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There you are…wondering ‘is she ever going to publish anything again?’ Here is your answer, for better or worse. Yes. I am.

After the storm in November, Don and I both had health episodes that led us into Christmas and then our first major trip away in three years. We returned in late January and by the time I’d scraped away all the spider webs (not a metaphor), vacuumed and wiped up the gecko poop, washed a ton of dirty clothes, mourned a very damaged courtyard garden and finally gotten back my good humour, it was February.

No art work was done in all that time. However, I’m happy to say I’ve made a small return to the studio in the last week. I’ve changed genre from landscape to still life and so far, so good… but so small. This little baby is only 4 inches square, but I was happy with it and will continue soon. Meanwhile, urgent matters of a technical nature and home/garden repairs from the November storm are threatening to actually happen, all which distract my attention. This morning as I approached the clothesline with a load of towels to hang out and saw the silks of two days’ spider reconstruction work (still not a metaphor) I was grateful. I grabbed the old rag I keep in the laundry, dampened it slightly and set about wiping away the shimmering silks for the umpteenth time. As I did I recalled my mother and grandmother using a rag to wipe their clothes lines when I was a little girl. I was so lucky to have such wise role models to learn from. I wonder how many times a day I do things that became part of the fabric of my being all those decades ago. More than I am aware, I’m sure.

Having had what for us is considerable rain this summer, the golden orb weaving spiders and many other varieties have taken over the gardens and are willing to move inside if given half a chance. Two days ago I walked to the front door to go out and check the mail, having only come home from the grocery through the same door a couple of hours earlier, and there were spider silks that clung to my arms and face. They even blow through the air as I found when standing in a walking path talking to someone last week. I suddenly was enveloped in tiny silks across arms and neck. It’s not that I think spiders are horrible creatures. My problem with them is they are silent. They silently move around without our knowledge and it disquiets me. Though as many as there are at the moment if they made any noise at all it would be even more disturbing. Unless… wouldn’t it be lovely if they had tiny soft choral voices and could hum classical music? They are marvellous creatures if you read the facts. After all, I can’t throw a silk thread out of my bum to catch my dinner, can you? But let’s not let facts get in the way of a good blog post.

Our trip away to New Zealand saw us home only 8 days before the devastating floods and more floods they have had since. The worst of it has been in some of the areas we visited and of course we are terribly grateful for our good fortune in getting home to our nice, dry, albeit arachnid, environment before the disastrous floods and earthquake hit. It is a fabulously beautiful country with absolutely lovely people. We are so sorry to see them struggle and wish them well. If you wish to make a donation, this link is a reputable one: https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/cyclone-gabrielle-community-support

The trip was challenging as Don and I were both not quite recovered from health issues, his more serious than mine with a diagnosis of wet macular degeneration for which he now gets a monthly injection in his eye (yes, in his actual eye ball). However, I realised once home and emerged from wildlife and laundry issues, that trip certainly cleared some cobwebs out for me (yes a metaphor). It was perhaps not what I thought I wanted at the time, but it was certainly what I needed. Like all those lessons from my wise mother and grandmothers it was the mechanism to propel me forward through the next little while of challenges. And it was a reason to be very, very grateful. See you again soon.