Back. Auckland was fabulous. Highlights include a trip to Howick Historical Village to see, amongst other exhibits, the cottage which Fionn and Brighid's great great great grandparents lived in when they came out to New Zealand in the 1840s as a fencible family. Also three nights in Ponsonby where Brighid and I went for a walk one night and ended up sitting on a verandah watching a talented Samoan band perform on the front lawn. Another night of course was a walk down Franklin Road the see the Christmas lights. We interred my Mother in Law's ashes and that was a beautiful ceremony and has helped me appreciate another side to cremation. I found it way too brutal when she was simply driven away from the church, but now I feel quite a lot of peace about her. We spent Fionn's ninth birthday at the Auckland museum with some short cousins. Favourite Handyman and I spent some time in his father's garden weeding, chopping and mulching.
It is wonderful to be back home. I spent part of today fixing up my languid drunken tomatoes which should have been tied up before we left. The garden is crying out for help and I'm balancing it with reading, my other holiday love.
I bought Margaret Forster's Hidden Lives: A Family Memoir (published 1995) in a little secondhand bookshop in St Kevin's Arcade on K Road. We were in secondhand bookshop heaven a few times on holiday. Last night I started to read it about 10pm and, with a few hours of sleep in between, did not get up until I had finished it this morning. Forster tells the story of her grandmother, her mother and her life up until her mother's death. She explores the changing opportunities for working class women in England over that period (c. 1873-1981) in terms of combining marriage and family life with intellectual fulfillment and reflects on the potent mix of love, frustration and envy which characterised her relationship with her own mother. I found it absorbing and interesting. Hers is a world in which multiculturalism does not feature, possibly the defining preoccupation of my favourite authors who are of my own generation. There was however much in her writing that I felt walked familiar territory to my own journey and that which didn't was the most interesting. I'm now on the lookout for more of her books, especially her second memoir, Precious Lives.
I took some early Christmas money, a discount voucher and some patterns to Global Fabrics. I came back with three lots of fabric and then my father in law asked me to go through several boxes of sewing related items. I now have some doilies to repurpose, about ten metres of fabric, some beautiful honiton lace and plenty of ribbons and thread to flounce up many a little girl's dress. I am indeed a lucky woman. I also brought back some 100% cotton yarn, making it slightly possible that one day I will make some knitted facecloths and dish cloths.
I have one New Year's resolution. All those jars of legumes and polenta which I feel virtuous when I buy them and almost never cook with? I'm going to cook them up and feed them to our chooks. When I'm done with that, I'm going to order lots of the only dried legume I use regularly - chickpeas - from Ko Minaya Wholefoods, a real live organics shop on the West Coast, and cook it up and then make lots of hummous and freeze it. I may even make zillions of ham sandwiches (huge hams on the bone in the post Christmas specials bin) and freeze them in preparation for when our next and busier life begins in February. That will be quite enough resolutions thank you. I certainly won't be giving up wine or turning into a housecleaning wizard.
Takapuna Beach, looking out at Rangitoto, after a morning at the pantomine.
With Santa up high at Sky City.
Christmas lights on Franklin Road.
My windswept garden on arriving home. Cosmos in the front and leeks gone to seed in the back.
A crochet side board cloth before I started the soak and transform process. Not all of the coffee stains have come out, but a lot has. There are some holes and tears in this cloth, making it perfect for experimenting with cutting it up and dyeing it. This comes from my children's great grandmother and possibly her mother before that.