Tag Archives: rain

Welcome, stars of the New Year

If you were to look at a New Zealand calendar, there’s a good chance you would see 18 June marked as Matariki ~ 18 June being the official start of Aotearoa’s New Year. I have written previously about Matariki, the traditional Maori New Year and its connection to the star cluster, Pleiades, as well as its connection to  my life.  You can find the post at this link.

https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/matariki-and-my-mothers-birthday/

This New Year, instead of a re-hash of my own limited knowledge of Matariki,  I  invite you to join me over at Juliet Batten’s  blog, http://www.julietbatten.co.nz/musing-on-matariki/ , where you can see the wonder of one of New Zealand’s own seasonal events through a different pair of eyes.  Juliet is the author of  ‘Celebrating the Southern Seasons, Rituals for Aotearoa’. In her book, she writes with wisdom and clarity about our inherited ( Pakeha )  festivals, and how we can attune them to the seasons of New Zealand, and the traditional observances of the Maori calendar.

Despite Juliet’s clear instructions  on locating Matariki in  our southern skies ( “start with Orion, move diagonally down to the left, past Taurus and look low” ), I have failed to do so: mostly because I am functionally illiterate when it comes to reading the stars, but also because, this year, the weather has, so far, been distinctly unhelpful. Like this, in fact, ~soggy ~

Soggy boggy rhubarb

Soggy boggy rhubarb

with both night and day cloaking themselves in the same dark, dense, water-logged fabric.

Now, whilst I may be failing at star-craft and Pleiades-tracking, I have  spotted the return of another visitor, this Matariki. It’s none other than SOFIA, the ultra sophisticated and ultra modern star-gazer, from afar.

Sofia, a stratospheric observatory, is a joint venture  between Nasa and the German Aerospace Centre and will be based in Christchurch until July 24th. There will be 18 missions during the six-week deployment, each lasting ten hours. Although the main focus this year is Pluto, I am sure the crew on Sofia will get some fine glimpses of the Pleiades.

This is a photo I took of Sofia during her visit in July 2013. My old post on Sofia can be found on this link. https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/2408/#comments

Sofia

Sofia

If it weren’t for the dripping state of the landscape,

Dripping Nandina

Dripping Nandina

I would have been out getting you a new photo of Sofia. But, as it is, I  prefer being indoors,    salivating over   gazing at the stars of my kitchen laboratory:

Tarte Tatin ( the first I have made );

Golden Tarte Tatin

Golden Tarte Tatin

Apricot and Feijoa Cobbler;

Sundrop Cobbler

Sundrop Cobbler

Poached Quinces;

Celestial festive quinces in honour of Matariki

Celestially arranged festive quinces in honour of Matariki

Piping hot pumpkin soup;

A little sunshine dips into the pumpkin soup.

A little sunshine dips into the pumpkin soup. (Do you see the pink monster at the window waiting for her turn at the soup bowl?)

Hmmm……looking at my kitchen creations, does anyone else get the impression that I am hungry for the sun? Thank goodness, the solstice and the rebirth of the sun are nigh. 🙂

Happy New Year. 😀

© silkannthreades

 

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(Mem.: mail system undergoing change; write encouraging post )

I am delighted…

with my newly arrived  Persephone Books ;

In love with My Persephone Books

Delighted with My Persephone Books

with their dove grey  jackets,

their carefully  selected endpapers,

Endpapers

Endpapers

and matching bookmarks,

Designer Bookmarks

Designer Bookmarks

and I’m  smitten with the cute  Lil packets they came in.

(Mem.: Refrain from vigorous mail opening.  Reduces ability to decipher messages written on envelope.)

And I am also delighted to report that the happy Lil mailing pouches were able to land, safe and dry, in a new mail box.

And the mail person aka as the postie was most likely just as delighted to be able to  place the mail in a secure receptacle, at long last.

Prim,  Proper, Practical

Prim, Proper, Practical

However, I miss the  old mail pail. It was full of character

Will this start a new trend?

Will this start a new trend? (Query: it didn’t; possible design flaws? )

and gave me a laugh but, unhappily, it was also full of water whenever it rained; which was frequently, during March and April and the first part of May. So, it had to go, back to hibernation in my neighbour’s garage.

Because the shared mail pail worked out well for my neighbour and I, we decided we would continue with our joint mail box. It seemed the economical, practical thing to do. (Mem.: ponder that an incident of vandalism, which could have produced fearfulness and distrust and heightened security has led to an atmosphere of greater trust and openness. …)

( Query: What was the postal delivery system like for Delafield and Woolf circa 1930s, when people exchanged letters almost as frequently as current trend with text and tweets;  Answers possibly found here: “Robin’s letter arrives by second post, ”  and  here and here

W H Auden ” This is the Night Mail “

This is the Night Mail crossing the border,
Bringing the cheque and the postal order,
Letters for the rich, letters for the poor,
The shop at the corner and the girl next door……..

Letters with holiday snaps to enlarge in,
Letters with faces scrawled in the margin,
Letters from uncles, cousins, and aunts,
Letters to Scotland from the South of France,
Letters of condolence to Highlands and Lowlands
Notes from overseas to Hebrides —

Written on paper of every hue,
The pink, the violet, the white and the blue,
The chatty, the catty, the boring, adoring,
The cold and official and the heart outpouring,
Clever, stupid, short and long,
The typed and printed and the spelt all wrong….

(Mem.: Consider consulting McCall Smith on  why  W H Auden still matters  ; and whether they can say if the post still matters. Suspect it jolly well does. )

© silkannthreades

 

She’s taking the world by storm…..

The wind changed; the storm roared in, from the deep, antarctic South and, undeterred, like Mary Poppins, she, the Grand Emissary of Sophia Stuart, came; sans umbrella, but rosy-cheeked and just what we were expecting

Only she didn’t land quite as tidily as Mary Poppins, because you can’t without an umbrella, and if you are being delivered by a postman, into a bucket that is posing as a mailbox.

Will this start a new trend?

Will this start a new trend?

Very undignified, especially when the bucket, inverted or not, is being true to form, by behaving as all buckets should during a once in a century  deluge.

Luckily my neighbour saw Sophia’s Emissary floundering; her brown coat, courtesy of Mr Amazon, slowly dragging her down as it soaked up the icy water collected in the depths of the bucket, and he brought her to my door.  She was a pitiful sight; utterly bedraggled. But I helped her out of her coat, gave her a warm hug, a fluffy towel, a cup of tea, and a change of clothes, (and pearls), and she soon revived. Emissaries and world travellers have to be resilient, like that 🙂

A quick chat, and a note dashed off to  teamgloria (*tg*) to let her know that the Envoy of Who-She-is-In-Real-Life had reached her destination, and it was time for the voyager to take to her bed, to recover from jet lag and the general ordeal of arriving on the crest of a storm.

"It's time to rest"

“It’s time to rest” How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World”

Isn’t she lovely?  Nestled next to my welcome sprig of  bay leaves, for sweet dreams and good health.

Sweet dreams and good health

Sweet dreams and good health and victory in all things

Ssshh; softly, softly, we won’t disturb her now, but, maybe, I will come back later when she is fully recovered and we can discuss the dispatches, the  laureate letters, she has brought to me, from Sophia.

What’s that? Someone is not being quiet. You heard a stifled giggle.  Oh dear; it can’t be helped.  It’s *tg*’s fault; for reminding me that being dunked in a bucket has boarding school overtones. We know a lot about boarding school, *tg* and Sophia and I. Sophia has even written a book about it, called  Emerald.  There was no Emerald at my school, (or was there?), but I seem to recall buckets, full of muck, that were used to terrorize the naughty third formers on initiation day, at the end of year. ( Yes, at end of the year, came the dreaded day of Rangi Tangi! ) We all got horribly wet, bucket-dunked or otherwise, and, after the seniors had done their worst, ( which sometimes wasn’t very bad), they got to feast and we got naught. It sounds more ghastly than it was..but I am still very glad we have all grown up to offer the world a kinder experience of life.

How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World

© silkannthreades

Short Stories

Rain

Rain

viewed from my window.

Soup

Soup of Substance of Substance and Sustenance, Lentils and Spice.

CakeNutty Fruit Cakeeasily made with Fruit and Nuts.

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.

© silkannthreades

Tales of snow and other things

Yesterday we had a little taste of winter. The weather was bleak. There was a wild, bitingly cold wind, hail, rain, sleet and snowflakes, and temperatures that barely rose above freezing point. Oh,  and a few moments of sun, as well.  I stayed indoors and tried not to mind the ice and cold whipping around the house.

This morning the storm was gone and the sun was shining again, but not with a lot of warmth. We ventured out to view the world. It hadn’t been cold enough for the snow to stay on the ground, at sea level, (where we are), but the hills of the city were covered with snow.

As we looked at the snow from a distance, we listened on the car radio to the story of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. Sixty years ago, today, they reached the summit of Mt Everest; the first people to succeed in climbing to the top of the highest point on earth. Two humble climbers; one remarkable moment.

It is a great story, that first successful ascent of Everest. One part of the story that I  particularly like  is this; there were two New Zealanders on the expedition, Edmund Hillary and George Lowe. When Hillary descended from the summit, he was greeted by George Lowe and this was their exchange :-

Lowe, waiting at the South Col with a thermos, called, “How did you get on?”

“Well, George, we knocked the bastard off!”

“Thought you probably must have,” replied Lowe. “Here, have a cup of soup.”

For more information on this day, sixty years ago, try the following links.

(http://www.stuff.co.nz/marlborough-express/news/8729855/Hillary-stands-atop-summit-of-NZ-fame) (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10872850)

And, here are some of the photos I took, today, of the first snowfall of the year. The scenery may not be up to Himalayan standards but it has its own charms and is a lot easier to access.

© silkannthreades

Giving thanks for the RAIN

I am in the middle of writing another post but the rain, which began yesterday, continued all night and is still with us, is so exciting that I have to stop and acknowledge its wonderful presence. I don’t know if this rain is enough to break the drought conditions throughout the country but we, my garden and I, are  thankful for every precious drop of it.

The birds will be grateful too; their bird bath has gone from nil to full overnight. Nearly to the brim

Whilst we humans must collect water in containers if we want to hold on to it, plants are much more inventive. This native New Zealand plant shimmersDroplet Mirror with the thousands of rain drops it captures on its bird nest like structure, interwoven with helpful rain catching cobwebs.PreciousDroppingYou can see how much we needed the rain from this photo taken outside my property last week. DryGrey skies have never been more welcome.Grey is good

Foot note: When a person is granted New Zealand citizenship, and attends the citizenship ceremony, he/she is given a native New Zealand tree/shrub to take home and plant.  In this way, a  new citizen can acknowledge the roots they are putting down in their adopted country. The bushy  plant in my photograph  was given to my daughter when she was granted citizenship. It is drought tolerant but it appreciates, and makes the most of, rain when it comes.

© silkannthreades