Saturday, April 19, 2008

The read red red dog

H wrote a book today. It says:
The reb reD dog.

WAz A phtim Tem was A dog iT WoT And WoT one dAY The dog goT BLid iT one dAY goT reD.

Went THe dog evre BDee LAft And LAft The dog waz ree zAd BcZ TAy Woz LAFT.
And again with a translation

The reb reD dog.
The red, red dog.

WAz A phtim Tem Te was A dog
Once upon a time there was a dog.

iT WoT And WoT
It walked and walked.

one dAY The dog goT BLid
One day the dog got blind.

iT one dAY goT reD.
It, one day, got red.


Went THe dog
went the dog.

evre BDee LAft And LAft
Everybody laughed and laughed.

The dog waz ree zAd BcZ TAy Woz LAFT.
The dog was very sad because they [were] laughing.
My budding Beverley Randell.

We're all going on a ^ autumn holiday

We're off on the ferry tomorrow am, staying tomorrow night in Kaikoura, then down to Christchurch 'til Friday and back again. We're staying in Christchurch with lovely friends who have two older children who like entertaining H & K. The last time we went away for a week I remember it as the holiday of being vomited on. Hopefully this one will be better.

Who knows, while we are away I might even put finger to keyboard and release the blog entries milling about in my head. One is "Depilated/dilapidated" and the other is about dressing like a colour-blind old feminist.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Playhouse bunnies

Shhhhh... don't tell anyone (especially not H & K) but we have started talking about getting rabbits.

K loves rabbits. Whenever we have seen the local magician who does rabbit tricks she spends ages captivated by the rabbit in its cage afterwards. When we visit my parents she organises us to go and feed the rabbits that live next door. At school H & K are studying pets and so they've been finding out that some of the kids in their class have rabbits. K has started to dream of having a rabbit of her own.

If we do get a rabbit I think we'll get two. Preferably of a large breed to face down Andy. I'm thinking they'll mostly live in a hutch that we move around the front lawn but also hop around inside the house for exercise. Not sure if we'll go for baby bunnies or adults from the SPCA.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Deux billets doux

K talked me into buying her a fairy stationery set. The first thing she did with it was write a letter to the boy who lives three doors up the road. It said: "R__ I love you K__". She also enclosed a picture she drew and many of her most special stickers. I aided and abetted her posting it.

D was worried R's older siblings would give him grief about receiving a love letter. Actually someone, I think his sister and mother, helped him write a lovely reply.

When they were at crèche together R was the person H & K complained about most often. Now they are in school they don't hang out or play together, in fact they seem to have very little in common. It isn't a one off thing though, K wrote a letter a week or two ago which said "I love [cousin] xoxoxoxox I love [another cousin] xoxoxoxox I love mum xoxoxoxox I love dad xoxoxoxox I love R__ xoxoxoxox".

Thursday, April 10, 2008

It was a dark and stormy day

On the 10th of April 1968 there was a storm in Wellington which killed 54 people. A passenger ferry, the Wahine, sank killing 51 people. Two more passengers died as a result of their injuries after returning home, and one little girl died in bed at home when a sheet of corrugated iron blew through her window. The Wahine storm happened before I was born but I have grown up with the stories and here, for the fortieth anniversary, are three of those stories.

My father had recently returned to New Zealand bringing my mother with him. They were staying at my grandma's house in Eastbourne, just across the harbour from the centre of Wellington. My mother had been warned about Wellington southerlies. My grandma had even said that the front fence was getting pretty rickety and it would probably blow down in the next decent southerly and so, when it did, she was not particularly alarmed. It was only when she went for a walk on the beach and saw the lifeboats that she realised that there was something unusual going on.

My stepfather-in-law, DB, was working as a builder on a house in Seatoun, a part of Wellington which is very exposed. When it became clear that the wind was making working dangerous the foreman sent the crew home. The noise of the wind as he went home is something DB will never forget. So many sheets of roofing iron were flying past high in the air that there was no let up in their ghostly howling.

I know a lovely, vivacious woman and she has a friendly, capable daughter who is a bit older than me. They were on the Wahine when it hit the rocks. The woman I know, the everyday woman, stood on the heaving, rolling, sloped deck of a sinking ship and threw her baby to a stranger in a lifeboat.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Matariki stars

This weekend I played in an Ultimate tournament in a team originally called Meatloaf made up of Wellington women who failed to attend the women's practices and women from elsewhere who needed a team to join. At my suggestion the team was renamed Matariki.

is the Maori name of the star cluster also known as the Pleiades in Greek, Subaru in Japanese, or the Seven Sisters. "Matariki literally means the 'eyes of god' (mata ariki) or 'little eyes' (mata riki). Some say that when Ranginui, the sky father, and Papatūānuku, the earth mother were separated by their offspring, the god of the winds, Tāwhirimātea, became angry, tearing out his eyes and hurling them into the heavens. Others say Matariki is the mother surrounded by her six daughters, Tupu-ā-nuku, Tupu-ā-rangi, Waitī, Waitā, Waipuna-ā-rangi and Ururangi. One account explains that Matariki and her daughters appear to assist the sun, Te Rā, whose winter journey from the north has left him weakened." (Quote from Te Ara). I liked the parallel between a star cluster with seven visible stars and a team of twelve which would field seven players at any one time. Also, as Ultimate is a sport where wind plays a very important role naming the team after the wind god's eyes appealed.

On Saturday there was drizzle, frequent showers interspersed with drizzle, and then pouring rain which was gruelling. In the morning I sent my txt supporters "Wet. Wet. Wet. And lots of alien sporty women. Who have been fairly nice to me. Ok but I feel a bit lost." In the afternoon, which was wetter I sent "People friendly and much less intimidating now they are wet."

Today the weather was much nicer, just intermittent light drizzle and it was fun. We also started to gel as a team and we played the other two bottom ranked teams which was cheering.

I think our scores for the tournament were Saturday: 0-13, 1-13, 1-13, 2-13, Sunday: 4-13, 9-12 (the games stopped at 13 points or with scoring after a time limit). We came bottom of the women's pool. I didn't mind, we celebrated each point we scored with such enthusiasm that scoring at all felt like a win.

Thanks to everyone who organised it, talked me into going or provided childcare, practical assistance or moral support by txt or in person. Most of all thanks to all the other stars on the Matariki team.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


D's work has gone into receivership. I was pretty unhappy with the way it was so in many ways I'm pleased. However, it does mean there is a huge amount of uncertainty in our lives. I seem to be focussing my sense of insecurity and formless worries into the Ultimate tournament. This is good in that I have more control over it than D's work and bad in that I'd like to be looking forward to the tournament. Yesterday my angst was physical: I had the start of a cold, a sore right foot and left knee. Today at least my body is fine.