Monday, January 26, 2015

And I Have Returned to the Hot Brown Land.

And...home again.

I feel as though I've been away forever. I have missed being here, and our chats in general. But life has been full, and rich. I've had a very fruitful research trip, (combined with some family time), and have learned so much. But it's also one of those situations where I find even more questions have arisen in regards to my work. But that's good. These curious threads have led me to hidden and unexpected places, as far back as the early 17th Century, in fact. But that is another story, for another time.

Funding did not allow me to travel as far and wide as I had initially hoped, (and also weather - Nova Scotia at this time of year my friends? Madness!), but what I did do was travel "deeply" into very specific worlds, where there were glimpsed fragments of female history that resonate beyond their personal particularity.

And I was here (very briefly). And yes, that is a sleepy volcano you see in the distance!

view of Auckland Harbour, with Rangitoto (volcano) in the distance. NZ.
And while I was quietly working, the Moon swam (quite ecstatically) in the Hauraki Gulf, fringed by Pohutakawa trees, (the New Zealand "Christmas tree" because of the gorgeous red flowers that bloom throughout December). The pohutakawas arch their twisted black limbs over the sand, providing dense shade for those who sit beneath them, like great scarlet-frocked mothers, fretting over sunburnt children.

View from the beach house where I was staying overnight. I took hardly any photos the entire time I was away. Sigh. I shall spare you the photos of old churches and sundry documents. I need a photographer type to follow me around, and capture all of the things I don't. I tend to record things in my notebooks, but not visually. 
And I fell in love with the soft lushness of the green, green North. It's a different landscape altogether to that of the south of New Zealand. The South can be quite harsh, majestic. Parts of the South are steel grey, with iron sand, chiseled stone, ice, and imperviousness. That fierce beauty runs in my blood. But in the North, where the first of my NZ ancestors arrived and dwelt, (after 30 years of wandering), I felt as though I was resting upon the body of a voluptuous woman. Fern-covered, rain-misted, warm-watered, and fertile. She rolls and sighs, and allows you in to her softness. But she is a sleeping giant. A heaving, living creature of fire. We should do well to respect her as she continues to birth herself from her marine depths.

And how I ache for the sea, because I come from sea people - voyagers, ship-builders, dreamers and navigators. And the sea will always be my final home. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Friday Bits and Bobs.

Due to the Holidays, I've been a bit discombobulated in regards to days of the week. I quite forgot about Friday Bits and Bobs last week. Hey ho.

I'm writing this week's Friday post ahead of time, and will be out of t'country when this is published. I hope that your week so far has been a good and happy one, and I shall chat with you again upon my return, (after the 24th of January).

Exciting news for fans of Hilary Mantel! Her novel Wolf Hall has been adapted for tv, (BBC2) and I can't wait! It's already screening in Britain. I loved the book, which is focused upon Thomas Cromwell, chief minister to King Henry VIII, (I am, I am!) and one of the most powerful advocates for the Reformation. It's a ripping yarn set in the very bloody, yet fascinating Tudor period. Mantel has written a number of brilliant books, and she won the Booker a couple of times, (you you do). 
Anyway, here's the trailer for Wolf Hall.

I just discovered this artist because she left a lovely comment on my blog. I'm so glad that she did, because it's lovely to have found Louise's blog Lulu in the Woods. Her writing and art are rich in poetry and beauty. There is so much to explore over there, but I particularly enjoyed reading this wise and lovely post: Eating My Mother. 

Speaking of food and eating, here is my cake of the week: an oregano honey cake, with blackberry butter cream. Devour with berry-stained fingers, in a woodland cottage, amongst the wild things. Indeed.

Now, I shall declare my bias up front here, and say that I detest Facebook...with a passion. I find it deeply alienating on so many levels. Whilst I'm comfortable with other forms of social media (Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram), FB just makes me feel stabby. Therefore, a few months ago, despite my concerns about losing touch with people, I deactivated my account. I haven't looked back. I figure that if people can't be bothered remaining in contact via other means, then they probably weren't real friends after all. Perhaps that's a very 20thC way of thinking about friendship?
 I know there are many who like the facetube, and that they find it a useful tool. So, having ranted at you, here is a more, um, reasoned argument for my abandoning facebum: "10 Reasons to Delete Your Facebook Account"

Gypsy petals. Perhaps to go with this....?
Image from here. 

Wishing you a happy weekend, and I shall see you in a couple of weeks lovelies!