30 September 2008

early siesta

My upstairs neighbour is snoring, loudly. In a strange kind of way I like it! She stays awake half the night then sleeps at her table during the day. But the snoring suggests she has given in and is taking a real nap.

Too much information, I hear you say? No, you asked me to write about my village life.

We are a family, in this village. Absolutely no privacy here!

tuesday morning

Not finished but nearly...fine tuning of features and skin tones still to come.

29 September 2008

i preferred

the unfinished background.
Time to take a break and let this dry before I work on it further.

(Adding the hair made a difference, but I think I prefer the pale background against the face).

good painting light

I am making the most of the morning light. When winter comes I will lose a lot of my painting time.

28 September 2008

an interesting thought

Love songs are always sad songs, aren't they?

That was the discussion after a pizza dinner across on the other side of the Liri valley tonight. Our trio managed to come up with some happy songs, but sad songs seem to be the language of love.

My favourite love song has to be from Fiddler on the Roof. No, I don't need a Matchmaker, matchmaker, although there is no shortage of volunteers here, but I can't think of love songs without thinking of Tevye's question to his wife Golde, "Do you Love me?" Listen to Tevye as he ponders the young romantic love of his daughter and his own arranged marriage. (You might have to let it play through once with the sound down, then replay it once it has loaded. Some of these take a while to download).

From STLyrics.com: Do You Love Me?
Golde, I have decided to give Perchik permission to become engaged to our daughter, Hodel.

What??? He's poor! He has nothing, absolutely nothing!

He's a good man, Golde.
I like him. And what's more important, Hodel likes him. Hodel loves him.
So what can we do?
It's a new world... A new world. Love. Golde...

Do you love me?

Do I what?

Do you love me?

Do I love you?
With our daughters getting married
And this trouble in the town
You're upset, you're worn out
Go inside, go lie down!
Maybe it's indigestion

Golde I'm asking you a question...

Do you love me?

You're a fool

I know...

But do you love me?

Do I love you?
For twenty-five years I've washed your clothes
Cooked your meals, cleaned your house
Given you children, milked the cow
After twenty-five years, why talk about love right now?

Golde, The first time I met you
Was on our wedding day
I was scared

I was shy

I was nervous

So was I

But my father and my mother
Said we'd learn to love each other
And now I'm asking, Golde
Do you love me?

I'm your wife

I know...
But do you love me?

Do I love him?
For twenty-five years I've lived with him
Fought with him, starved with him
Twenty-five years my bed is his
If that's not love, what is?

Then you love me?

I suppose I do

And I suppose I love you too

It doesn't change a thing
But even so
After twenty-five years
It's nice to know

the gift

Every morning we have the gift of a new day. Zacchi says that I should spend the first part of it walking him. We have to sneak out, not waking our guest. It is so tempting to stay in bed that little bit longer.

But oh, the bounce in the step, the spring in the dog... and soon he imparts that to me. The air is fresh, not too hot, the view always wonderful. How could we have considered staying in bed? The day is for living.

Yes Zacchi, you were right. In fact, you have always been a wise little dog.

27 September 2008

goodbye Paul

Paul Newman died yesterday. One of the most powerful movies I saw as a teenager was "Cool Hand Luke". I am not a movie goer, but that one made a real impression. Don't read the reference if you don't like sad stories. I choose to remember the film as being a commentary on human dignity. I guess that's my way of coping with things too awful to remember.

Thank you Paul. I was 15 or 16 when I became a fan. You really were a star.

when visitors don't understand

When visitors come and go my life is under scrutiny, usually kindly, sometimes a little too frankly for comfort. A recent visitor didn't take the time to ask about my choices, but simply volunteered how my life should be changed, improved. I found myself defending my choices. In the process I clarified a few things for myself.

My bathroom tiles are fine, thankyou. No, I would never have chosen them myself, but they are functional, easy to clean, unimportant in the grander scheme of things. In fact, until my visitor said "Well those bathroom tiles have got to go" I had even forgotten that I didn't particularly like them. They are a part of my home, they are comfortable in their ordinary ugliness.

It could be that my paintings are "cr.p", not what you perceive to be "fine art". I know that with time constraints they can be of variable quality. They are not what I was painting in NZ., but they bring a lot of pleasure to people. There is no path for antipodean artists here. I am walking, taking tiny steps. And if that means painting outside my field, painting commissions, learning new skills, then that is what I will do. When you learn to walk balance is important. I am still finding mine, but I think I am almost there. I will defend my position, and paint what I think is right for me now, an antipodean artist in a tiny mountain hamlet in Italy.

My "kitchen" cupboards DO have a system, they are organised. The organisation may be a little unconventional, with paints in the cupboards and food in plastic bins, but it works for me. Where things appear to be double-ups it is because the most used things are in the most convenient place - for me - while the surplus objects are down below where I have to bend to get them. Until my house is fully developed, things will remain a little unconventional, and most of the time that suits me just fine.

Yes, my cantina work is taking a long time. It should have been finished by now. But no, I will not complain, I will not sack my worker. I will appreciate how difficult the task is. I will value the care the worker is taking. I will enjoy each little step along the way. And, when I move in to my new rooms, I will rejoice all the more for having had to wait.

Yes, Zacchi is a scruff. There is not a doubt in my mind. But I do keep him clean, I do groom him, I do annoint his wounds. I purchase ointments, treatments, and even the occasional bone for him. I talk to him, I pat him. I do not, as so many on meeting him for the first time have assumed, neglect the little blighter. He is a mutt, a character, not a showpony. It is not I who rolls him in the sticky burrs, swishes his tail into dread-locks, ruffles his mixture of fur and dry stringy hair. The doors and gates are open, he is free to run. Yet right now he chooses to be curled up on his mat beside me; dishevelled, not neglected.

Yes, I choose to be less social at times, I decline interesting invitations. But that is because I am aware of how easy it would be to make a mistake, to offend, to get something wrong. If I am unsure, I err on the side of caution. I watch, I listen, I try to learn. Cultural difference is huge, and this village is small. I want to get it right. Respectful and submissive are different words, have different meanings. Assertion and aggression are different concepts too.

This afternoon I looked at some of my favourite quotes, important to me two years ago. Useful, but not so important to me now. I am in a very different place in my self-awareness.

Travellers, there is no path, paths are made by walking.
- Antonio Machado

Just living is not enough, said the Butterfly.
One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.
- Hans Christian Anderson (1805-1875)

How does one become a butterfly?" she asked pensively. "You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar."
- Trina Paulus, Hope for the Flowers

I am walking, creating my own path. Sometimes butterflies accompany me. On the surface it may appear that I have gone back twenty years. That's OK too.

I may not know where I am going, but I know where I am. I am here, where the little flowers grow in the wild; bright colours emerging shyly from the rocks.


old books, good people, good places

(Photo 2007, a rare privilege to be in this room).
There is an exhibition of ancient books at the Abbey on Montecassino at the moment. I saw it yesterday. Most of the books were in leather covers, some in silver. There were no wooden volumes. I looked for one in particular, that was not there.

The exhibition made me think of the "family Bible" that I loved so dearly as a child. It had a wooden cover, heavily carved and embossed. I would dust it, tracing my fingers over it.

I remember the sadness I felt when I saw that deaths had been entered in my mother's hand, written quietly, probably after we were sleeping.

It was very large, very beautiful. I don't even have a photograph of it. I always dreamed that one day I would be the keeper of this treasure, but my mother insisted that it must go to a family member with the family surname.

That Bible holds records of our births and deaths, not his. I wonder if he treasures it as much as I did. I hope so. It records my birth, but wont record my death. I guess that means that I must live forever. Perhaps my mother was right; It was a part of my colonial New Zealand life. I wouldn't have bought the heavy wooden Bible to Italy.


Two visitors left this morning. It is a privilege to share time with good people. We chewed the metaphorical fat, re-wrote other friends' lives for them, patted ourselves on the back for being strong independent women, and wondered how our lives ended up the way they have. Parallel lives. Not one of us is living the dream we held when we were young.

People change.

One of the things we discussed had me expounding on the theory that post-menopausal women become more assertive and less accommodating, less "biddable" and nurturing, because the hormonal changes drive an apparent personality change. I don't think that think our personalities do actually change, but we no longer subjugate parts of our personalities in the interests of a calm and safe homelife for our children. What our nearest and dearest might see as us becoming selfish is actually women standing up and saying "I am more than a mother". That can rock the boat and occasionally someone tips out.

It is good to have a lifeline nearby, but learning to swim and to enjoy the water, choosing when to splash out, and knowing when to rest are better options than grasping at a rope and hoping for dry land.

26 September 2008


I forgot to photograph stage one, so here is stage two

I am working from a casual snapshot I took back in May.

This child has fair skin and the most beautiful eyes. I think I will paint the eyes next, then work out from this. This time I am working in oils, a mixed blessing as I manage to smudge as I lean on the work but can also blend the youthful skin much better.

25 September 2008

idly grazing

After paying some bills and clearing the dreaded post-London credit card I idly meandered back to my emails. An article about America's worst breakfast foods caught my eye as I clicked on the green back button.

I am incredulous! Not only are the statistics incredible, but I had no idea that people really did eat such a big range of unhealthy things for breakfast.

It reminded me of the number of finger-lickin cooked chickens eaten in south Auckland for breakfast.

Here in Italy the country runs on caffeine and sugar, with the fat from the cornetti to keep the wolf from the door until lunch time. Eaten to excess, our breakfasts are not a lot better than the large American meals. I was a custard-filled cornetto fan until I baked my own and watched the fat running out of the pastry and onto the oven tray.

My mother insisted that we eat mince on toast, baked beans, scrambled eggs or even porridge before we set off for school. If we had been successful eeling at the river then eels were our preferred "brain food" and we skinned them as they hung out under the water tank, anticipating a good breakfast the following morning. That's my idea of a good start to the day. Mothers do know best!

Dear Mum,
How do I reconcile dining so late at night and waking in the morning still feeling replete with re-establishing in my diet those good healthy breakfasts you made?

sorting it all

Today we put the world to rights. Four women, a lot of heated discussion, some laughter, some tears. Good friends can speak the truth, even when the truth hurts. At the end of the day we are all a bit wiser, hopefully none of us hurting too much, and still friends, possibly better friends than before.

I have the feeling that trust and respect for one another comes into it somewhere. Oh, and just a little wine and some good food.

Were we really putting the world to rights?

If only it were so easy!

24 September 2008


...do fly. There are four of us here now, all roughly the same age, each with four children, each now living alone. One is talking of moving here.

I fear for my Italian, with this ongoing English language. One of the visiting kiwis has studied Italian for longer than I have. We try to converse in Italian. Before I had so many visitors I would wake thinking in Italian, simple phrases to greet the day and the dog. That has gone. My sentence structure is going. It has been several months of English over the summer. It is time to protect myself.

I will not speak in English if this visitor returns to stay. The young folk here who refuse to speak in English with me are right. Kay will never learn Italian if we use our English with her, they say. They put my learning ahead of their own.

Thankyou, my Italian English speaking young friends, for showing me tough love.

22 September 2008

all by myself

I went to buy a new tyre, all by myself. They couldn't give me the same tyre today. I could have one that was a different type. I asked for a matching tyre... that was safer, right? Yes, that was safer. But I would have to wait until tomorrow, it wouldn't arrive for today.

I said that I would return at lunchtime tomorrow. If there were any problems with delivery would they please call the friend whose wife speaks English.

Did they want my name or number? The young man looked at me as though I was crazy. Why on earth would they need that?

slow learner

While dropping some photographs into an earlier post I noticed that it was only a week ago I was saying that my life had been too busy and I was going to concentrate on nesting, among other things.



At least I got the part about people being important back up the priority order :-)


Today I heard that France is going to put a tax on things plastic. Hooray! If only Italy and the rest of the world would too.


Fancy a pizza, anyone? I can buy an excellent pizza for 4 euros or less. In Harrods you can pay £18 for the same pizza!
(Click on photo to enlarge and read... drool on!)

21 September 2008

life got too busy

It has been hectic. Time to slow down again.
Zacchi has decided that having two houses is pretty good, because when mum is out there is always a welcome next door. They have more interesting food too, so even when Mum is home... and that's how he came to miss out on the birthday party!
My first puppet show in Italian... Punch and Judy translate well.


Last night my visiting friend and I went to the notte bianca, "white night", in the neighbouring village. This was an all night festival (from sunset to sunrise) and attracted hundreds of people. The village is magical at night, with displays of by-gone days set up in the ancient houses. I was far too tired to enjoy it, but next year I will mark it on the calendar and give it priority.
Someone in my village had offered me and my paintings, and it was rather a rush to get anything there. I am glad that I went though, I met another local artist and we chatted a while. Margaret enjoyed the festival and sang to the crowd. I was with my paintings when I heard a familiar voice coming from the piazza above, soaring above the bustle. Unexpected, impromptu, just beautiful.

The festa had food, wine, music, dancing, and some rather odd fireworks. The display began with sparklers down her arms, and obvious anticipation of more from the crowd. This was the front view... and the rear emissions were equally "un-PC".
I learnt also that I am too tired to do everything; rushing to fill my obligations I managed to scrape the curb and burst a tyre. Just what a girl doesn't need at 10pm. Fortunately two white knights rode to my rescue, I would never have got the nuts on the wheel loosened myself. They took turns and found it hard enough.

Pian piano, life is not supposed to be this busy! Time to reflect, slow down, and tick a few things off the list before I tackle anything new.

Work recommenced in my cantina... big smiles from me!

19 September 2008

a dog's life

Last night Mum took me to two restaurants and the railway station. WOW!

The first restaurant was great, that is where Mum gets the deep fried pizza with salami balls for me. I don't understand why she wont eat them.

The manager of the restaurant has a dog he says is exactly like me. It is called Pinocchio. He thought I was just great, and the waitresses made a huge fuss of me too. Mum took Kiwi and American friends to the restaurant.

Next we dashed to the railway station to get another friend. She likes dogs too. More pats and hugs. We dropped her at the restaurant as well. Then we ran to another restaurant.

This was pretty posh, and Mum didn't think she should take me inside. She tied me to a table on the balcony. She was there a long time, talking to German and Polish people. I barked twice, and the waitress ran out to pat me. Mum came and told me she was still there, I just had to be patient. She hadn't forgotten me really.

When this dinner was over all the people made a huge fuss of me.

Mum says I did well, she was happy with me even if she says I am a mixed blessing.

I think I am a star!

18 September 2008

Zacchi says

Life is great. Wounds have healed, I'm mostly being good, and Mum's cousin is just the softest touch for cuddles and attention! I taught her how to play "take Mum's socks and drop them out of sight at the neighbour's house - I was trying to teach her Penny's games. She tells me I am a scruff, Mum says I look moth-eaten, she wants her socks back, and really, what did she ever do to deserve a dog like me?

Really, the mixed messages a guy gets around here!

If only they would just stay home though...

I am being obedient but they still don't take me out. Grrrrr! Still, the tidbits from the restaurant are good, there is always an up side to things.

Mountain climb

Monte Cassino with Monte Cairo behind, from Mt Trocchio, the Allied Observation Post

15 September 2008

London walk


the dog or the blog...

I said to my daughter, as we walked through Pimlico, "It's the dog or the blog". We were talking about my somewhat "excessive" blogging. I had said that because I lived alone it was a kind of conversation with family, friends, and other artists.

But I don't really live alone. I live in a building with the best neighbourhood watch in the world. I phoned to see that my house-guest had arrived safely and got the keys to get in. Not only was I told when he arrived and who greeted him, but also where he dined that night, with whom, and what he ate. With support like this I sleep safely, am cared for, am not alone. Regrettably I have been too busy to even bake a cake for months now. I have been a negligent neighbour.

Blogging has served my needs, but now my greatest need is to improve my Italian and really be a part of this community. I am enrolling in an on-line course that I trialled before I went to London, and will be concentrating on my language lessons, not writing my blog in English.

I was too tired, doing too much, had lost the balance in my life again. My focus was on earning a living, not on being a part of the community. I had lost sight of what life is about, forgotten what is written at the top of my own blog. What is the most important thing in this life? It is people, people, people.

I am going to concentrate on nesting, getting my house in order, exercising, speaking Italian, spending time with my neighbours, and painting... more on the painting in another blog.

Yes, there will be a few more blogs, but not so many. I have a real life to live...

“He aha te mea nui o tenei ao? Maku e kii atu, He tangata, he tangata, he tangata!

You ask what is the most important thing in this world? I will tell you: It is people, it is people, it is people!”

Maori proverb


time to finish blogging?

I am not sure that I need to write this blog any more. The trip to London has changed a few things. I will "keep you posted"... maybe!

14 September 2008

home again

tomorrow I collect Zacchi.

Travel was not simple this time... but it was safe, so can't complain about the inconvenience too much!

9 September 2008


I have three new series in my head. I can't wait to paint them. I need some new colours.. and these paintings are first of all for me!

No more painting to themes, no more responding to the market, yes commissions 'cos Zacchi needs stuff for ticks and fleas, but when October comes and I start to paint again it will be a commission I am really looking forward to, and which is evolving quite happily in my head, and then, by contrast, the tiny works for me*.

If the thought of a break in London galleries and some online research does this, how will it be when I get home again?

September is for veterans and tourists, October is for painting and picking olives.

Happiness is... feeling "found" in my painting again!

*My "tiny" is not minute though. I have always marvelled at the story of the well known NZ artist who, at the end of his successful art-school exhibition, simply put it all into his pocket and walked out the door.


London might be great but...

London might be great but I prefer a simple life. Thinking of that reminded me of this...

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

Come Live With Me

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of th purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my love.

The shepherds’ swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.

Christopher Marlowe


8 September 2008

window shopping?

I lost internet for nearly a day... right when I wanted to check-in online. Worst of all is that it is my telephone to New Zealand (and the rest of the world, but for now it is NZ I am wanting to call).

Now internet is back, and I can access gmail, but hotmail is being perverse: I can open my account, and see the new emails. I can't open the mail waiting to be read! Frustration plus! It is like taking a kid to a candy store after closing hours, and letting them drool at the window. I don't like shopping. Window shopping if you really want the object just out of reach is worse. I'd rather give up chocolate and vino rosso than miss my emails!


The temperatures are still ranging between 32 and 38 degrees centigrade, dropping to 29 or 30 by 9pm, and we are into September. The television reporters talk about "bel tempo" (good weather) but it is not true. The ground is parched, the trees are stressed, the people are tired because it is too hot to sleep but they are back at work. My figs are small and drying on the tree. Tempers are frayed, we need rain. Good weather would be some real rainfall.

Zacchi and I haven't exercised for weeks. It is far too hot after a sleepless night to go out walking. A trip to grey and rainy old London is timely for me, but I can't bring my trees.

7 September 2008

NZ Health Industry Awards 2008

The promotional flyer for what looks like a great night out...

The entertainers with video clips to tempt you! Fiona Pears on violin makes me wish I had tried harder all those years ago!

The artworks for auction "A feature of the New Zealand Health Industry Awards and Benefit Gala Dinner 2008 is the UNICEF Charity Auction where top New Zealand artists have donated art work to be auctioned along with companies who have donated a variety of other items. This is to support UNICEF’s work in Papua New Guinea for the women and children living with HIV and AIDS."


can I drink this?


Exhausted after two days of driving, I was thinking how good bed looked. It was late.

The phone rang. Good friends from "the station" were coming up to the top (historic) part of the village for a gelato. They had American guests. Did I want to join them?

It is now 12.40am. I have to be up at 6am.

The gelato was strawberry...

6 September 2008

a very good day

but too tired to write! More later... have been exploring mountain battlefields I hadn't been to before.

Zacchi is coping well with his collar.

5 September 2008

it came to this...

She could have taken the price tag off...but at least this new collar is in pretty colours|

4 September 2008

new friend

and yes, he's that big! Zacchi looks like a little tug boat playing beside an ocean liner when he tries to get Fulvio to play!

3 September 2008

time out

My internet service provider has advised of problems over the next two weeks. In this time I am travelling and also have house guests. I may take time out for a while.

Zacchi is fine, and maybe there will be an occasional post from us.


Posting is addictive... a symptom of living alone, perhaps?

Less computer time, more exercise, more Italian, that's what we need.


twenty years

When I was in the process of moving to Italy many friends said "it will be interesting to see what that does to your art". It has been interesting, but more than that, it has been challenging, frustrating, and painful.

When you relocate into a different culture you lose your identity in some ways. I remember writing that I would work most of all to retain/regain my independence and my "kiwi can do" attitude. I wrote that I believed a drive to communicate would be the most essential part of my "self" that would identify me.

I have immersed myself in a place where time has stood still. What happened was that in my search for acceptance, and to be financially independent, I have painted what was expected of me here, locally.

It was a form of communicating. In my art-making I went backwards to where I was twenty years ago, but in an unfamiliar environment, climate and without the luxury of a comfortable studio. I struggled with all of that. But now that it is clear to me why it happened I can move on again.

I believe that, at least in my thinking, I am back to the point I was at five years ago. There is a fundamental difference though.

This time, on good days, I feel twenty years younger. Sometimes going back twenty years is a good thing.

2 September 2008

To London friends..

NZ Art for the NZ Shore Plover – Press and Preview Night

We would be delighted if you would attend our forthcoming preview night to view the art which has been donated by a number of NZ artists. This art will then be auctioned to raise funds for the NZ shore plover conservation project in New Zealand.

We are delighted that The New Zealand High Commissioner, Derek Leask, will host the preview evening which will take place at Suze in Mayfair on Wednesday 10 September from 6.30pm until 7.30pm.

Artists who have contributed works of art include Graham Young, Nancy Frazer, Sophia Elise, Steve Moase, Kay de la Tour and we hope that you will be able to meet some of the artists at the preview evening. In 2006 this event raised more than £7,000 for the Campbell Island Teal Appeal and this year’s is expected to raise an equivalent amount – hopefully more.

The auction itself (tickets £45 each to include a gourmet menu with kiwi “champagne” and wines) will take place on Friday 10 October at the Penthouse of New Zealand House. We expect the event to be a sell-out and places are strictly limited.

We are delighted, that thanks to the support of Crown Fine Arts, we have been able to bring over nearly 10 works from New Zealand and that Tom and Susan Glynn of Suze have allowed us to display the works in their private dining room for the month before the auction.

Please RSVP by emailing nzartforplover@nzsociety.co.uk or telephone Katherine Hersey-Meade on 01634 318825.

Yours sincerely
Helen Campbell
NZ Society

(I see I have another name change. That's how the Italians spell my name too. Fa niente... it's not important! I don't sign the front of my work except with a poppy anyway!)

and so back to art...

Two days of enforced rest thanks to a bug kindly shared by my neighbours has given me plenty of contemplative time. Add to this some lengthy conversations with one of my personal trainer/life coach whizzkids (daughter number one) and I have emerged with a much clearer view of where I am heading. My decision to go to London to the preview at Suze in Mayfair was a conscious move to drop myself back into the space I was missing, mixing with art and artists where we speak the same language about art, both literally and metaphorically.

From looking at the work of other artists on the NZ Shore Plover appeal artists page and following a few links to peruse other New Zealand contemporary art I was able to see exactly what I do and don't want to do in my own work. The home page of my own website carries work that I am proud of. Some of it reminds me of works not featured which I have gifted to special people in my life, and it takes me back to a space where I was really enjoying what I was doing.

So, for now, I am going small and precious again, in watercolour combined with my various evolving techniques producing a work that is (most likely) buried in resin.

This tiny work, I think 5" x 7", was a gift to a friend and marked a comic happening one pizza night in May 2004. The snail decided to invite himself to the outdoor party, and share my drink. Watercolour buried in resin, it is one of my favourites. I need to make more works that mark events, carry messages, are special to me. And if they are special to me, then maybe they will be special for someone else as well.


The wounds are healing.

Zacchi Fizzgig no longer trusts me. He sleeps under my bed in the centre, just out of my reach, so I can't drop disinfectant onto him when he is sleeping. It is a weird sensation when your mattress starts to growl at the same time as the fireworks explode below you in the valley!

This morning Zacchi resisted peanut butter toast crust (his favourite) because he sensed that the new packet from the chemist, delivered to the gate this morning, was for him.

He has reduced the self-harm licking and biting to almost zero. It is a cautious truce; we watch each other like hawks. He doesn't know that I am going to London next week to the preview of the NZ Society art exhibition. We will cross London bridge when the time comes.

For now it is more peanut butter crusts... for me!

The work that is in London:

Drat! That work really doesn't photograph well. Ah well... it's all vanity anyway!

Here is the original collection... May 2005.

PS: On re-reading this I quite like, in a strange kind of way, the integration of a scruffy dog and his nuisance wounds, fireworks in the Liri valley, peanut butter toast and London art exhibitions. It's a bit like life really; it's only when you separate things out that they become even remotely glamorous!

1 September 2008

happy new month

A good day for new things.

Every day is a good day for new beginnings, but the first of the month gives it more emphasis somehow.

I think in New Zealand it is the first day of Spring.

Wishing you lots of sunshine, spring flowers, fun and happiness after your long wet winter!