Thinking back over this year, I realise it has been very much full on. It’s been a year of mostly ups, with some downs – however any ‘downs’ I am able to use as spurs for my writing, so, ‘Alles gut’,* as the German members of my whanau / extended family would put it.
*All is good / no worries
I have a fourth collection of poetry ready for publication. I have a novel manuscript which I will be looking to self-publish. And I have plans and ideas for a second novel and fifth poetry collection. Sadly, New Zealand’s publishers cannot sustain such productivity!
The year started off on a sad note with the death of a much loved Aunty. I will always remember last summer (one of the hottest in memory) as one in which I couldn’t really enjoy because of trips down to Gore to visit, and with family and friends, be with our very ill aunty.
Good things followed, however, and life took on a more positive glow as the year flowed on. We stopped doing Air BnB in January when instead of overseas visitors, our son, wife and baby daughter took up residence in our downstairs apartment.
As well, and among many other things possibly now forgotten, I went to the ballet and a movie or two with my granddaughter, attended a market fair with my friend the poet and writer, Jenny Powell, (where as J&K Rolling, we read poetry in the open air and enjoyed the company of country folk – including a dear friend and her husband, who hosted us in their home).
I also became a pensioner in June when I turned 65. I still have to pinch myself. I cannot believe I’m that old. It happened so fast. In the blink of an eye I am old, leaving the girl in her brown and white gingham dress, and then-thin legs, standing surprised on the lawn in the sunshine of 1966. (But all the same, I am not minding the money rolling in every fortnight).
Regular events; such as attendance at my gym, church, swims with my daughter in law and granddaughter, helping out at St Nick’s Music Group (a weekly church-run playgroup) spending time with grandchildren and being part of a curling team in the winter; were interspersed with trips to Queenstown to visit my elderly mother-in-law, a family cliff top celebration for our baby granddaughter, a personal writing retreat at a crib (beach house) by the sea, a road trip south with my sister – as well as a lone one I completed recently – and two other poetry events: one as Writer in school for Waikaka School in Southland (a definite highlight of the year!) The other was the recent J&K Rolling poetry reading at Waikouaiti library with Jenny (well attended and a boost for us as we had no readings over the winter). Then there was Rob Allan’s Book Launch in Port Chalmers, and reading poetry there too. And my granddaughter’s first birthday party at the Museum, followed by a picnic in the Museum Resetve. A sweet memory. Seeing the completion of her father’s wall art on Vogel Street’s Good Good Cafe, another sweet treat. Also the visits from our son & wife & family in Christchurch (or us to them). My cup runneth over …
And regular coffee (or a beer) and dinner catch ups with friends and family, have also added sparkle and zest to this year. As always.
The major event of this year was my trip to Berlin to visit our youngest son, his partner and their two kids. (See previous time posts). I’ll always remember the little events there making cherished memories – such as the ‘Grandma party’ – with special homemade party hats – and the trip out to see the kite festival held at the old Templehof airport.
Also stopping off in China on my way back to New Zealand and spending a week there with my husband, who was at a university lecturing in structural engineering, another good memory.
Once I got back home, I was able to travel to Christchurch and Wellington to catch up with family in both places. What a treat! Seeing my grandson play the baritone trumpet in his school’s concert and surprising my son on his birthday … Good to spend time with a few of my siblings as well.
Robert arrived back home in November after being away for close to three months, and life has kind of gone back to normal again. I say ‘kind of’ because it certainly hasn’t stopped sparking off the highlights.
Such as recently going to see my granddaughter’s contribution in the second year art school’s sculpture exhibition, and attending her mother’s (my daughter’s) graduation where she was capped with a Bachelor in Product Design.
We also attended the barbecue my daughter and partner put on to celebrate her graduating. And wow! Wouldn’t you know it – there happened there the most recent (and certainly the one with the most surprise element) highlight of all, when at their bbq, my daughter and her partner announced that they were going to get married. Then & there; in bare feet. Talk about taking everyone’s breath away. Just so special.
I don’t know whether my recent eye surgery (laser & cataract removal) is a highlight exactly … but at least I can now see any actual high lights, more clearly.
And my daughter in law has just finished (with the help of her stepdad, Andy) building a gate and fence for our downstairs area.
What’s left of this year is going to have to come up with something really extra special now to top all of those things. I cannot wait to see what Christmas and New Year can do.