I thought I should post a few thoughts about my trip. It's always both good and strange to go back to NZ. Good, of course, because I have my little growing family to visit, but strange because things change. They do! And they don't ask my permission to do so. Roads get closed, new subdivisions appear like magic, and even disappear - several streets near my daughter's house, which is near where we lived when she was growing up, have gone. The houses have been taken away and resold and placed elsewhere and the site is being prepared for new houses. All very strange.
But visiting Nan is always an absolute delight. At 88 she is still maintaining an enormous garden - fruit, veg and flowers - with very little help. And she preserves a lot of what she grows, and always serves food she has made herself - we had soup. In the last two years she has had a badly gashed leg, a skin cancer removal which ended in a bad infection and a near loss of her leg, and a broken hip. But nothing seems to daunt her. She had had two groups of people to stay in the week before we arrived, and two more groups were coming the next week, including a neice who is coming to help her spring clean her house. I suggested she take up a consultancy in hotel management.
She recently sat the two-yearly driving test for the over-80s and passed with 98%, despite her worries about her failing sight. She lives alone, albeit with excellent neighbours, and her phone rang 6 times in the two hours we were there. Granted, it was her birthday, but most of the calls were about her voluntary work for UNICEF and (this is the best bit) manning the local community police station several times a month. Even I would have to think about doing that!
We talked more about my mother, Pat, and their lives. As I wrote the other day, they lived together for over 40 years. Nan took Pat in as a boarder in a flat she rented in Wellington shen she was teaching, and they got on so well over the next 20-odd years that they decided to buy a house together when they retired. This is the house Nan still lives in. They had friends in common but lived very separate lives when they were working. When they bought the house it was a joint enterprise, and they created a home there together. Never once did Pat give any indication that she had had a baby; I suppose she coped by shutting the memory out completely. I think these were cruel times, emotionally. Although there is no evidence Pat was ever unhappy or thought of me (but surely she must have?), her daily missal (which I have), falls open at the page for the feast of St Boniface, June 5, which is my birthday. And it is marked by a card from one of the nuns in the home where she stayed while pregnant, praising her for her courage and wishing her all the best for the future.
On to happier topics: my second granddaughter Hannah turned three while we were visiting, and here are she and her sister at the little party. (They are sitting on their grandfather's knee.)
And on the last night we were there Sandra and I took them all out to dinner at a 'family restaurant'. The food was ordinary, the service slow. But it was a lovely evening. I had a photo to prove it, but it's corrupted and I've deleted the original off the server. Sorry.
Knitting? I bought some Crucci Silk Melange in NZ (cheap!), a lovely red and white tweedy mixture of silk, linen and scrylic. So that will be, guess what, another cotton top for next summer. I'm working on the socks, and, slowly, on my cable sweater. I spent this afternoon putting a piece of leopard-print ribbon over the worn front edges of an old jean jacket, and it looks very classy if I do say so myself. And I only broke 4 sewing-machine needles. (Yes, I know, I should have had a stronger needle for tis job. But I didn't.)
Tomorrow I enter the realm of intensive job seeker training. Check in here for a report in a couple of days.