Tag Archives: anniversaries

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.


“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


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




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.


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

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


Sleep well.

ps Hug son; final exams completed .

© silkannthreades

Joy and Woe are woven fine

Man was made for Joy & Woe,

And when this we rightly know,

Thro’ the world we safely go.

Joy and Woe are woven fine,

A clothing for the Soul divine;

Under every grief and pine

Runs a joy with silken twine.

I don’t like to dwell in Woe. I prefer to seek the  silken run  in the cloth; the run of Joy . But, sometimes, the woe is like a shroud over one’s face and it’s hard  to see through it; hard not to feel overwhelmed.

Our cheer-leading public service campaign, All Right?, says that, as we approach the third anniversary of the  earthquake of 2011, it’s all right to feel overwhelmed some days.

It's all right to be overwhelmed some days

It’s all right to be overwhelmed some days

So I was, yesterday. Very. I am not alone in my whelmedness.

The experts are worried by our numbers: ‘The initial trauma may be over but experts say earthquake-weary Christchurch residents will endure at least six years of “man-made” stressors as the region battles bureaucracy.’ (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11197956 ) The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority  has even produced a draft document on its psychosocial plan for the city. It “says anxiety and stress will continue to dog the population due to ongoing battles with insurance, land issues, changes to schooling and problems rebuilding homes and businesses.” 

So, three years on……my house is repaired, but my insurance claim for the external areas of  my  property has yet to be settled. I contacted my insurance company, AGAIN, 10 days ago, and, although they have not once forgotten, in the past 3 years, to send out an invoice for my steadily increasing insurance premiums, they admitted that they had forgotten about my outstanding claim. I was assured that the matter would be  resolved, speedily.

Ho-hum, twiddle my thumbs, nothing has happened yet. What’s another 10 days added to 3 years, especially when my claim is  minor compared to those of some other claimants. And getting the financial settlement is but the first step in the process.  Finding someone to do the repair work will be  extraordinarily difficult. I could be waiting another 3 or 4 years for that to be done.

Is it important? Does it matter? Not really, in the overall scheme of life, but it’s all so unavoidably in your face; an ever-present reminder of altered states; altered dreams.

I  live in one of Christchurch’s  least badly damaged suburbs, yet these photos are all  taken within a two-minute walking distance of my home.  They represent only a sample of what I see on a daily basis in my immediate neighbourhood.

Take a look….

Homes, untouched,  untended, and unoccupied, since February 2011 and being slowly overwhelmed by nature.



Homes erased,



and properties exposed to man-made post earthquake stress disorder.

There are some small signs of progress, of normalcy.

Homes are being repaired,

Signs of Progress

Signs of Progress

and some have been repaired.



But there remain many abnormalities, some of which are intriguing and require us to restructure our thought processes to new levels,

Raised to new  heights

Raised to another level

and give us something upon which to ponder  (with a giggle and a smile ),

Another level

Another level

as well as a precious  moment, to be still, to refocus on holding fast to the silken twine of joy,

Entwined hydrangeas

Entwined hydrangeas

the Heaven in a Wild Flower.

Heaven in a Flower

Heaven in a Flower

Hold fast…that’s as much as I can do for now.  None of this excitement business…All Right? Maybe :)

Not yet 🙂

© silkannthreades

Seek and you may find………..

I went seeking the light today. Truly, literally! It was a grey, blank-canvas sky day; a neither here nor there day; not cold, not warm, not raining but not especially dry either. A nothing sort of day. So, I put on my cheerful face and went to look for the light; actually lights, in the city, which are to form part of a public art exhibition called ‘Solidarity Grid’ http://www.scapepublicart.org.nz/.  Now, search as I might, I couldn’t find them, for a very simple reason, which hit me like a blinding flash; the exhibition isn’t open until 27 September, 5 days hence! 🙂

Determined not to make my drive to the city a complete waste of time, I drove in to the Botanic Gardens car park for some visual refreshment. And there, right before my eyes, I  suddenly saw  the very thing I had been wanting to visit, to find out about,  for months.  Can you see it?

Can you see what I see?

Can you see what I see?

Take a closer look….

What is it? A bird cage? A Tardis?

What is it? A bird-cage? A Tardis?

Looks like a home for a  large bird, or, maybe, a sculptural rendition of a modern-day Tardis,  come to rest in the midst of the pines of Christchurch. Strange things happen here these days, but, perhaps not quite that strange. Let’s cross the river for a proper look.

River Crossing

River Crossing

On we go, past the kowhai and blossom, along the path,

until we have our destination in sight.

Destination in view

Destination in view

Nearly there; getting closer…



until here we are, the closest we can get to ……




The Wollemi Pine is New Zealand’s first dinosaur plant. It is a relic pine with a 200 million year old history and is one of the oldest and rarest trees in the world. It  was thought to be extinct until its discovery in the Blue Mountains of Australia in 1994. There are less than 100 adult trees known to exist in the wild. This little Wollemi pine was grown by tissue culture,

in Christchurch, and planted in our Botanic Gardens to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Gardens’ establishment.  It is the  cornerstone of an area in the Gardens which will be known as the Gondwana Garden http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/christchurch-life/avenues/features/8474759/The-botanic-gardens-guardian

“Wollemi” is an Aboriginal word meaning “Watch out and look around you”.  I am very glad I did today. I may have missed the lights I was originally  looking for, but I feel that I found another type of light or, perhaps, enlightenment, of equal brilliance. And, in a funny, odd way, strange as I thought it might be when I mentioned it earlier, I did find a Tardis; a Tardis in a tree.

The Wollemi Pine http://www.wollemipine.com/index.php project which is dedicated to the preservation of the Wollemi Pine has Wollemi Pines centres all over the world. There may be a Wollemi Pine near you. Check it out on their website 🙂

So, with a final look around me, I went down the path, across the bridge and home to tea.

© silkannthreades

It’s been one hundred and twenty years ……

This coming Friday, 20th September, voting begins in our City Council elections. We will elect a Mayor and other local community representatives. A friend of mine** is standing for election to the Health Board. The fact that she can stand for election (and that I can vote for her) is due to a momentous event that took place on 19 September 1893. It was on this  date, one hundred and twenty years ago, that Lord Glasgow, Governor of New Zealand, signed a new Electoral Act in to law. The new  Act  gave all women in New Zealand the right to vote in parliamentary elections.

The suffragists were jubilant at their success, and this legislation made New Zealand the first self-governing country in the world to give women the freedom to vote. Congratulations came pouring in from around the globe. Our historic victory in tiny New Zealand gave courage and hope to those who still had a long fight ahead of them for women’s suffrage.

The campaign for women’s suffrage in New Zealand was long and hard.  The campaigners, led by Kate Sheppard, compiled a series of petitions, the final one of which was submitted to Parliament on 28 July 1893. It contained more than 25,000 signatures, was more than 270 metres long….and it was successful. The petition is of such significance that it is included in the UNESCO Memory of the World register of documentary heritage. suffrage-petittion_0 (‘Suffrage petition, 1893’, URL: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/media/photo/suffrage-petition-1893, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 20-Dec-2012)

A mere 10 weeks after the new Electoral Act was signed, New Zealand went to the polls on 28 November 1893. In those ten weeks, “109,461 women – about 84% of the adult female population – enrolled to vote in the election. On polling day 90,290 of them cast their votes,” http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/page/women-vote-first-general-election

To understand the excitement and fervour of those first women voters, listen to this wonderful sound recording of three women recalling  their first experience of voting in 1893. Not only are their words wonderful but their New Zealand accents, so different from our accents today,  are too.  http://static.radionz.net.nz/assets/audio_item/0010/2521792/santk-20130909-0000-first_time_women_voters_1893.asx

Sadly, many voters no longer feel that same enthusiasm. In our last general elections in 2011, one million of our eligible voters didn’t use their right to vote. What a waste!

There are many excellent  links to the event we are commemorating today, http://cclblog.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/suffrage-city/ including my own post (not necessarily excellent 🙂 )


Kate Sheppard is worth more than Ten Dollars

Kate Sheppard is worth more than Ten Dollars

And, because of the international significance of the achievements of this day in 1893, I would like to recommend two blog posts about women and the recent elections in Australia and Norway. http://misslouella.wordpress.com/2013/09/17/sheilas-eh-who-needs-em/  and http://bentehaarstad.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/democracy-100-years/

Lastly, for the sake of those who fought so hard to give us the right to vote, and, for the sake of those women who cannot vote, or cannot do so easily and freely, when it is time  for any of us to vote, PLEASE VOTE. It matters.

** My friend’s Facebook page is  Vote Allison Franklin for Canterbury DHB

© silkannthreades

Come in to my garden, Maud, it’s the first day of Spring

The first of September; the first day of spring.

Spring, for me, is about colour and light; riotous colour and brilliant, intense, shimmering, shiny light against thin-blue, water-colour skies.

Good morning and welcome, precious Spring 🙂

First Look at the First Day of Spring

First Look at the First Day of Spring

It’s your official birthday.  I heard the birds herald it at dawn. My table has been strewn, in your honour, with the profusion of abundant colours you bring to your season each year. Happy Birthday, dear Spring.

The first day of September is also the anniversary of my grandmother’s death. Her name was Maud. She loved her spring garden, especially the freesias. And, in my memories, she always had cut flowers, from her garden, arranged in a beautiful vase, on the dining table.

I am very glad she died on the first day of spring because it means that, each year, we  have a lovely day on which to remember her.

Me and my Nana

Me and my Nana

She was a busy person and much better at attending to her garden than I am with mine. It was a simple garden, typical of that time and I can still hear her say “I must  get in to the garden.”  And off she would go, to the garden.

Garden, La Glaciere, Concarneau

Garden, La Glaciere, Concarneau

The Garden is a painting by New Zealand artist, Sydney Lough Thompson. It is a favourite of mine. You will find a proper view of the painting here http://christchurchartgallery.org.nz/collection/objects/87-23/  In her young days, my grandmother worked, for a while, as a maid ( I think) at a hotel in the Blue Mountains, near Sydney, Australia. The maid in the Garden of the painting sometimes makes me think of my grandmother.

© silkannthreades

Heavenly Again

We visited the University of Canterbury Staff Club and University Gardens this afternoon. The Staff Club, Ilam Homestead, was damaged in our recent earthquakes but, happily,  it is now  repaired and in use again. We have lost so many  heritage buildings in our city that it is heavenly to see this one, once more complete and seemingly unchanged, in its beautiful garden setting.

Fine and upstanding

Fine and upstanding

The gardens are at their finest in late October, when the rhododendrons and azaleas are in full bloom. But, today, we were scouting for daffodils…and found a few…

and also wanting to see the Staff Club, free of the containers and scaffolding that have supported it during months of repairs.

Revived and unencumbered

Revived and unencumbered

And, besides, it was our 31st wedding anniversary and our 35th year of friendship, and, being in these lovely University surroundings, was a reminder of another special and cherished time and place; Oxford University.

That is where we met. When we had free time we strolled in the beautiful University Parks which were walking distance from our base at Queen Elizabeth House. http://www.parks.ox.ac.uk/gallery/index.htm

The University Parks are young by Oxford standards. Interestingly, their development began at much the same time as that of Ilam Homestead, that is, in the early 1850s.  The University of Canterbury bought Ilam Homestead in 1950 after it had been owned for many years by Edgar Stead. It was Edgar Stead who established the beautiful, surrounding gardens and filled them with his world famous rhododendron and  azalea collection.

World famous rhododendrons and azaleas

World famous rhododendrons and azaleas

Stead was also a renowned ornithologist  http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/4s41/stead-edgar-fraser  When the University of Canterbury bought the Homestead, it agreed to maintain the Gardens in perpetuity, and its commitment to that agreement means joy and delight for thousands of visitors and passing students each year. And, of course, it is a delight to birds, too, Today, I am sure I heard and saw several of our large, native wood pigeons (kereru). I was hoping to also see ducklings, but I was disappointed in that regard.

Now, as every connoisseur of Oxford knows, a good University must have intrigue and mystery as well as perfect scenery and splendid buildings. Remember Lewis here and Inspector Morse, here ? Our small University, and our University Staff Club (Ilam Homestead) do not disappoint.

For Ilam Homestead was, in one of its lifetimes, home to the Rector of the University, or Canterbury College as it was once known. In 1954 the Rector was Dr Hulme, and his daughter was young Juliet.  At the age of 15,  Juliet was best friends with young Pauline , and, together, they conspired and carried out the murder of Pauline’s mother at a place in Christchurch called Victoria Park. Their reasons were…complicated, perhaps, incomprehensible ; their trial, sensational or should that be scandalous?  Whatever, it was or wasn’t, the infamous Parker-Hulme case became a film, in 1994, called ‘Heavenly Creatures’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heavenly_Creatures much of which was filmed at the Homestead and in the gardens. And, from that film and that place and  those times, 1954 and 1994,  we now have some  rich, new traditions and stories; for those events became building blocks and landmarks for Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Kate Winslet and Melanie  Lynskey and Anne Perry;  most particularly Anne Perry, Anne Perry the writer

And, thus are our lives (and marriages/partnerships), like buildings and fine gardens,  constructed, and deconstructed and restructured, and, occasionally, in the process, that which is heavenly appears and sits with us for a time.

A few more photos:

That which is constructed and restructured and gives us foundations and rooms and cornerstones and secret spaces for our memories;

That which is heavenly, if but briefly.

For more history http://www.staffclub.canterbury.ac.nz/history.shtml


© silkannthreades