Spring Surprise

Our bay or laurel tree was planted in October 2011.  It has special significance because Stephen’s original heart valve was buried beneath it.  It provides plenty of bay leaves for cooking, and this year, for the very first time, it has flowers.  Apparently these will later turn into black berries which can be dried and used as ‘robust’ spices.  They contain up to 30% fatty oils and about 1% essential oils.

Bay/Laurel flowers

In the classical legend Daphne was saved from rape by Apollo by being transformed into a laurel tree in the nick of time.   Laurel, which is a narcotic and stimulant, was the plant of prophecy chewed by the oracle at Delphi.  It’s a symbol of wisdom, both acquired and intuitive.  Laurel crowns were given to the best poets who were then called ‘laureate’.  Baccalaureate is from the Latin for laurel berries, which were given to Greek students of the classical period.  Placing bay leaves beneath pillows has been thought to bring prophetic dreams.

“This is the first time that our laurel
has shown to us a part that’s floral.”





Today is the 124th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in New Zealand.  I’ve already voted in this year’s General Election.  Make sure you do too!

Katie Pickles has written an article drawing comparisons between Kate Sheppard and Jacinda Ardern.

For the first time in many years I won’t be at the lunchtime commemoration at the Kate Sheppard Memorial, because I’m going to a writing course in Avonhead.  Maybe there’ll be an opportunity there to mark Suffrage Day?

Flowerless Camellia

The white camellia I planted last year has not flowered yet despite being fed camellia food.  What does this signify?

“Today is an important day
I’ll mark it in a private way.”

E-mail Transition Part One

As Vodafone will not provide a Clear email service after 30 November I’ve made the decision to go with Gmail, mainly because I suspect outlook.com may require payment sometime in the not-too-distant future.  My next decision was to use my aged Gmail account which has an easily remembered address rather than a new one which incorporated my name and a three digit number.  An article in this morning’s “Press” suggests an address should signify it belongs to you.  My aged Gmail address doesn’t include any part of my name, but it’s short and I hope that people seeing it won’t think I’m a cyber criminal intent on emptying their bank accounts.

The next step on my email transition list is to take a Gmail tutorial.  Although I’ve had a Gmail account for nine years I’ve rarely used it and I want to know more.  Accordingly I searched and found “Get started with Gmail” in Google’s Learning Centre.  The first thing I read was “With Gmail, your email are stored safely in the cloud ….”  Since when has email been plural?  Why “are stored”?  This does not endear me to Gmail!

“I fear Gmail may rot my grammar
and rob my writing of its glamour.”

Sustaining the Swamps

These Tree Houses for Swamp Dwellers were installed in 2013.  I hadn’t realised until today that they had real grass, and of course it needs to be weeded occasionally.  That’s what these people appear to be doing.

“You would be pleased to see these fellas
if you were overgrown swamp dwellers.”

Different Definitions

At a seminar yesterday we were invited to create some different explanations for common terms.  Some of mine were:

Supermarket:  a place where a special offer to save money leads you to spend more

Politician:  a person who promises the earth until they come down to earth after votes are counted

Credit card:  where you can pay by waving but eventual payment is not waived

What others can you think of?

“It’s fun creating different sense
let inspiration now commence.”

Yom Tov

Yesterday I participated in a Seder (Passover) meal with a difference.  This was “Yom Tov”, staged by the Positive Deviance Theatre Company from Auckland.  Judged the Best Newcomer at the 2017 Auckland Fringe Festival they offer theatre that is particpatory and immersive.  Entry to this performance was by edible koha, i.e. it was a pot luck kosher meal.    Our hands were ritually washed before we entered the dining room where the table was set with candles and flowers, and a half orange at each place.

We learned the reason for the oranges was because at a feminist Judaism Conference a woman gave a speech asking why women were not allowed to practice as Rabbis.  A man heckled from the audience saying: “Women belong as Rabbis as much as an orange belongs on the Seder plate”.  Thus began the tradition of putting an orange on the Seder plate to acknowledge the inclusion of all genders and sexualities at the Seder table.

The meal began with the breaking of matzah bread.  The three matzah represent the three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  During the course of the meal we were served four cups of wine (actually grape juice) which represent the matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah.  The traditional story of the Jews leaving Egypt was told, with graphic depictions of the plagues.  The young cast members sang, improvised, and made the whole experience great fun.  This was theatre with a difference, modern and edgy.

“A very different kind of meal
served with theatrical appeal.”



Cardboard Cathedral

An alternative cardboard cathedral was erected yesterday in the Market Square of the Arts Centre.  French artist Olivier Grossetete wanted to make something magical in the heart of the city.  With the help of many volunteers he used cardboard boxes and tape to create an exciting construction, which will be demolished at 3pm this afternoon.  It’s an interesting coincidence that this temporary cathedral was erected on the same day that the Anglican Synod finally made the decision to restore our Cathedral in the Square.

“A cardboard building led the way
while Synod members had their say.”