Friday, 25 February 2011

How my parent's are 'fearing'

Thanks to Net, who asked about my parents and how they are fearing in Christchurch. It was a great Freudian Slip. I was thinking yesterday that if we could have a global image of fear and grieving there would be hotspots in Christchurch, Yemen and Libiya.

My parents are OK. My mum had an adventure she'd rather have done without.
She volunteers in an op shop that was hit fairly hard with the quake. All I know is that the window imploded right where she normally sits. They got out onto the street and stood and watched the minister's church opposite disintegrate.

I probably shouldn't repeat this, because there are a million and one better stories to tell of selflessness. But the minister was most anxious about his cat and used his mobile phone to find out if it had survived. When he finished mum asked if she could use it to call Dad to find out if he was OK.
His response. 'No, it's a credit phone.'

Mum tried to drive home but soon realised that this wasn't going to happen and she was safer walking. She struggled through the liquifaction, sometimes unable to find the bottom she'd have to haul herself back out. It's a long way home.

Dad was OK, the house a little less so. Doors no longer close, a two metre long five row stretch of bricks fell away. TV's are smashed, the typical mess we're seeing on TV. But nothing compared to many of their friends.

Mum told me today of one friend who lost her husband last year and then sustained a lot of damage to her house in the first quake. Now she has a bundle of clothes and no house. All she wants is her husband.

It's hard to watch it on TV. I see the street names from my childhood. Years ago I climbed to the top of the cathedral just when they gave the bells a work out and leant back on the swaying spire and waited for it to crumble. I've stayed at the YMCA, have a wonderful pair of ampersands I bought at Ballantynes. It seems, at such a distance so unreal. But talking to mum, no less unreal her end either.

I've heard them say on TV, 'earthquakes are a fact of life for New Zealander's' as though they are a daily occurance. Nothing like this has ever happened. Newly demolished 1860s churches testify to this.

I can only recall about five earthquakes and I lived there till I was twenty three. The most remarkable one was leaning on a sliding door eating lunch with my family. I must have been nine or ten. The door began to rattle. I turned around to tell my bloody brothers off, no one there. I turned back to see them riding the wild barbeque table over the patio. It was the kind of thing where you went 'whoa!' and laughed over.

Nothing like watching some huge fellow throwing sandstone blocks off someone trapped beneath. Nor watch the agony of those waiting.

As for the minister. I've advised mum to tell him that it's a credit line to God he's got too and he's used his up.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

A computer Free Day

This is what every second day is supposed to be so that Caleb actually creeps out of his self-imposed computer hole and seeks daylight. Like a blind mole, or a particularly light sensitive worm. I'm sure there are other households with children suffering this same affliction. I'm concerned Caleb will look back at his childhood and only recall Earthworm Jim, Kratos and Prince of Persia as his friends, have a hunch back, vision permanently focussed at 30 centimetres and will only have computer geek language skills. He thinks he's L33T (elite) you n00b.

Once, when asked to do something else his response was he couldn't think of anything. Mine, 'Find your imagination'. He was silent for several moments before responding in a 'computer like' voice, 'Imagination - not found.'

This morning his computer free day resulted in this little spurt of humour that while we all appreciate is not going to earn him any online time.

The Fine art of Appreciating Apricots

You take one apricot, insert it into the appropriate facial aperture and make 'hmmmm, hmmmm' noises as you chew. A swipe or two as the juice runs down the chin.

My brother used to say that 'Linda eats apricots and spits out the box'. Too true. A good apricot is as good as any mango.

There will be apricot preserving coming up in the next couple of days so Caleb can eat his favourite pancakes with apricots for breakfast in the middle of winter.

Cal's room

Almost complete, just the Solomit (straw panel) ceiling lining to go. The beauty of his room has not resulted in any lowering of abandoned sock numbers. Found twelve unmatched pairs in there recently, seems statistically impossible but he managed it.

The blue wall is made from homemade goats cheese paint, a mix of quark, lime putty and blue pigment. It was a buggar to apply so Cal and I ended up getting creative with it. I thought it was quite angsty and teenage, but made the mistake of writing in a few words that came to mind and World, Love and Beautiful are definately way too hippy. I've obscured them some what, but he's still not quite sure. I've bought a white wall decal of a great big abstract twirly scroll thing that we can place over top to add to the overall effect.

Good to have another room close to completion.

The Life and Death of Baby Banjo

It was around 6pm, broad daylight, and would be for another three hours this time of year in Tassie, when we spotted a dead wallaby by the side of the road. Trev and both leaned forward at the same moment and yelled,
'Is that a rat?'
But we both agreed it might have been a baby wallaby. We did one of those dangerous manoeuvers not destined to help you make friends with your local copper and went back for a look. Sure enough it was a wallaby, she was out of the pouch and trying desperately to get back in.

Trev swooped her up and we bought it home and rang our local wildlife carer. But alas, not available for anything but advice. Despite feeding her recommended amounts of the right kind of food and keeping her warm and quiet she developed diarrhoea and died a couple of days later. It was only a slim chance she made it, but we had to give her that.


Heaps of them, enough to throw in a bath and bathe in them. Not that that's a likely event. Caleb's last duck bath some years back ended in howls of pain when Nibbler thought she spied a fat worm.

Our two females bought out eight ducklings each. We thought we might have had a rare double yolker twin set, but eventually the duckling managed to get its legs out of the egg and struggle around like Mr Bean with a Christmas turkey on his head. I helped it out, and it was just one same size duckling as the rest, just in a big bloody egg.

The first duck, Squeaker, quickly knocked her duckling numbers back to three by running around so much they dropped dead of exhaustion.

Duck breeding lesson number one. confine duck and ducklings in a 'duck house' for the first week or two till they've developed stamina to keep up.

We have 19 ducklings. Before they went on the duck cluck we had much discussion about the amount of poop on the door step and reducing duck numbers to nil by a process of trialing peking duck recipes and then... numbers kind of got away on us.

Caleb, who's not adverse to eating an animal after it's stopped being cute is looking forward to this event. Trev and I, older and less inclined to kill anything but slugs, (which the ducks were bought in to do and failed spectacularly at), look at each other sideways and wince.