viewed from my window.
Rain, Soup, Cake; that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Like the soup is sticking to my ribs 🙂
Footnote: Recipes for soup and cake in my next post.
I have been feeling a teeny bit frustrated in recent days because I have a long list of lovely things I want to do and places I want to go, but my gallivanting has been curtailed by domestic activities. The domestic chores are not arduous, or even unpleasant , so why the frustration, I ask myself? Is it because I am dividing the world in to pleasant and unpleasant, fun and duty, good and bad? Is it the old “you can only play (happy times) once you have done your homework ( dutiful times)” syndrome niggling away in my brain? A variation of the punishment and reward system that pervades our thinking and our society. Perhaps…..
In an attempt to eliminate frustration and refresh my thinking, I decided that today I would challenge myself to make the domesticities of my day as fun and inspiring as my gallivanting. Here’s a sample of my day’s domestic amusements.
Then it was time to bring in the washing, cook the dinner and feed the animals and walk the dog……..but that’s enough photos for one day.
So , how did I go with my challenge? I had fun. My frustration levels are lower but ,deep down, I suspect that, no matter how hard I try, doing the laundry will never be as inspiring as walk in the park. But, who knows, if I keep challenging myself, anything is possible!
I deliberately chose to photograph the section of the newspaper that covers the State of the Nation report by the Salvation Army. The report says that the Government is not doing enough to reduce child poverty, create jobs or improve housing affordability. I have not read the report itself but it seems to me that we all need to challenge our thinking on social justice. Our social policies, put in place, over the years, by the people we vote for, appear to be rooted in the same old punishment and reward type ideologies which have haunted our society forever and a day. This means that people are inevitably assessed and judged as worthy or unworthy of support. The end result is our current society where violent offences against children have increased by 84% in the five years up to July 2012.
Yesterday was the sort of sublimely beautiful, fair-weather day that makes me want to drop everything, hop in the car and drive forever. Maybe not quite forever, but at least for as long as it takes me to explore my country from end to end and side to side. But, being the annoyingly responsible person that I am, all we managed to do was a couple of hours of wonderful exploring of the Styx River, and, then, we dutifully came home, in time to bring in the laundry, make the dinner, feed the animals, wash the dishes, dry the dishes and turn the dishes over….actually, we have a dishwasher but that doesn’t make the domestic routines any less domestic or routine.
Normally, or nine times out of ten, I can find a way to be unbothered by the mundanities of housekeeping but, after our gallivanting, I found myself in an unusual, one time out of ten state of grumpiness. My grumps were brought on, not so much by the curtailment of my freedom-travelling aspirations but by reading about a prolific, long dead male composer. (The reading done, between potato boiling and fritter frying, and on top of a week of reading about famous, male writers). And I thought,” Yes,Mr Composer, your music is awesome. You are a creative genius BUT your creativity flourished because someone fed you and cared for you and allowed you to be what you needed to be. Someone like me, Mr Composer. So what if you wrote 50 symphonies and 10 operas, or whatever. Given the right conditions, I might have done the same (that’s seriously, seriously, flawed thinking), but, instead, my oeuvre, my mistresswork is some 30,000 meals, 21,000 loads of washing, hundreds of cakes, dozens of biscuits, thousands of shopping lists and exquisitely made beds, multitudes of beautifully pressed shirts……..so score that Mr Genius Composer, if you can! It will take you thirty years or more, especially if you have one hand stirring the porridge and one eye in the back of your head watching the children. Then, just when you think you are done, you’ll find you have an unfinished symphony because Mother has fallen and needs hours of gentle nursing, AND you still haven’t taken out the rubbish for the umpteenth time. Put that in your fiddle and play it, Mr Composer, you!”
So, having traversed that hump in my grump, I sat down and listened to the sublime music of Mr Composer (truly, truly, I can never equal your genius) and started to research where our little gallivant had taken us. Our first stop was the Janet Stewart Reserve on the Styx River; a destination I chose on the spur of the moment, as we were leaving our driveway. This was our first visit to this Reserve.It was created as part of the Styx River Project which has, amongst its aims, the creation of a source to sea experience and the establishment of a viable spring fed river ecosystem.The Janet Stewart Reserve, covers land which runs parallel with the Lower Styx Road for approximately a kilometre. It also borders part of a very busy main road; Marshlands Road.
The Reserve is home to a specially designed and planted harakeke garden. Harakeke is a type of flax which is used for Maori weaving. The garden is considered a taonga, or treasure, for the Christchurch weaving community.
The Janet Stewart Reserve is a place of creativity, conservation, calm, beauty, nourishment, renewal and responsible stewardship. Who then is Janet Stewart whose name honours this place. A politician, a composer, a musician, an opera diva, a writer? Nope, not all. Janet Stewart was that greatest of all creative geniuses; a Mother.Nothing more, nothing less.
When Edmond Stewart died in 1993, he bequeathed his land to the City Council for the purposes of creating a reserve to be named after his hardworking, resourceful mother, Janet Stewart. The Janet Stewart Reserve is a son’s loving tribute to his Mother. A living symphony of sound and light and wonder, and music to my ears. Next time, I have the grumps I will remember Janet Stewart and her Reserve and all will be well.