Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I spent much of today reading about the failure of suburbia in the USA. Interesting the various scenarios that came up in the comments in particular. I think I wasted a whole afternoon on it and still am not really convinced of any of the forecasts although quite a lot of them had good points to make.

None of this really applies round here as the city I live in is rather small and only has one smallish outer suburb which should survive quite nicely by itself.

The points that most interested me were those relating to items we may not have again and I began thinking along the lines of electronics and plastics. On the whole they are right in that things cannot continue as they are but there are other ways.

This got me thinking about recycling and plastic and other resources too. It seems to me that there will always be some of these things available for general use as long as we can mine our landfills. I think it should be possible to continue to make high technological items as far into the future as we can exist as long as we treat things with a bit (a lot) more respect.

Some stuff doesn't need high tech and in fact would be better with a lot lower tech. I mean who really needs a household clothes dryer when it is just as easy to hang washing on the line. It should be possible to have a community laundry for those emergencies when the sun doesn't shine. To say nothing of our vast over use of plastic bottles, bags and chemical additives which appear in everything from cleaning fluids to liquid soap and even food!

We don't need to travel vast distances on fancy holidays and, as a matter of fact this is only a recent phenomenon. Most of our grandparents would have stayed near home or done day trips and picnics. Around this country there was always the family crib (holiday house) usually on a lake or sea front. These were cheap and unpretentious and housed numerous families of cousins, brothers, sisters, their offspring, their friends etc. (Our own family crib was exactly 3/4 hour away and there we spent our three weeks holiday every year.)

I have come to the conclusion that what I would like to see is a society that lives locally and in communities with access to world communication via computers etc but that still has roots deep in the local economy and soil. I don't think we all need to be farmers or market gardeners. That would be a waste of the many other talents that abound in humanity. There should be a place for artists and musicians, dancers and actors and scientists of all kinds. My utopia would have a place, however lowly, for every person living in it so that nobody need go hungry or unappreciated.

Not half asking for much am I :)

And yet this should be possible even in a less than perfect way.

Perhaps we should tell the speculators, bankers and commercial pushers to go do something useful for a change and then ban hoarding of resources and big business for profit. Any necessary monopoly should be owned for the people by the people. (water, power for example).

sing for your supper and live life to the full always with the mantra of doing no harm to yourself or the environment and try to leave things the better for your existence.

viv in nz

Saturday, November 22, 2008


We went out to a party tonight but it wasn't just any old party, it was a hangi dinner set up by friends up the road. The hangi is an earth oven made by digging a hole, setting a fire in the bottom and covering it with rocks which heat up as they sink through the fire.

When it is deemed hot enough the unburnt wood is removed and a layer or green stuff is put over the hot rocks followed by the food(usually in metal crates) and then an old sheet followed by several sacks (all very wet). After that the whole lot is buried in soil and left to its own devices for several hours. Then it is carefully unburied and served. Traditionally it is men who do this cooking (sort of like barbecues I suppose).

This one contained lots of pumpkin, potatoes, kumera (sweet potato) whole chicken and a large chunk of wild pork (head included which the boys thought was great). It was delicious :)

Then we sat round in the candle light for a bit watching the stars come out. We didn't stay too late because the boys are still young and need some sleep!

A great finish to the week.

viv in nz

Friday, November 21, 2008


I visited a close friend in hospital today. She fell in her house and now is incapacitated for a few weeks. At 87 I suppose this is to be expected but it doesn't make it any easier. I just hope she will be able to go home again but I think things are not looking good that way.

She is legally blind and has been for several years but still lives by herself with various people coming in to help. She paid me to read to her for a fair while although I'd have done that for nothing and the same goes for her home help (another friend). Basically her body is fading away but her mind is still as sharp as ever and her hearing is also quite good.

She is a good caring person and we will do our best just because we like her. I finished her Christmas present this morning so that she will have it for the hospital - it makes things a little more personal when you have to be there for a while (it is a light weight quilt come knee rug.)

I just hope she will get back home.....

viv in nz

Monday, November 17, 2008

Don Quixote

Well, William did his bit as one of the town children in the royal new zealand ballet performance of Don Quixote and thoroughly enjoyed it. He looked really cute in his little pinstriped waistcoat and trousers. And here he is with his two girlfriends.

Friday, November 14, 2008

another busy day I glad today has finished. Somehow everything seems to have happened in two days and tomorrow looks worse if possible.

It started with everyone sleeping in so the boys were running late for school. After that I did the shopping and then tried to finish a quilt and make bread and do all the usual house work whilst planning a plate for the christmas party held by the patchwork guild.

All of a sudden it was after school and a frantic pick up of one extra child from a different school along with the normal pickup and a race to get to the ballet rehearsal by 3.30. Then a drop off of eldest to art class and back to the rehearsal to see what they would be doing.

William and two of the girls from his ballet class are to be extras in the ballet Don Quixote put on by the Royal New Zealand Ballet over the weekend. A real thrill for them! Tomorrow they get their costumes and do the dress rehearsal and then the first performance in the evening. The second performance is on Sunday.

After the rehearsal we rushed home to get ready for the party. I'm afraid it was fish and chips for tea and then out for the evening. I didn't win any prizes this year but there's always next year. The food was great - mostly home made yummy. William will be a member next year as a student. Then a fast bed time for him before today's efforts of more school and ballet.

Tomorrow is even worse. Eldest and I have french horn practice followed by symphonic band. Meanwhile William has a normal ballet class for the end of year concert (where he also won a role), an hour for lunch, a costume fitting, a dress rehearsal, tea (hopefully) and then a performance. A bit high powered for a 10 year old so I hope he survives ok!

I'm thinking we might not get much else achieved this weekend.

viv in nz

Saturday, November 8, 2008


To buy local round here is actually quite easy when it comes to food. Most things are labeled and the farmers market is open all year round and it only does local. It helps that we are about a zillion miles from nowhere too. We tend to be too far and too small for most exporters.

Life gets much harder when you get to clothes. Basically there is no local apart from some woolly things and they tend to be so expensive that few can afford them. There are local clothes manufactured but not the cloth that goes into them so I don't really think that counts. So I compromise here and get what I need second hand or new but only on an infrequent basis.

I do support local products whenever I can and I think this is important because money spent locally stays local for at least that cycle. It supports infrastructure too so that we don't depend solely on overseas input.

The idea, to my way of thinking, is to balance the incoming goods with outgoing goods so that wealth doesn't leave the country and also, we don't rip off other countries. If proper globalisation was instituted, this balance would be implemented all over so that everyone got their slice of pie. Hoarding should really be banned as it isolates wealth from the system. I think that all wealth hoarded should decrease in value, not increase as at present.

By the same token, I think credit should only be used for a narrow range of purposes and that you should need to justify whatever credit you do ask for. This was how our great grandparents operated and I don't think it should have changed.

So there you have it,

Buy local whenever possible

Balance the books at all levels....and

Don't use credit inappropriately.

viv in nz

Thursday, November 6, 2008


It snowed here. Lots! I planted all my lettuces and tomatoes and it turned back into winter.

On a brighter note...our Steiner was visited by a class of Steiner children from Australia and they thought the snow was wonderful, not being used to such stuff. Tomorrow they are going to climb our street amongst other things (world's steepest) before heading back north.

The snow has already nearly melted - its too warm to last fortunately - but I wonder what this means global warming wise. To my mind the weather has got freakier over the last few years which does not bode well for gardens and my tomatoes for starters. Food production may be limited in ways we haven't thought of just because of these weather patterns.

I'll wait and see what happens next.

viv in nz