Sunday, April 12, 2009

recent happenings

Well after needing extra blankets during the night before and really not wanting to get out of bed into the cold of the morning Ryan and I decided we needed to light a fire yesterday evening. Having discovered we'd actully manged to use up all the boxes of cryptomaria (great firelighter material!) from last winter a quick scoot around the lawn filled up a new box of dead twigs that had fallen, that and some crumbling puriri soon got up enough heat for the logs to catch - the first proper fire of autumn.

It was so nice and cosy, us either side of the woodstove, each under a quilt (me because I was quilting one, him because he only had shorts with him not to mention it being part of his ritual of being here) watching Bagpuss and drinking hot chocolate. It felt like something from my own childhood, except the luxury of having the entire series on video was then well beyond my comprehension and '70s technology!

Ryan had come with William and I the day we went to the farm to get the firewood a few weeks ago. Ruth was still feeling pretty shaken from her ordeal with the ram so was trying to take it easy, Stephan was off helping Dan and Christina get in firewood - Rebecca and Roman were there as well so it was quite a family get together! Ryan hadn't been overly keen on going there at first having wanted to come to our place to play on the computer, but it didn't take long for Stephan's pond and the river to provide enough entertainment for him to be wishing he could live there and play there every day! No matter how good computer games get I don't think they'll ever beat the appeal to a small boy of throwing stones into a deep pool with a satisfying splosh =)

As part of my training and practice as an early childhood teacher I've often had to reflect on what kind of environment we want for children to grow up and learn in and it has to be said I struggle to come up with anything essential that wasn't around 30yrs ago or more. So much recent stuff leaves very little scope for the imagination (I'm now on book 6!) which, I'm as sure as Anne was, can't possibly be a good thing.

As Ruth has been catching up on her website updates not quite as much imagination is needed now to picture what happened to Stephan when bringing in another load of firewood a few days later. I must admit to being rather relieved that our trip out there was way less dramatic! So what with their brushes with death and the fire we've been living in interesting times around here... hopefully life will now quieten down and the biggest dramas will just be of the cat vs dog variety - although even they seem to be reaching an accomodation of each other.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

tales and tails

Well here I am yet again trying to catch up - it feels like so much has happened lately...

Last Saturday William and I were all set (Elizabeth having headed south for a staff hui and visiting family) to head into town on Saturday morning, go to the market, pick up Marie-Claire who was staying the night and head out to my colleague's to collect a kitten...

However an early phonecall from Mat turned our day topsy-turvy somewhat, there had been a fire in Phyllis' (William's mother) garage during the night. Well we all mucked in trying to make sense of what was damaged, much of which had been in the roof of the garage probably about 25yrs... As is the way of such things family mementos, assorted medals, photographs, an extensive kauri gum collection and several paintings were damaged or destroyed by fire and or water whereas the suitcases full of '70's recycled wrapping paper, Scout posters and bundles of old newspapers survived unscathed... the family sense of humour has been suitably rising to the occasion. The same garage copped it a couple of years ago during the big floods, rather drastic ways to ensure a clear out!

Marie-Claire was totally unfazed and joined in the sifting and even managed to make it on to the front page of The Northland Age with Phyllis and Dylan (who'd successfully avoided being in any photos I'd taken that day!). Well it made a change from WWOOFing I guess! She'd just been helping someone else move house that week and it reminded me of my own travels back in 2004, especially my week in Sydney which included attending a funeral and helping with a house move. There's something incredibly grounding amid all the transience about slotting into family life and just getting on with what needs to be done, I know I really appreciated mucking in with gardening, cooking and housework at various places as well as the more eventful occassions - it kept me in touch with 'normal life'.

Several times during the day I reflected on how grateful I was not only that the fire was in the garage not the house and Phyllis was ok, but that my parents had cleared out their attic, cupboards and outhouses of accumulated cumber when they moved up to Scotland... sorting that lot out at some point was not a task to be relished, I'm so glad they've done the worst of it already. I think several resolutions were made that day about timely clearouts of various homes, sheds and garages.

Well with still blackened fingers we eventually headed off to find my kitten. How to choose? The black ones all looked so alike it was really hard to know who you'd already had a go at getting to know, so it was back to the old faithful... take a deep breath and let the universe decide. I picked up the nearest kitten, it didn't struggle and snuggled up - done! I wanted a friendly cuddley moggy and that is what I got =) Well friendly to humans anway; dog and kitten are still trying to work out of they are friend or foe...