Sunday, June 26, 2011

My House

My house is small
No mansion for a millionaire
But there is room for love
and there is room for friends
Thats all I care.

Often it is the small things of life that tell a tale, or give a message worth taking on board our busy lives.  Yesterday I made a small, yet quite magnificent, purchase.  A delightful miniature blue and white  plate priced at the princely sum of 20cents.

I brought it home not knowing quite where it would be displayed as our walls are not suitable for banging in a picture hook.  I didn't let such a small fact worry me!

In the end, after a little deliberation, inspiration struck.  Two pieces of thick double-sided tape, one on top of the other, gave the depth required for this tiny plate to adhere to a cupboard door, where it's inscription can be read easily.

A cottage with a cobbled path leading to the front door, smoke drifting lazily from a tall chimney is surrounded by a wreath of roses and what could be forget-me-knots; the personification of a country cottage where a warm welcome awaits, while the centre is inscribed with the verse [above]

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A whole lot of shaking going on

In February, just before my long scheduled trip to my homeland of New Zealand, Christchurch suffered a devasting earthquake.  My second eldest son lives in Christchurch and I spent a few days with him.
Once upon a time Christchurch was a beautiful city with delightful gardens reminscent of England ... Canterbury, of which Christchurch is the main city, was settled by the English.  They built a city to remind them of home.  The River Avon meandered gently through the city, parks and public gardens a restful green, while gardens around many homes grew roses and daffodils, violets and marigolds; a kaleidoscope of colour on a green canvas.

My trip back in February was sad.  The city that once boasted beauty had fallen apart at the seams.  Public buildings, churches, private homes, streets and parks were close to ruination at the hands of an earthquake.

The street past my son's home was dusty with liquefaction that residents had piled up, like a child's sandcastle on the beach, except many times larger, in readiness for the Council to cart it away before it too turned to dust and polluted the suburbs.  The corner shop had a hole in the wall, but the shelves were stocked in a fashion as many were buying essentials.  That shop has since been demolished ~ it was rendered unsafe, but building is in the offing ... or so my son reported only a month ago.

Then on Monday the earth began to shake again.  Only three months from the previous quake, they were once again threatened with circumstances that are becoming difficult to comprehend.  I heard the radio news report, and later telephoned my son ... he had been at work when the two largest shakes occurred.  He was OK, his kitchen floor resembled a war zone with food that slid from the refrigerator all over the place, and dishes from the cupboard slipped downwards.  A TV fell from its shelf breaking a chest of drawers in the process.  The TV in the lounge fell over, but once righted went; electricity was on; water was a dribble. 

How much longer can the ordinary people who live in Christchurch carry on their everyday lives when the ground beneath them trembles by the hour? 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Winter Green

Most folk would consider winter to be a time for the blues; not me.  Here in the mid-west, after welcome rain, the countryside is green; crops are beginning to appear bringing life to what was only weeks ago a desolate place.

Yesterday we headed to the nearest city for a little grocery shopping.  We do have a small supermarket in our nearest town, but the choice is limited and prices higher.  Taking into account the cost of fuel, which has dropped [!!!] in the last few days, of course it would be cheaper to shop in town.  But ... the city has added enticements.

As you may be aware I have recently taken up stitching; a pastime I had hankered for over a long period, but raising children dampened any enthusiasm ... there were always other essentials to be sewn ~ [pyjamas when the children were young, clothes for my school-age daughter, though thankfully this was before the time when 'labelled fashion garments were required, and bags to carry swimming togs or Cub, Scout or Brownie books].  Now I have the time, and the inclination.

It could be said I have become almost addicted to collecting pieces of fabric.  All for a good cause I hasten to add!  In my humble opinion stitching is a perfectly reasonable pastime, and one that does have worthwhile end results.

Invariably when we visit the city I take a quick visit [half an hour as against a long visit, which could be up to an hour and a half ... I have learned to make a selection quicker] to my favourite fabric shop.  As I needed yellows for a swap I am in yellow fabrics were my first choice.  Having a rather delightful piece of green I decided to make a quilt for my son who lives where it is cooler ... three more colours were required for the design I have in mind.  I purchased three one-metre lengths that should fit the bill.  In fact if I were being absolutely honest, I should be cutting them out now ... but ... later.

The mix of fabrics for this project? 
 I hope my son considers them suitably manly.  Oh the project?  A post and rail quilt, or as some say, a rail quilt.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

You can use its coat for knitting

Every once in a while the mind throws a blank as to a suitable blogging topic, and equally every so often a topic is tossed into one's lap; a gift of immense proportions.  Today was one such day.

Visiting around Blogland memories of the past were stirred into action.  Pets and childhood!  I guess many children have a kitten or puppy, or a guinea pig as a pet.  I had pet lambs.  One was terribly spoiled and even in her older age, a dignified mother of frisking and frolicking lambs she stayed close to the house, no doubt remembering the joyful days of her youth. 

My Dad owned a small farmlet, almost 30 acres in all.  In the beginning we had cows, but 'regulations' were tightened making it uneconomical to milk cows in a shed that wasn't up to hospital hygiene standards.  We went into sheep, that were imminently better than cows.  Cows, especially if poked through the yard fence by long sticks by my brother, tended to the wild side.  I, a quiet little girl, knew better than to tease milking cows ... or any cows in fact.

Going into sheep often meant pet lambs, and although my Dad sometimes took the coat from the still-born lamb and put it on a motherless lamb, more often than not we could persuade him that a motherless lamb would be better off as a pet.  Pet lambs were given preferential treatment.

My pet lamb of some reknown, was Frisky.  However Frisky somehow didn't sound 'just right'.  I altered it to Frisco, which gave her a aura of movieland [well San Francisco is in California as is Hollywood].  Frisco was bottle fed, several times a day; several times a day more than absolutely necessary to sustain life; she became rotund. 

On a good day she would deign to be dressed in doll's clothes, to be sat upon my knee for her bottle feed.  Please remember, dear reader, I would have been all of ten years of age; a mother in the making.  When one doesn't have small brothers or sisters, a lamb is a substitute!

Frisco had several saving graces; the main one she was an excellent lead sheep.  We dipped our sheep down the road at the neighbours, and while Frisco had to be enticed, and often placed in the boot of the car [my Dad, for some unknown reason, objected to her riding in the car, but I am positive she would have enjoyed the novelty of motor travel with a view] she was in her own coming home.  Once out of the dip she headed for the road, and as though running a marathon, headed for home.

Sheep being sheep, the rest followed like sheep.

The result of having the privilege of possessing pet lambs has given me a soft spot for sheep all my life.  When I knit I insist on pure wool ... none of this artificial acrylic stuff!  Long live the Sheep!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"With this ring ..."

Jack was ev'ry inch a sailor,
Five and twenty years a whaler,
Jack was ev'ry inch a sailor,
He was born upon the bright blue sea

This morning, when in the process of tidying away a few of my plastic boxes [full of fabric, wool, and other items that may be useful one day] My Other Half found a treasure he had forgotten about.  It could be true to say that we both tend to keep items for future use ... though I will admit his addiction is stronger than mine!

A grey milk crate, those most useful of items, was found in a corner.  In it were several L.P. records.  Luckily we haven't progressed into the modern world that much that we don't own a suitable player.  The radio is not only a radio, but plays C.D's, and records ... the vinyl type ... do you remember them?

I recall, with clarity, summer holidays at the beach spent in the Family Crib [the modern word for this is a Holiday Bach, or Holiday Home; depending upon where one was born and raised ... Crib does appear to be  used solely in the southern South Island, New Zealand], where not long after my arrival I would haul the old gramophone out to the passage-way at the front door, choose my record [usually Jack was Every Inch a Sailor], and wind the handle as the music belted out, surging across the dusty road, over the river, across to the other side.  The gramaphone must have been elderly then, but the concept of music of my own choice was wonderful.

Back to this morning ... One of the records was Hank Snow, a country musician of the past.  At lunch time we switched off the radio, My Other Half placed the vinyl on the turntable, and Hank Snow filled the room.  Many of the songs were familiar; one, "With this Ring I Thee Wed" I knew 90% of the words, and as my singing voice is not one of my greatest assets, his nasal rendition blended well with my warbling.

We did wonder how the modern miss or mister would accept Hank Snow!  I commented, between warbling, that I knew the words.  How did I know them?  Because when I first heard the song way back last century the words were the main part, sung clearly and not drowned out with music.  

Soon these relics of the past will be museum pieces; folks will query what they are.