Thursday, December 29, 2005

rubbing it in

Ok, here goes.... I spent most of the afternoon sitting on a bench by the beach at Oriental Bay in a strappy top, short skirt and sandals - complete with sunblock, sunhat and sunshades (the shirt stayed in my bag, well, 3 out of 4 isn't bad). I'm not sure if the lads picked that bench before we saw the girls in bikinis on the beach below us or not... I am however prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt as it was the first empty one we came to!

When I got home I caught up with a few blogs and emails and came across a reference to the weather back in Britain which being me I duely checked out.

Now have a look at the webpage - the article lead paragraph says 'Snow has brought disruption to roads and railways in eastern parts of England and Scotland.' And just where in the rest of the entire thing is there any mention of how bad or where the snow is in Scotland? Even the Scottish pages of the Beeb website don't elaborate. So is this yet another case of the British media being just a teensie weensie bit biased (for a change) towards the south east of England (even the north only gets mentioned because of the footie being cancelled) or is it a case of no-one really batting an eyelid north of the Watford Gap about it having snowed, after all it is winter for heavens sake.

People wonder here why I am constantly correcting them about the difference between England and Britain (I haven't lived in England for over 12 years...), it's no wonder really that the world outwith British waters doesn't have a clue when the British media is so constantly and consistently biased.

On a totally different tack, you know how (or probably don't if you've never been there!) in Scotland they say pew-geot for peugeot cars not purr-geot as they do in England, well here you get sub-a-roos not sue-ba-roos (Subaru), weird....

Monday, December 26, 2005

biblical conundrums

oh rats, forgot my glasses, apologies in advance for any typos... well so much for that early night, got all tucked up and brain went into overdrive so I pulled on my jeans and came over to try to empty out what is chuntering round and see if that helps, if not it's back to good ol' Julian of Norwich again.

Whilst shepherds washed their socks by night
All watching ITV
The Angel of the Lord came down
And tuned to BBC

Well that is the version we used to sing at infants school, leastways when we could get away with it - our headmistress Miss Lines (no seriously, it really was her name!) wasn't overly impressed altho' you'd think that a bunch of 5-7 year olds having such a grasp of sociological issues should have been encouraged not chastised. For those of you not in the know ITV was (then!) the only commercial television channel in Britain, BBC being the licence fee funded non-commercial channel. My age group in particular is divided into those who were allowed to watch ITV complete with 'sellies' (adverts) and those who weren't. The theory being (from those parents who decided that their children should only see BBC) that the BBC programmes were superior to the 'American rubbish' (no offence intended!) and whatnot shown on ITV and that it was downright immoral to aim sellies at children. At the time I wasn't impressed any more than Miss Lines was with our carol adaptations as I never got to see Rainbow or Tizwaz, nor later in my school life did I see Dallas, Dynasty or Dangermouse. Educationally deprived by this I most certainly wasn't but it didn't half leave you out of things at school when everyone else was acting out Lassie or Champion the Wonder Horse and you didn't have a clue what was going on (at least it spared me from having to decided who was the better looking in Dallas/Dynasty tho'... the right answer apparently was either John James or Michael Praed, depending on which week it was - by 'eck I don't half remember some useless gubbins). So anyway you see, the idea of shepherds (being a low socio-economic group!) watching ITV and the Angel of the Lord preferring they watch the more educational etc BBC says rather a lot about the predominantly middle class, entirely white (as far as I remember) infants school I went to and the social mores of the mid seventies... now maybe I should have written my dissertation on that, it'd've been far less harrowing than the actions taken around the allegations of satanic child abuse on South Ronaldsay and their social policy implications...

But I am digressing... (for a change) what had my head spinning was trying to get it around Matthew 22.41-46. Yes, ok, I'm still on Matthew - give me a break, I've spent most of the last last week working my way through a Gospel study group book in time to pass it on at Summer Gathering (If you're reading this Jonathan I'm nearly done and Llyn has promised to lend us some other stuff I'll bring with me if he gets it to me on Sunday!). But back to Matthew... believe it or not the tangental thinking above wasn't that tangental as it is back to the 'born of David's line' bit which is in one of the original verses of 'Whilst shepherds watched their flocks by night' (that took some concentrating to type... kept wanting to put the socks back in). The bit in Matthew I've just read is about whether Jesus is the Messiah or not and (or?) David's decendant. The same bit appears also in Mark and Luke but the rotten translators have just used the same text for all three so apart from the additional info that it is referring to something in Psalms (which I haven't read since I was about 8 yrs old and therefore can't remember - and 'somewhere in psalms' is far too vague for me to start looking for it!) cross referrencing doesn't add any clarity.

Now maybe I'm just being thick but I've read it several times in two translations and 3 Gospels and I still don't understand it. If there is anyone out there with more of a theological head on (that isn't fuzzied with festive excess!) who can explain what the dickens is meant by it I'd be extremely grateful as this whole decendant of David (but theoretically not Joseph!) and the Messiah/David thing is something that hasn't made sense to me since at school. Maybe Matthew 22 vs 46 'No-one was able to give Jesus any answer, and from that day on no-one dared to ask him any more questions.' sums it up nicely - maybe they were all as flummoxed as I am and decided that if you were going to get answers like that sometimes you were just better off not asking the question in the first place!

I think I need to change my bedtime reading to something less challenging...

Friday, December 23, 2005

home sweet home

ok, due to popular demand...

8 Moncrieff Street
Mount Victoria
Wellington 6001
Aotearoa New Zealand

NOT Australia, no longer Edinburgh, certainly no longer Wardlaw Terrace and yes I will still be here next Christmas!

For those of you with WGYF address lists my address here is on it! For once I was organised in advanced but no-one sems to have noticed, ah well....

Thursday, December 22, 2005

techie help needed!

ok, I'm determind to learn how to do this before the year is out as I know it is one of those 'it is easy when you know how' things...

How do I put embedded links in my text?

See, told you it was something easy, so easy in fact that assumes you know how to do it and doesn't include it in it's help pages! They obviously hadn't reckoned on folk like me managing to blog...

I know the majority of you reading this know how, so can someone put me out of my bamboozelled state please?

ta very muchly =)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

an embarrassment of riches

My boxes arrived yesterday - two of my stuff, one of WGYF stuff (eek, must phone Jimmy and see what he can get to Australia YM for me) and one of Fran's.

Two boxes - just 5 cubit feet of stuff and yet it feels like an amazing array of goods, half of which I'd forgotten I'd packed to come here. Do I need it all? Well some of it yes, definitely - my clothes were becoming increasingly seasonally inapproriate and come winter I'll no doubt be grateful for the extra jumpers and my fleece. But the majority of the rest are luxuries really - ok so my camping mug & plates will be useful and my quilting stuff saves me buying more material here. But the only things in the boxes that I will need that I couldn't have easily replaced are my Quaker resources (and yes I do count my Winnie the Pooh books as essential items for any Quaker residential event).

Some stuff I sent over as I knew I'd use it and as I had to pay to either store it or ship it I might as well have use of it, but other things are purely decorative and of sentimental value only. But, it has to be said, the flat now looks far more like home, more 'me' and less like a place furnished with all the things that everyone else was throwing out and replacing with better stuff (and in some cases it is is fairly evident as to why!).

What struck me though as I unpacked the contents was that on top of this I have another 16 cubic feet of stuff in storage back in Edinburgh - and that was after I had cleared out fairly ruthlessly, or so I thought. Also, having got used to so few clothes I now have what seems like a ridiculous amount - sure some of it is for seasons to come but I'd already forgotten I owned so many t-shirts.

My consolation/conscience salve is that I'm not likely to to be buying anything additional that isn't replacing worn out goods, with the exception of a few books and cd's (I've been very restrained - so far....), for the next year or so at least as it doesn't make economic sense let alone ethical sense when I'm not really earning. I'm tempted to pack a bundle of it all away again before I get used to having it, and then in a year's time open it up and ring the changes!

humbugs (& turkish delight)

proper black and white stripey ones - jar full of 'em in the earthquake cupboard!

interesting Jewish site about Christmas - possibly with an axe to grind but none the worse for it

disgruntled cinema goer last night when leaving 'Narnia' muttering about religious nonsense - er, hadn't they read the book first? Why had they gone to see it?

I must admit I had huge reservations as to what they would do to the book but I'll let them off the occassional tweak of dialogue and the scene setting air-raid as all in all it was pretty impressively well done. Oh I could wax lyrical for pages bout it, Cookie and I were like a pair of big kids at the end being all excited - I think Fran could just about own up to knowing us though by the time we left the cinema! One of the many books that really did need to wait for special effects and costume etc to reach their current amazing standards. Another jewel in the crown for Weta and yet more stunning New Zealand scenery - the thing is will they film the other 6?

Ah well best get on with the day - just another day in Paradise! Well; Middle Earth, Narnia - where next? Pern? If Peter Jackson is twiddling his thumbs now King Kong is out maybe there's another project for him - altho' if he want's to do The Hobbit first then that's fine by me!

Oh and I'm finally off to see Harry Potter tonight... =) What a week!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

O tannenbaum... - some likeminded (Quaker) thoughts on Christmas


And a bit of background info on Christmas trees -

Just to explain that I'm not totally bah humbug about the whole kit and kaboodle of Christmas, I love the way it does kick people into gear and get in touch with each other, and yes I'd far prefer to get a round robin generic letter than a card with no message other than 'love from....'. I'm not the world's best correspondent (especially since I stopped having essays to avoid writing and having lectures that were far better spent letter writing through and then reading up on the subject later) and I do appreciate the annual boot up the derriere to get my act together, even if half the time (ok, make that most of the time) it is usually a case of happy January, or even March by the time I get them out! But to me it isn't about wishing someone a happy Christmas but saying hi, I'm still alive, how are you? Christmas is just a convenient hook to hang it all on.

Having spent so many years working for a Rudolph Steiner organisation the passing of the seasons, the religious festivals and their symbolism is something I became very aware of. Even then I questioned the northern hemisphere bias of the christian calendar (as I've said before if you are going to adopt pagan festivals stick to their seasons not their calendar dates!). I have found myself drawn far more to the pagan roots than the re-interpretations; the changing seasons, phases of the moon, the equinoxes and solstices are still with us and are not dependent upon someone believing in them (unless Terry Pratchett got it right after all...). I love how the Maori New Year - Matariki ( links in the rising of the Seven Sisters and all the rebirth, fertility & crops and remembrance associations of many of the old British customs, and the fact that it is brought into modern life in a meaningful way. I'm really looking forward to being here for it.

In the meantime though I'll try to get the rest of my Christmas cards posted off to wish the recipients a happy January, keep plodding on getting my head around the teachings of Jesus and not worry too much about when his birthday was. Oh and if anyone can explain to me why the carol goes 'born of David's line' when the churches would have us believe that Joseph (the descendant of David, rather than Mary - who if I've got this right was a descendant of Benjamin, hence king of kings - bringing two royal lines together) wasn't the father that would be grand - maybe there was a subversive carol writer out there trying to sneak things through.... in which case where was the continuity editor? Probably off to the bach for the christmas holidays....

(ps - yes I can spell, well most of the time, bach = kiwi place by the sea, usually a second home, anything from an empty plot of land, via a shed with a long drop loo to a flash summer house!)

Friday, December 16, 2005

sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits...

Yesterday evening was glorious, after deliberating as to whether I should do some of the many things on my to do list I was kindly persuaded by Pamela (the artist who has a studio round the back of the QMH) to go for a walk instead.

One of the joys of living here is Mount Victoria being on my doorstep (well, down the road, round the corner, up a bit, up a bit more...). So many paths to chose from that I seldom do exactly the same route twice in a row. Last night I followed yet another new path - up to the lookout on the top, well up to my lookout - the 'offical' one was somewhat busy so I headed up to the trig point and sat leaning against it looking out over to the hills beyond Wellington to the west and north. I was filled with an incredible sense of calmness and the ability to just sit and watch the world go by; no spinning head chuntering on at 100mph, no worries, no feeling of 'ought to be doing...' (even if I should!). It was great - an oasis of tranquility in life.

I'd been pondering on the way up (and I'm begining to think I may qualify for Marion's asthma research after all - all will be revealed next week...) about astrology, well to be more specific Carpricorn women. I know a ridiculous number of them and have recently discovered a couple more. Looking round there are two things that strike me about the ones I know (self included!) - firstly how many of them are single/divorced (I can think of about two who aren't and both of those are on their second, or more, long term relationship), and the other is how many of them dedicate so much of their lives to their faith (including working lives) and even the ones in fairly mainstream professions tend to be singled out as being the 'human face' of them, the ones who actually care about the people rather than just the number crunching or whatever. I've kind of got used to being single now, and certainly to living out my faith. So maybe I should just accept that this is what life has in store for me and get on with it? It was with this thought that I had arrived at the top of the hill, the sense of calmness I found there makes me think that for once I might just have hit upon what life is trying to tell me the easy way (albeit via a very steep path!).

Welly watching

Flatting, tenting, draughting, some random combination of letters I now can't remember... ok, just when I think I'm getting my head around kiwi english something comes along and throws me again - all I can say is thank heavens for people around like Ruth who can not only translate but still remember what it is like to be completely flummoxed. Okay so the first two examples are fairly obvious really, sharing a flat with folk & camping but draughting got me - apparently it is slipstreaming on a bike behind another rider or a vehicle, the random letters were what they call a 4x4 here (altho' they don't need spray on mud in these parts! If you are just as confused as I was still it's those big off road vehicles which in Edinburgh are usually used to take the kids to fee paying schools, do the monthly shop at Tescos and show off to the other mums as to how much money you appear to have... cynical? moi?).

We had the first 'big' shake courtesy of mother nature since I got here on Tuesday - not that I noticed; several of us were totally oblivious to the fact (and no we hadn't drunk that much wine), sitting tucking into a rather fine selection of grub in Zing when Ruth's phone went off, twice. Once from hubby up the hill checking she was ok as everything was rattling there and then once from a friend who had been working late on her own up on the 15th floor of an office block where it had been felt big time. She must have broken several speed records coming down the stairs and along the road and deserved every last drop of the long G&T waiting for her when she reached us - somewhat more shaken and stirred than her drink.

We were all feeling rather smug about being nice and 'safe' until we started looking around at the rather large plate glass window we were next to, the enormous loudspeaker suspended above one end of the table and large pendulous lightfitting over the other, at which point we decided that we were just rather glad it hadn't been felt where we were and that all things considered we'd got off lightly. More to the point Marion and I were due to go shopping the next day to stock up the Earthquake kit so we would not have been impressed if a big one had struck us before then! It was all the talk of Midweek Meeting, altho' one more elderly member was mightily relieved to find the seven of us hadn't felt it either as she was beginning to wonder if she was losing her marbles! Anyway, if the big one comes there is now enough food in the cupboards to feed 3 people for up to a fortnight, but unless you are careful by day 10 it's cold baked beans only.

It is all decidedly bizarre walking around town - today must be the hottest day here since I arrived. But every 100 yards or so along Lambton Quay there were buskers playing Christmas Carols about snow and midwinter, people wandering around in Santa hats and tinsle and some decidedly taste free decorations (blue reindeers? Er, hello...) adorning various shop displays. No, no, no, no, no... it is summer, wrong solstice!!!!! Do they just not get that Christmas is a pagan midwinter festival hijacked by the roman church to get people to celebrate Christ instead? We should be having Midsummernight's Dream, bonfires, well dressing... bah humbug. I have enough problems getting Christmassy in the depths of winter, just as well Quakers don't go in for it in a big way!

Maybe I should stock up on mincemeat and whatnot now though ready for when it really is time for mincepies, mulled wine, rich fruit cake (but no marzipan if you don't mind), pudding and custard - ie when it is cold, dark, blowing a gale and you are trying to find ways of keeping warm and not on a day when the newly surfaced pavement on Elizabeth Street, whilst it looks very smooth and is a vast improvement on the potholes, is actually too hot to walk on!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Longing for a lie in

Ok, I am finally appreciating why having two Resident Friends comes in handy at times, it isn't the work load, it is the timing. As you will have probably gathered if you either know me or have been reading this blog long enough I am soooo not a mornings person (Past Times used to do a great nightshirt with the Oscar Wilde quote on it - 'Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast' - if they'd done it it anything other than white I'd've been sorely tempted but if there is one thing I'm worse at than mornings it is keeping white things clean - especially at breakfast time...). It has been a very long week for me - early mornings every day and another one tomorrow despite my best efforts to write the morning off; now had there been two of me I could have taken it in turns to get up early!

To be fair what I need more are several decent nights sleep which I haven't had anything like enough of - the weather is doing very strange things - northerly winds veering southerly on the weather report recently was worthy of the Shipping Forecast, I mean what was the wind trying to do - reverse park? Lots of people are complaining of sleeping badly which is comforting in a way as I can at least feel as though it's not just me, but some of it has been my head whirling away at gale force speed refusing to shut up and let me sleep - which I can't really blame on the weather. However someone suggested repeating a medatitive mantra and it seems (so far...) to work. Seeing as I can't take 'ooommmm' seriously (I blame Dad for pointing out that a poster Mum had years ago of ooommmm written out in circle also said wwwooooo, or was it mmmoooo - but anyway you get the drift!) and I don't actually know any others poor old Julian of Norwich must be well fed up of me by now as 'But all will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well' is in danger of being worn out....

Anyroad - time to try it out again methinks otherwise that 8am phone call from Kenny about filling in a missing signature on a form is going to be horribly soon.

I get to be Lucy again!

Cheers Liz - went to check out the Narnia 'which character are you?' on having seen you mention it on your blog and I too was Lucy, which I was rather chuffed about as when I was at infants school (6/7 yrs old-ish) we used to play 'The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe' in the playground because our teacher was reading it to us in class, and I got to be Lucy then too. I can remember that Susan was Susan (well obviously!) and Harvey was Peter but can't for the life of me remember who was Edmund - we must have had half the class playing because we ran out of characters so Laura was a bunny rabbit...

As I said to Kate there has been so much in the last few weeks or so that has reminded me of school days and things I haven't thought about for ages. We were checking out Friends Reunited entries (having gone to find someone's surname so we could both sleep that night) and discovered amongst other things that our parents need to update their entries, but what struck me was how many memories and faces came back vividly just reading through a list of names. It amazes me sometimes what I do remember (considering how much I forget - like what I walked into the room to get or to the shops to buy). I mean of all the things to remember why oh why after nearly 30 years do I remember us deciding that Laura could be a bunny rabbit?

Sunday, December 04, 2005


Why is it that something designed to avoid painful mistakes can cause so much emotional pain and draining business sessions?

Why is it that the less you want to say something the more you realise you have to?

Why is it that when you feel like you are the worst possible person in the world to be saying something the finger points at you and that little voice inside you drags you kicking and screaming into the arena?

Why is it I can't get hold of those who understand what on earth I'm talking about?

Why is it that I can't stop worrying and trust that if it was truly spirit led then it'll be ok, eventually?

Why me?

And why is it that I think I know the answer to the last one and still don't deal with it?

Friday, December 02, 2005

shooting feet

I can't help but feel the latest kidnappings in Iraq are shooting the people of Iraq in the foot - they are the ones who are losing out by taking away the work of the four peaceworkers.

The small world that is Quakerism means that yet again the 6 degrees of separation theory gets stripped down to 1 or 2 and that there are those I know and love anxiously waiting, hoping and praying for Tom, their Ffriend and mentor. The wonders of technology mean that many of us are aware of this and in turn are holding them in the light.

The quote in the heading of Tom's blog ( I guess sums up why he and the others are there, and why many go out into such situations - to be patterns and examples. At the UNICEF meeting I was at on Wednesday again the issue of setting patterns and examples came up, it is all very well telling people what they can't do, we need to show them what they can, and how different life can be, and that actions often speak louder than words.

There is always a risk in living out ones faith, as Oliver Kisaka said when he addressed us at WGYF - you can be acceptable to god or acceptable to man, not both. Being acceptable to god means you will be unacceptable in the eyes of man. Patriarchal langauage aside here (or maybe not, depending on whether you think women would be more understanding!) it is a harsh challenge to face, personally I don't think it makes us unacceptable to all people but recognise that usually living/acting true to your beliefs will make us unacceptable to some, often the majority. But are the kidnappers acting true to their beliefs? Are they being true to their understanding of god? And where does that leave us? It is often said that fundamentalists on opposite extremes are divided by a very thin line. Maybe both sides need to hear why they are each doing what they do, find a common ground for dialogue and work forward from there, no doubt the peaceworkers have the skills for this, if they are but given a chance.

I hope that the faith that took the peaceworkers out there sustains them through this, and those who are anxiously awaiting news.

Wellington quotes

Wellington quotes 1
Originally uploaded by annadunford.

Around Wellington waterfront are a series of quotes from various authors and whatnot about Wellington. I love them, I have a tendency to collect quotes and have them stuck up around the house, some in a wee book I carry round with me and a larger one I've built up over the years. The idea of them being scattered (seemingly literally in the case of this one!) around for you to come across to me is just great.

I've taken a heap more pictures of the waterfront which I'm gradually uploading to Flickr - I usually come back that way when I've been into town. It's like coming home through Princes Street Gardens, the Meadows or along the canal - a haven from traffic and a totally different sense of space and environment just a stones throw from the city centre.