Friday, July 25, 2008


We have to admit that times are hard just now. The world situation is worrying, and the effects of the fuel crisis are filtering down to us all, and affecting us in far more ways than the price of filling your tank at the bowser. We are not immune here on Norfolk Island, and because we are so dependent on tourism, changing travel patterns can threaten our very bread and butter. Many of us are tighteningour belts a little.

But I have often said that I would rather be poor here on Norfolk Island than anywhere else in the world. There is always a spot to grow stuff, and friends and family to share stuff with. The people here are resourceful, too, and do not whinge about being isolated and away from the mainstream.

Today it is about as cold and wet and miserable as it ever gets here on Norfolk Island. Many of our visitors laugh and say we do not know what bad weather is. And they are right, And there would hardly be a single Norfolker who does not value every drop of water that is going into his tank or into the water table!

A cold wet day is a wonderful excuse to burn up the fire to keep the house warm and dry. There is always plenty of wood for these occasions, because it is not often cold enough to need it!

Basil the cat has a very thick coat, and does not often seek out the warmth, but even he made an exception today and enjoyed the warm loungeroom.

This has all got me thinking about other good things that have been happening.

Last week I got a parcel in the mail from an old friend whom I have not actually seen for a long time. It was a lovely bundle of colourful ribbons. Isn't it great to have friends who know that something like this gives me more joy than an expensive bottle of perfume or a new outfit. I can just look at them for days, run my fingers through them, and dream of all sorts of possibilities for them. Later I will use them in creative projects, and that will give me pleasure once again. Then somewhere down the line, I can give away what I have created, and the joy gets passed on to someone else!!

On Tuesday, my very creative and resourceful friend Annette gave me a box of soap that she had made from a bottle of Olive Oil I had given her. There were 15 cakes of beautiful, pure, creamy white Castile soap, without a single additive. When I gave a cake to Kim, she could not believe it had not been perfumed, because it had such a fresh and delicate fragrance. It is just so beautiful to use, and wonderful for the hair. You can forget about shampoos, with all their chemicals and additives - this is the real stuff!!

There have been treasures from other places this week too. I was delighted to discover some handmade doileys, both at the Op shop and at the Waste Management.

I have quite a collection of these now. I just have to 'rescue' this sort of thing, because so few people value them nowadays.

In the same way, I had to rescue the huge pile of knitting patterns at Waste Management, and the big bag of assorted balls of wool. I do not even knit (although I can.) Upstairs have dozens of pairs of knitting needles, also "rescued" from garage sales etc.

Now I was wondering if I should just take these patterns home to join the needles, or find a knitter to pass them on to, when up behind me drove Jane, and her husband Alan. Alan's mum Dot knits all the time. It is like eating and sleeping to her, and probably the times she is eating and sleeping are the only times she is not knitting!! So they took the patterns home to Dot, who has since gone through them and found a few she did not already have. Dot is going to pass the rest on to Annette (the soapmaker) who also does wonderful things with wool, combining colours and textures and shapes in just magic ways. The bag of wool will also go to Annette.

I should tell you about our Waste Management Centre. It is a drive through arrangement. Opposite the rubbish shutes there is a big bay where all sorts of "might be useful stuff" is dumped, and absolutely anyone is free to go through it and take what they want. It is very democratic and inclusive. You only have to be there at the right time. There is always a big pile of reading material, including recycled library books from time to time. There are two enormous bins for used clothing and linen, a wonderful source for rags, cover sheets, dog blankets, patchwork, and often something quite wearable! At different times I have brought home beautiful woollen blankets (no longer used by many in this doona age) and hand crocheted rugs.There are usually loads of household goods in all sorts of conditions, electronics, toys, even furniture.Charles once got several timber framed doors and windows - even the paintwork on them was quite respectable.

Now I should mention thatBernie has mixed feelings about my forays to the Waste Management Centre in search of "free stuff", so I do not go very often. But he was definitely pleased when after my visit the other day, I brought home several metres of net curtaining, brand new and still in the bag in which it had been purchased. It was just what we needed to curtain the bedroom in Peter's flat. And I was also pleased with another find - a pair of heavy Sheffield steel scissors, much like the ones my mother used for years. They are just slightly rusty on the handles, but they cut like a dream, even heavy fabric. When they do go blunt, they will be easily sharpened.

The blessings don't stop there. The other day, one son brought us piles of beautiful vegetables from Dean Fitzy's garden - yams, potatoes, kumeras, carrots. Tonight he is bringing us some fish. Another son and his wife shouted us out to dinner on Sunday night. Yet another one is paying for us to go out for lunch for my birthday next week.

I could go on and on - there is so much to give thanks for in this life. And I would still be forgetting or omitting some of the good things that happen and the kindnesses people show.

And look at one of the best gifts of all. Our little grandson came to stay for a few hours today while his Mum was busy. He is just sixteen months, and brings us enormous joy, awake or asleep!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I loved this post, Mary - it's full of real joy and gratitude. It blessed ME today.

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