Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sweet As, Sweet Betsy & all the Little Fairy Hats

Hello there, how lovely to see you!
After a long & strange three months things are beginning to settle here, just a little.
We have resolved layers of irritation & oddity concerning the factory over the wall, but I have still been left with my "annoying noise", albeit in a more subdued form. At least it doesn't terrify me anymore nor keep me awake night after night...it's just well....annoying!!
It seems astonishing that we are hurtling towards Christmas at such speed.
While it's still November I am focussed on the power & the beauty of our full-on spring time. So much to master & appreciate in the gardens; so much asparagus to be eaten!
I really wish that some things wouldn't run away as they do. I would love to have foxgloves in my garden all year round & lily of the valley & lilac.
So many fairy hats on one foxglove stem!
 And they come in the prettiest of colours.
Isn't this the sweetest little cottage (I spied it in Havelock North last week) It has a perfect little cottage garden growing all around it.
 I can never make up my mind which foxgloves I love the most....so I just plant as many as I possibly can.
The secret, I find, is to discover the exact spot that a particular plant really wants to grow.
 Sometimes it's quite surprising who is happy where. That's why I call mine a fairly accidental garden. Through the years...a campanula accidentally just loved to grow right here.
 Now these are very fancy fairy wear.
This larkspur just accidentally sowed itself in the midst of the herbs in the big half wine barrel under the washing line. There's none to be seen actually growing in the garden.
 This daisy is growing in a tiny pot but has also rooted in to the ground & just loves this particular spot. It has been here for years now & flowers & flowers.
This flowering cherry tree is called "Perfection"...
and is indeed a perfect spring canopy for Lucy.
The scent of some of these old roses is just divine.
 They don't last long once picked but it's certainly worth the trouble.
 I have just discovered that the little pink flower at the very front is called Sweet Betsy. Isn't that such a sweet name. It's also called false valerian or centranthus. No wonder it needed a nick name too!
 I have no idea where I came across this pale pink version but I adore it. I think it is probably the most useful annual that I have in my garden. It gently self sows, is easily removed if it turns up in the wrong spot, isn't too bossy or fussy & flowers for months & months...oh & the colour is so sweet. Lovely for tussie mussies.
Down at the bottom of our garden is a block wall. Most necessary to block out you know who! We live on the flat & because of the wall the drainage isn't that great, so...
  we ended up creating a kind of river bed. A place for the water to run off & soak away in it's own time with out drowning everyone down there...the bottom of the garden, the worms & all that.
We went & collected another boot load of stones last week, shuffled everything around & gave them a wash down.
A wee while ago I found this doll's house sitting in the window of the St Vinny's op shop. When you see things in their window that you like you have to rush in & put your name down in a little book & then you can come back & buy it in a week or two if you're first on the list. Usually I'm too late...but not this time!
 It even came with quite a bit of furniture.
 I found the little cats at the Napier market a week or so ago.
 There's all kinds of funny little bits & pieces in it now.
 It was so much fun when Nina & Luca got to come & play one day in the holidays. They were very good & decided on three rooms each.
 I've been meaning to tell you about this wee book that I ordered from The Book Depository a few months ago. Maureen (the author) says that she started telling little stories to her daughter to help her to have peaceful sleep. She says" I started with very simple ideas, like giving her an imaginary companion so that she would feel protected & never alone. I told Eleanor that from the time we are born we each have a protector who watches over us & who loves us. I gave this guardian angel really golden wings to wrap around Eleanor so that she would always feel secure.
At such a young age children need the reassurance of always being cared for, as the night & the dark can be very scary...."
There are 22 various scenarios/visualisations that can be read to children to help relax them at bedtime, strengthen their imagination, develop concentration, awaken creativity & learn to quiet themselves.
The story The Fairies begins like this "In your garden the sky is deep indigo blue with huge ballooning white clouds floating by & a yellow ball for the sun, it is lovely & peaceful. You can see before you a pathway that is winding in & out of the trees. I want you to walk down that path until you come to a small clearing-if you look very, very carefully you can see the fairies. they have been waiting very patiently for you...."
Christmas at Bethlehem is also very sweet. The books are only $14 which I thought very reasonable.
I kept this one. And then I sent for another....for you know who.
When I was little we used to listen to the wireless & there was a little programme for children called Listen With Mother. It was hosted by Kate Harcourt. She's quite an identity here in New Zealand. Funny thing...here she is, years later in this clever little movie. I thought you might enjoy it too.



Lovely to catch up with you.
 Thanks so much for visiting me here at An Angel in the Garden.
Sweet dreams.
Much love Catherine x0x0x

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Katie & The Talking Factory

 After 8 long weeks The Mother stands silent (she needs new bearings & a valve replacement),
dozens of squeaks & squeals have been remedied
but not my noise!
 I now know more about the guts & inner workings of "the most productive factory in the world" than I ever cared to know.
We think that we may have finally tracked the source of our noise but the next challenge is to find someone on site who can actually "hear" it too. Factory deafness is endemic, so it seems.
I feel like the little boy Sparky who heard the train talking to him. One of those stories for children on the wireless back in the day. Only, I'm a Katie & the factory has been talking to me.
This time of acute challenge & sound sensitisation has been quite fascinating, in it's own perverse way. I have discovered that sound is sneaky & deceptive & that it likes company. That it travels in waves, bounces off walls & masquerades in layers. I have also come to realise just how cacophonous our modern world has become & how many people go about their lives quite oblivious to the bombardment of loud & irritating sounds. 
Yet to hear...the voices of our loved ones, the chatter of children, birdsong, the susurration of the wind  through trees, music, the purr of a cat...these things are gifts. Truly to be treasured.
I find that I had rather got out of the habit of listening to music but with my constant & annoying companion persistently wittering in the background I have sought refuge in the sweeter friendlier more lyrical sounds of music. A few months ago when Matthew & Sarah popped in for a visit they brought with them a particularly natty little device called a base disc. So cheap & entirely portable...almost pop it in your pocket compact. A little blue tooth portable speaker, it enables anyone, anywhere to listen to music even from a simple iPhone. Our stereo is creaky, hopeless & "had it" so I bought a bass disc for myself so that I can get a better sound from music played on my computer.  
 I even discovered an upgrade that cost precisely nothing-when the speaker is, quite simply, plonked in a bowl you get greater amplification!
Finally, now in October we are having some magnificent days of spring.
What a joy these double tulips have been. I will certainly be growing them in a large pot again.
 I am always refreshingly astonished by the incredible burst of spring power that overtakes every bush & blade of grass come spring.
 So much green-life green.
 And then begin the flowers...


 I discovered that an elderly neighbour has an un-favoured lily-of-the-valley patch tucked in to a corner of her front garden. I popped in to ask if I could pick a little & offered to bring her some flowers from my garden. in return."They'd just be a damned nuisance that I couldn't be bothered with," came the reply, so I picked some divinely, fragrant, bells anyway.

 I do believe that these dear flowers should be called "fairy bonnets".
 This is perhaps the sweetest fairy bonnet I have ever grown. I adore it!
 Last week on one of Rob's days off we grabbed a pretty vintage blanket & a bottle of bubbly & found ourselves a hill on top of the world.
There wasn't a breath of wind,
 just birdsong & spring magnificence all around.




 On our way home the sunset was so beautiful...we screeched to a halt & raced back across the Havelock North bridge...just catching the colours as they faded in to night.
A few days along...
 The flowers are now filling the garden & my vases with spring joy.



 We have had a delightful supermarket promotion here for the past month or so of Little Shop items. Tiny groceries for children to collect & play "shop" with. I did giggle when a friend passed on some little packets & what should we find but a tin of Watties peaches. (Watties is the factory over the fence making all the racket)
 I hope that you are all well & living with gracious & well behaved sounds around you!
I hope it won't be quite so long before I get back here again.
Much love to you.
Thank you for visiting me.
Much love Catherine x0x0x

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Looking For My Sanity & Away With The Fairies

It all began about 5 weeks ago, although I'm not entirely sure about that, having lost a few marbles along the way.
One day I heard a noise, a quiet persistent noise that sounded like Morse Code. 
I heard it in my bedroom at first. That night it was louder & it woke me up.
Then I discovered that it was in every room of our house...but how weird, when I stepped outside to see where it was coming from it stopped. 
What could it possibly be?
Perhaps it's the wifi, turn it off...no not that.
Can't be the neighbours, we've all been here for years: no noise.
Must be coming from Heinz Wattie, the factory over the fence. Hastings is weird like that.
A designated Heritage Street one side of the wall, factory on the other. 
We've lived along side one another for the past 25 years & managed to get a long fairly well most of the time. 
 It is a factory though & there's lots of machines & 
 old buildings
 & desperately ugly bits.
 I had to track this noise down. It was waking me night after night (sometimes every hour) & wearing me right out. But how could it be in every room in the house, the garage the shed & even Lucy but not be heard outside?
 I contacted the noise person at the plant & we began to explore what it could be. But nothing worked. I started walking around the whole site, down the railway line at the back & along the paths & roads that circumnavigate the whole outfit. The wind would howl right through me, desolation & despair began to set in. Then I found "it" in Margaret's house next door. Rob began to hear it to, but could still manage to sleep. On Tuesday they fired up the sauce plant (doesn't usually happen until the summer) & my noise became unbearable....all through the night. No sleep!! By 4 am I was going crazy so I drove Rob's car to the scout hall & tried to sleep in the back of the car. I could still hear the noise there too. It's about now the noise burst out loud & wild from the top of the plant. 
To trim a long & unresolved story very short...it appears it is emanating from a strange & difficult to access position quite high up. At first there was enormous relief, but apparently it may be Labour weekend before they can fix it, as it will require some major engineering work. Meantime, it is still in my house incessantly repetitive, 24 hours a day. Ear plugs are only partially useful, the stress grating my nerves raw. I cry a lot. I think I need to sleep at my brothers for a while to get some restful sleep.     
 I do what I must, we walk, work & then I must return to my home.  My home I also work from. A home that I love but I am not safe in... driven out.
If you pray please pray that I can find peace.
I have prayed all my life but never really got answers...perhaps your prayers might be heard better.
I am so tired of being bullied.
I refuse to apologise for being sensitive.
Meantime..
I have created a new world...
 
The sweet images soothe my soul, if not my nerves.
I wish I was away with the fairies.
Peaceful & trusting.
My dear friend Sue has been passing on the New World Little Shop collectables; look what was in the pile this week. Funny.
 Pretty things are flowering now..
 but it's sure been a strange start to spring.
So sorry that I haven't replied to comments lately. Just can manage it right now.
Hoping for better days & some help.
Much love to you all.
Catherine x0x0x

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