Friday, August 31, 2012

Teapots and water and forgetting one's age!

 I have been making teapots, large earthenware teapots, probably around 10 or 11 inches high.  And it feels good to be doing something that has potential for a lot of inventiveness and some humour!

It has been a busy time, and my drying shelves are full to bursting with new work that is drying.  I will have to fire something soon, just to make room!

We have had a few days of delightful spring weather, and have trees laden with plum blossom.  Suddenly it feels like winter is over and it is a time for new life. It is funny how different that can make one feel.  

A foal all rugged up against the cold and wet.

As nature comes awake, so too does a feeling that life is good and has possibilities.  Really nothing has changed..., there are still bills to pay, jobs to do, problems to overcome, but a shift from grey to blue above us, and a degree or two more warmth from the sun, makes everything feel more achievable.  

If I had written a week or two ago, I would have told a very different tale.  We had been through day after day of rain, it was extraordinarily wet, and the flat land around here was beginning to look like an inland sea. 

Waikouaiti, looking toward Victoria St from Reid St.

When I consulted 10 day weather forecasts it was to find every day was predicted to be a replica of the ones we had just had... rain, rain, and more rain.  

Waikouaiti racecourse
After nearly 20 days of this I suspected that I could have started a religious sect and convinced people that we were in the midst of a "time of Noah", in fact there were sounds of hammering and sawing in the village that may well have been someone building an ark.  

In the days immediately following the deluge, the ground was so wet that mist would rise from it, and hang around in the valleys and dips. The mist would dissipate in the early afternoon, and later be replaced by fog rolling in over the hills like the sky descending. 

Whilst we were all going a bit crazy with all the water and everything being shades of grey, it was a strangely beautiful time too.  There was a feeling of the power of nature, and of being caught up in something grand and far bigger than ourselves.

And, for all the grandness of rain that rains for days and days and days, nature attended to the details too. 

When I was out with my camera after the rain, I loved the fine and perfect reflections of dead grass in the still, muddy water. It is so easy to miss seeing the little things, and I do like taking the camera with me, because it helps me pause and look.

At 99 percent humidity for days on end and rain blowing in everywhere, the damp got into the wood that I have stored for the wood fired kiln, and it has been impossible to fire for the last few weeks.  Things are noticeably better now though, and I do hope to fire again very soon.

Last year, about this time, I celebrated my 101th birthday, having given up counting properly after the big 50. 
This time round I have declared myself to be 101.5... at such a venerable age, half years become just as important as they did when I was very young, so I thought it would be fun to add a few months to the tally every year or two, and I might even subtract several decades when that becomes appealing!  

My unconventional outlook on the process of ageing nearly got me into trouble recently.  Laura was away in the North Island staying with her parents, and I had to organise paying a few bills.  Laura was in the habit of paying these via telephone banking, and I thought I would do the same..., however it is has been ages since I banked that way, and I had completely forgotten my password.  I rang the bank and spoke to a surprisingly nice person who then asked me a series of questions to see if I was really who I said I was.  The question that nearly was my undoing was, "How old are you?"  Humm, "101" did spring to mind, but not my real age.  I could remember my date of birth, but found it very difficult to do the maths to work out my age when I was holding the telephone with a surprisingly nice person waiting for my reply, and the thought of being 101 stayed stuck in my mind, and the more I struggled with it, the more resolutely it stuck!  Fortunately the Surprisingly Nice Person on the other end of the phone stayed Surprisingly Nice, and we managed to negotiate our way through my sticky situation and get the bills paid!

Well, I'd better post this off into the ether now... a bit weary this evening, but not bad for someone of 101.5!!


Arkansas Patti said...

That is just too funny Peter. Does that mean 102 is close?? If it is, Happy 102.
I use to creatively age myself also. I used to turn my next year on Jan 1 even though it was 7 months early. It gave me time to get used to the new age. I started that around the dreaded 30th year.
I love the 101 idea. People are ALWAYS going to say how great you look for your age.

Tracey Broome said...

Peter, I was just wondering about you yesterday! and thinking that I had not seen a post from you in awhile.
I had googled for some cone six glaze info and came across a blog post of yours on the subject. Glad you are well at 101.5, by the way that is a good radio station on the fm dial around here :)

Angie said...

Happy Birthday ...omg I thought it was wet here.I love listening to all the reasons why the weather is so bad ... they seem to explain the region one is in ...but everyone is suffering this time.
My favourite is after telling us that everything is changing climatically they then add its the worst since when ever ....does that not mean we are just repeating history ....I wonder how long til the winter is that bad AGAIN that we hear that people are skating on the Thames again lol xx

Peter said...

Hi Patti,
Lovely to hear from you. Not sure if 102 is close, I rather like 101.5 and may go forward several more decimal places before embarking on the 102 (there is also the possibility of creatively winding back the age odometer, something I am likely to do in a decade or two!). I must say I am impressed by your Jan 1 system for birthdays, it does make the whole process more efficient, and, if everyone adopted that, we could have a tremendous global birthday party every Jan 1st!

Hi Tracey,
I was reading several of your blog posts yesterday and you must have picked up the "vibrations" or something. Nice to hear from you. I'll have to try tuning into the 101.5 fm radio station if they have a www, it is fun being able to do that on line.

Hello Angie,
I see that you and I have a lot in common in our thinking about climate and history repeating! It is funny to hear the "our minus 25 was the worst on record since 1909" and words to that effect. We were all learning about the coming mini ice age when I was at school in the early 1970s. I do believe that the climate is changing, and rapidly, but I still wonder if we really understand much of the science behind it (think how unreliable even a 10 day weather forecast can be!!)and the arguments get so muddled either way due to people's financial and political interests. Certainly the poor old world has put up with a lot over the last 4 billion years or so and has adapted to many challenges and changed remarkably. Of course countless forms of life have become extinct in the process, and I do have my doubts about how much longer humans can keep on messing things up in the way we do.. Wish I could pop back every 101.5 years just to see how it all turns out! xx

Yana Out East said...

Dear Peter, Those are beautiful teapots, I wanted to reach into the screen and touch them. I am jealous of your time to pot and your rain. You must be getting all ours too. Now that your spring has arrived, send your rain north to us for our fall. We need it.

Peter said...

Hello Jane, good to hear from you, and I'll do what I can to send rain north! The Met Service are predicting several more days of the stuff for us, so I am sure that we could happily spare some of that!
Thank you for the comment regarding the teapots, I am quite excited about them really, and really want to do more. This week I'll be mostly glazing and trying to get pots dry enough for a wood firing. A bit of a tight deadline coming up...

Amy said...

Glad you posted! Had missed your posts. Rain and cold- wow. I sometimes forget how cold it can be elsewhere. And, what a talented writer (your posts are just thoughtful!) and photographer you are. Please send some rain to NC. And teapots? those look great. Hope you'll post some finished pictures of them in time. Peace!

Peter said...

Hi Amy,
Lovely to hear from you... and thanks for your kind words, goodness, someone missed me! Well that's nice anyway. I'm doing my very best to send rain Northwards, or.. I guess you are out North East of us really! We've escaped rain for the last two days, in spite of dire and gloomy forecasts.. and I see big grey puffy clouds lumbering overhead as I write this, and they do seem to be going in the right direction! Given that there is a huge expanse of ocean between us, you can expect rain from these clouds in about 3 weeks from now!