Tag Archives: living well


Confession! In common with many of us, these days, I am activity rich and resource poor~ which is simply a fun way to say that I have too much  to do, and/or want to do, and not enough time to do it all. Sound familiar ? And this imbalance is beginning to make  me feel a teeny, little bit crazeeeee!

So, I was very  pleased, this week, to receive a notification from Amazon about a book I pre-ordered last August. The notice said:

“The items listed below will actually be dispatched sooner than we had originally expected based on the new release date:

Stuart, Sophia “How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World: A Modern Book of Hours to Soothe the Soul””

How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World ~Sophia Stuart

How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World ~Sophia Stuart

Aaahh, a message that is music to my ears. How soothing ;). I adore a Book of Hours.
I have made three of them, myself…….

and, thanks to a helpful tip from dadirridreaming , and production help from  Blurb , a fourth book is on its way to me right now

Silkannthreades~ A Book of Days and Hours

Silkannthreades~ A Book of Days and Hours

But these are just little books, like  chapbooks , not real books, with a real International Standard Book Number ISBN, like the one Sophia/teamgloria has…sigh!

Some of you may have noticed that I have mentioned Sophia and teamgloria more than once on my blog, as in  here and  here , and that’s because I think she is glorious, and because I share her love of blue-blue sky and Rumer Godden and labyrinths and, most of all, John O’Donohue;

Which is why I have reserved a special place for Sophia’s book when it arrives next month. It will sit, book cover to book cover, with John O’ Donohue, on the small tower of quiet, gentle reading, which I keep close at hand, on my (blue 🙂 ) bedside chair.  How lovely; how very lovely that will be.

Books by my Side

Books by my Side

And now, here’s something for a giggle… can anyone see, in this photo, how, in my subconscious arrangement of these books for their photo shoot, I made a statement about the imbalance of  my life, at the moment? And, for more smiles, check out the video clip in my sidebar, featuring the book promo for How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World.

© silkannthreades

What the ‘good fairy’ brings…..

I have a ‘good fairy’ friend who flits by at least once a month. I never  know  exactly when she is coming, or what she will bring with her, or if I will see her, or just a little gift in my mail box as evidence of her fleeting presence. Sometimes her gifts are delicious edibles and, other times, she comes with her window washing wand  or her car washing wand.   One of my favourites  is  her silver polishing wand. Last month, she came with the gift of the company of her daughter and her 5 month old grand-daughter. It was wonderful fun to have a baby in the house again; especially one that only required admiration and smiles from me.

Last week my ‘good fairy’ friend arrived on my doorstep with a wandful of magazines. In amongst the ‘usuals’, like North and South, was a magazine I had not encountered before called FamilyCARE.

It was a fascinating read BUT I was completely stunned to learn from its pages that there are 420,000 (plus) unpaid family carers in New Zealand and that 10% of New Zealand’s 15 to 24 year olds are unpaid  carers of family members.  That’s a very large unpaid work force for a small country like New Zealand.

That got me thinking, and googling, about family carers in other countries, and that is when my jaw really hit the floor.

In Australia, there are 2.6 million unpaid family carers; 300,000 of them are under the age of 24; 520,000 are over the age of 65. In 2010,  these carers provided an estimated 1.32 billion hours of care. The estimated replacement value of their caring roles was $A 40.9 billion in 2012.  Yes, we are talking in BILLIONS.

The situation is much the same in the UK where there are an estimated 6.4 million unpaid family carers providing services valued at  £119 billion  per year. Again, we are talking BILLIONS .

In the USA, there are 65.7 million family caregivers; or 29% of the adult population caring for one or more family members.

The numbers are staggering, and growing yearly, as populations age and social services grow leaner and meaner. In the UK , the lean meanness seems to extend to the introduction of a strange creature called the Bedroom Tax which, somehow, relates a person’s benefit to the number of  bedrooms the Government authorities believe an individual requires. Huh??? I hope the idea doesn’t catch on in New Zealand which is already far too keen to cut and paste (or is it slash and burn?) its social welfare programmes  in to a more eye-catching, voter friendly  system.

In both Australia and the UK, there appears to be some provision for a small allowance for family carers but that is not, currently, the case in New Zealand. Most family carers, wherever they are, undertake their caring duties willingly, and with great devotion, and little complaint. Never the less, surveys show that there are often huge physical, mental and financial costs incurred by family carers which, eventually, will need to be borne by yet more family members or Government support agencies.  Where does it end? What is to be done?

Carers’ organisations are working hard to support family caregivers. Are Governments listening? It’s hard to believe so, when we see the screws being tightened on social policies worldwide, whilst the purses open for banks and motorways and big business, and  goodness knows what else that is supposed to enrich our lives.  Wouldn’t it be amazing, bordering on miraculous, if a Government were to come forward and say to its family carers, “Why, thank you, good people, for giving millions of dollars worth of service to your country, without which our economy and health services would crumble.” Whilst millions wait, with little hope, for an official  vote of thanks, we can take matters into our own hands and thank and bless all those who take care of another. In that category, I will put my ‘good fairy’ friend. She has done her share of caring over the years.

© silkannthreades

Ageing treefully

If I want to understand how to age well, I need look no further than our heritage trees. As each decade passes, they grow more and more beautiful. They thrive as they mature. Their foundations become firmer, their trunks and limbs, with a little judicious pruning, grow stronger, and they stand tall, and mostly straight, with body and tree memory in tact. How do they do it?

In my previous post, I wrote about the oldest exotic tree in Christchurch which can be found in the grounds of Riccarton House. Although the tree is well over 150 years old , it is thriving and bearing fruit.  There are many other notable trees around Riccarton House. One of the” younger” heritage trees is the magnificent Weeping Lime which was planted in 1855.

Here are some images of the Weeping Lime. It was hard to capture the size of the tree. And equally difficult was obtaining a photo  which caught the wondrous green tent created by the weeping branches. It was so lovely under the canopy that I wanted to lie down next to the trunk and dream away the afternoon.Weeping Lime

A few metres away from this tree of loveliness, is a special protected area known as Riccarton Bush. It is home to the last remnant of 300,000 years of floodplain forests and is possibly the oldest protected area in New Zealand. In Riccarton Bush we have the privilege of experiencing  primeval forest in the midst of an urban landscape. Whilst the exotic trees amaze me with their age, the native, primeval forest is truly incredible. Inside Riccarton Bush there are kahikatea trees which are 600 years old. I didn’t have time to photograph these trees but here is a glimpse of the entrance to the protected area and the start of the walkway through the Bush.

First the predator proof fence,

Predator proof fence

then the predator proof gate,Are you a predator?

and onward to a wonderland. Wonderland

John Deans, farmer and lover of trees, who settled at Riccarton Bush, requested before his far too early death in 1854, that this native area should be preserved and protected.  The family honoured his wishes and now our city does too.

So, back to my question. How do trees age so well?

Here’s a few my thoughts: they source their food locally; they consume only what they need ( have you ever seen an overweight tree?); they exercise moderately apart from the occasional vigorous workout in a gale;  they engage with their environment and are open branched and hospitable, and giving; they are even-tempered (ever seen a tree giving out the equivalent of road rage even when we pick at its leaves, carve its bark, leave our rubbish about , are loud and abusive within its presence, and climb all over it?);  they are tolerant and share their shade equally with the least and the greatest; they are creative (look at their intricate shapes and textures); and they know how to adapt  and incorporate and store each year’s learnings into a type of wisdom and knowledge that ensures they will survive and thrive for centuries. And as with people, trees age even better if we offer them love, affection, freedom and dignity to age at their own pace.  Wow! I am going back to the Weeping Lime some time soon to see if ,by standing under its canopy, I can breathe in some more of  the art of ageing treefully.

© silkannthreades