Monday, September 29, 2008


Blossom all over the place and new leaves and baby animals and sometimes its worth ignoring all the crap in the world and just sitting down amongst the flowers.

The boys made fresh bread for the first time with a little help and it came out lovely. We ate it for lunch. Methinks there will be none left for later :)

Eldest boy is 12 tomorrow and starting to look a little grown up. I won't be able to look down on him for much longer. We have to find a new way to school him next year as he's outgrown the one he presently inflicts with his presence. More homeschooling possibly. I'm hoping for a tutor somewhere as I really don't want to go back to mainstream. He does really badly in that sort of system - he's too much of an independent thinker to cope with straight jacket thinking and hasn't the ability to cope yet.

Mind you, filling up minds with useless information in order to pass useless tests does seem a bit silly really and disciplining someone for being different is just wrong. I much prefer that they be guided into thinking and doing than crammed with junk. The junk you collect should really be up to you. If you have a desire to learn a stack of dates in history or the cultivation systems in outer Mongolia that's fine, but should be relevant to teaching only if it is used as an illustration to some wider set of thinking. ( eg. scientific method.) The actual thinking is what needs testing.

I remember the dumbest person in our group getting a high mark just because she could remember what a list of critics said and a couple of quotes. She never actually read the text in question at all, even the quotes came from some other critique. And she was proud of that too! She only made one mistake there and that was simply that she denied herself the pleasure of discovering a great mind for herself.

So, go smell the roses for yourself. Then you will have some idea what they are about.

viv in nz

Monday, September 22, 2008

gifts etc.

There are two types of gift in the world.

One sort consists of something bought because the recipient needed to be bought something. This is generally done in a hurry and at the last moment possible. It also means a quick trip to some well advertised shop to get an equally well advertised object which is this year's must have item. Only money changes hands here. The love and caring has been replaced by obligation and keeping up with appearances at any cost.

The other sort is made by thought, time, effort and only occasionally money. These are the gifts we give of ourselves and they do not exist in a world of consumerism.

I look at christmas now and I see only an endless sea of advertising. Buy, buy, buy scream the banners and millions of us obey blindly in a sort of orgy of credit cards, all to the tune of carols telling of a boy born in a barn. Looking in as an outsider, I would assume that this festival is in honour of a self made millionaire who valued wealthy gifts above all else.

I am assured that this is not the case. So why do we do it? It seems that "all we like sheep have gone astray" to the tune of Mammon, not Handel.

Isn't it time we took back our festivals and celebrated them with honour and the spiritual integrity they deserve. And not only the festivals to which we belong, but to other people's festivals too.

Why not do what the festivals were originally set up to achieve. Give appropriately and with love or the meaning will vanish in a glut of plastic angels and fake Santas. Let the little ones enjoy but also let them understand that a gift is just that. It is not up to you to pick your gifts - that must come from the giver along with their love. You must receive gratefully what you are given, even if it isn't the latest action hero or barbie doll, because it was given with love.

Teach your children that they are not the center of the universe. Ditch the "me, me, me" thing and maybe the rampant consumerism will start dying.

Why not begin today. Renounce your consumerism and humbly take your place in your community and.........


viv in nz

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Life is full of noise at present. Birds singing, hens clucking, cello practicing, french horns practicing, car idiots racing up and down (we do live on the worlds steepest street). Then there are computer game noises, a couple of stereo systems and student parties over the road and behind as well. And then we go out and play more music at rehearsals and lessons. All in all life is full of noise.

Some of this is because last year I decided to take eldest to french horn lessons. He wasn't doing anything much else at the time so we both joined Saturday morning classes. He had already shown an inclination to play hose pipes and curtain rails so this seemed like a natural progression. (The curtain rail was quite good). So this year, we were considered just good enough for the Junior symphonic band and that meant we would play in the big concert with everyone else.

This year is a special year because it is now 40 years since this music school began. As a consequence they have adapted an organ thing by Saint Saens. It sounds like nothing on earth (us, not the original) but is fun to try. The national anthem is almost listenable to (except the fanfare at the beginning) and our individual groups stuff is almost good. Our age range is 5 to something over 70 and I think the concert will be a hoot! The audience will either die laughing or reach for their ear plugs.

The school itself is a great institution round here. It is subsidised for any child at primary school and no one is barred. Entry is just a small fee and the rental on whatever instrument you decide to try. Even the full adult fee isn't large. Hence it is a great starting point for any would be musician. So every Saturday morning we all head out to the largest of the local primary schools and make horrible noises in preparation for the better noises to come (hopefully).

Our big concert for the year is in two weeks. We HOPE to be ready by then :)

viv in nz

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


There's blossom on the trees and birds showing off new plumage. The hens have started laying again and the weather has suddenly got warm, and I do mean warm - about 18 centigrade middle of summer warm :)

Ummm.... suppose I'll have to weed the garden then? Always something to take the gilt off the gingerbread.

On the good side, I did finish that piece of patchwork for the end of year competition. In fact I finished two and am now working on a couple of birthday pressies..... shhh don't tell yet! I think I might even try for one of the bigger national competitions over christmas. The must use fabric is rather nice so perhaps I can come up with something. Anything to get me out of gardening which I don't like much.

We will get a glasshouse this year I hope, so will have to make use of it for tomatoes etc. That I can live with as you can't beat home grown tomatoes. I'd like to spend a bit of time in Central Otago this year for the holidays along with preserving equipment and a dehydrator and a lot of local fruit - mostly apricots and peaches and nectarines etc.

I cleared the old parsley two days back so will replant that and add some hen manure from last year. We love parsley round here! Spring bulbs are growing madly including a sad hyacinth from a pot last year which I thought was a gonner. I seem to have acquired a few daffys and other things which I forgot even planting :)


Have a good autumn

viv in nz