From Renée's garden
  • Wednesday To Come

    April 5, 2023

    Kia ora koutou, aroha mai — this is the last Busk. My eyesight is getting
    worse, my eyes get sore and tired so I have to be selective. I have a few other
    things I want to write and work on so while I’m still going to be writing in the
    mornings, reading/researching in the afternoons, making cheese scones (who
    cares if they’re shaped a bit wonky?) and meeting some of you at readings
    and workshops, I will not be producing the Busk.

    Thanks to all my readers. Special thanks to Miriam. You are all stars.

    Here is my poem Tiger Country.

    Tiger Country

    You plunge off the cliff into Tiger Country
    sleek and smiling tigers play hide and seek
    slope around abandoned chairs, sad tables
    silk cushions call encouragement from the sofa
    an old painting turns its face to the wall.

    Tigers lurk in old cards, beneath yours forever
    snooze under Christmas lights that never worked
    lope ahead to a destination only they know
    signposts are suspect; there is no tunnel, no light
    nobody pins a tail on these tigers.

    Some nights after the sun has flamed
    and seabirds search the pastures of the sea
    tigers come out and lean gentle over your chair —
    wrap you in a striped shawl of sturdy warmth
    fold their paws and purr soft in the silent room.

    This is the danger time. Stand up. Walk slow.
    Their eyes are on the game and you’re it.


  • Ageing

    March 15, 2023

    Kia ora koutou, this Busk was originally a letter to two friends who liked it and said, ‘You should stick this on the Busk.’ So here it is. Old age is not always fun and there's a lot of education to do. I don't know why I was never taught about the importance of the gut when I was at school and no-one has ever said, ‘Renée you need to know more about the gut.’ In fact I cannot remember anyone ever talking to me about what growing old means, except for one friend who said, ‘Its not for Sissies.’ Its not exactly a topic for discussion over coffee either although it should be. You can read books or watch a film but remember old age is not for the faint-hearted and I would add a PS — its not for those who don't educate themselves about the gut either.The gut rules, okay?  Did I ever know how many miles (or kms) of intestine there were in my body? No.Did I ever want to? No. Was I aware of what could go wrong in that area?Hadn’t a clue. But old age came and took the matter out of my hands… Read more…

  • Happy Ten Years WednesdayBusk

    March 8, 2023

    When Miriam, my trusty Web Host, told me that we’d passed the ten-year mark I was happy and slightly amazed. ‘I have the Domain name,’ I emailed to a son ten years ago – a slightly exaggerated statement because it was Miriam who’d organised that. I chose the title because Wednesday is my favourite day of the week and Busk because it seemed a more theatrical term than blog. I always admire buskers. I remember seeing and listening to them on Cuba Mall and down Courtney Place, sometimes on Main Street Otaki or at the side of the library in Waikanae and like to stop and listen for a while, sometimes request a particular song while I slip some coins into the hat. Back in the day I shouted on corners and sang while we marched and quite often ended with a song on the lawn outside parliament but the purpose was different. Someone who busks does it alone, lays themself on the line – their purpose might be to entertain or present a certain view, to get some money for food, sometimes a mixture of all. They stand or sit on their own. Its their voice, their singing ability,… Read more…

  • The first busk for 2023

    March 1, 2023

    Kia ora koutou, the first Busk for 2003. Its been a summer filled with surprises, some good, some not. The weather around Otaki has been a little variable, I would have liked more sun, but when I think of the areas which have been subject to floods, cyclones, ruined houses and orchards, farms and businesses, I know I am very lucky.  Its amazing how we all find the courage, the resilience, to deal with disaster. We pack furniture up high, grab some clothes, calm the kids, and we’re taken to a safe place. We curse the rubber-neckers driving around making waves that slosh more water inside our house. A day or two later we come back to clean up and there’s the smell. That damp muddy stink hanging over everything. We open all windows and doors, stick a lot of stuff outside to dry or air in the now sunny conditions and the kids are pleased to find the budgie, safe in its cage, bowls still filled with seed or water, chirping. I think it would chirp for anyone but the klds think its chirping with pleasure at seeing them.  The clean-up takes longer than we thought and the memories… Read more…

  • Late Spring Early Summer

    November 16, 2022

    Kia ora Koutou, Here we are, November, and the last Busk for the year 2022. Mask wearing is a choice and we can go anywhere. Covid is still here and still infecting people but we seem to have lost our fear of it, or at least we have if it hasn’t happened to us. I guess this is what happened with influenza once that first terrible swathe had ebbed and vaccines arrived. Spring in Otaki is beautiful. Blossoms everywhere, knobby little fruits starting to appear if you have early peaches or plums, early tomatoes are planted and plans for the main crop in a week or so, underway. Asparagus has had its first flush, you are picking broad beans, indeed everything green is shiny with rich growth. Looks like a good season coming up. My strawberry plants are lush green in their bins of new potting mix. Walking, though not as easy as it was, is much better in the morning sun than under a grey sky. The security guy standing at the door of the bank still smiles good morning. I see the Council (or someone) has put an extra seat on the footpath so if needed, you can… Read more…

  • If You Can’t Beat ‘em, have a party …

    November 9, 2022

    Kia ora Koutou,I have rediscovered the delight of hot cocoa. At some stage during the night I always have to get up and go to the bathroom so after washing my hands, instead of being irritated that I’ve had to wake up, its much easier to make cocoa, maybe grab a couple of biscuits while you’re at it, go back to the bedroom, sip and munch. I turn the lights out early at the end of the day partly because my eyes are sore but partly because all my life (that I can remember) I’ve liked to lie awake in the dark for a little while before going to sleep — time to mull over the day’s events, think about some of them, plan others … nowadays think about my progress (or not) with an idea for writing … go over various scenarios, possibilities, whether to introduce a new character or to save them for another time, whether to get rid of a character entirely. If I have health or other anxieties I use other times to think about them. I never actually planned this pattern, it just happened and it works. After this review of my life at that… Read more…

  • Questions

    November 2, 2022

    Kia ora Koutou, Do we have to continue to celebrate Guy Fawkes? It’s a bizarre idea isn’t it? Teaching kids to celebrate the grisly day someone was burned to death because…? Do we really have to frighten animals with all the banging, shouting, plus the garish lights of fireworks?Do we have to put up with someone lighting fireworks every night after the fifth? Because they always do. Someone who waits till kids are asleep and then starts lighting bangers? Isn’t it enough that in many places in the world kids try to sleep through actual gunfire? Maybe we could find something else to celebrate, something more inspiring? Maybe even celebrate the work of Rescue Teams in the mountains or bush perhaps? Maybe a Thank you to Nurses Day? Celebrate some action that enhances human life? Not an occasion when someone was killed for public enjoyment. Can you imagine laughing and cheering while watching someone burn to death in a fire? Maybe those who spend money on fireworks could give it to a charity that feeds kids who’ve been forced to run from their homes because of terrorist attacks? Sometimes we inherit these celebrations and carry them on without much thought… Read more…

  • The other side of the hill

    October 19, 2022

    There’s a fair bit of talk about getting old, usually in tones of horror and fear. It seemed to be called the ‘other side of the hill’ and I assumed this meant the not so good side eg the slow downhill slide into the dark. As you probably all know, I thought I would die at 42 like my mother — or at the latest, 50, because that’s round about the age most of my grandmothers, aunts, cousins etc, died — and by the way, I refuse to say ‘passed on’ because they didn’t pass anywhere, they stopped doing anything, they died. I don’t have any religious beliefs, so while it might be nice to think my dead whanau were smiling at me and sending me race tips or saying that tomorrow I’m going to win Lotto, Rose, my mother, is the only one whose words still sit in my brain — there are no voices from outer space at all. And what Rose says are only echoes of things she said in the past which pop into my head at various times and in various circumstances. No-one told me what getting old would mean. Oh there was plenty of… Read more…

  • Sister

    October 12, 2022

    I think of the morning we came home from schoolYou did not understand, school lasted till three.I was more scared of Mum than the teacher but I came home with you.You were only five, I thought, forgetting I had been five two years ago and had stayed when I wanted to go because I would get the strap.My heart was beating like that tap dance I made you doat the concerts I organised at the river when you giggledand couldn’t stop and wet your pants in front of everyoneseven kids and a dog.I did not feel very loving then.And then and then - you are dead, my sister, my sister is dead -I want to run through the streets crying.Last week your daughter and I remembered, ‘Thirty years,’she said, ‘I can’t believe it. Thirty years.’‘Yesterday,’ I said, ‘yesterday. We can run through the streets together -‘although,’ I added, ‘I’ll have to take my stick…’I think of all those words, the tellings, the books, the dancing, the day I threw your teddy bear, Edward B Jones, up on the roof…How could I have done that?The slow awakenings - the realisation - this is foreverthese ongoing lessons -how hard it is to… Read more…

One chapter. One week.

One chapter. One week.

No posts yet.

One chapter. One week.

No posts yet.

From my garden

From my garden
From my garden
From my garden