bloomin’ Beautiful  (Have you any idea how difficult it is to take a selfie of the back of your head ? !)

and a rose on my hat,

Rose in my hat and ready to pick up my skirt and dance

Rose in my hat and ready to pick up my skirt and dance

and, with a flick of my skirt, dance out the door…..to… ?

But not before acknowledging other kindnesses:

from the friend who gave me the skirt to swish through the swan song of summer;

and the friends who lent me books about travel and gardens,

Going Somewhere?

Going Somewhere?

and what to grow in them;

A Modern Herbal edited by Violet Stevenson

A Modern Herbal edited by Violet Stevenson

and from friend, Sharifah Hamzah, global citizen of  Building Bridges, who sent me a signed copy of her Kampung Memories, as a Book-Giveaway prize.

Kampung Memories by Sharifah Hamzah

Kampung Memories by Sharifah Hamzah

Sharifah’s story “takes you on a trail of getting to know the kampungs of Singapore; its history, and the people who grew up there and lived the life. She also includes her own memories and reflections of kampung life and how it has been a part of her foundation as she navigates her life in other parts of the world.”   I can’t wait to get started, especially after reading this appreciative  review.

In other news…

for all those ‘haters’ of blogs who claim that we obsessively record too much trivia…here’s news for you….

sometimes we don’t record EVERYTHING; sometimes, when kindness arrives on the doorstep, in the guise of a  friend with bowls of delicious, warm apple pie-cake, we are in such a hurry to gobble it down, we forget the photo opportunities, until the plate is empty.

It’s all turned to custard….. remix

From Time by Ursula Bethell

“……….

Those that come after me will gather these roses,
And watch, as I do now, the white wistaria
Burst, in the sunshine, from its pale green sheath.

Planned. Planted. Established. Then neglected,
Till at last the loiterer by the gate will wonder
At the old, old cottage, the old wooden cottage,
And say ‘One might build here, the view is glorious;
This must have been a pretty garden once.”

[Warning! Post 301: some maudlin thoughts involved.]

Some months back, Seth of  Sethsnap asked this question, What “sound”(i.e. legacy) do you hope to leave?

It’s an intriguing question but certainly not new, for it belongs to the ages.  It is also not an easy one to answer. One of the hardest, I am guessing. Yet, assuredly, it will call to each of us, at some stage, in our life’s journey.  Will you be ready to reply? I have only the merest tinkle of a response running through my mind.

Here is  what I am hearing ~

For some, like Seth, their legacy may be in their  photography. For others, like   Sophia (teamgloria) or Juliet or  Vickie or  Helen (Tiny), their legacy may reside in their books; in their written/spoken words. Yet others, like Lynley and Kerry, may leave us, and their families, the richness of heirloom garments and quilting. Still others, like Lisa, may bequeath us their creative art and special ‘thank you’ smiles. Legacies exist in a myriad different forms.

Just as each of us has our own instantly recognisable swish of sound ( the one the dog hears, the cat knows and your loved ones sense  as you try to creep upstairs in the dark of night), so, too, do we each have a legacy that is only ours to give. It may be intended and specifically chosen, or it may be accidental and unplanned, but we all have our unique envoys/legacies that will carry us forward into the millennia in some form or other.

Since I am unlikely to leave a legacy of beautiful poems, as did  Ursula Bethell, or a treasured  Writer’s Residency  in my name,  I may have to settle for something more modest  ( though, potentially,  equally valid ); something like Everyday Kindness; the kind espoused by  Stephanie Dowrick , in her book of that name.Everyday Giving

Wouldn’t that be a lovely legacy? ” Here lies Gallivanta~ known for her everyday kindness, (especially to caterpillars 😉 ). “  Mmmmmm…. though carved in stone,  a little ephemeral, perhaps? But I like it.

I also like the slightly more tangible legacy opportunities given to us by archives. In November 2013 Ruth mentioned, in this  post ,  her Deed of Gift to the Canterbury CEISMIC  project.   I thought this was a wonderful idea and, after making some enquiries, discovered that some of my blog posts were suitable for gifting too.  Just prior to Christmas, and after much hard work by CEISMIC staff, my work was uploaded to the digital archives. And I received this letter

Legacy in a letter

Legacy in a letter

from the University of Canterbury CEISMIC Co-ordinator.

To say that I was thrilled barely scratches the surface of my feelings. I was moved to tears, and beyond tears, that my experiences, my life mattered; that someday it might, just possibly might, matter to someone else. And not because I did anything great and famous, but simply because I existed, and I let my existence be heard.

Now, although, I was lachrymose in the extreme, on account of  this one small legacy of mine, I did have to laugh, once I had wiped away my tears.  Because one unintentional legacy from my digital whisper, (not footprint, please, my imprint is  more delicate than that ), is that if,  in years to come, someone looks more closely in to my archives they will find that, of all my posts , the one which receives the most views, on a regular basis, is this one, “It’s all turned to custard”.

I find that very funny. And, as a legacy, even funnier; ” Here lies Gallivanta whose life all turned to custard.”  Considering how much I love custard that could be a good thing. Or not. But to return to  Seth’s question, “What sound (i.e. legacy ) do you hope to leave?”. Perhaps part of the answer, in my case, will have to be  ‘Custard’.[ Just for fun…google “It’s all turned to custard” and see what you find…..bet I am near the top of the page! ]

By the way, what sound does custard make? ;).

creamy

Favourite creamy custard

Envoy
Vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat incohare longam 

They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,  
    Love and desire and hate:  
I think they have no portion in us after  
    We pass the gate.  

They are not long, the days of wine and roses:  
    Out of a misty dream  
Our path emerges for a while, then closes  
    Within a dream.  

[The title translates, from the Latin, as  
'The brief sum of life forbids us the hope of enduring long' 
and is from a work by Horace] 
Ernest Dowson 1867 -1900 http://worlds-poetry.com/ernest_dowson/vitae_summa_brevis_spem_nos_vetat_in
```````

© silkannthreades

Praise Be

The  swan plant I ordered to replenish my monarch caterpillars’ food supply came yesterday, just in the nick of time. It has been planted,

Praise be for more food

Praise be for more food

and my remaining caterpillars are now busily chomping on their fresh greens. Hopefully, the caterpillars will  have enough food to take them through their fifth  instar and into their chrysalis stage.  Most of them look big enough to be close to their final and complete metamorphosis.

Is this the 5th instar?

Is this the 5th instar?

Whilst the caterpillars are nourishing their bodies in preparation for change, I thought we might do the same. Would you care to indulge?…..

in a taste of the last of summer in this delicious, spicy rhubarb cake

Spicy Rhubarb Cake

Spicy Rhubarb Cake

or, perhaps, in a little something that speaks of cooler mornings and the colder days to come; a gingerbread cake.

Joy of Baking; Gingerbread Cake

Joy of Baking; Gingerbread Cake

But, if you are wanting a lighter indulgence, may I suggest a serving of the apple, instead of the cake.  Again there are two choices; Cherry Gala apples lightly cooked with a squeeze of lemon, a pinch of sugar and a handful of rose petals;

or Royal Gala and Eve  apples , sautéed gently in a sliver of butter and a sprinkle of sugar.

Mmmmm…How was that? Delectable? Are you feeling suitably indulged and ever so glad that we are not limited to one food type like the monarch caterpillar; that we are able to experience so many taste sensations; that we have such variety in our menus.

Praise be to the  butterflies  and bees that make that possible.

~

At 12.51pm today we marked the  third anniversary of the  February 22nd earthquake. At the memorial service in the Botanic Gardens, the Mayor said “Let us unite as we did after the earthquakes. For those of us who have been able to move on, let us reach out to those who are still struggling. .. For those who cannot move on, please do not be afraid to ask for our help… We can get through this together.”

In caterpillar terms, ( because I have this essential life form so much on my mind 😉 ) most of us have made it through the first instar; some of us are almost ready to be butterflies; indeed, may already be  flying freely. Some of us, such as myself, are still  ambling along in the third instar. But there’s no rush. With nourishment and nurture, we will, eventually, be transformed.

( I think I will make a good  butterfly, don’t you?  🙂   Better keep my feet clean, though. Butterflies taste through their ‘feet’! )

© silkannthreades

Engagements for Valentine’s Day

Engagements for Valentine’s Day:

Touch base with morning and kiss of sun on skin.

Touch base with the morning

Touch base with the morning (diamond in the rough 😉 )

Listen to summer’s song.

Smell rose.

The Scent of a Rose

The Scent of a Rose ; enough to make you giddy with delight

Hold steady,

Inhale deeply.

Sweet Fragrance

Sweet Fragrance

Berry pick.

Berry picking

Berry picking

Snack Blyssfully and Berry-ily.

Engage feet on chair.

Heart rest.

Admire Valentine’s Day gift straight from  heart of Christchurch .

Open mail with my not so secret Valentine, Ralph.

Smile, laugh. 🙂

Read; love story, A leaf in Springtime

Family time.

Time Goes By

Time Goes By

Consider symbol of twin handled Loving Cup.

Welcome  light of evening,  close of day.

Reflect  on  One Word Wonder# Love

Feel Blessed.

Blessed by the soft touch of the Rose

Blessed

Sleep well.

ps Hug son; final exams completed .

© silkannthreades

For the love which from our birth….

I am thinking about love…..and our expression of it.  I am thinking about Bishop Valentine before he became Saint; about Saint Valentine before he became Valentine. I am thinking about who he was,  or  who they were , and what they may  have become….the dream sales team for the business of Valentine’s Day?  🙂  But, mostly, I am thinking of love.

Not romantic love so much as the love which is extolled in  the hymn, For the Beauty of the Earth;

The love which from our birth over and around us lies“….the “human love of brother, sister, parent, child”….the love from “friends on earth and friends, above“, the love that comes from “gentle thoughts and mild”.

And I am thinking of how that love finds its form in the most unexpected places,

Unexpected loving thoughts

Unexpected loving thoughts

where, for the most part, it sits in quiet, patient, unobtrusive abundance,

waiting to support us, when called upon,

and ever willing to send us gentle, trans-formative love letters ~

“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.” Thomas Merton

love letters that help us to see that the loving heart, contained within,

can be released and applied, like nature’s salve, to heal the  woe of the broken landscape.

Bindweed holding it all together

Bindweed holding it all together; making the most of the possibilities

© silkannthreades

Dear Friends

In my previous post, on Joy and Woe,  your loving, supportive, compassionate comments brought me tears, laughter and a huge amount of joy. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. This post is my Valentine’s love letter to you all.

The Blessings of Saint Valentine (whoever he may be!), chocolate, flowers , gentle thoughts and mild, and love, be with you all.

Gallivanta.

It’s just one of those days……

It’s just one of those days of summer,

when blooms

Flowering leek

Flowering leek

and beings

Bee with leek

Bee with leek

and beasties

entwine with sun and  sky,

to weave a cloth

Finely clothed

Finely clothed

so light and fine

Light and fine

Light and fine

that you wish you could wear it forever,

close,

like the  sweet touch of earth to  skin.

Day of Summer

Day of Summer

 Close as Earth to Skin

Close as Earth to Skin

© silkannthreades