The women I went to school with and other stuff

I wrote a post the other day with a poem about running into a woman I went to school with and wished I hadn’t. Well the following weekend I caught up with a friend I also went to school with and I’m so glad we keep in touch. It’s one of those friendships where you email if you are in town so we maybe contact each other a couple of times a year. When we do catch up we have a ball and update ourselves on each other’s lives over great food and a trip to a market or gorgeous linen shops or that expensive little French place….. and we eat, drink and be merry.

If my stuff was out of storage I would post a picture of us in our Otago Girls’ uniforms- black gym frocks, white panama hats, gloves, and badges of course. Little strips across the shoulder indicated what house we were in . Our hair had to be tied back in some fashion so mine was in stupid little pigtails. There was little social promotion in those days, humiliation was deemed to keep you from getting above yourself.

I don’t ever remember a glowing sunset like this over the school. I do however, remember Friday afternoon, double period Science with Miss Lamont who dictated for two hours in her nasty nasal voice. No wonder I was disruptive….

I got dumped from the top class that my friend was in along with a school report that had phrases like, “Susan is inattentive and disruptive in class”, “Susan spends too much time talking and not enough on attending to task” etc. which I know that those of you who know me will find hard to believe….little has changed unfortunately.

I did lose touch with my friend W after school but reconnected after a fairly incredible coincidence. I was flatting in Ealing in London and I was moving on. So Tony, the English chap who owned the flat put an ad in the Ealing local paper. I happened to be in the flat when the phone rang about the ad. Even though I had not spoken to W for around 8 years, I recognised her voice instantly. And so it was, she moved in to the flat and also became a friend of Tony’s and we have all remained in touch these last 35 years.

This isn’t the exact apartment but it was something like this, not an old typically London place but it was always warm. Why do we NZders have to be so Presbyterian and freeze in the winter?

So my old school friends are now turning 60 and that’s including me of course. It is hard to believe that my oldest friend is 60 next week and that we have known each other for 50 years. We go right back to competing to see who could insert a tampon first 🙂 and helping each other mend broken hearts and wearing bra frocks made by her Mum. Once we met some boys and went skinny dipping late at night in R’s Morris Minor. Unfortunately we lost the car keys in the sand and R taxied back home to sneak in for the spare set while I was left to fend off the two male gymnasts we had picked up. She was caught of course and we were suitably punished by being grounded the next day. So we went biking instead and got stopped by the police for failing to stop at a stop sign on our bikes. I spent all my summers at her place for many years. We deplored her Mum’s home made tomato sauce in favour of the Watties variety that was never purchased. Now how we long for that delicious homemade brew using all fresh ingredients. So many anecdotes and stories and fun with women I went to school with and am so glad I did.

R’s dad taught us to drive and we both had MMs for many years. I remember so fondly the ticking sound when you turned the key as the fuel pump warmed up and accomplishing the double declutch, a skill no young person would have today!

D asked me this morning what my plans were. How fantastic, my day is going something like this:

  1. Delicious breakfast with S of avocado and tomato on toast and a leisurely cup of tea.

2. Mindfulness meditation on loving kindness, especially for oneself! Great, that justifies a totally indulgent day. Try it you will feel good all day.

3. Writing this blog post and reminiscing in my mind about the past.

4. Oh dear, I just have to read all the Home magazines I got from the library as they are due back today- what a chore, not!

5. Making some soup from the left overs and a salad for dinner

6 Listeing to a bit of Big Magic that I downloaded as an audio book from the library. It is by Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote Eat, Pray, Love which I though was bollocks. But then I heard an interview with her by Kim Hill and thought Kim would make mince meat of her. Quite the reverse happened, Elizabeth spoke with dignity and respect and I came to admire how she handled the interview. I went on to read her second novel, The Signature of All Things and really enjoyed it. It was very different for the first and not at all autobiographical.

Elizabeth Gilbert’s first novel in twelve years is an extraordinary story of botany, exploration and desire, spanning across much of the 19th century. The novel follows the fortunes of the brilliant Alma Whittaker (daughter of a bold and charismatic botanical explorer) as she comes into her own within the world of plants and science. As Alma’s careful studies of moss take her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, the man she loves draws her in the opposite direction—into the realm of the spiritual, the divine and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose is a Utopian artist. But what unites this couple is a shared passion for knowing—a desperate need to understand the workings of this world, and the mechanism behind of all life.

I suspect people who love EPL will not like TSOAT and vice versa. Her latest book is called Big Magic:Creative Living Beyond Fear and I suspect it is back to the EPL kind of scene, non-fiction and pretty American  cheesy in content but I thought I would check it out anyway. The other author I like in the American cheesy vein is Susan Jeffers as her books have very practical exercises and it forces you to assess your own behaviour, rather than your partner’s. She is author of Feel the Fear etc.

If I had the guts I would give every young couple this book as a wedding present.

6. Maybe watch another episode of the The Bridge, which I will write about in another blog.

7. Possibly look out the window for a bit at the birds in the trees.

I have been watching this tree blossom over the last few weeks from the living room
Consider the Irises, that can take up quite a lot of time….
The tuis are in ecstasy over the flowering kowhai tree.


All in all a pretty exhausting schedule. I hope you have a similar day. FG







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