Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
~Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850

2011 has only hours to give us.  As I mature [age is such a depressing work] the days, weeks and months race by.  No longer do the long days of summer holidays last forever as in my childhood when hours and days were easily spent lying on an old mattress under the laden cherry plum tree; just a short reach to those luscious [non fattening] fruit.  The mattress was an essential ... over ripened plums tended to fall from the heavily burdened branches, not a nice feel!

The mattress under the shade of the plum tree helped convey me to other worlds, the world of the written word.  I recall struggling with the verbosity of Dickens, and within a short time devouring his descriptions of life in another land in another time.  

Summer went on forever!

Winter sometimes brought snow, always froze our fingers and toes with icicles that crackled and broke under the weight of children skating along the gutters.

Spring ... daffodils, the japonica hedge a vision of pink and glossy green leaves, violets pushing up their unforgettable scent wafting around the garden; pet lambs to be bottle fed ... spring with all its promises.

Autumn with the carpet of poplar leaves on our long driveway; the wind tossing leaves to the four corners of our little farm.

Each year brings new memories, begins with new dreams.  The passing of the old year gives us a few hours to reminisce over the good and the not-so-good, hopefully a little light-bulb moment will flicker in our mind as we suddenly wonder about a solution to a small problem; and the beginning of another year sends our thoughts to yet to be known delights. 

May 2012 bring good health and happiness to All.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cash/Vouchers or Gifts?

We have just returned from a quick trip into town ... mail and milk mainly.  Enroute a storm that blew up from nowhere threatened, but by passed us.  Forks of lightning struck earthwards with loud thunderclaps almost deafening the eardrums.  By the look of it, most was out at sea, though the streets in town were running water ... a welcome coolness to an otherwise hot day.

The small supermarket was busy, queues formed at four checkouts.  As is often the case in a small town, queues give reason for a chat and a laugh.  The Post Office can be the source of  'the laugh of the day'!

The lass serving me appeared less animated than usual; normally she is bright and cheery.  An observant customer enquired as to how she enjoyed Christmas.  The reply was half-hearted, which aroused the attention of the rest of the queue.

Being naturally curious I made a comment to bring forth more information.  She took the hint; her reply was illuminating.

She received lots of money and vouchers, but she loves to open a parcel. 
This comment gave me reason to ponder on the journey home.  I had sent vouchers [to those who in the past were unimpressed with my chosen gift ... teenagers!], and in the process saved considerably on postage.  I much prefer to spend on the person than the Post Office, in spite of the fact it can be a source of considerable amusement.

We received vouchers ... overall for a considerable sum.  At the moment I have no brilliant ideas as to what these vouchers can be exchanged for!

I have frequently heard parents of children, some as young as five or six, who gave the children a voucher to spend on the Boxing Day sales; sales I avoid!  We hear that the spirit of Christmas is money oriented; the true reason for the season lost in the whirring of check-out tills.  That a young woman, not long turned 21, prefers a parcel to open than money or vouchers sounded a timely warning to my 'gift giving' next year.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Blessings

May this Christmas season bring you blessings, love and laughter, and good health and happiness for the coming year.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Red Sky at Night

Red sky at night, shepherds delight; red sky in morning, shepherds warning.

The above little verse was oft heard in my childhood home; my Dad was a weather watcher and endeavoured to instill a little ancient wisdom into the minds of his children.  It worked.  Or the red sky in morning verse stayed in my mind, and as weather is changeable there have been many opportunities to recite these wonderful words of knowledge.

Earlier this week a man of words professed that the above verse has as much relevance today as in earlier times, with the rider that a guess at tomorrow's weather is as accurately forecast by the colour of the sky as the long-winded technical forecasts broadcast daily in the media.

While a vast area of the south/west of Western Australia burned with devastating bush fires a week ago, and while at the moment thousands of acres of station country in the northern mid-west of Western Australia is being destroyed by fires started from lightning strikes, the opportunities for startling skies is ripe, dust and smoke from fires adding to the garish colours of the setting sun.

Tonight a bright pink colour captured my attention.  Parts of the house shone in this glow.  The sky was orange.  A camera opportunity!  The clouds swirled in the atmosphere rippling like the incoming tide on a sunny afternoon. 
 Tomorrow should be a fine day!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gift shopping

This morning we headed north to our larger shopping centre.  In my handbag I carried a list, one side groceries, the other side presents.  For once I was able to purchase all on my list!  That alone is a minor miracle as so often an idea flits into the mind, buy this or that, for one particular person on the list.  Too many times the item is simply not available [perhaps I did see a similar thing five years ago?].

When making out the list my mind wandered back to the days of my youth [not yesterday!]  How gifts chosen differ from last century, and what a choice in the shops today.  My Mum sometimes received a pair of slippers.  To a modern miss slippers appear mundane; not to a busy country woman of several decades ago.  They were epitome of relaxation.  Putting on a pair of slippers after a long day of chores ... washing, ironing, and cooking without the aid of electricity; digging and planting a vegetable patch to supply the family with vegetables for much of the year, though I must add that my Dad did plant potatoes in the paddock.  The art of potato growing, moulding up, digging and bagging up was a family affair.  No-one was too small to help.

Slippers were luxury, pure and simple.

Today the shops are full of appliances, shiny and wonderful; gadgets that one needs to read the instructions before using.  Not much relaxation there!

Not forgetting Dad.  A good book, or a pipe [a no-no today], but they both represented relaxation as well. 

My bestest Christmas present ever was a jigsaw puzzle.  I was about ten years old and a new aunty chose a jigsaw with a picture of an olde cottage with roses around the door as a gift for her niece [I cannot recall what gift my brother received].  Once the box was opened and all pieces tipped onto the floor I had to puzzle out exactly what was to happen next, never having seen a jigsaw puzzle before.  By pushing them around the dawn of an idea grew ... the funny pieces fitted into each other.  From that moment on completing a jigsaw puzzle was easier.  And there was a reason why that particular aunt gave me such a gift ... I often stayed with Aunt and Uncle in school holidays, and as Uncle was on the tramcars he sometimes worked a late shift.  Aunt and I worked on a jigsaw!

Today as I wandered around the shops jigsaw puzzles were scarce on the shelves, slippers away until winter, pipes ... well smoking is bad for your health did you not know ... and even books are harder to find in shops.  All around electronic gear, shiny and bright clutter shelves ... how do many of them work ... I have no idea.

It did seem that relaxation has slipped down the ladder of gift buying ... 'tis a sad day for human kind.