Monthly Archives: June 2012

And then it was still

This week my country has been under the influence of a storm system straight out of the southern ocean. The wind has been fierce in strength and chill factor, here, most of the week.

It has swung from north west and back to south west on occasions and yesterday was a good example of that.
However the black, threatening clouds in the early afternoon moved away and left the air still for a few hours, with warm, milky sunshine bathing the back garden.

There were some photos I wanted and finally I have captured the precise one, after several attempts. However as I turned to come back indoors my eye was caught by the soft creamy sunlight playing on the leaves of the Pandorea. In front of this climber is a brave lavender which still has some flower heads on it.

While the sharpness of the lavender is not as I hoped the lovely colours and the way the light illuminates only part of the leaves is what had appealed to me and stilled me for a time.

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Things that can stop your heart

Yesterday, and again this morning, were times when my heart took a lurch or two.

Some lurches were favourable to my heart’s well being, others were not so friendly.

The first pleasing surprise came in the form of a letter from the Accident Compensation Commission telling me that they will fund the refurbishment of my precious orthotics. My orthotics keep me strong and stable after a nasty ankle fracture a decade ago so I am very thankful that a wise decision has been made to ensure my ongoing strength and stability.

Later in the day the DX mail delivered the monthly power and gas bill. The shock of that was a rather less heart soothing affair. We have used triple the amount of gas heating this month as we did in the same month last year. It has been very cold here so far this winter, hence the increased consumption of gas energy to keep us warm.
Fortunately the fortnightly income had increased substantially which means reduced stress over how to pay this and other regular bills. Whew, heart beat nice and steady.

And this morning when I turned on my laptop I received a message from the virus protection software telling me the ominous news that the Identification Protection had an error and no matter what I tried the “repair” option would not work. However after a restart and waiting a short time the error cleared after I pushed the “fix” button yet again and calm returned.

But the most heart warming and encouraging news from yesterday was when I listened to an interview on the radio with Bunker Roy of the Barefoot College initiative.

The focus on empowering women, on building on the knowledge held by indigenous peoples, using Grandmothers to learn new skills and pass them on, on sustainable energy and low costs, as well as many other commendable initiatives is a model I feel the world needs a lot more of.

It was refreshing to hear some positive news about progress and development around the world. My heart lifted immeasurably.

Treasures and mementos

One of my children, now grown up, was given this collection of shells and seeds by a friend’s family from Playcentre.

They had contact with various scientists and were happy to gift us this array of treasures. The land snail shells are so colourful and inside each of these three are tiny classification details. Once upon a time they were part of a research study into creatures of my country.

The bright red and black seeds are a mystery to me.

With small children it was a time, back then, to examine and wonder, to observe the diversity of size and shape, to explore with very gentle touch and respect and to learn more about life on earth.

This small collection of treasures is important to me and one day I hope to share my enjoyment of them with my grandchildren.

Do you have such treasures tucked away?

Matariki and quintessence

Matariki, the Maori New Year celebrates the return of the Pleiades star constellation to our southern night sky. This occurs at the time of the shortest day.

My Camellia Quintessence (more here about this lovely plant) near my door bloomed on the shortest day this year.

This quote I found seemed appropriate.

Man is a microcosm, or a little world, because he is an extract from all the stars and planets of the whole firmament, from the earth and the elements; and so he is their quintessence.

Philipus Aureolus Paracelsus

For readers in the southern hemisphere happy Matariki, new beginnings, as the light returns and for northern hemisphere readers enjoy the fullness of the light.

Twilight sky and the new moon

The twilight sky tonight was both dramatic, and in different directions, very understated. Here are some photos I snapped this evening.

I even captured a blurry new moon.

I need a tripod to stop night time photo blur but you can see the thin fingernail of a new moon as the daylight begins to sneak in here again, second by increasing second, each day.

Flag Day, shortest day

It is winter solstice here today, the shortest day and the weather is cold and wet with a brisk breeze blowing. The clouds are heavy and the light is low. My mother would have described the day as “dour.” All rather fitting for the shortest day. So we are hunkered down, keeping warm and spending a lot of time indoors.

However it is also Summer solstice and Flag Day in the Shetland Islands. The Shetland Islanders proudly fly their very own flag on this day.

We have a neighbour whose origins rest in the Shetland Islands and this year he has erected a light-weight flag pole and is proudly flying his nation’s flag. The white cross on the blue background is slightly off-set although that cannot be seen clearly in my photo.

Here is a little more about this celebration. Source: http://visit.shetland.org/its-shetland-flag-day

Shetland Flag Day – 21st June

Da Hjalt: Nordic and Scottish heritage mingle in the Shetland flag

The blue flag with the white cross, which proudly flies over Shetland, tells the history of the transformation of nationality of these islands in the northernmost part of the United Kingdom. Had the Danish king paid a wedding dowry to the Scottish king in 1469, the history and the flag of the islands would have been somewhat different. The Shetland ensign, which combines the Danish and Scottish emblems and colours, is the sign of the self esteem and autonomy of the twenty two thousand people living in the North Sea.
Fishing as an industry is synonymous with the Shetland Islands, as oil and gas have become since the 1970’s. These natural resources gave the islanders their self esteem. Many islanders fly their own blue and white flag to express their unique character. They show allegiance to Scotland, as well as to their ancestors from Norway and Denmark. Officially Shetland is part of the United Kingdom. The official language is English and the people British but they feel strong connections with Scandinavia.