Beyond rubies

Suddenly it’s almost upon us. The surfaces in the sitting room are filling up with cards, not as many as a few years ago as so many of us have switched to ecards or no cards at all, but enough for MasterB to sweep onto the floor with some regularity.
I have a table covered with presents, mostly ones I have to give, but some exciting packages to open and one for MasterB. A heated blanket, it’s from me, but he doesn’t know about it yet, so don’t say anything.
There’s a lot of talk about Christmas being a time of family togetherness, but I have not had a family Christmas in some years. No, that’s not a cry for sympathy. For all the blood is thicker than water stuff, I am happy, happier actually, spending the Day with friends. Yes, it is sad that my nearest in blood are not my dearest, but that’s the way it works sometimes, and I am fortunate, very fortunate with my friends. You can choose your friends they also say. Do we choose our friends? There seems to me to be some almost magical alchemy that brings us in contact with the people who become our friends. Continue reading


Small Brave Ginger

Come seven o’clock in the morning, Not Cat is a bundle of fizzing energy. Hands outside quilts are leapt on and attacked; toys are brought to the bed and played with rigorously; vocal exercises are practised from piano to full-throated fortissimo; the blind is pushed up and the outside scrutinised.

Vocal Exercises

Collar and bell on, he is allowed to his personal playground. The garden is full of new smells left by foxes and smaller things with longer tails we like to pretend don’t exist. And Sonny may be in residence. It doesn’t matter how many times Sonny tells Not Cat to get lost, my boy simply can’t get over his hero worship and desire to be pals.

King Sonny

He’s more successful with his human friendships. The other day, he met Viola, and took to her immediately. We were in the garden. Viola has corkscrew curls, and Not Cat was fascinated. He sat up on the table and gave them a gentle, exploratory pat, then touched Viola’s nose with his. Sweet. Continue reading


Just home from the first mosaics class of the term. It was well subscribed which is great news, as any class that dips below the required numbers gets axed, such are the economic demands these days.

Most of us were returners. Quite a few of us have been signing up, term after term, for several years. A couple of the new people had been taught by the same teacher in a different college. I had a good chat with a man who comes from Sicily and who had been on holiday in the Puglia, visiting Lecce, where I have a good friend, last year. We admired each other’s work.

It took a few minutes to get into the swing and get sorted with goggles, PVA and tile nippers. It was great to see the familiar faces and half the evening was spent laughing. I got to practise my Kiwi accent as I was sitting next to Nadia. Though she said I sounded very Australian. My favourite word, which could be my mantra, was eeg. I enjoyed muttering it under my breath for several minutes, then trying it in phrases. Eeg and chips. Boiled eeg. Continue reading

Friends and Poetry

I had a lovely day with Mother today.

When I arrived, Aunt and Cecily were there. They visit almost every Saturday. Cecily knows Mother from the church where they both worshipped. They share the same birthday, though twenty-six years apart. Cecily’s husband used to do Mother’s hair. He was a fitness fanatic who watched what he ate with the eye of a hawk and adored Mother. Then eight years ago, he had a huge stroke, and has been childlike ever since. To put it mildly, Cecily has a lot on her plate , and her loyalty to her friendship with Mother is admirable. Their mutual affection is evident, and I know that Mother benefits from her visits. Without Cecily’s dedication, Aunt would not be able to visit either. She’s not going to get a gong, but I do believe she deserves one. Continue reading

Best Birthday Present

It wasn’t a very promising start. Grey skies, rain still falling, temperatures well below the seasonal average. More March than May. I was relieved to find I had closed the car’s sunroof, but it felt like a ‘count your blessings’ day rather than a ‘whoopee’ one. The friends who had planned to visit and I exchanged text messages. Why come if the day was going to be a washout?
But they did. And it was great. More than great; fabulous.
The rain stopped. We went to the pub and had a really good meal. Steve drove back, while Patou and I walked the dog along the footpath.
When your friends enthuse about something and somewhere you have come to love, it’s a great feeling. As the skies turned blue to give us a glorious and entirely unexpected end to the afternoon, they were already planning their next trip here. And buying a boat. We kept Cat and Dog separate by closing the door to the aft cabin where Cat was enjoying his afternoon nap, and passing Dog through the window of the fore cabin. Dog was curious but not aggressive. He modeled Cat’s lifejacket, sniffed the cabin interestedly, and conquered the biscuit ball. None of us had a camera. Next time.
Their son called and asked when he could visit. We laughed and joked; discussed the various family problems we have to deal with; laughed some more.
When they left, I had a warm, fuzzy, contented feeling.

Can You See What It Is Yet?

It was really nice to make just a little piece after all the different elements of the piece I did for the exhibition.
I’ve been thinking about this one for a while, but when I came to do it my image of the tree had changed. I had started to think of it as tree in blossom.
A friend wants to buy it. I suggested a price. She thought it too low. So, without declaring her interest, I asked an opinion from the teacher. She promptly suggested a sum four times higher than I had asked.
But a Friend’s a Friend. And all the beautiful pieces of glass in this are her leftovers. The bits I’ve picked out of her discard pile. So in a way, she’s already paid for part of it.
I think we’ll reach a compromise somewhere near my original price.

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