Tag Archives: names

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

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Sweet as…peachy-keen…..and a little delicate, too

Just before the wild,  once-in-a-century, flood, stormed through our city,

An insider's view of the Rain of the Century

An insider’s view of the Rain of the Century

and  burst the river banks ,  a friend went foraging across town and, then, treated me to some of her finds…beautiful, tree-ripened blackboy peaches…

Gathered in before the storm

Gathered in before the storm

Which are rarely found anywhere except in an old garden, or a forgotten corner of a park, or a vacant lot.

They are sweet as…in a tangy way, with a very distinct aroma and intense depth of flavour (struggling for words here…. perhaps the best description is …”definitely not an anaemic supermarket peach”).

Definitely not a supermarket peach

Definitely not a supermarket peach

They are delicious fresh from source, if you don’t mind the fuzzy, rough feel of the skin as it touches your tongue, but  they are even better when cooked, not the least because of the rich purple-plum hue that the fruit develops as it mixes with sugar and heat.

Blackboy peaches are my favourite peach for baking and stewing and juicing and jam-ing.

But here’s the little bit of ‘delicate’ associated with them.  I am not so peachy-keen on the name; blackboy. For as long as I can remember that has been their name, and, truthfully, I didn’t think much about it, until a few years ago. They were what they were, and always had been, at least in New Zealand.  In much the same way, that Chinese gooseberries were Chinese gooseberries for my parents and grandparents until, one fine day, in 1959, they discovered they were not. The gooseberry (which it actually wasn’t anyway) had morphed in to kiwifruit because the American market was not too peachy-keen to bite anything tainted with the name Chinese.  Yet, Chinese gooseberries, before they became kiwifruit, did, at least, have some logic to their name, since the seeds for the kiwifruit came to New Zealand from China, in 1904.

But blackboy peach….what’s with that name? No one, not even the plant nurseries, seems to know the whys and wherefores of this nomenclature, or how the tree came to New Zealand and became so popular with home gardeners.  Or, if anyone does know, they’re not telling their tale on the internet. I have searched and searched, fruitlessly.

Was it called blackboy because our down-to-earth ancestors couldn’t be bothered with a fancified, foreign name similar to  Sanguine de Manosque, or peche de vigne, or the rather gruesome sounding Blood Red Peach? Or did they find it confusing, or strange, to call them  Indian peaches, or stranger still,  Indian Blood Peaches ,and wanted to make them more homely and warm and friendly, so latched on to blackboy; in acknowledgement of the fruit’s skin texture and deep, rich colour. Since the blackboy peach has been a much-loved fruit, I doubt any harm or slur was intended by the name but, perhaps, if these trees and their delicious, precious fruit are to survive beyond a few backyards and abandoned sections, it’s time for a makeover. How about calling them something like,  ‘Sweet as…’  What could be more modern ‘Kiwi’ than that, to honour a fine fruit of our New Zealand  heritage?

Shall we drink to that?

Sweet as...peach tea...anyone?

Sweet as…peach tea…anyone?

A note of sympathy:

With the sun shining again, it has been  peachy-keen for some of us, today. The some of us who have dry feet and dry homes, that is, and who can enjoy the sunshine without stressing about a massive clean-up and more insurance claims. It’s been a rough 36 hours, or more, for some of our citizens, and their trials are far from over. The earthquakes have changed land levels and river beds, and flooding will  be an on-going problem in certain areas of the city.

© silkannthreades

All at sea

This post is for my friend  Bailey Boat Cat http://baileyboatcat.com/ and his beloved Nocturne.

For the past few weeks I have been immersed in family history. Perhaps immersed is too mild a description; it’s more like drowning or struggling to keep my head above water, amidst a sea of facts and documents and wild guesses and endless possibilities…. so, that James was a cordwainer and that James was a postman and the other James was a dairy hand. Or were they? And what about that Robert; farm servant and agricultural labourer, or were they  two, different Roberts? And then, there are the Marys and the Elizabeths and the Marys and the Elizabeths and the Mary Elizabeths, who are sometimes occupied with nothing and sometimes with ‘domestic duties’. Domestic duties? What is meant by domestic duties? Is that short hand for the bearing and rearing of a dozen offspring, in as many years, all confusingly named James or Elizabeth or Mary or Elizabeth Mary and James and Robert or Robert James. After a couple of hours of research, I am begging my forebears to throw me the lifeline of a Hortense or a Hermione,  even a Phryne (Fisher, if possible ), but the best I get is an Isola, which isn’t a bad effort.

Isola? Isola! How did a little girl, born in New Zealand, to Scottish parents acquire the name Isola? Does it mean Island or Isle? I may find out one day but, in the meantime, my mind has sailed away to islands and how we, the families of now and before, travelled from one set of islands to another, on ships and boats with marvellous, exotic names.

In our family history, I find a list of boats, ships and sailing vessels that have held, for varying lengths of time, small portions of our life stories, as travellers and adventurers, workers and servicemen. Here is a small selection of  some of the names: Bolton, Caroline Agnes, Zambesi, Zealandia, Waikato, Mokoia, Neuralia, Ulimaroa, Warrimoo, Pinkney, Adi Rewa, Matua, Tofua, Oriana, Ratu Bulumakau and Seaspray . Each of these vessels has a fascinating story and a genealogy and lineage of  her own. Many of them were sent to watery graveyards or to the hell of a scrapyard. An ignoble end to the fine engineering and craftsmanship of the craft that made possible much of our family lore.

For those who are curious about maritime vessels, here are a few links.

http://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?131733

http://digitalnzgeoparser.tripodtravel.co.nz/map/photograph-of-the-ship-mokoia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Pinkney_%28APH-2%29

http://www.nzmaritime.co.nz/matua.htm

This is a photo of myself (the little blonde curly-haired child) with my brother and mother, on board the Matua ( I think) circa 1957. Possibly en route from Fiji to Sydney or New Zealand or, maybe, both.

Matua? 1957?

Matua? 1957?

http://www.ssmaritime.com/Tofua.htm

(note the punkah louvre forced draught ventilation on the Tofua)

http://www.ssc.com.fj/seaspray.aspx

http://www.castawayfiji.com/

This photo was taken aboard the Seaspray (still alive and well, I think) on a trip to  Castaway Resort, circa 1967.

On the Seaspray to Qalito Island

On the Seaspray to Qalito Island

Anchor note: I didn’t  know this when I started my research but I have since discovered that August is New Zealand Family History Month; happy coincidence.

http://www.aucklandlibraries.govt.nz/EN/Events/Events/Pages/familyhistorymonth2013.aspx

From Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing,
Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness;
So on the ocean of life we pass and speak one another,
Only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.

  • Pt. III, The Theologian’s Tale: Elizabeth, sec. IV

What’s in a name?

Recently, rosemary, the herb, has played a starring role in my blog, and in my home life.  Almost every day, during the past fortnight, I have made an infusion of rosemary leaves and flowers, and the scent has permeated my workspace aka the kitchen 🙂  The fragrance is swoon-worthy but ,of course, swooning in the kitchen would be dangerous, so I resist the temptation and sit sensibly at my bench top laptop instead.  Now, as you may or may not remember, rosemary is a symbol for remembrance. But, even more interestingly, the aroma of rosemary is believed to  enhance memory and brain function. It’s true; the Huffington Post says so  (  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/27/rosemary-brain-memory-18-cineole_n_1304250.html ) Perhaps, then, it was my daily inhalation of rosemary essences that made my brain suddenly take a little leap and twirl and prance off down memory lane, to the time where my life long love of rosemary began.  Strangely though, my love for rosemary began not with the herb but with the name, Rosemary.

Many decades ago, near the beginning of my life, I was given guardianship of a large baby doll which had belonged to my aunt, and, later, to my mother.  The doll came to me from my aunt’s home, complete with beautiful clothes, bed-clothes and a white pram large enough for a real baby. I can not remember if she came with a name (obviously insufficient rosemary chemicals in my blood stream) but I do remember my very solemn decision to christen this precious family treasure, Rosemary.  Why Rosemary? I have no idea; again my brain is insufficiently enhanced to recall!  But Rosemary she remained, all her life with me and then through my sister’s childhood too.

Eventually, after decades of a steamy life in the tropics, it was felt that Rosemary was in danger of ‘going troppo’, so she was returned to my aunt in New Zealand. Sadly, the pram had disintegrated under the stress of tropical living conditions but my aunt, and a doll doctor, were able to restore Rosemary to her original beauty.

Content that Rosemary was alive and well and in good hands, I didn’t think much more about her until, a few years back, when I visited my aunt in her new abode in a retirement home. There, on my aunt’s bed, was Rosemary. I exclaimed “Oh, you have  Rosemary here. How lovely!”  My aunt, who in no way at all needs artificial enhancement of her mental faculties, looked at me in great surprise and said,  ” Rosemary? That’s Sadie. She’s always been Sadie.” It was my turn to be surprised. Through all those years I had loved her, my Rosemary had been hiding a secret Sadie. 🙂

My aunt went on, “I don’t know what will become of Sadie. Will you take her home with you and look after her?” “One day, I will,” I replied.  But, for now, she can remain in quiet retirement. She has earned her rest. My aunt will be 94 this year. I imagine Sadie/Rosemary is only a little younger.

© silkannthreades