I awoke to the sound of slurping. My waking was one of those disorientating
transitions from sleep to consciousness, where the mind has forgotten if it is morning, afternoon, or next week. Not six inches from my nose was a mug of tea, on it was balanced a plate, and on the plate was a slice of toast that was being progressively stripped of its thin coating of butter and Vegemite by the pink tongue of Nigella Stopit.
Over the last couple of weeks, more than half of my life has been lived at floor level. I have occupied a similar ecological niche to Nigella Stopit, sharing her electric heater and hand made rug, and seeing under the furniture, the way she does. It is quite an interesting world down here, you would be surprised at the adventure playground that chairs and tables offer, when viewed from underneath.
It is also not such a bad place to read books, and from this low altitude I have been averaging about one good novel every day and a half. One of the best thus far has been a wonderful book by an Author that I have not come across before, Andrew Nicoll. The book has the ominous title, "If You're Reading This I'm Already Dead", and is about a certain Otto Whitte (acrobat of Hamburg), a circus troupe (complete with camel), and a daring attempt to make Otto king of Albania.
Other authors that I have had keep me company over the last two weeks have included Paul Theroux, Marina Lewycka, and Kadar Abdolah. I must say a word about the latter author. Iranian author, Kadar Abdolah, fled to the Netherlands in 1988 as a political refugee. His book, Het huis van de moskee (The House of the Mosque) was first published in 2005, and published as an English translation in 2010. It is one of the best books I have ever read, and gives a sometimes tender, sometimes heart wrenchingly sad account of how Islamic people struggled to cope with American influence and the changes that the second half of the twentieth century brought to their country. It is a book that is written with great understanding and humanity, and I hope that you will read it.
It has been nice reading books but, sadly, I have been unable to work at my potting for the last month. The back problem that started around April 16, when I was in the final week of getting pots fired for the exhibition in Timaru, has left me with a very painful left leg that makes it hard work to walk at times, and I cannot sit for more than a minute or two without a lot of pain (again in that leg), so my waking time has been either standing or lying flat on a mattress on the floor. I'll be seeing the doctor again tomorrow. Needless to say, it is a frustrating time, and a potentially worrying one, so reading has been a very welcome activity. At times like this we give thanks for good friends and family.
I have tried to keep walking, although this is not always easy, and I take the camera with me, to give me a good excuse to stop from time to time and take in the view.
The weather has been dramatic, and winter has come to us like a roaring lion. We had snow yesterday, and the main road North of Dunedin was impassable for most of it. We are about 40 kilometres (25 miles) North of the city, and our little village was soon full of large trucks and the occasional bus, that were waiting to get further South. Some of them had a very long wait indeed!
A big thank you to all of you who left kind comments on my previous post or who got in touch by phone or by letter, it was thoughtful of you. You will realise from my blog that our cats are very much part of this family here, and it is always very sad when one of them reaches the end of this life. We have been very blessed with the companionship of our little ones, and our lives have been enriched by them.
Anyway, I'll cease babbling on, and put a few of the photos with this that I have taken recently.
Kind Thoughts to you. P.