Monthly Archives: March 2010

Bird of paradise perhaps…

A bird of paradise by any other name...apologies to Shakespeare

When I took this photo a few days ago, I knew the name of this plant. Had always known it because my mum was a floral guru extraordinaire. (Gene pool skipped a beat with me in that respect!)

Three days later and I’m struggling to give it a name despite having googled ‘Australian flora’ and ‘tropical plants’.

That’s one of the worst things about growing old … I stride (with purpose of course) from one room to the other and once there, I’ve already forgotten the reason for my journey. In a matter of seconds, the raison d’etre has gone. And I’ll stand there racking my brain to try and remember. Retracing my steps sometimes helps – only sometimes mind you.

I’ll go out for a lunchtime walk with the intention of running an errand to one of the local retailers and forget what it was I went out for. I might even forget what shop it was.

I’ll go down the stairs at work, use my access card to enter the door, walk in – then stop dead trying to retrieve the reason for my visit.

This is all so disconcerting – I’ve always prided myself on having a good memory. Great eyesight and a good memory…

So I’m looking at this stunning flower – what on earth is it! Can someone help me please…..a bird of paradise springs to mind and I don’t know why? any ideas out there?

Forget the question – I just googled ‘bird of paradise’ and bingo – I’m not losing it after all.

Lorikeet feeding time

Early morning snack-fest

A flock of lorikeets love feasting on the roadside trees. Early morning and late afternoon are favoured times.

They don’t really love company (i.e. me) but stand quietly long enough and they’ve forgotten the intrusion.

The sap from these flowers must be pretty damn good. Don’t know what they are, but they are popular with a variety of birds it seems. Last night when we arrived back from our trip to Massimo’s Ice cream parlour, some thing with a really huge wingspan was busy feeding.

We disturbed it and as it flew to another branch, it’s great wings made a huge thunking sound. Wonderful!

Playing a different tune

While the birds dart from branch to branch - there is stillness at the water's edge

Being somewhere different and seeing different forms of plant life, bird life and people is so refreshing.

Each morning we’re greeted (at least those of us who are awake) by a symphony of bird song. As soon as the sun rises the chorus begins – it’s fantastic! The songs are so many and varied.

There are a couple of trees outside our gate, the flowers of which are obviously delicious. They are very popular with the local parrots. I thought I’d managed to get an really good shot of one of them sucking at the sap – however on closer inspection it wasn’t quite in focus.  I’ll try again tomorrow.

Nothing like early morning purpose is there?

For the time being – until the parrots oblige – a photograph of some very still water-life will have to suffice!

Conversations with the inner-critic

Perceptions of self can get so skewed

My inner-critic has been having an absolute ball over the past week spending every spare minute telling me I’m just not good enough. I’m waiting on a decision that, if it goes in my favour, could change the course of my professional life. The wait is excrutiating.

So right now, while I’m preparing myself for disappointment, inner-critic is having a field-day chastising me for  the ill-advised things I think I said to the  panel of ‘judges’, the clothing I wore on the day of judgement,  the work they asked me to submit…and basically everything I’ve done and not done to get me to this point.

Why do I listen? And why do these one-way conversations – yes they are one-way – cost me so much emotional energy and so much sleep?

Us Virgo’s are supposed to be perfectionists for whom nothing is ever good enough.  Inner-critic is always beating me up and telling me that I could have done it better. Does this voice talk only to Virgos I wonder…

The inner-critic has been with me throughout my life and the truth is that it’s prevented me doing a lot of things. That’s a pretty sad admission isn’t it…fear of failure. I’d really hate to think that I might have passed on such self-doubting tendencies to my children.

We tell them to go out and do everything, take every opportunity, not be afraid of stepping up to the edge – because that is where you try yourself out, grow and learn who you really are. And what the hell is wrong with failure anyway? Somethings are just not meant to be…

I should listen to my own advice – really I should!

Opera House springs to life with Inside Out

The Grand Old Lady of Wellington theatre

The Opera House, Wellington is a treasured venue.

Before the show last night we stood on the first floor balcony on a perfectly clear,warm and still Wellington evening watching the passing parade on the street below. I felt very privileged being there.

Like many of our older buildings the The Opera House is a beautiful old building which would benefit from  a huge injection of cash for refurbishment. Although as much as possible has been done over the years, the sloping floors in the stalls still look temporary  and creak with every step and the seats, although relatively new, are a little unkind to the not so well cushioned derrieres.

Yet its atmosphere remains as magical as it always has done, with elegant plasterwork over the ceiling and around the walls, and a stage that has withstood the load of countless stage sets and thousands of dancing feet.

Last night she sprang into life yet again…this time and Indie rock band from Sweden took stage left, and performers from Cirkus Cirkor performed their show ‘Inside Out’ in every remaining measure of space from the ceiling to the pit.

We were treated to much humour, a feast of aerobatics and acrobatics and fantastic music. It was a stunning show.

The Opera House along with the St James are the grand old ladies of Wellington theatre. I’ve been fortunate to perform in both over the years. Most recently (and by recent I mean about 13-14 years ago) in the St James I took the role of the Hag (well who else could I possibly be cast as?) in Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol panto, a show in which my daughter was also starring. I had blacked-out teeth, acres of fabric around me and somehow managed to cackle my way through my one solo.

I had a ball of course, absolutely loved it! And the mother-daughter combo made it even more special.

And the Opera House – well I’ve sung in operas there, and performed in musical theatre. They were such special times and hold even more special memories. I really do thrive in that environment – I’m much better at taking another character than being myself!

I wonder what that says,

Last night as I sat in Opera House and watched the performers going through their routines with verve, enthusiasm and such incredible skill, I really wanted to be up there with them especially on the trapeze!

Yay for dreams!!!!

Life after Mahler – the birthday party

Delicious and nutricious - a special birthday tea.

What do you do after weeks of rehearsal, hours of anticipation and 90 minutes of exhilerating performance? Hard to top it really – but how about a four-year old’s birthday party?

Observing the enjoyment and excitement had a grounding effect and I loved it.

Looking at the wonderful spread I thought back to the parties my friends and I had prepared when our babes were little. They were such good times, and we went all out. My friend Marica and I used to make home-made sausage rolls – adding grated carrot to the sausage meat mix (very very healthy!) and rolling them in delicious flakey pastry. They were so moist and delicious; it’s years since I’ve made them. These days Alison Holst has saved us the trouble and we can buy pre-prepared frozen ones from the supermarket – some are even pre-cut. Sorry, but they aren’t anywhere near as good as ours were…

And then there were the cheerios, star-shaped fairy bread, mini quiches, honey crackles, chocolate crackles, lollies and finally – the cakes!

The night before the party, hours and hours were spent crafting cakes chosen from the Birthday Cake Cookbook by the lucky recipient. My daughter can probably remember every cake she ever had – and will undoubtedly (hope I’m right) say the Dolly Varden cake was her favourite. The upper torso of a barbie-type doll emerged from a large princess skirt of lilac and white icing. A real labour of love that I’d happily repeat. It was so much fun to do. The cake itself was immaterial – the flavour unimportant. It was all in the ‘look’ – the pleasure of seeing the children’s excited faces and watching them jump up and down in anticipation was worth every second of effort.

There was also the train cake (Marica’s was particularly memorable) – carriages of different coloured icing, liberally decorated with licorice, pebbles, jelly-beans and marshmallows. Spectacular!

With all this temptation came the little fingers not being able to resist sneaking lollies from around the edges, the sides and off the top. Sugar, sugar, sugar…I don’t recall there being too many problems with sugar highs. Maybe we were just too tired to notice. But we had such a good time and so did the kids.

Some things never change.

Another birthday in the family tomorrow and I’d love to be making a cake to celebrate. A Black Forest Cherry cake might be the choice – shame they don’t travel well.