Concern and Disbelief

“Our mothers teach us to speak,
and the world teaches us to shut up.”  
Valeria Luiselli, Mexican author 
1983 –

I looked on from afar and then muttered in disbelief that this couldn’t happen. But it did. The US Supreme Court overturned Roe vs Wade. This had been in law since the early 1970s.

And now we are told by the BBC “After the Supreme Court ruling, abortion access is expected to be cut off for about 36 million women of reproductive age, according to research from Planned Parenthood, a healthcare organisation that provides abortions”

Here in New Zealand abortion is legal. Up to 20 weeks a woman may seek an abortion from a health professional. After 20 weeks abortion is permitted only if a health practitioner deems it “clinically appropriate” and consults at least one other health practitioner. So we find it hard to accept that a ruling that has been in place for more than 50 years can be overturned.

I once came into play with a group of anti-abortionists. A client had just purchased a hospital to add to its other properties. But this one housed a well-known abortion clinic. I was abused by a screaming bunch of zealots who called me a murderer amongst other things. They had no response to my query as to who was going to care for the unwanted, unplanned infants. Not pregnant but abused nevertheless.

I will close here – although of course, this enquiring, ancient neighbourhood of my mind, will follow this through the weeks and months that follow.

JB June 25, 2022

Thoughts for Thursday

“What is it with you and that book?”
Rafael laughed. “We have a personal relationship.” 
Benjamin Alire SáenzAmerican poet, novelist,

and writer of children’s books

Lunch today was cancelled because one friend had a horrible cold and didn’t want to go out nor did she want to give it to us.

So time for me. But where did the three hours I would have spent between leaving home and returning go?

The groceries were delivered bright and early (what a godsend that is to we oldies), and then the FaceTime chat with Chris. We talk twice each week, usually for an hour or so – 10.30 am my time so I have the rest of the day before me; while Chris, some 16 hours behind me, is looking forward to her evening activities.

I had promised myself that I would use this unexpected free day on myself. So I took out my book and continued reading with the sun pouring in the open doors, my Grandson’s cat, Flashcat at my feet and a steaming cup of tea at hand.

Have you discovered Caro Ramsay’s books? Caro is a Scottish mystery writer and we are told “Caro was born in Govan, on Glasgow’s south side. A graduate of the British School of Osteopathy, she runs a large osteopath centre in West Scotland, treating animals and humans, and writes in her spare time.”

So far “in her spare time” she has written 13 books in the Anderson and Costello series, two stand-alone novels and a cookbook. I wonder what I could have achieved in my spare time.

Caro is a member of the Murder Is Everywhere group of mystery writers and it is here that I first met her. Her Anderson and Costello novels are set in Glasgow and as I lived just 8 miles north of Glasgow in a little village called Kirkintilloch (I dare you to try and pronounce that if you are not Scottish) I know most of the places about which she writes. Anderson and Costello are a Detective Inspector and his Detective Sergeant. Caro is obviously on very good terms with her local police because these police procedural novels ring true.

I have started at the beginning of the series Absolution and am now on book three, so there’s a long way to go and many books for me to read. I will, of course, write reviews on my other site, for Goodreads and occasionally on this site.

So I am listening to what David Baldacci says as I sit reading. What a wise man he is!

From Pinterest

So back to Anderson and Costello and until the next time.

JB with Chris in the corner
June 23, 2022

A New Public Holiday

“The greatness of a culture can be found in its festivals.”
Siddharth Katragadda is an Indian American writer,
artist and engineer.
1970 –

via wikipedia

This year we have a new public holiday. The holiday is to celebrate Matariki. In Māori culture, Matariki is both the name of the Pleiades star cluster and of the celebration of its first rising in late June or early July. This marks the beginning of the new year in the Māori lunar calendar.

The first public holiday to celebrate Matariki will be on Friday 24 June 2022. “The Government has committed to ensuring Mātauranga Maori is at the heart of celebrations of the Matariki public holiday, and it will be a time for: Remembrance – Honouring those we have lost since the last rising of Matariki.”

Here in New Zealand we are working hard and making recompense for the way the indigenous people were treated in the past. We can never undo what has been done, but in small ways we are doing our best. So this new public holiday to celebrate the beginning of the Maori New Year is an acknowledgment of their place in our society.

JB June 21, 2022

A New Favourite

You will have read Chris’s post How The Light Gets In. I too am a great fan of Louise Penny and her Ganache character and all the other people who live in that lovely little village – Three Pines.

I have read and listened to all her books and am eagerly awaiting the next one. But..

I have now discovered another author who is currently pushing Louise aside to become my favourite. Michael Robotham.

Quite by accident, I came across The Suspect. I was absolutely fascinated by the protagonist Clinical Psychologist, Joe O’Loughlin. In that book, he has just discovered that he has Parkinson’s and is trying to come to grips with it. while helping in a murder investigation he becomes the chief suspect. Fascinating reading. I am about to write a review on one of my other blogs in which I write book reviews. I later discovered this was book one in a nine-book series.

The next book I picked up was The Other Wife. That is reviewed on my other site. This was even more exciting than The Suspect. Totally unputdownable (that word again). That is book nine in the series.

Then on a visit to the library to return the books, I discovered Close Your Eyes. Book eight in the series. As soon as I finish this post I am going to make another cup of tea and sit and finish this book. It’s cold and wet outside today. What an excuse to do nothing.

I am totally in awe of Michael Robotham this Australian author. After many years during which he wrote for newspapers and magazines in Australia, Britain and America, he decided to quit and became a ghostwriter, collaborating with an extensive range of well-known and maybe not so-well-known “politicians, pop stars, psychologists, adventurers and show business personalities to write their autobiographies”.

There is another series which I haven’t looked into yet. The protagonist this time is Cyrus Haven. But that is for another post.

And at the end of his Meet Michael page we read –

Michael lives on Sydney’s northern beaches,
where he thinks dark thoughts in his  ‘cabana of cruelty – 
a name bestowed by his three children (now grown up), who happily poke fun at the man who has fed, clothed and catered to their every expensive whim. Where is the justice?

Back in a couple of days with more meandering through the neighbourhood of this ancient mind.

JB June 19, 2022

A Friend in Trouble

Friendship is a rainbow
between two hearts

Judith Baxter

Sometimes you have to put aside your plans for the day when a friend needs you. Today was such a day.

I had a call at 8 am to say that a friend had been told by an organisation, he knew not who had called him having been half asleep. at the time. The gist of the conversation and thus that which I received, was that another friend had a car accident last night, had broken her leg and was in the hospital. No further information was available except that it was close to a construction site.

Oh dear me. Chinese whispers. After many phone calls (none of the friends who live close by had even heard the news), the retirement village management was not aware of this, although it transpired that in the accident, she had driven through the main complex gates and shattered them. Anyway, I eventually tracked her down in the main hospital. She had dislocated her hip and was resting and I could pick her up shortly and take her home.

So today has been all about this friend. Taking her home, making her comfortable, making sure that one of the friends who live closer than me (I am 50 km away) could call in on her tomorrow.

So why am I telling you all this? Because I eventually arrived home at 6.30 pm needing food (missed lunch completely) and I hadn’t even considered what I would write about today. So please forgive me if I reblog a post from June 2012. it was a good day, all those years ago. My faithful companion Lotte, was still with me and all was well with my world,

To read the post entitled What a /difference a Day Makes, please click here.

So from a tired and weary blogger in Wellington, NZ who is planning an early night-

JB, June 17, 2022

Sisters

By now you will know that I used to have two biological sisters. Unfortunately, the elder one died last year. How I miss that gal!

Over the years our friendship grew and I often think this quote by Christina Rosette (English Poet1830-1894) was penned just for we three sisters.

For there is no friend like a sister, in calm or stormy weather,
to cheer one on the tedious way, to fetch one if one goes astray,
to lift one if one totters down, to strengthen whilst one stands.

However, I have so many memories of my big sister (14 months older than me), both as we were growing up, sharing our lives and a bedroom until I moved out to marry my DYS (Dashing Young Scotsman), and then later on during my trips to California to see her.

Mother with her three girls. Christine on Mother’s right, Marianne on her lap and then me.
Probably in 1942.

And what you may ask of my other sister? She was younger than us, three and a half years younger than me, and how big that difference was when we were young. We didn’t include her in our activities always thinking her ‘the baby’. That of course, changed as we grew into women. We lived on three different continents for most of our lives but managed to keep in touch, originally by snail mail and the occasional phone call ( wildly expensive 50 plus years ago) and then we welcomed the internet with open arms.

I have written so often in my other blog about this special relationship between women. Indestructible, strong and firm as only such a relationship can be. A sister is a special kind of friend.  Even if we do not see each other often, we know we are there in spirit for each other.



I also have a couple of sisters of choice in the blogosphere, neither of whom I have ever met in person {and probably never will} but with whom I share so many things; what we have done, how we have done it and everyday things that we share. You of course know Chris, the other half of this blog, but do you know Dor?

Dor lives with Bill her husband of 60-plus years in rural Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Dor was born in the same year as me but so very far away. She met and married her Bill at about the same time that I met my DYS. Over the blogosphere, Dor and I have laughed and made comments at how alike our lives have been in different parts of the world. Visit Dor of Virginia Views and get to know her too.

And Chris. Close as any biological sister, with whom I share the daily happenings in my life. We laugh, joke, tell stories to each other and sometimes have even cried together – her brother died, my sister died. Who else would we share these raw emotions with!

Do you have sisters? If not I hope you can find one or even two unbiological sisters.

And the last quote for the day from Clara Ortega

“To the outside world, we all grow old. 
But not to brothers and sisters.
We know each other as we always were. 
We know each other’s hearts.
We share private family jokes. 
We remember family feuds and secrets,
family griefs and joys. 
We live outside the touch of time.”

Enjoy time with and love your family. Who knows how long we will have them in this world.

That’s it for today from a cold, winters day in New Zealand

June 15, 2022

Lightning Strikes

“Don’t knock the weather. If it didn’t change once in a while,
nine out of ten people couldn’t start a conversation.”
Kim Hubbard, Editor at Large, People Magazine

Alright, I know I said I would not talk about the weather, but really! We have had the most amazing five days.

Torrential rain, almost gale force winds, thunder and lightning. In fact, according to the DomPost, our local paper “New Zealand saw nearly 20,000 lightning strikes in the 24 hours to 8am, and MetService say there’s more to come with a severe thunderstorm watch …” and this was only until 10am on Friday. And nothing much changed over the weekend.

The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play.
So we sat in the house. All that cold, cold, wet day.”
 Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat

Today is Monday here and the newspaper records “There were 9700 lightning strikes over land from 6pm Sunday to 6am on Monday, and 150mm of rain for some, as a cold front with thunderstorms attached moved onto the North Island.” and Severe thunderstorms, high winds, heavy rain, large hail, and even tornados are likely today.”

So may I be forgiven? This is a storm rarely seen in our corner of the world. And it’s still raining.

In much of the South Island, hail and rain have been replaced with snow. And here’s a lighthearted end to this blog on Windy Wellington’s Worst Weather.

and

Pooh that really clever little bear says

So from a miserable day here in Wellington at 41.2924° S, 174.7787° E, I am off now t read my book, to keep warm and dry.

Oh, look. There’s Chris in the corner of the photo.

Time Flies – So we must be having fun.

Tomorrow is June 11, fifty-five years since my children and I first set foot in New Zealand. Their father had come on ahead, so it was just the three of us arriving.

My children were 7 and 4. Oh how very long ago that was! We knew nothing of this country. The Embassy in London was obviously staffed by English people who knew just about as much as me. “Wouldn’t you love to be able to dry your washing on an outside line every day?” I was asked. Yes, but not in Auckland where it rains most days. And in response as to whether I should bring my about to be delivered new car I was told that wasn’t necessary as new cars were readily available to buy in NZ. Wrong again. When we arrived we discovered new cars could be purchased only with overseas funds. At the time NZ was controlled by import licences on everything from rice and aluminium foil to new cars, and everything in between.

The day we arrived and for the following six or seven days, it rained. Auckland in the winter is dull and drizzly and had little to commend it. We quickly learned that shops closed at 5.30 pm except on Friday when they closed at 10 pm and didn’t reopen until Monday. And pubs and bars closed at 6pm This was referred to as the 6 o’clock swill. Men rushed from their offices to get a drink before the bars closed. This law had been introduced in 2017 and 50 years later it was revoked. But more on that some other time.

We felt that we had moved back 50 years in time.

We were to be here for only 2 years and so set about finding a place to rent. We looked at the house the person before my husband rented, but I took one look and decided I couldn’t/wouldn’t live there. We found a lovely property on the North Shore with a path down to a separate beach. Perfect. Among the many rules and regulations at the time, you were only allowed to take $11 a day out of the country. So as we had overseas funds we paid the house owners in British pounds for a year in advance so both sides were happy. Oh, and we inherited their dog a large rambunctious mutt who immediately decided that he was David’s dog – when they sat beside each other the dog was the taller. Our own dog was on the way from Scotland and so suddenly we had two dogs.

The inherited dog was naughty and got into much mischief, but that’s for another time.

We enjoyed living on the beach in this lovely property. Unfortunately, the mother of the owner’s wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer and so their trip to the UK was cut short. Of course, we agreed to terminate the lease and found somewhere else to rent. Another tale for another time.

At the end of two years, we were off to Montreal – another tale. And after two years there we decided we wanted to bring up our children on the beach at Takapuna. But that’s yet another tale for another time.

By the time we left for Canada, New Zealand was catching up with the rest of the world, and in some instances was in advance – eg Women’s suffrage in 1893. And two years later when we returned, it was hardly recognisable as the colonial outlook it had been in 1967.

So now 55 years later we choose to live here in this far-flung land and are all New Zealanders. Each of my children married New Zealanders. Of course, we retained our British passports as here one can have dual nationality.

End of today’s walk down memory lane.

JB June 10, 2022

Happy, Happy Birthday

“Each friend represents a world in us,
a world possibly not born until they arrive,
and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
Anais Nin

Happy Birthday

If you read the last post (surely not) from Chris, you will be aware that today is her birthday. I have sent wishes and very warm and loving thoughts from the other side of the world.

And of course, some of you are aware that Chris is one of my sisters of choice.We first met in the blogosphere as two very new bloggers in 2011. We immediately connected and have been friends ever since. Initially, we connected only on our blogs, then moved on to messaging and eventually to FaceTime, with steps in between. We found and continue to find we have so many things in common. Chris does have two IRL sisters and until last year, so did I. Unfortunately, one of my sisters died last year. But we are both committed to this friendship and love being sisters of choice – well I am speaking for both of us without first checking that she loves it too. Of course she does!

As our blog intro says “No distance of place nor lapse of time, can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other’s worth.” and we most certainly are.

Nonbiological sisters we may be, but we are as close as sisters. So today I made my sister a cake – well a muffin but she took too long to come and eat it, that I ate it in her stead. It was particularly good too!

So today, I will just add my wishes to those she has already received from her two biological sisters, her brother and his wife. I only hope they are looking after her as I am too far away to be there.

So my gift to Chris, the other half of this blog and my sister of choice, is

Via Pinterest

And of course Mary Oliver says –

“I try to be good but sometimes
a person just has to break out and act like the wild and
springy thing one used to be.
It’s impossible not to remember wild and want it back.” 

sisters JB June 9, 2022

Typical, Topical, Tuesday

Tuesday night in Wellington in June. It’s winter here and so tonight the wind is blowing and the rain is falling down; a good night to stay home in one’s dry, warm house.

But no. We had tickets to the opening night of the French Film Festival and when we left home, the rain hadn’t started. So off to a favourite place for an early dinner.

Accompanied of coir with a glass of Prosecco.

Then. the movie. An early start – 6.15 pm. This year the main sponsor is L’Or – coffee pods and capsules. We missed the opening address by the French representative in New Zealand, but we have heard all the earlier ones, so what did we miss?

“There are people all over the world
who carry the mermaid inside them.”
Carolyn Turgeon. Author and editor in chief of

Enchanted Living (formerly Faerie Magazine)

The movie was a Mermaid in Paris. First a question – Do you believe in Mermaids? Well, it’s hard not to be a believer when it comes to A Mermaid in Paris. The film almost reaches true fairytale territory, even though it’s done on a small scale with few characters it arguably feels more believable as a result. But whether or not you actually believe in mermaids is not the real issue here, as the film is more concerned with how beautiful it is to believe in anything at all.

A delightful movie and 90 minutes will take you from the real world to the world of fantasy and belief, whether or not you believe in mermaids, unicorns and fairies.

Here’s the trailer. Watch it and then answer my question.

And my answer to the question – of course I believe in mermaids, and unicorns, and fairies. Well, Pollyanna is alive and well and living in Wellington New Zealand.

JB June 7, 2022