Old Friends

I had a marvellous weekend trip to Auckland (a one hour plus car ride to the airport, then an hour’s flight away). My friend was turning 50, and I’ve known her since she was two and I was three.

She’s a lucky girl – has three brothers and a sister. For me (an ‘only’ until my sister arrived when I was six) her family became the siblings I didn’t have. They were all there at her birthday barbecue, and the banter between the three boys took me right back to my childhood – it seemed exactly the same!

Their father instituted a family tradition of lining up the kids in birth order and taking a photo for the annual holiday cards. Here’s the 1965 version:

I was instructed by the birthday girl that I had to re-enact this ritual, and get everyone lined up for a similar photo. The creaks and groans as everyone protested at getting down to the floor were nearly as funny as the resulting pictures. I’ll leave it to you to judge – I don’t think I’m as good a photographer as their Dad was, but I’m pleased to have at least got them all in one line, and looking in the general direction of (if not actually at)  the camera!

Haven’t they aged well!

Decorate Life Layouts 1-4

I’ve been enjoying a Big Picture Classes (www.bigpictureclasses.com) workshop taught by Darci Dowdle over the last couple of weeks. The first part of the class saw participants gathering photos in envelopes numbered 1-14, and various embellishments in containers similarly numbered. The second part of the class started a few days ago. Each day or two we receive a new set of instructions, to combine the photos in one envelope with the embellishments in a differently numbered container. There’s a sketch, written guidelines and a sample layout from Darci to help. It’s been such fun!
Here’s my first layout, where we were asked to scrapbook the ‘girls’ in our families, and where I focused my journaling on the characteristics we share:

And my second, where we were challenged to select a photo of something we loved (so I picked this lovely portrait of our cat Scruff, of course:The third layout was a two-pager in 8.5 x 11 size (not one I usually do). The focus was a seasonal event – so not surprisingly, I chose some photos of our olive harvest – but an old one (2005). What was interesting was realising how different things are now that our trees are so much older and have a much bigger crop.

And today, the challenge involved photographs of a place we loved. I chose pictures from 2004 that had remained unscrapped all this time. They were taken at Ohope Beach, on the holiday we had shortly after Mum’s death. The beauty of the place certainly helped us to relax and recover our equilibrium. I remember feeling so glad to be alive.

So that’s the story so far – there are 14 layouts in the class, and I’m already keenly anticipating the instructions for #5!

What would Jane have thought?

Imagine the narrative voice of Jane Austen writing a murder-mystery novel, and you have Murder at Mansfield Park. This is Lynn Shepherd’s first novel, and it’s a very accomplished debut. She has captured Austen’s vocabulary and style very well, and created a credible mystery as to ‘whodunit’. She had to do this by changing the characters in the original Mansfield Park, but I think this was a good decision, as it creates an entirely new story. I imagine Jane Austen herself would have enjoyed this novel – I certainly did.
One spin-off from reading it that would almost certainly have pleased Jane Austen, is that it’s inspired me to read her novel Mansfield Park again.

Altercation with a Pruning Saw

the implement wot did it

This tool is known as the Ninja Saw at our place. That’s because it’s lethally sharp, and extremely dangerous in the wrong hands.

this is the thumb wot got slashed

Do I need to say that thumb is attached to one of the ‘wrong hands’ mentioned above? Not mine, I hasten to add. This is a photo of the anaesthetised, cleaned-up thumb, at the local hospital’s Emergency Department. We had to go there because:

  1. the accident happened at 4.50pm on a Sunday in the middle of a public holiday period;
  2. the After Hours Medical Centre is only open until 5pm; and
  3. the AHMC doesn’t do sutures anyway.

a single suture is all they would give us

After a tetanus shot, local anaesthetic, irrigation with saline, a single suture (and four steri-strips), we left Emergency feeling only slightly silly. We were very grateful that we’d arrived when the department was quiet (the whole visit took less than 30 minutes), and for the competent, cheerful staff who attended us.

Now let’s hope that this is the only hospital visit anyone connected with this family will have to make this year!