Tag Archives: Christmas

Convalescence

After several days of procrastination,  my ‘apology’ for a real Christmas cake is finally in the oven, baking gently and moderately. That done, I can now take time to celebrate my mother’s homecoming from hospital which happened this past Saturday morning. And what a cause for celebration that is. The past few weeks have been full of pain and struggle but, at last, thanks to the loving care of my sister and brother, she is home again; home to convalesce.

To convalesce ; to recover health and strength gradually after sickness or weakness; to spend time healing; to grow strong….no busying and  bending to a hospital routine; no poking and prodding and monitoring and measuring; no scrutiny from doctors and students and x-ray machines; only rest, deep rest,

How to rest and recuperate

How to rest and recuperate

food that pleases, gentle movement, and time, to heal the pain and weariness ; that is ‘to convalesce’, from latin, valeo, be well.

Convalescence, a forgotten way of life, perhaps, in a world that constantly sells us the idea  of eternal wellness and vigour  and exhorts us to either be healthy or healthier; that urges us to grasp ease without acknowledging dis-ease; that disallows our physical and spiritual need for times of frailty, by plying us with pills and potions and remedies for a  rapid ‘cure’.

In older times, when illness, and home-based care of it, were more commonplace, recipe  and household books often had sections  with special dishes for invalids or occupants of the sick room. It’s hard to imagine someone like Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay producing a  best seller containing  recipes for the ‘InValid’, but our best-selling New Zealand   Edmonds Cookery Book used to offer helpful hints like this…

Needing validation; here's a hint.

Needing validation; here’s a hint.

And our famous  Nurse Maude, founder of our community nursing service, suggested, in her book, oatmeal drinks and gruel for the patient’s sustenance.

I am not sure how well I would do on Nurse Maude’s diet but  I would love a tray, such as this one,  to arrive, in the early light,  at my place of convalescence. Fresh flowers from the morning garden, blackcurrants from the home bush, creamy yogurt and strawberries, to nourish the body, and  blessings and calm to nurture  the soul.

A tray for being well

A tray for being well

What more could a patient ask for..oh, just one thing….a moment of grace read to me from one of the most beautifully photographed books of my  childhood world,  A Child’s Grace by  Constance Bannister.

Grace of a Child

Grace of a Child

Amen. Amen.

© silkannthreades

Excuse me, what time do you have?

In years gone by, many people, in my part of the world, didn’t have access to a portable timepiece. This meant that, from time to time, one passer-by would ask another, most politely, “Excuse me, what time do you have?” ( As if time were like a bird in a cage that you could hold and tame :).) Usually, the response was polite, too, but, occasionally, it would be a gruff, “Get your own watch!” or “Can’t you read the clock over there in the park?” Which was very rude because, perhaps, the person couldn’t read or tell the time.

But, back to the question; “What time do you have?” As I write it is 11.22am on Saturday, 14 September, 2013, here in Christchurch, New Zealand.  In Los Angeles, it is 4.22pm on Friday 13 September, 2013. In Addis Ababa, it is 2.22 am on 14 September, 2013 or, in local terms, it is 8.22 on the 4th day of the first month of 2006 . In Kathmandu, it is the 29th of Bhadra 2070.  In Israel, the New Year of 5774 has begun.  Come November, it will be 1435 AH in Egypt, yet the Coptic Church in Egypt celebrated their New Year on 11 September, 2013. Confused. We should be, because, in the time it has taken me to write that passage, the times have changed and changed again. It’s hard to keep up.

What time do you have?

What time do you have?

A few weeks back, I finished reading “A Fugue in Time” by Rumer Godden.  Check here  In the US, its title is Take Three Tenses, which it does.  It is the story of a house, a place, and the people who are gathered to the house over  generations. The past, the present and the future are tightly woven through the narrative, in much the same confusing way that we, in our daily lives, will, in one moment, be thinking of what we are eating and, in the next,  be remembering a special Christmas meal 50 years ago. And, at the same time, planning for tonight’s supper or this coming Christmas Day.  Rumer Godden plays with time; how it floats in and out and around us and constantly changes our reality.

One day, this past August, I was confined to my house and realised that, on my dressing table, I had inadvertently created a timepiece, unique to my place and my day.  In a small space, I had a brief hold on the present, the past and the future. And, with the help of my camera, I could rearrange and play with them to my heart’s content.

Spring or summer time?

Spring or summer time?

So, excuse me, what time do you have?

For me, it is lunch time 🙂

© silkannthreades

Christmas Blues

Every year, post-Christmas, I have the same, sad dilemma; what to do with all the beautiful Christmas cards I receive?  I hate to throw them away and, yet, there is a limit to how many I can keep, or usefully recycle,  year after year. I am not sure what I will eventually do with my cards but, until I decide, I have gathered them together in a photo collage. In this way, I have a lovely keepsake of Christmas 2012, even if the actual cards end up as bookmarks or shopping list material.

My Christmas Keepsake 2012

Christmas Keepsake 2012

© silkannthreades