Wednesday Worries

If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that
can do something about it, then there is no need to worry.
If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying.
There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.” 
Dalai Lama XIV

As usual, I have plenty to say today but nothing to tell you.

Should I tell you about my friend with MS?  Unfailingly cheerful and even though she can get out only in her very smart motorised wheelchair, she is living life to the fullest.  We meet for lunch every second Tuesday, either at her house or at a restaurant. It’s difficult to get her into the wheelchair as one leg is like a tree trunk.  There’s no movement at all.  Luckily, at least for her if not for Rhys her neighbour, his full-time carer will come in and help Carol into the chair. Then she is off.  We walk together to the chosen restaurant/coffee shop. 
When she isn’t out and about, she is entertaining guests at home, even though once they are gone, she is exhausted.

Or should I tell you about Judy? She was my walking friend for several years, but alas, no longer can she walk without a Zimmer frame.  She has always had a bad back and on two occasions has had the spine fused.  So, walking apart from around the apartment or off to the on-site restaurant or to the car is now out of the question.  So, we meet at her apartment each week to play Upwords.  She can’t come to me as she can’t manage the stairs. A very different life for another friend.

Or perhaps I could tell you about another friend who fell and broke her hip.

But no!
I will tell you about a friend’s great-grandson, born a couple of weeks ago.  This is great-grandchild number seven and great-gran Heather has taken off to visit this newborn in Canberra for a few days.  We are all celebrating with her from a distance.

So, I did find something to tell you about after all.

“It’s not time to worry yet” 
Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird

JB April 27, 2022

Sunny Saturday

“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience:
this is the ideal life.” 
Mark Twain

The sun continues to shine on this April day when really, we are into Autumn. The leaves are falling from the trees and/or turning from green to brown. The days are shorter, the mornings darker, but the sun continues to shine and still has a lot of heat in it.

Today was one of those days, warm and wind free (note this is the Windy City) and we took advantage of it. I am one of a group of four not-quite-old women who are close friends and who call ourselves MAS, the Mutual Admiration Society. I have written about this group of octogenarians who still consider themselves to be only middle-aged and often act accordingly.

Even though we meet regularly through the week for coffee or lunch, once each month we plan something special. Usually this entails visiting somewhere out of town but not too far away. One member has just acquired a new electric car and so was keen to show this off. Added to that we had not been on our news billion dollar highway, Transmission Gully, so we decided to go north out of the city.

Two of us had been to the Bus Cafe about an hour’s drive away but two of us hadn’t. We decided that was where we would go for lunch.

After parking the car we wandered along a garden path bordered with shrubs, flowers and trees until we came to the bus.

This was an old bus converted into a kitchen where take away coffee and food was served. Both the food and the coffee were presented in disposable (recyclable) plates and cups and both food and coffee were delicious. The food is all prepared on site and the choice is amazing. And different.

Then having clambered up into the bus to order, we took our seats in the garden. A large area with a selection of places to sit, outside or inside one of the many little buildings surrounded by bushes and hedges and of course, more little buildings displaying articles for sale.

Dessert for me was an Eccles cake. Do you know this pastry? If you’ve never heard of them, Eccles Cakes are small, round cakes made from flaky pastry that is filled with dried currants, candied lemon, orange zest, sugar and spices that commonly include cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves.

And a little bit of history to titilate you. Eccles cakes date back to at least 17th century England.  A popular pastry even then, they eventually fell under the stern and disapproving glare of the Puritans. Inappropriately indulgent, sinfully tempting to the human soul, and inciting revelry at community events known as Eccles Wakes, the Puritans banned both Eccles cakes and mine pies (also containing currants). As legend goes, Oliver Cromwell himself made a public example of the deviant pastries by instating an act of Parliament that threatened imprisonment for anyone found eating an Eccles cake. But now back to today.

Did I mention two of my friends are shoppers? So lunch over we spent time wandering around the small buildings looking at the articles for sale and also of course, the plants available.

Then back in the car and we found a delightful garden centre. Did I tell you my favourite shop is a garden centre? This was not one of the large national ones but rather a small area loved and tended by a man (the gardener) and his wife (support staff). And I found the perfect gift for my daughter’s birthday on Monday, two pots and plants to put in them. Tomorrow they will be planted and placed at her front door. Photos to follow.

Then on to another favourite – Ruth Pretty is a well known Wellington chef/culinary artist. She and her husband live in a magnificently restored old villa attached to which is her culinary school, restaurant, and kitchens and shop. Not stopping for coffee having recently had lunch, of course, we wandered around the shop. Did I tell you they were shoppers?

From there we decided to make our way back home, stopping on the way to pick up my overnight bag that I had left behind in another friend’s car last week and then on to their favourite stores – the charity stores or as we call them OpShops aka opportunity shops. Well these stores bore me and on the odd occasion when I have been with them and have bought something, within a day or two the purchases are donated to the OpShop where one of them volunteers. This is now treated as a joke – “Don’t buy anything” I was told. “It will only end up in our store.” So I bought nothing.

And then it was back onto Transmission Gully and home. What a lovely way to spend an autumn Saturday with good friends.

Friends are the siblings god forgot to give us
Judith. Baxter, Blogger, Grandmother and Friend

So that’s it – ramblings from this ancient mind once again.

JB April 9, 2022

Wednesday Wonders

The beginning of knowledge is the discovery 
of something we do not understand.”
Frank Herbert   American science fiction author
best known for the 1965 novel 
Dune and its five sequels. 1920-1986

I am part of a group of four women collectively known as MAS (the Mutual Admiration Society0.  We four women share several interests although of course we each have our own particular interests.  One is into antiques collecting and discussing them; one is a fabulous cook, spending her time checking and devising recipes; one is a keen golfer and bridge player, while as you know, I dabble at witing, and devising and running courses.  And so where did the idea for MAS come from?  

Well of course it is not original to us. In 1912 a group of friends at Somerville College, Oxford set up a literary society of women and called it MAS. Its members included Dorothy L. SayersMuriel St Clare ByrneCharis Frankenburg, Dorothy Rowe, and Amphilis Throckmorton Middlemore, among others

While the members of our MAS meet regularly, at least once a month we have a special meeting, outing or reason to get together.  January’s choice was “The Secret Paintings of Hilma af Klint” And we went to see he exhibition yesterday, Wednesday. We are told “The Secret Paintings is one of the most important exhibitions ever staged in New Zealand. It is presented with the cooperation of the Hilma af Klint Foundation, Stockholm, and in association with Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.” Do you know this artist? Neither did 

She was a Swedish artist (1862-1944) described as  “a pioneer of abstract art, but for many years her paintings were kept hidden from the public” In fact it was her wish that her paintings should remain hidden and secret for at least 20 years after her death. 

She had her own MAS.  In 1895 she joined with four female friends to form a spiritual group they called The Five. “They met regularly to commune with spiritual beings through prayer and meditation.”

Klint assumed that there was a spiritual dimension to life and aimed at visualizing contexts beyond what the eye can see. When painting, she believed that she was in contact with a higher consciousness that spoke and conveyed messages through her. Like many of her contemporaries, she was influenced by spiritual movements, especially spiritualismtheosophy and later anthroposophy. Through her paintings, she sought to understand and communicate the various dimensions of human existence.

In 1906 she began a decade long project The Paintings for the Temple with Primordial Chaos.  These ten are huge paintings meant to fill a room.

This is my favourite of the ten, but I’m not convinced that even if I had the room, I would hang it in my house.

So a morning well spent.  However, I was left feeling rather confused.  This artist moved from abstract paintings, the like of which we may have said “my grandchild could do that” through birds and animals to finally arrive at Primordial Chaos. I am not sure that I will go back for a second look.

JB January 13, 2022

Getting to Know You

No distance of place nor lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each others worth.”
Robert Southey, English Poet 1774-1843

In the few days since we published the first post here, we have reconnected with blogging friends from our other blogs and met some new folk who will no doubt, become friends.

Don’t you just love the blogosphere? Friends, most of whom we have never met, and probably never will. but whom we consider our firm friends.

In fact, in the ten years since I started blogging, I have met only two of these virtual friends in the real world.

Some years ago, when in Oxford in England, I met Sallyann of Photographic Memories.  Sallyann was one of the earliest followers of Growing Younger Each Day and over the years we have followed and continue to follow each other’s life.  I have been with her, virtually, during her daughters’ weddings, her wishing and talking about going to live to live beside the sea and her subsequent move. i have followed her travels with “hubby” to exciting places in Europe.  And I have followed her clever refurbishing of her house and making a garden. By the way she has a pet snake!

And then just two years ago I met Lois Roelofs of Write Along With Me. Lois had just lost her husband and had taken a cruise that included a very short stop over in Wellington. Unfortunately, Covid was just rearing is ugly head around the world and it was some time before Lois could get home again.
Lois is a reasonably new blogging friend, a retired nurse and author, whom I started to follow when she took us through the months following the diagnosis and leading up to Merv’s death.  We learned about his absolute faith in God’s forgiveness (not that I think he had done anything awful to need that). We learned also that he refused invasive treatments, preferring to live his life his way util the end. A nd now we have moved with Lois as she dealt, and deals, with life as a widow.

If you don’t know either of these fascinating women, take a trip over to their sites.  I am sure you will be interested in getting to know them.

I love meeting new people.  I talk to all and anyone when out and about. A trait that used to embarrass my children when they were growing up. And then my grandsons would ask “Granma, do you know that lady/those people?” (and yes. we always spell Granma without the d).

It becomes harder to make new friends as we age.  No more parents’ groups, school runs, guides, brownies, football, or netball matches, so now we rely on the internet and our blogging friends.


And for your edification and amusement. Laugh if you will if you live in the frozen north and remember how I bragged I was Summer here. Well Summer came and went on Thursday, November 25. You cannot rely on the weather in Wellington. So apart from hat and sunscreen, I always have a sweater or jacket, and an umbrella is never far away.