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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Who Believes in Santa?

When my brother John Peter was about seven or eight, he told Mum that he didn't believe in Father Christmas or Santa anymore. He was too big for that.  Mum said to him that it was alright but he wouldn't expect to get any presents at Christmas then.
Early on Christmas morning while Mum and Dad were still in bed an excited John ran into their bedroom saying, " I don't believe in Father Christmas, but he sure believes in me! Look what I've got." And he held up a pillowcase with presents in it.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Christmas Memories.

In 1948, when I was five years old and my brother John Peter was four years old, we spent Christmas at Pike Law, Rishworth in West Yorkshire with our grandparents. They lived up on the moors in a semi detached house. To accommodate us children, a wooden wardrobe in my grandparents room was tipped over on its back and a roomy bed was made for us inside it. 
When we were snuggled down in bed, John thought it would be a good idea if we tried to stay awake to see Father Christmas come with the presents. I think he was a bit worried about him finding us as we weren't in our own house. Just before the candle was blown out Grandddad came to say goodnight and he gave us both a teaspoon of rum. In no time at all we were both fast asleep. So we didn't get to see Father Christmas after all.

Saturday, 17 December 2011


About two thousand years ago, God fell so much in love with with human beings that she decided to send her son to become one of us. So she sent an angel to a young woman called Mary, whom she had chosen to be the mother.
Although this was going to make life difficult for Mary and she really didn't understand how this would happen she agreed

Now Mary was engaged to marry Joseph. After the angel had spoken to him also, they went ahead and got married. When Mary was very close to giving birth to her baby, the Governor decided to run a census and she and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem to be counted. As they were late arriving the inns were full and they ended up in the stable with the animals.

 In the hills around Bethlehem, shepherds were sleeping in the fields minding their sheep.

 Suddenly they were surrounded by a throng of angels singing and telling that Jesus  had been born in Bethlehem and telling them to go and see. They went and found the baby lying in a manger.

 Meanwhile in the East, some kings saw a bright new star and followed it till it led to Jesus.
 They came bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
 And that is the story of how God came to live among us: came to be one of us.


Sunday, 30 October 2011


We need to find God and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness.God is the friend of silence. See how nature, trees, flowers,  grass grows in silence. See the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence. We need silence to be able to touch our souls. - St Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today. - Indian Proverb.
He (she ) is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature. - Socrates.
Open your two eyes and see
The beauty of the cherry tree.
 It is content to be what God made it.
It does not envy apricot or plum one bit.
It is happy to grow where it is planted:
To be just there, even taken for granted.
All it has to do to fulfill its destiny is BE.
There's much to be learnt from a cherry tree. - Eileen Rose McParland
My garden of flowers is also my garden of dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful.- Abram L. Urban
Inside each of us is a beautiful flower garden.
This is the garden of the soul. - Sri Chinmoy.
A garden is a sort of sanctuary, a chamber roofed by heaven. - Robert Lorimer
Trees are poems that Earth writes upon the sky. - Kahil Gibran,

Let's Southernise Our Holidays.

For years I have been saying that we have our holidays at the wrong time. Because we follow the Northern Hemisphere and our ancestors, we have Christmas tied to our Summer Holidays, which now actually do not take place during the hottest month in New Zealand. Certainly in Wellington, nothing hots up here till late January and the children are cooped up in classrooms during the hottest month of February.
Of course you can't start school later because soon it would be Easter! And there is another problem. Isn't Easter about celebrating the Resurrection and new life? Here in New Zealand creation is not resurrecting after the cold winter in late March or April. Nor are new lives being born in the animal kingdom. There aren't any baby chicks and bunnies at this time of the year.
Jesus was not born in the summer. It was winter in the Middle East. We should be celebrating Christmas in late June. Or, whenever we have a lot of snow here. Plum pudding and custard and turkey with roast potatoes would then make sense, not to mention the Figgy Pudding!
The other American adopted celebration of Halloween is also out of kilter. We do not have pumpkins ripe in October here. My seeds are not even up yet. This celebration should be in April.
So how would a Southern calendar look, I wonder.
We would of course start with New Year on 1st January. Then in mid-January we would have the summer holidays.  In April, we could celebrate Harvest Festival and at the end of the month Halloween. This would be followed by Christmas in late June. Late July/ August would be the time to celebrate Ash Wednesday and Pancake Tuesday and the weeks of Lent. Then in September, we would celebrate Easter. The church calendar would need to be changed and the whole structure of our society. How exciting!!!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


On Tuesday evening I led a three hour seminar on meditation.
There are many types of meditation, both Christian and Eastern. I practice one of each. Cover all bases!
The type of meditation that I practice every day is called Centering Prayer. It is an intention type meditation rather than a concentration form which uses a mantra. It was developed by the Cistercian monks in America, led by Father Thomas Keating. I learnt the method from Cynthia Bourgeault, who learnt from Thomas.
In this kind of prayer the emphasis is on letting go. Thomas very colloquially says it is so easy as all you have to do is sit down and shut up.
Yes, you sit on a comfortable chair that supports your back so you can sit up straight, legs uncrossed and arms resting on knees or your lap and gently close your eyes. You choose a sacred word as symbol of your intention to spend time with the Divine Presence and to leave yourself open to the action of this Divine Presence. You begin by saying this sacred word under your breath. When thoughts have cleared the word will just disappear.
When thoughts or feelings return, you gently let go of them and return to the sacred word. Even if you go to sleep, you just let go of it and return to your sacred word. As you become calmer, you will usually experience more period of union with the Divine Presence in the quiet space.
The sacred word should be just a small one, such as peace, holy, Jesus. It is not used as a mantra, of which you never let go. It is used to bring you back to your original intention to give this time to the Divine Presence and to leave yourself open to his/her action.
This type of letting go meditation will after a time, start to influence your life and you will find yourself being led to let go of past hurts, animosities, impatience and other things.
As the tea ad says,"DO TRY IT!"

Friday, 14 October 2011


This week has provided a lot of food for thought. Yesterday I read two news items about rugby ( is there any other news other than rugby at present?) In one write up the English team were being investigated with possible suspensions forthcoming for their drunken and other behaviors on tour in New Zealand. While the Welsh team were being criticized because they were supposedly not drinking before the semi-finals this weekend. Can you win?
Then there is the shipping. The Rena it now appears intended to crash into the reef! And the Aratere Ferry has been expensively enlarged and refitted and is still a "Spanish Flea!" There are disgruntled passengers already.
On Wednesday I was in the Lansdowne Gardens in Masterton. I strolled down to the aviaries and at first thought they were unoccupied. They looked somewhat derelict. But as I came nearer, I saw the birds. We go on a lot about zoo animals being properly housed in suitable habitats so how about birds? The cages were not very interesting and looked unkempt. The highlight of the visit was when a cockatiel called out to me,"Hello darling!"
I am also wondering when the Wellington rain will stop so that I can put some seeds into my beautifully weeded potagers. I see though that the long range forecast predicts a fine Labour Weekend.

Thursday, 29 September 2011


I was wondering today what would happen if the Western World went on rationing. During the Second World War food was rationed. In England it was rationed into the 1950's. In those days there were few obese people. Nowadays we not only have obese adults but more alarmingly, obese children.
If the governments put their people on rations, they would know how much food would be needed to feed them. Excess food could be used then to feed the starving people in The Third World.
What sort of foods were rationed in war time? If I think back it was basics but also basics that would make you fat if eaten in excess. Foods such as sugar, butter, meat and cheese were rationed.
I also think we have too many food choices, especially where breakfast cereals are concerned. When I was growing up there was oats, cornflakes, weetabix and shredded wheat.
Rationing would save a lot of money and also make us healthier.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Wellington Welcomes Spring

This afternoon I was in Wellington and visited the Botanical Gardens. Spring was everywhere.  Wellingtonians and many visitors especially those from Australia and the USA were also strolling about enjoying the beauty of the gardens.
I had brought my camera with me so that I could photograph blooms which I may later use as a subject for a painting.
After I had finished my photography I made my way through the rose gardens, not yet in bloom, to the cafe for a cup of tea.
When I was leaving I espied a young woman painting "en plain air" as the French say;  and stopped to speak to her. She was from Russia but spoke excellent English. We talked about art and Russia.
Truly a pleasant afternoon!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


Today Michael, who was found dead in his Wellington Council flat after at least fourteen months, was laid to rest. This is a sad indictment of our society. People in the flats said he was a loner who had no friends and relatives, who liked to keep his privacy. But I wonder does this necessarily mean that we dismiss such people from our thoughts and leave them to it. Should we be so blinkered and concerned solely with ourselves and our family?
Years ago we lived in extended families with our elderly with us or next door. Now with children living long distances away or even in a different country from their parents, the elderly are often left to manage by themselves. It is only when they cannot manage that they may end up in care. This was obviously not the case with Michael. Till his death, he was capable of looking after himself. These people living alone are particularly vulnerable and especially if they are unmarried and have no family.
We need to keep an eye on our elderly neighbors. It doesn't take much time. When I was growing up, after our grandparents passed away, we would adopt an elderly person to care for. We popped in every day for a few minutes before school to see they were alright and if they needed anything and from time to time they came for dinner or went out with us at the weekend.

Thursday, 18 August 2011


There has been a lot of hype about the English with their black shirts, the Telecom Abstain ad and today Black Tyres. I wonder what would happen if the colour black was trademarked to the All Blacks and no-one could use it or wear it.
Think of funerals with people in other colours. Clergymen would be in maybe red, blue or yellow suits. We could have coloured tyres on cars to match the bodywork or maybe a contrasting colour - yellow car with purple wheels!! No more would we see women in "the little black dress." No more black liquorice straps, no more black jelly beans, no more black tea and no more black pudding. And how about black cats, dogs, horses and cows? Dye them!! There would be no more black appliances, cords, printers, T.V's and printers. No more black cars, scooters and motor bikes. No more black leathers for riding motor bikes nor black boots. No more black hats and helmets. No black umbrellas. No black sexy stockings!!
AND  today on Friday 30 September, we hear that strippers are going to be prosecuted for wearing the All Black uniform.! Well, all I can say is if the All Blacks wear on the field what these strippers were wearing there will be a riot. The girls had very abbreviated tops and very little on the bottom. However, they did sport the Silver fern.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

This is what it looks like at my place right now as evening approaches. It is minus one degrees Celsius and still they keep falling. Yes, those unique tiny snow flakes falling in their millions. If we had eyes like microscopes we would be able to see the different, individual design and beauty of each one. It is unbelievable that each tiny little flake should be unique.
It has been snowing steadily since just after two o'clock. Stokes Valley is now becoming all one colour - white! The roofs are white, the roads are white, the paths are white, the parks and school grounds are white.
It is also incredible that we should have snow falling at all. It is unheard of in living memory for snow to fall like this in Wellington and more especially the Hutt Valley.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

scrapbook pages

These are some pages from my scrapbook of the trip to U.K. and USA I made last year about this time. It seems a long time ago. When I look at the pages though I am back there with all my lovely friends and cousins and my childhood beloved Yorkshire Moors.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Spring Makeover

Today I was in the Mall buying a pair of sale shoes. Sales are almost over and the Spring Fashion is coming into the shops. More clothes to buy; but I shall be revamping and making over what I already have.
I have a few full floral or print skirts from previous years and I was thinking that if I unpicked them, there would be enough material to make a top or a jacket. With a couple of pairs of cheap colourful tights, underneath I would have a new look. Another idea I had was to take off or add a collar, add or take off a trim, add some buttons, add or take away a belt.
Then you could alter a full skirt and remake it as a slim one or a pair of shorts.
I will have fun!!