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Daily existence seems to be throwing memories at me from all angles. The most recent was when I broke an egg into the pan, this time not letting it fall down the side of the stove. That experience taught me to take care when cracking eggs into the pan. This time the egg was a double-yolker, and it’s many years since I came across one of those. It reminded me of something from the past.
About 40 years ago, when the family consisted of me and my four daughters, I used to buy eggs from a poultry farm, where double yolkers were quite common. One day, not needing the usual tray of 30, I bought a carton of 12 eggs, and there were 21 yolks in them.
One egg had 3 yolks, 7 were double yolkers, and 4 were just ordinary single-yolked eggs. I had never seen anything like it before, neither have I seen a repeat of it since. I felt that I got my money’s worth that day.
I love the days that bring back old memories of things I haven’t thought about for years. Nearly all the things I rescue from the past were enjoyable or special. I never dwell on anything that wasn’t pleasant at the time, those things are better forgotten.
Tags: Memories Eggs Yolks
A bus arrived at my gate at 11am this morning, bound for Auckland City, where the Coronation Street Stage Show was being performed. For the uninitiated, Coronation Street is Britain’s longest running soap, and its 50 years is being celebrated with this live show. Only one member of the original cast is still in it, and he’s 80 years old.
I haven’t always followed the TV show. I took a huge break of about 30 years somewhere in the middle, and picked it up again about a decade ago. I now never miss an episode, and if necessary I can use the convenient "TV on Demand" facility and catch up. Having read on Google that only 6 actors were going to play 56 different roles, I wondered which of them it would be.
None of them. None of those still acting in Coro St, that is. The 80-year-old, William Roache, was present in person to introduce the show, and to offer indications of what was happening. The idea was to cover story lines during its 50 years, which obviously has to be pruned to something shorter than "Gone With the Wind" to fit into a two-hour show.
Six actors that I’ve never heard of performed hilarious acts taking-off incidents from the original storylines, with verve and aplomb and a whopping degree of sheer talent. They were brilliant. The script allowed for them to identify the original characters, and their costumes were suitably give-aways if we had any doubts. We "saw" old stories over again. Whether originally funny or tragic, they were put before us complete with amazing props, such as a bus, a tram, and a car trundling across the stage. The woman who got electrocuted with a hair dryer portrayed the event magnificently, her actions accompanied by great sparks and billows of smoke....lots of the scenes had smoke, fire and whatever else they were supposed to have.
The actors just rolled tables onto the stage when needed, and swapped from one role to another without missing a beat. The backdrop was excellent, and included a staircase, and the lighting was superbly managed between scenes. This was a highly polished professional performance, and a "must" for any Coronation Street fan.
Since I don’t get out much these days, I’m glad I took the opportunity while it was there, and booked my way into this. I was brought home right to my gate at 6.10pm and it was still daylight. Half an hour later it was raining, so I didn’t even have to water the garden. Things went my way well and truly this weekend.
Tags: Memories Coro St Show 50years
I love nostalgia. Today on my way home from downtown I stopped at our town’s museum, located on the side of the street that I seldom have occasion to ride on. The first thing I saw was an extensive display of Old Country Roses bone china, from the Royal Albert collection. I used to have some of this pattern myself, it’s the most popular of all the Royal Albert china.
Moving on from there, was a wall filled with hanging boards, displaying old photos. I could look at those for days, especially since these were local photos and I had known some of the people in them. Old drays, old milk cans, old churchyards, old boats, old trains, I loved all of it.
Then we had old dolls and their clothes, early washing machines, and when I saw the old hair curling machine I wished I’d had my camera with me. I never would have guessed the purpose of that substantial heap of ironmongery!
The part that interested me in particular was NZ money, as I’m old enough to remember, and to have used, the old pounds, shillings and pence currency that we all used prior to 1967 when NZ went decimal. At first we had $1 and $2 notes, which have since been discarded in favour of $1 and $2 coins, but the piece de resistance was the old green Ten Pound Note. So huge! I rarely had one of those in my possession, that was a lot of money back in the early 1960’s, and it would never fit into the purse that I keep my miserable little equivalent $20 notes in today.
The visit to this museum is one I must make again, if only to pay the $2 entrance fee that I managed to overlook, and had to be told about as I was leaving. I didn’t have any money with me. My reason for being out at all, was to attend the monthly meeting of the Mobility Scooter Group, and we don’t need money for that, it’s covered in our annual fee. So after Easter, when things are open again, I will call in and pay my entrance to the museum twice, and have another look while I’m there.
Tags: Memories Nostalgia Museum
If it weren’t for the photos I have of my daughters wearing clothes that I made for them many years ago, I wouldn’t believe that I ever managed to do the family sewing. These days I can’t do anything right with my sewing machine. The problem is that it never was my sewing machine, it belonged to my late husband’s first wife, and she was a professional seamstress. I have fought with the thing ever since it floated into my orbit.
Today’s job was perfectly simple. I have done the same thing twice before, but Lyn was alive at the time and able to control the diabolical monster. All I wanted was to patch an elbow on an old sweatshirt...yes, I do have reasons for wanting it patched instead of just throwing it out. These sweatshirts are quality garments, purchased 20 years ago. I can’t find anything like them now, because all we have is Chinese junk. Google has yet to catch up with the fact that Chinese junk is more than just a boat, it includes all Chinese products. I keep my old patched garments for wearing when doing activities like hair colouring and painting.
So I got the machine set up, and began sewing. I have done a number of strange things before, such as getting thread caught in the works and taking the whole mechanism to pieces to release it, only to find that I couldn’t reassemble it. On that occasion the machine remained idle for months until one of my kids turned up, took one look, and put it all together.
Today I did something less drastic, I got the material jammed in the pressure foot. Once I discovered which way to turn the screwdriver, it was easy enough to remove the foot, although not so easy to persuade the material out of it. That exercise left the needle unthreaded. Well I’m not good at threading a machine needle, and had recourse to the bright green nail polish my grand-daughter gave me four Christmases ago. It acts like a sort of cotton viagra.
Away we went again, getting on really well, when the cotton broke. Back for the nail polish again. I’m so glad I didn’t follow my original instinct and throw it out when I found out how hard it is to remove from fingernails.
By this time the patch was half on. And by this time the machine was obviously aware that I was winning and it wasn’t having any, so it kept breaking the cotton. OK, be like that! I moved into the other room with my tools of trade and finished the patch by hand. Tee Hee! Hell can freeze over before I will be tempted to drag that heavy monster out of its cave again.
Tags: Sewing Machine Job
I rarely post blogs any more, except on special occasions. Today is one of them. It is the anniversary of the day that I met my late husband. My NOTH friends already know that I use a special page to help me cope with this loss; it’s another NOTH account called barb-lyn, and anyone can visit and leave a comment.
While listening to a variety of artists on YouTube today, I was thinking how great it was to have a husband who could, and did, play and sing for me on request. Lyn could only with difficulty be dragged away from musical instrument, and I revelled in the entertainment that was always on tap for me.
I don’t actually like most music, or what passes for music these days. I’m addicted to the music that used to predominate until I was about 35, and then a different era seemed to begin and I didn’t appreciate most of it any more, but I enjoy the old songs just as much when sung by modern musicians.
Lyn and I shared a love of the same kind of music, and we both played by ear. Our lives as musicians was so easy and pleasant, because there was never any pressure. We played because we wanted to, not because we had to earn from it. I now have nobody who can play or sing for me, so I spend a fair amount of time enjoying YouTube.
Don’t I wish that Lyn had recorded his music so that I could now enjoy hearing him again? No. Strange as it may seem, I don’t think I could cope with that. I don’t need it. I can hear him in my mind any time I want to, and it’s hard enough losing him without accentuating the loss by having to listen to the voice I will never hear again. I know I’m not like other people, Lyn told me that often enough!
My tribute page is therefore filled with accounts of our happy occasions, and a slideshow of our photos over the years. Those are what I want and need to remember. I add to the page occasionally, and remove items to make room for new ones. There’s a link on my kiwibarb page so people can find it easily.
4th January 2013.
Tags: Memories Music
This is not a new blog, I posted it once before and it was subsequently deleted. Being the Christmas season, and with many different members now on The Hill, I have decided to post it again.
Isn't it strange how a random sight, song or event can trigger a deeply-buried memory and give you a delightful peek into the past, all the more pleasurable for being so unexpected.
That's what happened to me today, on one of our gloomy sunless windswept winter days, with little to recommend it except the absence of rain.
Having arrived early for an appointment, I picked up a magazine and saw a picture of a very familiar beach. Memories came flooding back of the time we impulsively circumnavigated the island where we used to live.
It was the afternoon of Christmas Day, and our visitors had gone home. Lyn and I went down to our boat in the bay, and our friend Colin was there in his boat. We got chatting and Colin remarked that he had never been all the way around the island by boat. We hadn't either, so what were we waiting for! The sun smiled down, the smooth water sparkled, we had nothing else that required urgent attention, so we all piled into Colin's boat and took off.
I know some people dislike boats. For those who can appreciate them, a trip in a boat on New Zealand waters in the height of summer is an experience not to be missed. I don't know which part of it was the best. The glorious weather, the company, the freedom, the beckoning sands at each bay we passed on the way, the superb landscape, the beer and wine and cigarettes, the joy of speed, or all of it put together. This was a trip we did about 30 years ago in conditions that no longer exist. Never again will we encounter, at the same time, all of these components of a magic day.
We stopped at a few of the little bays on the way. Some of them could only be accessed by boat, unless you were prepared to walk a considerable distance from the road and make your way downhill on foot, to the shore. Sometimes we walked on the beach for a short distance, and then recalled what we were supposed to be doing, and got back on the boat to complete our mission to go right around the island.
In due course we arrived at Nudie Bay, so called because permission had been sought and granted for those so inclined to occupy a small stretch of beach as a nudist venue. The nudists could only be seen from the water by passing boaties. Nudie Bay brought to mind the time an old lady whose house was on a hill overlooking the bay, called the Police because there were rude people on the beach.
An officer went to her house, looked out from her deck, and declared that he couldn't see anybody or anything out of place. The old lady handed him a pair of binoculars and told him to look through those!
Having passed Nudie Bay, we had navigated about three-quarters of the island, and the sea got a little choppy at the turning point. Nothing much, just a slight indication that we had altered course. There are so many interesting sights around that island. We didn't see any porpoises that day, but lots of seabirds were about. We didn't have a camera either, in those days we rarely spared a thought for 30 years into the future when photos would be so precious. We didn't have cell phones either, but we had a radio, and could listen to music with no intrusive ads. Proper music. Well, that's a contentious point, since appreciation of any of the arts is a matter of personal choice. I'll just say it was our kind of music.
All too soon, we were back in our own bay, where we started from, and the three of us could then say that we had circumnavigated the island. We made a memory that day.
Tags: Memories Boats Bays Summer Christmas
It's Labour Weekend in New Zealand, and with it has come some unseasonable weather with howling gales in some parts of the country and high winds everywhere else.
My garage has double wooden doors, and I only need to open one of them to back Runabout in there. I did that yesterday, and a sudden particularly vicious gust of wind slammed the open door into the other one, so that they are jammed together so that I can no longer use them. I can always get out a small side door, which is too narrow for Runabout (my scooter). My efforts to rectify the situation failed, and son-in-law is coming to my rescue today.
This morning a further disaster hit, when I tipped over an almost full coffee mug and generously decorated my keyboard, desk, and all the papers that were on it.
I didn't know where to start, so I turned the keyboard upside down and coffee poured onto the floor. I put the keyboard down and got an old towel and let the coffee run onto that. The keyboard light was still on, so I was hopeful that once I got it dry it would still be usable. One of they keys fell out, and I later found it on the floor.
Desktop needed a great deal of mopping up, including beneath the monitor stand, and I finished it off with the hair dryer. I now have the cleanest desk I've had in months, and I'm using my cordless keyboard until I'm satisfied that my preferred one is completely dry. I do not like the cordless one, and should it transpire that I have totally messed up my corded one, I will buy another.
Labour Weekend doesn't end until Monday night, meaning that I have the rest of Saturday and then two more days in which to perpetrate further disasters. I'm thinking that it might be safer to spend them in bed. I don't drink coffee in bed.
Tags: Disaster Windy Coffee Keyboard
We count the hours. We anticipate happy events, and dread unpleasant ones. We spend a lot of our lives waiting. We wait for buses and trains, for the alarm clock to go off, for a wide range of appointments, for expected phone calls, for visitors. We wait in supermarket queues, we even wait for the rain to stop. We wish things would hurry up.
All too soon, our wishes are granted, and what we have been waiting for finally happens. All too soon, because amongst the desired events we also get the unwanted ones.
For me, the unwanted event happened two years ago today, when my cherished husband succumbed to cancer, the vicious disease that seems bent on winding its tentacles around as many victims as possible before someone manages to conquer it once and for all.
I never thought for a moment that I could continue to exist without Lyn, and often used to tell him that I wanted to die first, because my need of him was greater than his need of me. He disagreed, but he was a much more independent person than I am.
I think he would approve of the efforts I have made in learning to live alone, in a totally different manner than the happy carefree life that I was accustomed to. I have very few friends in my new lifestyle. I no longer play music in public, and the places we used to visit are out of my reach without the transport we used to have, and most of our longtime friends are now deceased.
Loneliness is a situation that widows and widowers just have to deal with. Our spouses are never coming back, so we have to carve out a new setup that doesn’t include them. Eventually the impulse to tell the departed one things you would like to share, becomes less frequent, but I still talk to Lyn two years down the track, and can’t envisage a time when I will stop talking to him, as there is nobody else here to talk to. The tribute page I created for him in NOTH, my barb-lyn page, has been a help by letting me relive the happy times we shared. I have now put a video on that page, of an Isla Grant song called “An Accordion Started to Play”. It’s romantic, and it’s dance music, both features making it an ideal addition to our special page. We were both incurably romantic in our private lives, we loved to play this kind of dance music, and accordions were the first instruments we played together before Lyn bought his keyboards.
I seem to have failed in my effort to get Lyn out of my life. He won’t go, or I can’t release him. I could spend the rest of my life hopelessly entangled in a fantasy of my own making, simply because I don’t like living without my man. It has occurred to me that my tribute page, which gives me so much pleasure, might be holding me back from moving on, but I am not ready yet to close it.
Unhappiness is foreign to my nature. I have everything I need, so I’m trying to live a normal life, accepting the inevitable, and realising that I’m not the only one to whom this has happened. All happily married couples face a future in which one of them will be left alone, excluding a rare event of them both dying together.
I thank all my NOTH friends who have been supportive and helpful to me during the last two years, and welcome those who wish to take a peek at my happy past on my barb-lyn page. There is a link to barb-lyn in the Twitter box of my kiwibarb page. I continue to add items to this page occasionally, and I welcome comments.
16 October 2012.
Tags: Time Death Lyn Barb-lyn
I can’t often get out of my own town, so when I was offered a trip with some elderly people to the Waihi Academy, I accepted with alacrity. By the time the day of the event arrived, I had forgotten what the venue was, and when I found out I wondered what could be interesting about a Taiwanese learning centre and conference facility.
Here’s an official description:
With its locked gates and sentry post, it looks more like a low-security prison than a language school - and that may be intentional.
The trust behind the Waihi Academy of Studies, a $45 million Taiwanese-funded complex on more than 50ha of farmland, said the remote location was chosen to stop Asian students getting into trouble in cities.
We could see the buildings long before we got there. The place is enormous, and the style of the one in the picture below is repeated in several other buildings. We went in two vans and two cars, 20 women and 4 men.
A Taiwanese man, who speaks perfect English, albeit with a slight accent, gave us a guided tour which began with morning tea. The finger food that looked like pasties was nothing like pasties as we have them. The vegetarian filling, a dingy greyish–green colour, was deliciously spiced with curry and wasn’t wrapped in pastry, unless it was Taiwanese pastry.
We progressed to another building of the same design as the main entrance, only much larger. Space was the dominating feature of the entire complex. Since much of the complex is not yet in use, the huge unoccupied expanses of flooring were overwhelming. Marble floors abounded, as well as some carpeted ones. The whopping yellow marble stage atop 3 marble steps was apparently built for use during conferences. Lots of wooden fittings everywhere, all smooth and elegant.
We were shown some of the students’ bedrooms that were as yet unoccupied. It made me think of the time that Mum and I were shown over Auckland’s huge Middlemore Hospital prior to opening day in 1947. All the rooms ready, but nobody in them yet.
The actual bedrooms were such a contrast to the sleeping arrangements that prevailed for live-in students in 1948. Not for us the elaborate wooden beds, four to a room, with ensuite. Oh, I do feel deprived!
They had a lift that looked like a square cupboard, all glass walls. We also went up the stairs, and the only complaint I had about the whole place was the lack of handrails on the stair walls. I like to hold onto a rail when climbing stairs.
At this point in our tour, one of our party, a gentleman who had a lot to say, suggested to our Taiwanese guide that perhaps we should split up and go our separate ways and all meet in the main entrance when it was time to go home. I could cheerfully have choked the interfering busybody. We were being escorted around and loving it. Our guide, perceiving that he wasn’t wanted, rushed off, and thenceforth we all wandered in the direction of the main entrance and sat there until it was time to go. We didn’t get to see the classrooms or the kitchens, although we had passed several of those on the way.
I am left wondering if there is enough spare ground in Taiwan to erect an edifice of that magnitude. They have probably come here because there isn’t.
Tags: Taiwanese Buildings Space Tours