27 October 2008

zacchi the great hunter

It's hard work picking olives...but a guy has to get involved.

The girls helped too, and a few other people... many hands, and all that stuff...and at the end of the daynobody's stealing these olives...

today I learnt


* that it takes four people a long time to pick 23 kilos of olives off a tall tree
* that Zacchi is a very good watch dog but is overly protective at times
* that it is really good having young folk in the house again

I also learnt how a land mine works, how heavy a New Zealand winter tank uniform is, and how intimidating weapons can be 65 years on from the battles they were used in.

Today I have written to Veterans Associations, to veterans, to other volunteers. I have studied menacing weapons, I have picked olives, and contemplated olive branches.

In my home I have an olive branch that looks tired, dusty and dry. It has been there since Palm Sunday. It was blessed before the ritualistic procession through this parish. I am not Catholic, but I too took an olive branch and carried it home.

In our work for peace we must begin at home. There are plenty of olive branches to share.

Who was it who said something like "We must be the change we want to see in the world"?

*****

PS added Tuesday, borrowed from another blog:

Once you begin to acknowledge random acts of kindness - both the ones you have received and the ones you have given - you can no longer believe that what you do does not matter -Dawna Markova

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26 October 2008

end of the day

Daylight saving ended today.

Sperlonga at sunset... we watch the changing coloursas the fishermen return to the shore.
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25 October 2008

crop cropped


No rain means little oil, but the picking was fun anyway.

24 October 2008

scratches



There's something very satisfying about a day of physical work. I was never really a gardener, but I have always had a large garden. In New Zealand, I must admit, much of the work was done by my dad.

Today, in preparation for the olive picking, all the grass was cut, the weeds trimmed back, the place given a really good spruce-up. Carried away by this, I took the loppers and the secateurs next door and attacked the ivy and the weeds there too.

Now, covered in scratches, itching and bleeding, (blackberry in the ivy, rose thorns in the hedge) and fighting the snuffles from pollen allergies, it feels like a good day's work has been done! It is only 5p.m, but in another life in another country that was time to close the doors and head for home. Here it is time to take a break, freshen up, and head out with friends for an evening of sight-seeing and fun.

My dream life?
No.
A good life?
Yes!
.

23 October 2008

breaking boundaries

Aotearoa...
just

playing in the sand
.

I saw a news report of this some time ago and really loved the concept. OK, so it is nowhere near Waitangi Day, but I guess as election day is approaching rapidly one should think about what being am ex-pat Kiwi really means.
.

trendsetter?

I'm not so good at following fashion. I tend to buy multiples of whatever fits and is comfortable. I wear the same things year after year. Yes, of course I like to look my best on occasions, but mostly comfort takes priority.

But here, for once, I would like to be a trend setter.

We walk along our mountainside road. Often. We are among the hundreds who make a daily trip (or several trips) at varying times of the day. One of the things I love about living here is that I can walk home from a concert at midnight and feel perfectly safe, knowing there are others walking ahead and behind.

I try to wear light colours at night, and encourage my guests to do the same. Lately though, when walking Zacchi at random evening hours, I have taken to wearing the most glamorous of garbs, a fluorescent safety vest. I like life, you see, and as a driver I know how very difficult it is to see pedestrians dressed in black walking along certain unlit stretches of our road.

Regular walkers have noticed. I heard one say "Look at la signora, she is wearing a vest". The tone was one of approval.

I hope we are trend setters, Zacchi and I. Life is too short as it is.

Long live fluoro orange with reflective strips!

***

By the way, here it is compulsory to have a reflective vest and a safety triangle in the car within reach of the driver. With the amount of traffic on these roads there are a few accidents, mostly minor, and traffic must be slowed. It's a good rule.

22 October 2008

happiness is...

beautiful white stucco!

Grazie, Alberto. I do believe my house will become a home, and I will be living here, not merely camping in the rubble!

My favourite thing for now? Workmen who arrive on time, who smoke outside, and who are thoroughly pleasant and professional!

Even Zacchi was impressed, and didn't bark once!
.

21 October 2008

a timely gift

When the going gets tough it is easy to think the glass is half empty.

This morning as I packed my life into a corner of the room, watched by an anxious and (quite justifiably) mistrusting Zacchi, the dusty task was depressingly lonely. Until...

I was given a reminderthat actuallymy cup runneth over!
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20 October 2008

beauty

...is in the eye of the beholder. Zacchi was totally unimpressed with my find, refusing to pose by the yellow stuff!

19 October 2008

rations

65 years on a mountain top

18 October 2008

fishing

At the market, Wednesday
Fishing, as I prefer it, has nothing to do with catching fish.
Eating, however, is a different story altogether.
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17 October 2008

no school today

There is a strike. Zacchi and I saw school children heading away from school before 10am yesterday and we were confused. I have yet to understand why there is a strike. This is unfortunate for children who already feel the need to get regular private tuition to reach the standards essential for university study.

The bonus is, of course, that I may have extra Italian lessons from my most patient teacher, the rascal. A couple of years ago his nick-name was "the tsunami", but when it comes to helping me with pronunciation he becomes as persistent yet gentle as the rolling waves of the incoming tide lapping on the shore. I hope I was equally dedicated when he was my English student :-)

For almost a year I taught two young rascals together. Among my teaching "aids" were a ladder, a fire, a kitchen... anything to make it memorable and interesting! When it comes to requesting food in English these two have the most perfect manners and appealing smiles. If you were to turn my winter floor mats over you would find an alphabet game drawn on the back. The game involved competition and lots of physical agility! Learning the alphabet is crucial... the letters might look the same, but they are actually very different.

Back to the beginning I go...

16 October 2008

fast learner

A couple of times recently when Zacchi has been wanting to come out with me, because of his cunning and devious plans to avoid being put outside, he has been locked in the house instead of being free to run and play.

This morning we had a lengthy walk and he was reasonably content with most of this, not doing his "stubborn mule" impersonation until we got to the school. It had its funny moments though! He was rather irked when, in trying to put it across me and get extra freedom (he was off the leash along the road so that he could enjoy the speed that he loves), he ended up snookering himself.

He runs off just before I get close enough to bend down and snip on the lead. Mostly it is a game, but occasionally he is naughty and I do get a little cross with him when I think he might be in danger. This morning when I decided that we were getting too close to the corner for drivers to spot us and slow down (which is of course what we expect!) he ducked down under a gate and sprinted away.

If only you could have seen the look on his face when he realised that he had to come back through that same gap to get back onto the road, and mum was waiting with the lead! He flattened himself into the ground just out of reach on the other side of the gate, but it was no use! Eventually he had to come through, and be controlled again.

Luckily he doesn't hold grudges, and soon we were trotting happily again. However, when I was going to pop out - great expression that is - I was going to pop out to buy some more storage boxes, Zacchi weighed up his options and decided to take himself outside. I didn't get off that lightly though, he still managed to flatten himself into the step, look up at me reprovingly, and make me feel a heel for leaving him behind.

That's it! I'm through with emotional blackmail! From now on in it is "tough love" everywhere!

15 October 2008

hunkering down...

Recent email correspondences with two very different people have had me looking more closely at the wide range of dictionary definitions available in hard copy and on line. If life is not fraught enough already, try adding a little long-distance banter or cultural differences and sort them out by email with conflicting dictionary definitions!

I playfully called a friend a "roué or cad" recently (as sung by Rolf in Sixteen Going on Seventeen, from The Sound of Music) and THEN, after he had equally airily accepted the adjectives, looked up the meanings. (Yes, he did offer me food and wine when I was 16 or 17, and it is possible he thought he deserved the descriptors!) The definitions were harsher than I had intended, the etymology fascinating!

Roué
Etymology: French, literally, broken on the wheel, from past participle of rouer to break on the wheel, from Medieval Latin rotare, from Latin, to rotate; from the feeling that such a person deserves this punishment
Date: 1800
: a man devoted to a life of sensual pleasure

Cad
Etymology: English dialect, unskilled assistant, short for Scots caddie
Date: 1833
1 : an omnibus conductor
2 : a man who acts with deliberate disregard for another's feelings or rights

The other word, not used in jest so it did cause me some problems of definition, was "novelette".

I mention these only because, after spending some time packing away summer clothes and preparing part of my house for plaster and paint, I typed in the title "hunkering down". I felt as though I was hunkering down for the winter, although protective more than squirrel-like perhaps. But... after "novelette", I decided to google the phrase "hunkering down". I'm not sure that that is what I am doing at all!

However, I am going to continue "hunkering down", but this post title means only what *I* intend it to mean, in my very own interpretation of the phrase.

14 October 2008

a little adventure

...as Zacchi may have seen it.

Today was sooooo exciting! This afternoon mum took me out in the car with her NZ friends. While the friends climbed up to the little church in the cave in the Melfa Gorge mum and I went to visit my other holiday home where I stayed when mum was in America. I got lots of attention, but I wasn't allowed to chase the cats. Oh, that was so frustrating!

On the way home mum decided that the kiwis had been well enough behaved to allow them to have a drink at the local bar and be real villagers for the evening. I came too. I was so scared because she parked the car right by the butchers shop, the scene of my REALLY big adventure (remember that terrible time?)

Well, I trembled and shook and told her I didn't want to come with her, I would just stay in the car thanks, with the doors locked. She said no. She asked the men sitting on the seats if the big dogs were around, and they said no, it was safe for me. (Some friends they turned out to be!)

Well, we went to the bar and a cute little dog came along. I didn't want to play even though it wagged its tail, just in case it was a spy for the big dogs, so finally it sat at another table. Then a bigger dog came. Mum kept me under the table and I hugged her soooo close! I didn't move an inch! Nobody could tell I was even there!

When we went home I didn't want to cross to the car. Mum pulled and pulled on my lead, but she refused to pick me up. Mum's friend lifted me into the car. She said my heart was beating like anything, and I was a poor wee mite. (I think she likes me!) At home I was so incredibly happy, a different dog they reckoned!

Now when I see mum I just grovel at her feet, I am so cute. I roll over to have my tummy scratched, I put my head on the side, I look up appealingly. I am "growing up" they say. I am learning my manners and being more sensible. I can (mostly) be trusted to run free.

I thought that if I did everything right mum would take me out more often. Now I think that I will do everything right and hope she lets me stay at home!

the moon


The moon was early over the castle ruins tonight. A walk up to catch the sunset was a little disappointing, smoke from hillside and garden fires spoiling the atmosphere and creating a thick haze, but the early moon made up for it a little.

The work on the ruins of the castle of the family of Thomas Aquinas continues. There are very strong wooden "board-walks" which make access safer and easier, but which dominate in their new splendour and detract from the site. The magic has gone.

The weather has warmed up again. Good for picking olives but worrying for the winter. We need rain, and later snow; we need water. Life is about balance, and somehow the seasons are no longer balanced. Autumn is here after a long hot summer, but it hasn't bought the October rain.

Zacchi was doing his best to charm the visitors today, being so well behaved when we went up to the little church in the cave, showing how fast he can run, bound and skip, and even being good near all those terrible cats. It was hard work trying to contain himself as the steaks cooked for dinner tonight, but he remembered his table manners after some strong reminders and was rewarded with tidbits, finally settling to sleep after a long and exciting day.

It's tough being a dog when you have to win over each lot of Kiwis. This pair is beginning to melt, falling for the waif-like pleas. Ann, you knew it, they couldn't resist. Try as they might to be stern, Zacchi wins again... gosh darn it!

ZZzzzzzzzz.....

12 October 2008

a mixed day

Not a game of two halves, but a day of many parts.

Finally... today after a month of "keeping an eye out", and a few days of real searching, I found the vineyard composition I was looking for. I am getting braver about asking folk if I can walk amongst their vines looking for the right light, the perfect background, returning at different times of the day. Now amongst my photos I think I have everything I need. A little bit from here, a little from there... taking care to keep the light source genuine and the background a mix of Italy and New Zealand. In this search I was constantly reminded of the similarities between the two countries. Only the man-made structures give away the origin of the photographs.

Using the reference photos I have compiled over the last two weeks it is on with the drawing... the composition is a challenge as to get the pickers in the scene I need the ends of the rows, and they don't sit well with the rest of the composition. However, I do like a challenge!

This painting will be completed in New Zealand, it is too large to transport easily. Now it is off to the drawing board ... well no, actually, it's out to dinner with visiting Kiwis... I have done enough work for the day, it's time to stop. As my grandmother would say,
"It is Sunday, after all".
.

11 October 2008

last night...

Last night was the auction of artworks at NZ House in London, the NZ Society fundraiser to help save the New Zealand Plover. Check this out! There were not so many of us represented... it must have been some night out! The last auction raised over £7,000, this one over £10,000. Convert that into the poor little $NZ and that's a useful amount of money for the project. ($NZ1.00 buys .44 cents Euro... or 100 euro buys $NZ 226.00 ... ouch!)

***

While the auction took place I sat up on the roof, in one of my favourite thinking places, wondering how it was going. Did my works sell? Did they sell well? All those doubts and insecurities. I was glad I wasn't there to watch.

I may have said recently that Les Miserables was my favourite musical. Fiddler on the Roof must equal it. As I sat up on the roof, (yes, literally) and watched the village lights go off one by one I hummed the music and I wondered yet again what it is that makes me want to be "up". Up a tree, up a mountain, up on a roof, or alternatively looking up while flying a kite... always up. I lived in a river valley as a child. I loved playing under trees, building fairy houses in mossy banks, swimming in the river. But the pull of the hills was strong. After our first house in town we bought on a little hilly rise. Then it was to a bigger hill. And now, a hillside with a wonderful view over the valley.

I still want to fly. One day I will learn, and then I will really be up.
A friend who loves to fly is passionate about flying solo after dark, hurtling into the unknown, a tiny capsule in a huge black space. I think I'll stick to daytime... for starters, anyway!
.

the South Pacific

Happy birthday mate :-)

*****

And also, from the other side of the world, a quotation from a Creative New Zealand poster to wake up to. Thanks TK.

"I think it's hard for a lot of Pacific Islanders to understand art, in the European sense, because it's taken aside and kept separate. Art isn't a separate thing in our culture. It's one and the same. It's everything you do."
Lily Laita.

I can't think of Lily's work without remembering with delight the lectures on Pacific art by curator Giles Peterson, and then of course the mind wanders back to Urban Pacific. Click on the circles to see the art works... I particularly enjoy the subtleties of Niu by Taylor Kingi.

Of course, New Zealand does come to Italy. Join me in Venice for the 2009 Biennale, my Kiwi artist friends? Incidentally, well done yet again, Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design. Another excellent "end of year" review!
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10 October 2008

slightly incredulous

Today I am feeling 'ever-so-slightly incredulous'. That's probably an oxymoron, but never mind. I am forgetting more than I am learning at the moment.

There are some interesting words when we stop to think about them. In my opinion incredulous is one of them. I was going to give you a dictionary reference but found that I don't like any of the on-line definitions. I've always been a Collins English Dictionary girl myself (hardcover, well-thumbed volume). On-line definitions all include "skeptical", but my use of the word incredulous is less negative. No, OK, I will stop here and not explain why... but language really is fascinating!

***

I have finally accepted that I have to learn Italian from scratch rather than attempt to translate from English, so that takes me back to about the "Janet and John" level... or possibly "Peter and Sally". In terms of understanding I have probably got as far as "Hungry Lambs", or maybe could try "Sliding and Flying". You simply cannot translate into English a lot of Italian expressions, so it is back to the school books and junior readers for me...

***

It is not a day for nostalgia, but an email this morning proclaimed that Wairoa has the second biggest movie screen in New Zealand. It is not that I doubted the source, but... one does have to check these things oneself, really! In the process I found a lovely site, advertising locum positions. Sorry, none available in Wairoa, but you could check out my "old home town" which still "looks the same..." although the last time I was there the trains had stopped running.

Home is not a place, home is where the heart is. It's true.
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red onions

The farmer sells vegetables at the door on a Friday. My kindly neighbour always lets me know, pushes me to the front of the queue, makes sure I am not short-changed. This morning she also gave me a very welcome gift, a bag of newspapers to light my fire. Very few buy newspapers here, they are not so easy to come by.

Today I wanted white onions, but happily settled for red. Everyone around the village is feeling down. One has vertigo, and fears a bad prognosis. Another fears a stomach ulcer, too much stress. The young one upstairs has the flu, aches and fever. Two elderly ladies hobble about, seeking company to stay "up". Another good friend said to me last week "Kay, winter is always sad. We need the sun".
I think we need a good helping of Tiramisu ("pull me up" - tirare = to pull, mi = me, su = up).

I guess I look very lucky to them, able to fly to New Zealand as winter approaches. But I will be back, and will share the worst of the winter with them. It wasn't so bad, last year, I expected worse. People still went walking, bundled up in jackets, carrying umbrellas.

The rapid change of seasons is affecting us, after a summer that was too long, too hot. So now, in autumn, it seemed appropriate that the onions were red, although I did reduce my order by half. We need colour, we need light, we need the sun.

I bought myself a bright pink jacket in London. I think it was to satisfy the inner child. I will wear it happily, when it is too cold for my bright vest, to scare away the gloom.

This afternoon I shall steal more golden moments, earl grey tea with Zacchi in the shafts of sunlight. We will savour the change of season, and think of things past. This morning, however, I am the lady with the bag of red onions in her studio. I like that. Who said we should always have exactly what we want? Sometimes, when we don't think clearly, we want the wrong things!
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9 October 2008

loose ends

It's time to be more thorough. There are too many loose ends needing attention before I trip on some of them. It's list time!

Yes, I am procrastinating, I don't want to see the length of the list!

No, I wont write the list here, I am going to write it in Italian. Maybe. But the first things on it will be paintings needing just that little bit more attention before they go to their new homes. Three of them are portraits, and the other a poppy one. Once they are out of my creative space the next will be easy, wont it?

But first, a good old cup of tea. Jan, will you put the kettle on? Or shall I? Best bone china, of course! (Ooooh have you ever tried Betty's Earl Grey Tea from North Yorkshire? It is the BEST!)

This morning (when I returned from my third hunting expedition with the camera) I began to work from photographs taken for a larger painting. But I digress. That's when I decided that the loose ends must be tied, nothing must intrude because this work is going to be fun! Sunshine, grapes, good friends... it might even involve a glass of wine or two. Real, or painted?

I'm not telling!

PS: Did Earl Grey ever go to China? Does it matter? Does the bergamot come from Italy? All I need to know is that the infusion "is believed to keep mind, body and soul in perfect harmony" (that is, according to Bettys label). I'm not arguing with that, as I anticipate my stolen moments in the autumn sun, cup in hand, Zacchi beside me, and only the sound of birds, insects and the fountain next door. Sheer bliss!
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really really truly...

Do you remember when we were young - yes, we were once - that if we wanted to check that something was real we would say "Really truly? Really really truly?" and sometimes even "Really really RE..ally truly?"

An affirmative meant "really, truly!"

It is 10 past midnight. I am just home from dinner by the sea. It was good. Very good. Very very good. Even very very VE..ry good.

But please, when I say I can't eat four courses after 8pm, please believe me. I mean it. Really truly. Really really truly. Yes, really, really, RE..ally truly!

Now I need to go for a long long walk. But I wont. I will stay home with a delighted Zacchi. I am tired. I have eaten too much. It doesn't matter how good it was. Enough is enough. Really, really truly!

7 October 2008

not a still life

How many times have I waited, or arrived, at the Cassino railway station? Only today did this register with me. Beautiful, tranquil; out of place or where it is needed?


Why did it register with me today, when I have walked past it so many times before? Where was my head those other times?

6 October 2008

in New Zealand

PRESS RELEASE

Make Your Mark For Mental Health:
Mental Health Awareness Week
October 6 – 12, 2008

Mental Health Awareness Week kicks off on October 6 this year, with “Make Your Mark For Mental Health” as the theme.

The Mental Health Foundation, who organises the annual event, says the theme is all about taking action, working with friends, family and work colleagues to promote wellbeing, celebrate difference and value diversity.

“We all have a role to play in making our mark for mental health,” says Judi Clements, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation. “We can start by making good mental health a priority in our lives, which is just as important as looking after our physical health. In fact, the two are quite strongly linked.

“In the workplace, employers should be looking for ways to reduce stress and work with employees to promote wellbeing. For those experiencing mental illness, we’d like to see the health sector focusing on recovery rather than symptoms, and for mental health service users themselves to feel empowered to lead that recovery.”

With one in five New Zealanders experiencing some form of mental illness in any one year, the Foundation also hopes that people will be encouraged to talk about their own recovery journeys, in order to inspire others.

Sophia Elise, Manager of the New Zealand Art Guild, is one person who has decided to speak publicly about her experience of post-natal depression. Sophia was one of 88 artists who contributed to ‘Reach Out’, a collaborative Guild artwork which has been used as the main image for Mental Health Awareness Week this year.

“It really illustrates the importance of making connections,” Sophia says. “The one thing I wished I had been able to do when I had post-natal depression was to reach out, to be able to tell people without fear of judgement.”

The Foundation is encouraging New Zealanders to speak up for diversity and social inclusion and realise that what they do makes a difference.

“We’d like to see people challenging any stigma and discrimination about mental illness they encounter, whether it’s at work, among friends and family, online, or in the media,” Judi Clements concludes.

Mental Health Awareness Week begins on Monday October 6, culminating on World Mental Health Day on Friday October 10; endorsed by the World Federation for Mental Health and marked in over 150 countries.

A calendar of events planned for the week throughout New Zealand and supporting information about the theme can be found at www.mentalhealth.org.nz .
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5 October 2008

4 October 2008

the beach

Today... the seaside. (Click on photos for a larger image, especially the one of the seagulls. Aren't they wonderful?).
I walked too slowly, ate too much... AND I said no to a gelato!
Lately all I seem to do is eat... I am adapting far too well to this place. Luckily, tomorrow there is a mountain to climb!




'Growing' against the flow? Mmmm... I wonder if that is a metaphor?

Click here to see the same beach in mid-July.

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3 October 2008

following her passion


in Alabama this weekend.

from fun to... love

It struck me as being interesting that a lot of the things I love to do did not make it to my list of "fun" things.

I love to play the piano, albeit very simply. I love to go to musicals. I love to sing, I love to listen to music. I love to paint in watercolours, I love to read. I love to debate, I love to write. I love to swim in a pool, walk along a beach, watch the sun go down, watch the sun rise...

These things are not "fun", light hearted diversions. These things fill different needs. (I wrote "mere fun", then deleted the "mere").

Music fills my soul, lifts my spirits, changes my mood. Playing the piano soothes me, calms me, takes me away from myself. I could go on, but that's enough about me. It is much more important that you write your own lists. What is fun, what is essential for your well-being, what keeps your life in balance?

I turned on the television to listen to some Italian. Instead I got a song in English, "What the world needs now is love, sweet love, that's the only thing that there's just too little of..." (see Wikipedia entry).

It makes you think a bit, really. If we were all doing more of the things we love we would be far too busy and far too happy to be down in spirit, to be weary in step, to be gloomy. Why can't we all say "Sorry, no time to be miserable now, I am far too busy doing something I love!" How did the movie "Gloomy Sunday" become such a hit? Give me "happy-ever-after"s every time!

Once upon a time... (fill in your own script) ... and they all lived happily ever after.


(Zacchi says "I LOVE chasing cats... is that OK?" No, Zacchi, no, the cats LOVE to be left in peace... now that's a debate we must have some day!)

2 October 2008

on having fun

A conversation with my life coach (yes, my daughter) this evening left me wondering what my definition of fun is. OK, here goes. No, this is not a definition, but a list of some of the things that are fun for me:

flying my kite
blowing bubbles
friendly banter and laughter with good mates
riding in a landrover over seemingly impossible terrain
balancing on a wall
climbing trees
playing scrabble
singing "rounds"
dancing
clambering from rock to rock beside a river.

It has just occurred to me that all of these things are from my childhood. Move over, Peter Pan. I don't want to grow up either.

Rob Guest

A very special man.

Born in England, essentially a Kiwi, but latterly lost to Australia with its bigger entertainment scene, Rob Guest died today, aged 58.

From "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat" in Matamata, with Angela Taverner as narrator, to Phantom of the Opera, Rob Guest was more than a singer, more than a star. His pleasant voice was perhaps less than great; his interpretation of the roles superb.

He had charisma, was special. Dare I say that I thought he was a simple, good person? To see him off stage, to watch him mix with children, was to see a genuinely decent, ordinary but charismatic person who happened to have a wonderful voice and the gift of being an entertainer.

My favourite performance in any musical or opera I have ever seen has to be Rob Guest as Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables". "Music of the Night " might be more famous, but the songs from "Les Mis" carry much more content for me.

The world needs more people like him; how sad that he was taken from us too soon.

1 October 2008

wednesday

banana cake day.
ate too much.

capital letters are not important.
did I say that? or did i say that?

a "pinch and a punch" for you-know-who...

it is bath time, zacchi, and time for the treatment. you know the rules... first of the month and all that it entails. speaking of tails, don't shower me with water this time.

we are tired, zacchi and i. we think it is time to smell the roses, or the mint, or the rosemary, or anything else growing in those pots on the step. ok? that's good, we knew you would agree.

we are ok really, just need to rest a bit; too much food, not enough exercise, too much driving, not enough walking, too much talking, not enough sleeping.

this week the mosquitoes have become monsters, and suck blood through clothing. in this peaceful home it is time for war.


Later:

I went out to get my new tyres. Apparently the brand I had could not be found. It has been over a week, and I have nagged almost daily, so I guess maybe it is so. So, remembering what I learnt all those years ago before I left home at the tender age of 17 (ooh... that's a really long time ago), I purchased two new tyres, can't drive safely on unmatched treads. I should be really safe for the winter on brand new front tyres.

As I drove down the hill a big orange ball bounced across the road, bounced a little more, settled and rolled... crossed the road and rolled some more... not a child or youth in sight, it was dancing alone. I followed carefully, it made me smile. The sky had been particularly blue today, the ball was a rich red-orange, and somehow it reminded me that the simple things in life are the best. Opposites on the colour wheel, blue and orange. It reminded me of a song...

wait for it...

the mornin' sun is shinin' like a red rubber ball.

Oh, I think it's gonna be alright
Yeah, the worst is over now
The mornin' sun is shinin' like a red rubber ball

***
Sometimes I let other people take all my strength, sap my energy. I must remember to bounce a ball, fly my kite, and keep my spirits up. I called in on the rascal and watched him playing ball with another young friend. It was good for me, but would have been even better if I had joined in too. Grandma was happy with the banana cake.

I think it is time for a day at the beach. I need to reconnect with nature. The beach on Saturday, a mountain on Sunday? Sounds OK to me!

OH! I nearly forgot. As I neared the town a figure was standing on the road, leaning on his staff, watching two separate flocks of sheep and goats grazing in the paddock. The traffic slowed to go around him, he didn't move. I was torn between looking at the way the sunlight was catching the animals, or soaking up the beams from the shepherd's smile. Time slowed also for me. I really do love living here.
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