Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Oh, yes, another notice...

Returning the motorhome from Christchurch to Auckland a few days ago we planned to visit the seal colony near Westport. But when we got to the entrance we were confronted with this notice warning of all kinds of dangers ahead.
Now we had no children to keep with us. Did the notice mean we couldn’t enter? Well, we took our courage in both hands and went in without children and no disaster fell upon us at all.

Perhaps the notice didn’t quite say what it intended… I guess it’s another “We heard what they said but we know what they meant” things. How often do I communicate stuff that has to be filtered and processed before people catch my meaning?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy Holidays!

One of the members of our congregation at Russell put this notice on the church to try to spread good cheer a little more widely than usual.

Today I an told that a passer-by has added:

I can think of one or two categories of other friends, too. Perhaps they will make their own claim to a place in the sun. Meanwhile, it seems our small, small congregation of three to five at Russell has achieved a fully interactive churchfront!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

"Dear Family and Friends.."

Fifty years ago a dozen of us who had just entered the Methodist ministry agreed to write to each other, at least at Christmas.

Not all of us kept it up, but Bev and I soon developed a wider Christmas mailing list. We rejected the Christmas card option and put the money saved into the Christmas Appeal. We distributed brief duplicated accounts of our life during each year. We’ve kept them all and they were enormously useful when I commenced to write my life story.

Today this kind of exchange of news seems to have become an international custom. The technologies of Xerox, Fax and E-mail – not to mention other more complex internet mysteries – have made our circle of acquaintances larger and our world smaller.

In the coming years Bev and I may not have the opportunity of renewing many friendships face to face. Advancing age, declining health and environmental awareness will limit our ability and willingness to travel very far overseas. But once a year it’s a pleasure to share a little of our life with upwards of 300 households and to read of theirs.

Christmas blessings to all!
PS I wonder when this custom began...?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Flying High?

As we sat at coffee recently we spotted a Mynah flying to and fro inside the airconditioned building.

It flew a large figure-of-eight loop from one end of the entire mall to the other. Every 30 seconds or so it returned in the same circuit over our table and on again. There was no way out. Worse, there was nowhere it could land to catch its breath – the building was no doubt designed that way. All it could do was fly round and back, round and back.

I guess it probably came in at ground level, looking for crumbs under the tables. Maybe the pickings weren’t much good, or perhaps it got frightened. But once it took off, it could only fly upwards under the lofty ceiling.

I was struck at first by the bird’s determined persistence and its energy, but then by the pointlessness of its effort. For all the distance that it flew, it was not getting anywhere. So much effort, for so little.

There seemed to be a bit of a moral in there for me, someplace. About keeping my feet on the ground, I suppose. All the energy I can muster isn’t going to do me or anyone else much good unless it is expended in the right context. Of course I aspire to the heavens. But I need also to be firmly earthed.
I hope it hasn't been said of me that I am so heavenly minded I am no earthly use...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Carpe diem!

While seeing out a short couple of years with prostate cancer, Brian Malcouronne published a comprehensive book of funeral resources. Based on his own wide experience and his eclectic knowledge of others’ material, "Honouring our Loved Ones" was of great value to many people, especially the growing number of lay celebrants.
However, it went out of print a few years after he died. Bev and I visited Liz recently and found that the book was Brian’s own project and the family haven’t been able to put it back into print. So, after years of saying “No – just buy
my book on how to do it yourself” I have started on another book. The ISBN numbers suggest it will be about the 115th I have done in my publishing hobby.
There’s a coincidence, of course. I, too, have prostate cancer. And, like Brian as he was putting together this great little book in 1993, I’m conscious that some things I get to do these days will be for the last time. Currently, under the onslaught of both Zoladex and Casodex, my PSA has remained unmeasurable for another three months. But there’s a ticking timebomb somewhere inside me.
Meanwhile, I have another really worthwhile publishing challenge. And, on an impulse and cheap air fares, Bev and I are flying off to Christchurch to drive another rental camper up to Auckland. The relocation rates are terrific and we’ll get to make Christmas visits to family in Christchurch, Wellington, Taupo and Auckland and be home before Christmas.
Carpe diem!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Go to the end of the road...

When we borrowed Paul’s car to drive to Canberra and back, “Jane” came along. She is a GPS navigator and gave us a lot of good advice about which way to drive and when to turn. Especially in the cities when the navigation got a bit complex.

A few times we went the wrong way and after about five seconds she would speak up “Turn around and go back”. If we ignored her advice for two or three intersections she would watch what we were doing and then give us new directions: “In 200 metres, turn right” and would get us back onto a slightly different route to the same ultimate destination.

The one I liked best was when we turned onto a side street to grab a bite to eat. When we started again Jane spoke up immediately “Go to the end of the road and turn right.” Not “go back” this time, but “turn right”. She knew better than we did that we could get back to the main road by turning right instead of making a tricky U-turn.

There must be a moral in there someplace. It’s not a bad instruction for the whole of life. Especially for someone with terminal cancer. “Go to the end of the road and turn Right”

I like that.

The last post from the GW Tour

Today we collect the last “Golden Wedding” signatures on the Big Card. Sydney family and friends will bring the total to around 125. It’s a very special record of people who are important to us.

We’ve had a marvellous time of renewing friendships and experiencing the changes in the lives of those who have been a part of our adventures during the last half century. We’ve relaxed a lot, read quite a bit and I’ve straightened out some of the more tortuous prose in my life story.

Tomorrow we start the last trip. We should be back in our own bed by late on Friday. It will be good to be home. And, especially, it will be good to rejoin our small church for services over the weekend. That fellowship is what makes our distant life in Paihia so important to us.

The tour is over. Life goes on.

Our warmest love to all who have made this journey with us.