Posts Tagged ‘Ruth Gardner’

Birthday Boy

Today is Ziggy’s 10th birthday. We know this because we have his original pedigree papers. His father was Copycat Puck, and his mother Murasaki Pearl. The papers also list his grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents, which is pleasing to a genealogist. Officially his name is Avon Ziggie Stardust.

It’s because he wasn’t suitable for breeding that we were able to adopt him when he was two years old. We’d never intended to have a “designer” cat, and probably wouldn’t again, but our previous earthquake refugee cat had been a Tiffany (Burmilla) and had been such a sweetie that we sought a similar breed to replace him. Cats’ Protection League and SPCA didn’t have any such special cats, and my investigations eventually led me to Ziggy’s breeder.

Ziggy resting

Ziggy quickly became a (the?) most important member of our household and we love him dearly despite his tendency to leave fine long white fur on every chair. He expects, and gets, his breakfast early each morning, and his dinner at the appointed time, as well as regular treats. There’s no point giving him anything extra for his birthday as he already has all the treats he wants.

Ziggy on windowsill

He loves to sit on a windowsill and watch what’s going on outside, and spends hours snoozing in the sun, moving only when the sun has moved. Luckily he’s not a hunter and never chases birds or mice (although we wouldn’t mind if he caught the latter). Now he’s reached the end of his first decade he’s equivalent to a 70-year-old in human terms and sees no need to be unnecessarily active, although he occasionally bounds across the garden just to prove he still can.

He is a charming handsome boy
who gives companionship and joy

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Recycled cyclamen are a feature of my garden at present.

Usually I buy one or two potted cyclamen each winter to have colour inside when there’s little flowering outside. Once they finish flowering I pop them into a space in the garden and wait for them to flower again the next year. This year I didn’t buy any because I’d been given an orchid which flowered for weeks.

Leonardo Da Vinci was fond of cyclamen and he drew them in the margins of his manuscripts. In the Middle East, the cyclamen is also called ‘soap of the shepherds,’ because shepherds often used the saponin contained in the cyclamen tuber as a natural detergent that removed stains.

As each new flower unfolds I think
how lovely is this splash of pink

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Walking over to Victoria Street I discovered a new mural I hadn’t seen before. The image of the street in a bottle reflects the high incidence of hospitality venues in this area.

Mural at 395 Montreal Street

I couldn’t see any acknowledgment of the artist, but later discovered it is by Dcypher.

It was starting to rain so I caught a bus that took me most of the way home. When we approached St Luke’s corner I pressed the button to request a stop and stood by the back door. The driver called out to me to come to the front of the bus and I asked “Why?” He said that it was easier, by which I gathered he meant that he meant it would be easier for me to get off there. So far I’ve always managed to use the rear exit, with the use of the convenient handles, and this is the first time any driver has suggested the front exit would be easier. Maybe I’m looking older these days?

The driver obviously thought
that I was a decrepit sort

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Mental Health and Addictions in Canterbury was the topic of a talk by Monique Gale who is the local Portfolio Manager for Mental Health. It was especially appropriate as this is Mental Health Awareness Week.

Monique, whose background is in social work, gave an outline of He Ara Oranga, the 2018 Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction. She also spoke about Pae Ora, the Healthy Futures Act which came into being on 1 July 2022, and will change the public health system. We are currently in transition from 20 District Health Boards to four regional systems. This will take considerable time and work, but eventually health IT systems will all be able to talk to each other, and your health records will be available anywhere in Aotearoa. The biggest challenge is to recruit a suitably trained workforce. At present there are positions which are funded, but cannot be filled.

There are many self-care digital services available for mental health, and these can be accessed by phoning 1737. Mental health services all have targets for wait times, and in Canterbury wait times have been especially high for child and youth services, with a recent huge increase in demand. A new building at Hillmorton Hospital, due to open early 2023 will include the “stranded” services currently still at Princess Margaret Hospital. There has been an increase in NGO care, sometimes offered in a peer support model.

Te Tumu Waiora is a grass roots service where mental health care is embedded in General Practices, and staffed by Health Coaches and Health Improvement Practitioners. More women than men access mental health services, and there have been large increases in the demand for this, especially since the earthquakes and the mosque massacre.

Monique was asked whether there was meaningful extra funding to deal with the aftermath of the earthquakes as there are often no therapists available. She replied that staffing was an ongoing problem, and that young people in particular are facing multiple crises, including Covid and Climate Change. Restrictions in the training of Clinical Psychologists and General Practitioners are mainly caused by the lack of suitable placements.

Asked about the high rate of suicide in Aotearoa, Monique pointed out that the End Of Life Choice Act passed in 2019, may lead to an increase in suicide as has happened in other countries with similar laws. This is because people start to understand that they have a choice.

She finished by reminding us about the Five Ways to Wellbeing, which are so important, and pointed out how coming to U3A helped us to meet those five ways.

I was the person chosen today to thank our speaker, Monique (an opportunity to Give). Having been well-trained in Tecorians, public speaking does not daunt me. However I was somewhat daunted by the fact that most of her talk had been theoretical, and I am cynical as to how much is actually in operation.

We must remember to be gentle
take special care of health that’s mental

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This book of autobiographical essays opens with the story of Fiona becoming a widow, and goes on to give the origin of many scenes that appear in her novels. She writes with a wonderful sense of place, deals practically with the changes that come with age, and gives us captivating glimpses of the life of a successful writer.

I liked her statement that everyone has grandparents but not everyone has grandchildren – personally, I have grand-kittens. Parts that especially drew my interest were her description of the way she taught classes to write memoir and the research she did for her book about Jean Batten. Festival sessions with small audiences also appealed. I imagine those small audiences would have had a real treat. It reminded me of the time Stephen was in a play where only two audience members turned up, and they, along with the cast, all went to the pub.

The essay on massage reminded me of wonderful massages I had from a woman who later left Christchurch. It’s some years now since I had a professional massage but it’s a treat I may avail myself of again now that Fiona has brought the idea to mind. She described how the milled rims of her wedding ring have now vanished which reminded me that mine too has lost its milled rims after many years. Fiona’s story of the Pike River Mine and her responsibility to seek justice shows her determination and commitment.

So many different stories, all fascinating and all told with skill and honesty.

She shares the stories of her life
now moving on – no longer wife

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This sign seems a little incongruous planted in the middle of a flower bed with no grass close by. “Don’t pick the flowers” might be more suitable, but I guess the Council’s resources are limited.

Of grass there isn’t any sign
so this instruction seems hard line

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Floral Friday

A wildflower lawn is something I’ve craved for several years. I’ve attempted it in the back garden, with limited success, but never thought of trying it at the front of the cottage where there is a narrow green pathway between flower borders. This hasn’t been mowed for a couple of years and I’ve been happy to let clover grow lushly there. There is some grass, and during lockdown I clipped this with scissors each week to send samples to GNS Science who had a project to measure how reduced traffic affected pollution.

Ipheions in Clover

I’ve noticed this week that the ubiquitous ipheions have now migrated in among the clover. Perhaps the clover will flower too and I will have the wildflower “lawn” I’ve wanted.

They’ve met the aim I’ve had for years
these little flowering volunteers

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Spiritual Care in Healthcare was the subject addressed by Richard Egan, Associate Professor at the Department of Preventative and Social Medicine at the University of Otago. He has qualifications in Theology, English Literature, Religious Studies, and Public Health. Richard stated that spirituality is implicitly present in healthcare and that it is timely to make it more explicit.

He was raised a Roman Catholic, and spent time in a seminary until he fell in love and needed to leave. These days he says he is more spiritual than religious, and has been teaching medical students about spirituality in the clinic for the past three years. In the past healthcare has often been medicalised and dehumanising, but there is now a movement towards an holistic care approach which is patient- and whanau-centred. The 2018 census showed that 48% of people in Aotearoa had no religion while 37% stated they were Christian. Secularization can be defined as having the choice to believe what you like. These days dying can take a long time, and consideration of spirituality is an important part of the process.

Since 2000 hauora/health in Aotearoa has been based on Te Whare Tapa Whā, the four houses which were developed as a model of wellbeing by Sir Mason Durie. They encompass physical, mental, spiritual, and social wellbeing, with a fifth (land/roots) added more recently.

Interestingly Treasury uses He Ara Waiora, which can be seen as Te Whare Tapa Whā version 2.0.

At this point Richard invited us to share with our neighbours one to three words which describe spirituality to us. My word was connections. We were then told that the most common definitions of spirituality in global research are connectedness and meaning of life/purpose.

Unaddressed spiritual needs can affect the patient’s quality of life, and integration of spirituality may result in more patient-centered care. Meaningful Ageing Australia is an organisation which is working in this area. Spiritual care is about enabling the person to access their own spiritual resources. Sadly in Aotearoa only 0.25% of the health budget is spent on spiritual care. However spirituality is increasingly becoming part of health policy, and healthcare providers are cultivating compassionate presence, which need not take a great deal of time. In pairs we discussed ways in which this policy might be put into practice.

It was acknowledged that many health providers are short of time to simply sit with patients. In Hospices the staff to patient ratio is one to three or four, whereas in hospitals it is one to twenty. Richard acknowledged the importance of having an Advance Care Plan, which is a place where you can specify your spiritual needs. It was noted that continuity of care is important, e.g. having a relationship with a particular G.P. Hospital chaplains are often Christian Ministers, but there is a trend to include non-Christians, and the title of Chaplain could possibly be changed to Spiritual Care Practitioner.

It’s something that needs to be there
the spiritual side of care

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Push to reset the world is the message on a button where the Promenade crosses Colombo Street. I’d noticed it several times as I pushed the button, then, as traffic had stopped, I needed to cross and didn’t have time to take a photo.

Today I remembered to take the photo before I pushed the button.

I discovered that the sticker is [produced by spaceutopian.com, and that the Great Reset is an economic plan drawn up by the World Economic Forum in response to the Covid19 pandemic. Their aim is to facilitate rebuilding from the global Covid19 crisis in a way which prioritises sustainable development. This sticker is the only one I’ve seen, Have you seen any more in other areas?

For a reset from the recent sombre mood I recommend this roundup of lighter moments from the Queen’s funeral. It made me laugh out loud.

The reset is a noble aim
but will the end turn out the same?

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Today marks 129 years since women in Aotearoa gained the right to vote in General Elections, and a good crowd gathered at midday for a celebration in front of the Kate Sheppard Memorial. This year there were seats provided – a welcome change. There were several excellent speakers, including Lianne Dalziel.

Rosemary du Plessis, Chair of the local branch of the National Council of Women
Mayor Lianne Dalziel

This is the last time I’m likely to hear Lianne speak as Mayor and, as she pointed out, our next Mayor will be a man. It’s a bit like moving from having a Queen to having a King.

Several speakers acknowledged the recent death of the Queen, and tonight’s news was full of preparations for her funeral. Nowhere on the national news did I hear any acknowledgement that it was Suffrage Day today. After lunch with a group of friends I went home and filled out my voting papers for the local body elections. This seemed a most appropriate day to do it.

Today’s the day we got the vote
a time that’s worthy to promote

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