Home again, home again.

Five weeks in a flash and a month of Sundays or longer. Clear perfect blue skies day after day with absolutely no skin-peeling sunburn. Clockwork gloriousness, every day something joyful, marvellous, beautiful and different. And now here I am, jet lag over, all the familiars gathering around me, possibly jeering and leering at me, beached here.

Chateau Puivert, my talisman, my land sighted, my friendly facade when I was a newbie with a ten year old, alone here 20 years ago. I retain great fondness for it.

And now I am older, here at home. How lucky then, that I came across a new poetry publication by Billy Collins, and even though it is still too new to download as a Kindle edition, I downloaded another of his instead and read it all in one sitting. It’s at least a three seater but I’ve made a start. And this month the new couch arrives for more sittings, the photo books should be here tomorrow and the lenses will be in my new French (actually Japanese) glasses frames. By the end of the month the two year wait for an outdoor coffee table to match the chairs will arrive. So September is consumer month around here.

There is quite a lot of contemplation of death in this volume, BC is 80 years old now and I’m steaming up the ridge that will be able to spot it soon. Or soon enough to marvel at a violet or a baby in a hat. Before I went away I took my death plan to the doctor to sign. I don’t want any messy decisions left to others to make things complicated.

So, things are returning to “normal”, the rat pulse has started again and the reading, writing, walking groups and movie-going have resumed, and my world is back in smaller focus.

I loved Good Luck to You Leo Grande, funny, poignant, moving, charming all by turns. It would make a beautiful play and naturally Emma Thompson was stunningly ordinary, frumpy and beautiful at any given moment and Daryl McCormack was so beautiful it would be worth watching with the sound down.

While I was away a poem of mine was shortlisted by the 26 Writing group in the UK without my knowing there was a “competition”. I got to the last six and wasn’t in the top three but the poem and the beautiful image by Leanne Silver (click on link to see her amazing new website-think unique Christmas gifts), will be in the next Forest and Bird magazine if you are loitering in the mag section at the supermarket for a free read. It’s a centena- 100 words with the first and last three being the same. The topic is my ratline ha ha.

On my return I discovered an oat milk, decaf latte large is $7.50 so that will teach me for having ludicrous requirements. I was reading a menu in a cafe once where my coffee order was under a special heading called. Why Bother. So in an economy drive I have bought my self a little capsule coffee maker and have discovered the secret to coffee obsession. It is not so much the coffee but the ritual of making it. Pushing the little buttons, waiting for it to whirr into action, watching the silent frother frothing all adds up to a small daily pleasure and it’s still decaf and oat milk. However, I am learning that not all oat milks are equal and some are much better frothers, than others.

I have already ventured out of the city up to Waipu, my happy place and on to the Hundertwasser Gallery at Whangarei. What a treasure, not to be missed and the Aqua Cafe is the perfect after show spot. Just don’t forget to book for the cafe. I liked everything, the Maori Art room, the Hundertwasser rugs and art works, the fantastic building it’s all housed in and the whole welcoming atmosphere. I liked the detail, the letters, especially the one where the crown authority gives H permission to be buried under a tulip tree on his own land. It happened exactly as he wished. H owns an extensive piece of land up north and it is being tended by a group of trustees. They intend to open it to the public in the not-too -distant future. It looks amazing from the photos as H has put canals in everywhere and done extensive planting as well as building his eccentric bottle house.

Hundertwasser’s death wishes
H was really into curves.
Don’t miss the Maori Art Gallery section

Back at Waipu, Spring was springing and it seemed a good moment to appreciate the flowers. I like the wee spot of brown on the petal, indicating it’s not plastic or icing, just a camellia having it’s short time in the sun.

I only have photos and a few small mementoes from France but an overflowing cache of cameo memories. The best travelling companion and my friends from Puivert were all part of the magic ingredients. It felt like I was continually happy except for maybe a short period after eating a dodgy ham sandwich at the railway station. I bought the duty free Aperol in the hope of making spritz in the summer but I have a feeling it just won’t taste the same.

The white stripes on my feet from my summer sandals are becoming much less obvious and there is a 100% guarantee of rain tomorrow but hey there are books to be read, films to see and friends to drink with so all’s well with this antipodean return. It doesn’t stop me from planning for next year though. Maybe Italy. And I’m never going to be too old to ride a carousel.

There will always be a place to hang my hat in Paris.

I’ve become a bit obsessed about how ignorant I am about art after enjoying so many galleries, museums and sculpture parks so I might jot down a few I’ve found interesting next time. Until then au revoir and happy September. FG

Is this picture sexual or is it just me? A little imprint in the Hundertwasser wall.

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