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Archive for the ‘Cottage Life’ Category

A man parked his truck outside and proceeded to remove the ‘No exit’ sign on our corner.  When I asked him why, he said it was because it was faded.

Old sign

He soon replaced it with a bright new sign.  New ones are blue with white lettering and are made of aluminium.  The old ones were steel and heavier.

New sign

He kindly placed the new one a fraction higher up, and he straightened up the Bridge Club sign too.  He had a special ladder which could be wrapped around the pole, and all the right tools for tightening the sign brackets.

He brought along a brand new sign
and made sure all were in a line.

 

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Z z z z z . . .

Is your sleep biphasic (having two phases)?  Mine often is.  This was the usual human habit until the middle of the 19th century,  People would retire around 9 or 10pm, sleep for a few hours, be awake for an hour or so (a period known as watching), then sleep again until morning.  Biphasic can also refer to having a siesta during the day, and another period of sleep at night.

If I’m awake in the early hours I’m more inclined to be listening than watching.  This is when I listen to RNZ podcasts I’ve downloaded to my MP3 player, or tune my tablet to the BBC for Woman’s Hour or Friday Night Comedy.  Freedom from the routine of paid work means I don’t need to worry about getting up early.  If I wake at 5am I’m likely to listen to the radio for an hour and then doze again.   During the day if I feel like napping in the afternoon there’s no reason not to.  I sleep seven or eight hours in every 24, and it doesn’t matter if that’s in two bites.

If I’m lying awake when I don’t want to be I sometimes play mind games, going through the alphabet and thinking of a town or an animal for each letter – I rarely get past H.  Sometimes I drift into a daydream which transforms into a night dream.  Occasionally I wake up with a good idea and I scribble it down on paper in case it’s vanished by morning.

Are you biphasic in your sleep
or do you have one stint that’s deep?

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It was good to have a friend meet us at the airport at midnight Sunday.  Not just the pleasure of being welcomed home, but also the personal connection to the changes in Christchurch since Friday’s terror attack, which is so hard to comprehend.

Monday morning we collected Ziggy from the cattery, and our home started to feel normal again.  He spent the first couple of hours checking everything out, then finally relaxed into accepting cuddles.

Such a pleasure to be able to listen to RNZ National with its Maori messages and 7am bird call.  As the aftermath of the attack slowly unfolds the concerted emphasis on love, not hate, is consoling and positive.  My thoughts are with the Muslim families whose shock and bereavement are exacerbated by the delay before they can bury their loved ones with the rituals of their faith.  How incredibly hard this must be!

The wider issues now are the need to improve our gun control laws, and to rein in the powers of Facebook and Google who are responsible for allowing the graphic video of the attack to be spread worldwide.  I fear this may be an impossible task.  I also fear for our local health system, already overstretched dealing with ongoing earthquake stress.

Apart from retrieving Ziggy and a trip to Piko Wholefoods across the road, I didn’t leave home yesterday.  Unpacking, doing washing, and downloading 246 photos all helped to ease me back into routine, and there are holiday memories to process and savour.  Having to wash dishes is another return to reality.  So many domestic tasks to catch up on.  Ziggy says if we go away again we ought to take him too.

Ziggy doesn’t want to be left behind again

This morning we’ve been to the supermarket.  On this trip one flag at half mast was the only sign of the recent tragedy.  We stopped for petrol, and the garage gave us a window sticker saying ‘Kia Kaha  #they are us.’ I don’t usually put window stickers on the car but will make an exception for this one.  It’s such a small gesture to make.

Window sticker

On Thursday it will be the Autumn Equinox.  Already some trees are turning from green to gold, and autumn crocuses are starting to appear.

Autumn crocus

Let us hope and pray that balance may be restored to our lives.

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We like to watch the 6pm TV News if we’re home.  On Sunday we turned the TV on only to find there was something wrong with the picture.  It was pixillated and the sound was distorted too.  We tried turning it off and on and checked the aerial, but nothing made a difference.  After about twenty minutes we gave up and turned it off.

On Monday I rang the TV service people and arranged for someone to call first thing Tuesday morning.  At 6pm I thought I’d just try again, turned the TV on, and the picture was perfect.  By then it was too late to cancel our service call.

Matt duly arrived at 9am on Tuesday, checked everything and pronounced the TV to be in excellent working order.  He suggested there may have been some kind of gremlin blocking the signal between our aerial and the Sugarloaf transmission tower.  He even walked down to the corner to see if there was anything like a crane that might have caused interference.  Then he remembered that his brother, who lives a few kilometres north of us had texted him on Sunday evening to say he was having TV problems.  Matt phoned his brother and discovered that his problem had been similar and had also mysteriously righted itself.  It was comforting to know we were not alone, but we still have no idea what caused the distortion.  Has anyone else experienced something similar?

We had to pay a $70 callout fee, but Matt said if we needed to call again for a similar problem we would not be charged another fee.  I wondered whether Victoria which I’d programmed to record on Sunday night might have been affected, but it was fine.

The TV is mysterious
and sometimes it can cause a fuss

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What’s the oldest item you have in your possession?  I have two different items that are relics of my Rout family.  Both were given to me by distant relatives the first time I met them, rather than being handed down through my parents.

William’s New Testament

The first is a New Testament presented to my Great-Great-Uncle William Rout when he left Tasmania for New Zealand in 1884, by the “boys of the Bible and 1st Classes attending Princes Square Congregational Sunday School”.  It was given to me by two elderly women cousins in whose home he’d lived up to his death in 1932.  William is a special uncle because he is the father of Ettie Rout.  These cousins also gave me a letter he wrote in which he mentioned Ettie.  When I first met them they immediately recognised me as family because, they said, I have the Rout nose.

The second item is a pair of Bodley teacups and saucers which once belonged to my Great Grandmother Susan Tunnecliffe Rout.  These were given to me by Joyce Tolerton, my first cousin once removed, when I visited her in Russell in 1985.

Susan’s cups and saucers

They may well have been a hundred years old then, and they are hand painted with handles attached by hand.  Joyce also gave me several postcards written to her 1907-14, by my Grandmother Mabel Rout.  In one of these she mentions Georgie aged three (my father).

All of these are important family mementoes.  With the recent wildfires near Nelson I pondered what possessions I might take if I had to evacuate hastily in an emergency, but none of these family items were immediately on my list.  While I’m fond of them I’m not sure my daughters would consider them as important as I do, or even remember they exist.

They have significance to me
these relics of my family

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Delightful Lights

Regular readers know that I am fond of flamingoes.   As I’ve loved them for more than twenty years I like to take some responsibility for their current popularity.  I was pleased to be given a set of three solar flamingo lights.   These are perched outside my kitchen window and they give a friendly greeting when I come home.

Pink flamingoes

After dark their heads and tails are lit up.

Flamingoes at night

These pink flamingoes welcome me
day or night, they’re good to see

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Floral Friday

A friend gave me this lovely hanging basket full of petunias (thank you, Jo).  The colours are great because they match many of my other flowers, especially the hollyhocks.    I’ve been watering the basket every morning, and though the petunias have been battered by strong winds, they quickly perk up again.

Petunias are a genus of flowers in the Solanaceae family that originated in South America.  The Solanaceae family also includes tomatoes, chili peppers, and tobacco.  It’s the petunia’s resemblance to tobacco that earned it its name which comes from the native American word petun which means “a tobacco that does not make a good smoke”.  Petunias symbolize the desire to spend time with someone because you find their company soothing and peaceful.

It’s far from being junior
the colourful petunia

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