Friday, January 28, 2011

"Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries!"

As of today I’ve been in New Zealand for exactly four months... sometimes it feels like it has been much longer. That’s 123 days, including today... and I’ve got a blog entry for every single one of them. Hmm, that’s a lot of blog entries. Maybe I should stop... nah, it’s addictive now, something I have to do every night before I go to sleep. I’m a compulsive chronicler, no matter how hum-drum the day.

This morning’s work really did feel like being on a chain gang; I started the day off by sorting through bins of stones, taking out the big ones to put on the silver tarp in the vineyard, and keeping the smaller ones for lining the bottom of the soon-to-be concreted path. After that I spent a backbreaking 1 1/2 hours raking through piles of soil and picking out all of the rocks, again for lining the bottom of the path. I’m not sure if it was the raking, the constant bending over, or the staggering across the yard with heavy buckets laden with stones that did my back in... likely a combination of all three. Either way, I now have the back of an eighty-year-old, and getting out of chairs can be a painful experience.

For the last half hour before mid-morning break Rosemarie took pity on me and had me cut some branches of elderberry, and then bring them inside and slowly (but methodically) process them from the stems. Menial tasks like that don’t bore me; I like how I can let my mind wander and think about other things. Of course, I don’t like my mind being abruptly snapped back to reality by the earwigs and the one flying beetle that decided to come for a ride into the house buried in the elderberry bowl! Rosemarie caught the beetle (after it flew up to the light over the dining room table) and let it go outside, but I took great delight in smashing the earwigs with a fork, saying, “Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries!” Oh, yes, you had to have seen that one coming... living with Howard, a.k.a. John Cleese's doppelgänger, it was practically inevitable.

After break was another grueling two hours in the sun for me, as I relentlessly (doggedly?) raked through piles of dirt in search of stones. In a sense, the drudgery didn’t seem too bad, as it was accomplishing several things at once; I was gathering rocks, true, but I was also creating large-rock-free soil for the garden, and helping turn and process the earth. Nevertheless, I was quite glad to be called in for lunch by Thibaud, even if I had almost no appetite at first, due to being so hot.

After lunch was the requisite episode of Knight Rider (this particular eipisode was a fusion of biker gangs and an old Western, all set in a town called White Rock, which made me snicker), and then I went upstairs to my room to knit and listen to music. I’ve added a new colour to my knitting! And it’s a good thing I went online to read about adding a new colour; otherwise I would have knotted the two ends together rather than just leaving tails to weave in later. My knitting is getting more even; my tension is more uniform, and all the stitches are beginning to look the same. Horray!

Dinner tonight was leftovers, with a new cherry and pear crumble for dessert. And by leftovers, I do really mean leftovers... it was literally everything that we have had for the past few nights thrown into a wok and sautéd up (with some freshly added onions, garlic, and meatballs). It was surprisingly delicious. After finishing my contribution to the dinner preparations I sat at the piano and played what hoped was mostly light background music; I even dragged a piece out of my memory that I wrote that I haven’t played in over a year! I really should make a recording of it, or write it down, as Thibaud liked it so much he asked me who it was by, and I’d hate to forget how to play it if other people like it, too. (It must not suck as much as I thought it did, ha ha. :-) 

After dinner (and knitting in hand), and after another round of Howard and I being naughty by backing talkwards and fxcluding the Erenchmen (how we love our word games), the five of us watched The Spiderwick Chronicles. I thought it was alright (I like Freddie Highmore's acting, even if I didn’t understand why they would hire one boy to play two roles when they could have likely more easily used twins), but I must admit I think I paid more attention to my knitting than to the screen. I got another 18 rows done!

Now my back is still killing me, so I’m going to lie down and try to sleep, and hope it feels somewhat better in the morning. Rain is starting to patter on the roof, so I'm not sure what work we'll be doing outside tomorrow. Night!


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