Friday, June 29, 2018

Their Finest

I was down at the farm last weekend when I took this photo. I was about to make the 45 minute walk from the farm to the airport. The farm is only minutes out of the town and on the airport side, so quite lucky, really.  
I could of course have taken a taxi, which I used to do, but what a waste of money when I have legs that are working. Plus I fly carry-on most of the time, so its not like I'm trudging along country roads with a wretched suitcase in tow. That would be a drama in itself plus its a reasonably busy road where you're constantly having to walk through grass so you don't get run over. The times I've flown down there at night, I've had to navigate the roads in the dark and that is pretty dodgy, I can tell you. Plus you wouldn't believe the rubbish that ends up on country roads, quite disgusting. Last time I did have a suitcase so I went to the airport as soon as check-in opened to check it in, then drove back to the farm, and walked back to the airport. Timed to the minute and not without some drama, I tell you, but I made it. Anyhoo, as I was leaving the house this past weekend, and thinking how I should ask my brother to drive me down to the end of the drive on the ride on lawnmower to save myself that bit of the walk, I took this picture. FYI he doesn't drive, hence all the walking, and of course I'm not going to ask him to get out the lawnmower to drive me down the drive. But I like this image. Rural New Zealand in winter.
While I was there I watched a movie called Their Finest. Set in World War Two, it was a terrific story  about a woman who ends up writing propaganda films for the British government. There were some good relatable bits about the creative process, about brainstorming together and plotting, but it had a quite surprising bit near the ending. In fact, when that particular bad moment hit, I immediately thought, how are they going to get out of this one, so that the film ends on a positive note because it has to end on a positive note. It truly must.
Well, they managed it, and in a quite unexpected way.  Maybe others had the happy ending figured out, but I didn't, and without ruining the film if you haven't seen it, the ending to me was all about just how important optimism and hope are in creative work, in the story itself.
I read somewhere that in moments of great peril such as war time, entertainment like movies are even more important because we, the people, need to see something that maybe takes us away from the bad time we are in, some escapist entertainment, but also something that gives hope.
A movie well worth watching, I thought.
~ Joanne

Sunday, June 17, 2018

House jobs

Currently reading: Quite a few writerly type books, dipping in and out of them, and also a book on the 1918 influenza pandemic and how it affected New Zealand ~ research for a work project. On the fiction front, the latest David Baldacci. Always a good, pacy read.
Sheep pens on the farm.
I reckon I'll go on a romance blitz after this, and get some e-books from writer friends and see what they're up to. Some nice home-and hearth, or rom com sounds good. Something that makes you feel optimistic, that maybe the world isn't going to hell in a handbasket. (Must look up origin of that saying one day.)
Other stuff: On the house front, there are some projects needing attention. I had some windows replaced in a room. I had gone in there to touch them up, once one of the boys moved out. You know, a bit of paint here and there. Wasn't looking forward to it (physical labour, you know), and thus put it off, and when I finally took a deep breath and went in, I realised the window frames were rotten and I'd need new ones.
Bugger.
A month or so later, the new windows are now in, nicely painted, and so good. I just go in and stare at them.
But.... they show up just how much more needs to be done in the room. It's always like that when you do one thing. Fortunately it is stuff I can supposedly do myself. Sanding and painting and I think, wallpapering, as there isn't a lot of wall space to have to paper. The last time I hung wallpaper which is still amazingly not falling off the wall (well, not completely) I swore I'd never do it ever, ever again but you know... time passes... the memory of the horror fades... I'll give it a crack.
The other thing was that while the builder was here, at no extra cost (yay) he wondrously chopped down the trees in front of the house, and cut the big branches up into firewood logs. One was an impressive Camelia tree with gorgeous pink flowers but it blocked the light. Even worse was that some dratted weed tree (a privet, which the local council has indeed deemed a weed tree) had over time grown up by the Camelia trunk, so in fact what I thought was one tree I discovered a few weeks ago was two. Anyhoo, they are now gone and we have some firewood stacked (thank you Johnny the builder) and a heap of the twiggie branches to get rid of over time although I may just de-leaf and stack them somewhere as they could be useful in a volcanic eruption, flood, hurricane, world war three, when we have no power.  (It will happen one day....)
Removing the trees now means it has shown up that the house needs waterblasting after the effects of the tree. You know, green slimy bits. Mould. Quite gross.
So I can tell you, all this is not going to happen in a hurry but I'll plod away at it and hopefully by the summer, that room will be looking sweet (should the dear boy decide to come back home one day) and the green splotches on the house, we  I will have removed.
~ Joanne

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Seasons and winter love

It's winter down-under which is possibly my favourite time of year.
I always think I'm the only one who loves winter, that everyone else is just hanging out for summer and the beach and the barbeques, but some work colleagues and I were discussing this the other day and how much we love winter. The season of scarves and coats, hot water bottles and reading in bed, a hot drink on a cold day, hibernating. And of course, soup!  Fortunately its not like we get snow here and have to deal with all that drama in the freezing cold. The best of both worlds.
I was on the farm last weekend, which is pretty cold, and was even better because of the fire going! My brother had bought wood to last the winter back in January and good on him, he quite likes chopping it and stacking it. I can remember having to stack loads of firewood as a kid which was kind of okay (actually it totally sucked, I can't say this supposed 'work ethic' theory people go on about has rubbed off on me much), but of course, the pay off is nice.
But then, the good thing about winter is that by the time spring comes around, you're ready for the change in the season, so it all works out rather nicely.
I was reminded of this watching the Harry and Meghan royal wedding. There was a piece of scripture read out at the service that talked about the season of spring, and was a nice reminder of seasons, not just the winter/spring/summer/autumn seasons, but  the seasons in life. How life changes. How you can look back over a period of time, whether it's one of grief, or a relationship break-up, or going through a restructure at work where staff morale is just the pits and it feels like it will never end, whatever drama is going on at the time, and you either have to make decisions to change it, or just get through it until it comes right for you anyway.
"For the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers are springing up and the time of the singing of birds has come. Yes, spring is here.The leaves are coming out,and the grapevines are in blossom. How delicious they smell!"
 

Books from the past

I was talking to a friend the other day about reading, and happened to mention that one of the things I liked about romance when I was a ...