Arboreal Autumn

This tree’s golden leaves brightened a damp day.

Autumn Tree (Small)

“Our leaves take on a different hue
and signal summer’s truly through”



Superfluous Sign?

Space invaders have targetted our front garden!  There’s a new sign on the lamppost and it extends inside our fenceline.

Fire engine sign

Fire engine sign

It doesn’t greatly impede the view from inside, but it would have been courteous of them to ask before they put it up.  The central fire station is just around the corner, and I presume this sign is to remind motorists that they should be alert for fire engines.  I’ve seen no reports of any accidents with fire engines, and wonder why this has now been seen as necessary.

“Our garden has a sign that’s new
lest crashes with fire trucks ensue.”



Tremendous Tidying

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

“The life-changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo had been read and recommended by both my daughters, so I ordered it from the library.

There are several actions the author suggests are essential:

  • Do all the tidying in one fell swoop (don’t spread it out over months)
  • Work through categories, rather than cupboards or rooms (e.g.all clothes, all books, all papers, all mementoes)
  • Discard first, before putting anything away
  • Keep only those things that speak to your heart

I’m already a fairly tidy person, but I was aware of several areas that could do with a good cleanout.  I’ve always been inclined to work cupboard by cupboard, so the idea of, for instance, taking all my clothes out of wardrobe, cupboards, and drawers, was a little daunting.

My decision was to start with the linen cupboard in the bathroom, where all our sheets, towels, etc are stored.  I opened the cupboard, and thought “This hardly needs to be done – it already looks tidy.”  However once I started to take things out I discovered a few non-essentials, e.g. a shower curtain made redundant by a new shower box more than a year ago.   When I went to England in 2013 I bought tea towels as souvenirs, intending to throw out the old ones.  Somehow that didn’t happen, so I found two high piles of tea towels on one shelf.  When I got to the bottom (cleaning rag) shelf I found yet another pile of faded old tea towels, which hadn’t been touched for some considerable time.  We have no need for more than a dozen tea towels, and all the others went, with some frayed hand towels, into a box in the shed.  I would have got rid of them completely, but Stephen said they might be useful for “mopping up”.  The SPCA welcomes old towels, and they may yet get these ones.

Marie suggests sorting clothes in a certain order, from tops down to shoes.  There are instructions for working through other categories of possessions too, with the main criteria being “Does this spark joy?”

As a sometime gift recycler I appreciated the chapter about holding on to gifts.  This author says “The true purpose of a gift is to be received.  Presents are not ‘things’ but a means for conveying somoene’s feelings.  When viewed from this perspective, you don’t need to feel guilty for parting with a gift.  Just thank it for the joy it gave you when you first received it..  Of course it would be ideal if you could use it with joy.  But surely the person who gave it to you doesn’t want you to use it out of  a sense of obligation, or to put it away without using it, only to feel guilty every time you see it.  When you discard or donate it, you do so for the sake of the giver too.”

Unfortunately the book is now due back to the library, and I haven’t had time to finish it.  Maybe that says something about clutter in other areas of my life?  The linen cupboard is the only area that’s actually been de-cluttered, but my intentions are good.  I wonder how far the daughters got with their magical tidying?

“My tidying came to a stop
At least the theory’s now on top.”

Phabulous Phantom

What a treat last night, to see Showbiz Christchurch’s production of “Phantom of the Opera”.  I’d never seen the show before, but of course the music is familiar, and it was beautifully performed.  The wonderful setting of the restored Theatre Royal added to the spectacle.  I’m not an opera buff, but this was very accessible, with some of the singing a little prolonged for my taste.  The acting, dancing, and music were all superb, especially the pair of theatre managers.  Absolutely a theatrical treat, and within walking distance of home!

“What pleasure ’twas to see this show
to all the cast I say Bravo!”



Hippocratic Humours

The ancient Greek Humours were used by physicians to treat illnesses. They can also be used to categorise personality types. This got me thinking about Goddess archetypes, and inspired the following verse:

The ancient Greeks believed the humours
Responsible for ills and tumours.
Diligently they checked the bile
Recording symptoms all the while.
A balance kept would bring good health
And freedom to amass some wealth
This all seems to relate to men
Hippocrates the expert then.

But what about Hypatia’s skills?
She too knew how to combat ills.
The ancient archetypes are where
There’s characters we can compare.

Thus Artemis the virgin girl
Was one to give her wants a whirl.
Her arrows shot out straight and true
Hitting the mark where e’r they flew.

Athena truly loved her Dad
She strategized with all she had
Goddess of wisdom, craft, and war
She stood for justice and the law.

With hearth the centre of the house
Hestia is the one with nous
She tends the fire and cooks the meal
For her, home-making is ideal.

Demeter is the perfect mother
For nurture there can be no other
Her daughter lost for half the year
Means we endure a winter drear
But when she reappears in spring
New growth is seen in everything.

True love is Aphrodite’s realm
With passion she can overwhelm
She’s sensual and creative too
And may well light a spark in you.

These Goddesses of ancient time
I’m glad to bring within my rhyme
So don’t believe those silly rumours
That say our lives are ruled by humours.

With Humours and Goddesses too
It may seem somewhat strange to you
What could the clear connection be?
I don’t know. It’s all Greek to me.


Sue Monk Kidd is the author of “The Secret Life of Bees”, and this memoir is partly the story of how she came to write that novel.  And, it’s so much more.  Alternate chapters are written by Sue’s daughter Ann.  The book is about black Madonnas, mothers and daughters, Demeter and Persephone, transitions, and travel to sacred places in Greece and France.  It’s a book that made me stop and contemplate – one that needs to be read experientially.  It’s also partly about synchronicity, and that too was experiential for me.

I happened to visit a friend who happened to tell me that she was reading this book, just the week after I’d finished “The Secret Life of Bees”.  I ordered “Travelling with Pomegranates” from the library and it was immediately available.  At the same time I had a message about the next meeting of the Story Collective which sent me contemplating Greek Goddesses whom I’d not thought about for some time, and who are an integral part of this book.  I think it was all meant to be(e)!

If you’ve read ‘The Secret Life of Bees’ you’ll enjoy reading this.  If you haven’t read that, and you have an interest in women’s self-discovery, you’ll enjoy it too.

“They prayed to Mary as their guide
and found the answers deep inside.”


Helping Hands

The digger in this photo gives you an idea of just how huge these hands are.

Hands mural

The mural’s on Kilmore Street, just north of the PGG building site.  The artist is Melbourne-based Adnate, renowned for his large scale outdoor portraits.   This one, entitled “Giving Hands”, offers lots of scope to the imagination.

“Just what is it these hands might give,
or could they be acquisitive?



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