Tuesday, April 10, 2018

betty's bay

Back when Day Zero looked like it was going to be a real thing my parents took a rental on a house near the sea for the month of April, thinking they could work remotely and still have regular showers. That we could come out to do our laundry and wash our hair on the weekends.

We've staved off Day Zero for this year at least, but they kept the rental, and the girls and I joined them out there for a few days last week during school holidays.

How to set a Frieda trap: leave a Gary Larsen omnibus on a window seat scattered with comfy cushions.

In Betty's Bay the sea is crisp and clean, the smell of it fresh in your nostrils, the sound soothing to your ears. Kelp undulates gently on the swell. White beach pebbles canoodle with crisp seaside plants and shards of mother-of-pearl, yellow-orange lichen and dark green milkwood trees.
The clouds come easily over the mountain, casting a gloom which enhances all those colours, all those smells, making the world feel more subtle, more cosy, less exposed.
It's a good place to recoup, to hide out for a bit.

We were joined there by my 'god-sister'. Daughter of my god-mother. For an irreligious family we take this bond seriously and Caitlin has been family for as long as I can remember - literally. She was 8 when I was born and tells how she was SO EXCITED until she realised that I didn't really do anything much. She remembers asking her mum if I was ever going to be fun?
She was a big sister figure for most of my childhood and when I was 18 or 19 I would stay with her in her digs in the big city - a huge adventure for me - while attending Winter School at the University and flexing my baby wings.
Caitlin lives in NZ now, I last saw her at my wedding 14 years ago, but she's been home to celebrate her 50th birthday and it was wonderful to spend time with her, and share her with my daughters.
She's still a big girl, with long dark brown tresses and an easy giggle.
The best people are the ones with whom time has no dominion.
The best places too.

camera roll: March

March just blew by in a bit of a blur to be honest. Most of the month was spent feeling very much out of things, not myself at all, just trying to keep head above water really.

I read a lot of books and watched a lot of mediocre TV. I cried by myself, with others and while reading books and watching mediocre TV. I kept to myself a bit. One doesn't like to burden others with ones gloominess, there's a feeling of needing to maintain a stiff upper lip, but there's also the inability to to do so, or even really care ... sometimes it seems easier to just keep to oneself.

Awetumn arrived in all it's annual loveliness. And dogs (even naughty ones) proved to be a very comforting balm to the soul. I spent a lot of time admiring both.

There was of course, a birthday, and then another one a week later for my dearest friend's daughter. Both were hard, but there's nothing somber about gaggles of 8 yr olds, regardless of the circumstance. Both were healing also.

Late in the month we had a magnificent thunderstorm. It started with the above sunset which had all the neighbours outside. Gasps, exclamations of delight and shutter clicks echoed up and down the lake. Minutes later the first rumble rolled in and for the next few hours we were treated to an exceptional light show, followed by heavy rain - hallelujah!

The next day I heard from a friend whose car had been struck by lightning, with her in it, while driving down a narrow urban street! In the grasp of an ear-splitting, retina-scorching Faraday Cage all she could think was that an airplane had landed on her car. She came out unscathed - the car's electrics fried, tyres smoking, later a numbing migraine but best of all - a great story to tell!

The month ended with the beginning of the school holidays, a road trip to our friends up the coast. A few days of lazing, catching-up and the best the local sea and vineyards have to offer.

That's our lopsided tent in the background, pitched on our friends lawn. That's the long table at which we spent an afternoon eating delicious food, harvested from the sea down the road and prepared outdoors in the garden by these sweet menfolk of ours. That's the wine we washed it down with, pressed from grapes grown withing a few hundred kilometers from where we sat, made by the hands of the friend sitting with us.
These are the magnificent things of life, the bountiful things, the precious things - it was good to end March being reminded of all this. Life is bitter, but also very very sweet.