Hobbit-spotting 13 June 2016

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I’m a month in to living at my new flat, for which I’ve taken out a mortgage.  So far, so good.  Nearly everything is set up as I would want it.

This weekend, visits from Southern Dave, and from my mother.  Dave was here two nights, he has secured my bookcases to the walls.  He was here for the Regent Theatre’s 24 Hour Book Sale.  This year I left the sale with only two books: The Maestro, by Hoffnung; and The Algebraist, by Banks.

Mum was here for Turandot, the Metropolitan Opera performance at the Rialto Cinema.  My new couch is now more colourful with a blanket throw and cushions from Mum and family in Invercargill.

I went to the volunteers meeting for the Midwinter Carnival, which is this weekend.  I visited the Public Library on the way back, just in case the books I had been looking to borrow from there were in.  They were.  I am set up to spend time reading for the next month, in the comfort of my own home.  All good.


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And that was the Easter that was for 2015.

A visit over the long weekend down to see my mother in Invercargill.  I tried to do some tidying up at home.  A bit Grimm’s Fairy Tale.  Once I had filled the rubbish bin there was not much more I could do.

Stayed with Southern Dave again and did a bit of family catch up.  At the last moment I rummaged through the shelves for something to take with me and pulled Hellboy: Oddest Jobs edited by Mike Mignola from the shelves.  It proved to be an excellent anthology of short stories to travel with.  The constant figure in these stories is Hellboy, a monster, a demon, a constant indefeatable champion for humanity.  They were a delight to read, and I would like to track down the earlier anthologies Odd Jobs and Odder Jobs.  I’m sure that they will have the same taste for comic book horror and superheroes.

I returned from Invercargill with loot, Southern Dave found me books:

  • Light in Dark Isles, by Alexander Don, NZ Presbyterian book on mission to the New Hebrides in 1918, lots of period writing
  • By Love Serve: The Story of the Order of Deaconesses of the Presbyterian Church of NZ, by J. D. Salmond, another one for my Presbyterian bookshelves
  • Spirit in a Strange Land: a selection of New Zealand spiritual verse, edited by Paul Morris, Harry Ricketts & Mike Grimshaw.  Excellent to have my own copy of this, my original thoughts on looking at this collection, some years ago, was that NZ poets view religion with a powerful hermeneutic of suspicion. I will be interested to see if that sense is still dominant in the collection.
  • Enduring Legacy: Charles Brasch, patron, poet and collector, edited by Donald Kerr, another book about Brasch for my collection at Manono House.

From mum, an easter egg and and a jar of relish from the Centre Street Dairy; and from my sister in law, a selection of Mama Jo’s Homemade Jams and Pickles: apricot, black berry, gooseberry and mixed berries jams, and capsicum and mango relish.  I have some serious sampling to do!

Hobbit Spotting

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This is the week that was.

Dave went back to Invercargill.  He dropped me off at church which saved me some time.  When he got home he joined the Facebook group for Brithenig words that I have started, bringing that community to 13 people, of which half I can identify.

I added some reference points to the invisible city of Lamborough.  I wondered how one character would get from South Shore across Lamborough Harbour to the Weather Downs in the hill country of Big Sharkey.  I realised that I knew enough details to travel the distance in his car: across the Harbour Bridge, then over the Tava River, turn back south until he reached Hundred Road which would take him out of the city.

On Thursday I went to the Gig Night at the Library.  I had mixed it together in my head and expected gothic ukelele. A four piece band played original pieces about the Transit of Venus, coffee and the carousel cowboy.  An alternative group did Talley Ho! and a synthesizer had me leaning forward to hear some interesting harpsichord.

I was at work for the last day for our reseach archivist.  We went to the ministry common room so she could say farewell to all who met for afternoon tea, one last time.

The cold nights have given me a cough that is slow in going away.  A harbinger of the winter to come.

I have collected my mother from the bus station.  You can hear her in the background.  My hat went off for adventures.  Fortunately the taxi driver brought it back.  She has found my collection of Arthur Mee titles on my bookshelf.  I have Golden Year, One Thousand Beautiful Things, The Children’s Bible and Talks for Boys.  She has One Thousand and One Everlasting Things and the volumes of the Encyclopedia at home which I hope to add to my collection.  She will look out for other titles at the book sale in Invercargill.

Advent 3

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There comes a point in Advent when the daily lectionary readings stop being set out according to which week in Advent we are in, and specific dates in the calendar set in.  December 17th marks that date.  We are a week out from Christmas.  It stalks us with terrible inevitability.

This was the weekend of the Friends and Family Invasion.  Southern Dave turned up with Mum in tow, banging on the door of Manono House and banging her luggage-on-wheels up the stair-case.

Dave came up for his nephew’s band playing at the Musician’s club for the ‘Not So Silent Night’.  From my hearing of them it was heavy drums and guitar and inaudible lyrics.  There is a slogan ‘If it’s too loud, then you’re too old’.  In that case this music was too young for me.  It was like listening to a boy racer or that party across the road in the middle of the night that is going to make you get up and call sound control.

I was told that ‘This was not your music, it’s ours’.  As my day began with listening to Karl Jenkin’s Mass for the Armed Man, the Wellington Ukelele Orchestra doing It’s A Heartache, and listening again to Jessye Norman singing Zueignung which had been used beautifully and tearfully for carrying out the casket at the funeral of a gentleman; the day had not progressed.

Sunday left me with a ghost of a headache which disappeared as Mum and I enjoyed Thomas Adès’s The Tempest.  Prospero awaits on his island for revenged against those who exiled him there.  He is dressed in the wreckage of his courtly robes, his spells tattooed on his body like a pirate.  It’s the revenge of the undressed on the dressed: Ariel is an inhuman and elemental spirit who rides on the shoulders of kuroko; Caliban is half-Mohican, half-feathery beast (which annoyed me less than the painted orc from The Enchanted Island in last year’s season).  In hindsight the character who journeys the most is Ferdinand, washed ashore he is divested of his nobility and then restored as Prospero and Miranda are restored as rulers of Milan.  There is a story that has not been told.

Having been introduced to the opus of Thomas Adès I would like to give it more consideration.

In the evening I attended Knox Church for the evening service Celebrating Christmas Down-Under as the choirs of five churches participated.  I am told the music group from Opoho stole the evening when they walked to the front dressed in hats and bush-shirts for a version of Peter Cape’s poem Nativity:

They were set for the home, but the horse went lame
And the rain came pelting out of the sky
Joe saw the hut and he went to look
And he said, ‘She’s old, but she’ll keep you dry’

So her kid was born in that road-man’s shack
By the light of a lamp that’d hardly burn
She wrapped him up in her hubby’s coat
And put him down on a bed of fern

Then they came riding out of the night
(And this is the thing that she’ll always swear)
As they took off their hats and came into the light
They knew they were going to find her there

Three old jokers in oilskin coats
Stood by the bunk in that leaking shack
One had a beard like a billy-goat’s
And one was frail and one was black

She sat at the foot of the fern-stalk bed
And she watched, but she didn’t understand
While they put these bundles at the baby’s head
And this river nugget into his hand

Gold is the power of a man with a man
And incense the power of man with God
But myrrh is the bitter taste of death
And the sour-sweet smell of the upturned sod

Then they went, while she watched through the open door
Weary as men who had ridden too far
And the rain eased off and the low cloud broke
And through a gap shone a single star

Merry Eczemas to one and all.  The weather is too hot to sleep now.

Burt Munro Challenge 2012

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Down to Invercargill one more time with the Ghost who walks and his partner J.  She won’t forgive me if I call her his travelling companion now.  They are out now.

I thought I would be staying with Boston T. and his partner J.  (The partner-clans in my family add new meaning to It’s Complicated.)  Southern Dave was huffy if I didn’t impose on his hospitality so I changed my mind at the last moment.

We got to the beach races this year, the first time in about four years of trying to get down to Invercargill on time, and the weather being compliant.  We drove onto Oreti Beach and I was met with the smell of my childhood wafting off the waves.  The racing on the sand was worth watching.  We were at one end watching the bikes turn on the half-mile long track.  Some would cut it close and try to accelerate, others would make a wide turn not to lose speed.  All had to face the challenge of remaining upright as the sand came looser and looser.  None did fall.

Saturday we visited Richardson’s Truck Museum.  We were there for two hours and ran out of time before we went to the races at Teretonga.  On the outside it looked like a warehouse, inside it opened up into hall after hall of vintage trucks and cars and machinery.  I use film for photos — call me old-fashioned! — and finished my film before we had got through the second hall, taking photos of the cars we were talking about.  There were about four more halls after that and we only had to glance through the last of them before we left.  It’s worth another visit next year when we are down.

It’s a private museum so contact them for their address and see if they are open.

We got back for the racing, and got some coffee before we went in.  Secretly I must be a member of Order of the Mochaccin Monks!  Behind us some Filthy Few Road Knights were looking for hot chocolate and considered skulling the marshmallows.  The bikers who come down for Burt are older, relaxed and comfortable.  Everyone is looking to have a friendly time in the Far South.  The speedway turned out to be an occasion to get sandblasted.  Don’t stand too close while eating chips!

I got home on Sunday and caught up with my washing.  The others are nearly returned to Wellington now.  I think I have myself double-booked for guests in December as the Metropolitan Opera and Formed on Wednesday are both playing in the same weekend.

There and back again: a hobbit’s weekend in six meals

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Two events on over the weekend the first was the meeting of the Presbyterian Synod of Otago and Southland at Highgate Church.  After the opening service on Friday night we proceded along Highgate to Columba College where the evening meal was put on for us.

The Synod meeting continued onto the next day.  I had to leave after the morning’s first session to join one of the other commissioners to travel down to Invercargill for the second event of the weekend: my mother’s 80th birthday party.  I made sure to enjoy the morning tea, which was well catered for.  The hall was arrayed like it was a country parish tea.

I was dropped off at my brother’s house where he lives with his partnerclan.  A generous tea was provided again with pork and beef chops, chicken and salad.  Happy birthday, mum.

And for breakfast there were bacon, sausages, scrambled eggs and mushrooms.  Usually I have a bowl of porridge and a cup of hot chocolate, and a hot cross bun when they are available.

Then there was potluck lunch at mum’s church for the members to celebrate her 80th birthday.  By this stage I am rather full and not looking to eat again before I return to Dunedin.

I spent the afternoon with my friend Southern Dave and joined with his parents for a small meal together.

After all that Dave took me to the bus back to Dunedin and I rested.

Not The Icons Tour

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Earlier this month there was a weekend bike tour where participants had to drive 2000 kilometres over two days.  The police were unhappy with this event.  When they heard that the Rusty Nuts Bike Club was organising a New Zealand Icons Tour over a week with 6000+ km.  They pressured the club to call off the event.  The club did so, but the news did not get out to everybody so there were a dozen people who were not doing the tour, which involved not motoring around the country and not taking photos of various public landmarks around New Zealand.  There are no photos of me holding a pirate flag outside the Speights brewery or the former Burt Munro house in Invercargill, and I did not take some interesting photos in Gore, nor did we cross over on the Tuapeka ferry.  We did not not go to Riverton in the end, and I decided not to travel down to Bluff for the gathering for the tour that didn’t happen as I had only not done one day of it.  Besides I remember how bad the weather was the last time I went out to Bluff on the back of a motorbike.

My mother showed me a new shirt that she found in a sale at a menswear shop and thought I would like.  It was thought by one person at the family clan-gathering on Saturday night that it was suitable grounds for a divorce for anyone’s partner to wear it.  I am looking forward to wearing it to work later this week, probably Friday.

I saw Southern Dave who is reduced to reading books as he doesn’t have a working computer.  It’s about time he read some of his collection in my opinion!

The return trip to Dunedin was made exciting due to heavy wet weather which made travelling positively dreich.  Not to mention that The Phantom left his belt containg his licence, wallet, cell phone, etc., in Invercargill and we lost two hours waiting for it to catch up with him.

Another half hour and I will have to go out and meet my mother who is coming up today to see Götterdämmerung at the Rialto.  My visit to Invercargill meant we had no opportunity to see it at the weekend.  So, six hours of Wagner, here we come.  Hope I stay awake!

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