to say goodbye to Nana.
I first met Nana when I was about 7 years old.
She was kind but practical & didn't really chat a lot.
Like me, her start in life wasn't too flash. Her mother died when she was only 3 weeks old.
Somehow Nana & I never really connected on that one, (which might have been helpful) but later we shared much the same values: kindness towards others & sharing what you have, no such thing as being bored, gardening is everything & the seasons are there to be followed & prepared for, save seeds; creativity & resourcefulness are pretty vital attributes, life is best lived in bright & vibrant colours & a cheery, caring attitude is really the best approach for almost all occasions.
On our journey to Thames we saw amazing sights...
a rainbow around the sun.
My brother says it's because of ice up there, but let's not spoil the magic!
Thames isn't really very far from Te Aroha...a place that feels like a second home to us both, especially since Aroha Mountain Lodge & the ever marvellous & hospitable Greg are always there...waiting for us.
Bircher muesli is one of the most amazing foods, ever. If you eat it for breakfast it'll see you through the day & it's also one of the most delicious things you'll ever taste..truly! The fruit is my best discovery in years. The apricots were fermented in honey for 3 days on the bench & then kept in the fridge, so were the strawberries.
On Friday we headed through to Thames; a very old town with a pioneering spirit & a gold mining foundation.
Looking for good coffee, we came across a fabulous sweet shop called Palmer's Confectionary.
Having been a capable & prolific potter for previous decades, in her late 80's, Nana took to doing some wool felting. She made some beautiful felted rose brooches. This one she gave to me. I decided that in her honour, bright & cheery would be just what she would have wanted to see.
We took a slight wrong turn later in the day.
when she left.
I decided that they would be perfect for storing my carefully gathered seeds.
I love the colours in her glazes in the little dishes that I bought home with me.
I found the little book "Aroha and the River" by Jeanette Galpin, for a dollar in a book sale the day we left.
I read stories (I discovered it to be a book of New Zealand short stories) out loud as we began our journey home.
"Aroha and the River" was so beautifully written we felt as if we were floating on air for miles.
It is the story of a European woman coming to pay her respects to her Maori friend that has just died:
...." And then for a little while we sit down with Turu in Turu's place on Turu's mattress and the presence of Dolly is as warm & strong as the autumn river. Beside such strength the pictures which stand against the the foot of the casket are pale & insubstantial-there's a framed one of somebody in pink organza at her twenty-first, the glass on it all blurred & damp from finger marks & lots of kissing.
"You just follow me then Mrs Richard, "I hear Turu tell me like a father. And suddenly Te Aroha is so full it's hard to stand, it's hard to walk, it's hard not to weep in this lovely crush of bodies. And soon, following Turu as he tells me, I am engulfed in a nurturing tide of the warmth of which I have never known, a loving all-embracing circle meeting, sharing, touching, moving on. And then the hongi is over, when the clasped warm hands are loosed I find that the tight-hard pushed back band has finally been freed. My cheeks too are wet with tears"...
Much love to you all.