Thursday, 2 March 2017

#52Stories, Week 9, What were your favourite hobbies and pastimes from childhood ? Are you still pursuing any of them ?

I'm swapping week 9 & 10 around while I do some research on what is now week 10's topic.

Pastimes and hobbies is the topic for week 9.

I collected stamps for a while, diligently soaking them off the envelopes and putting them in to a stamp album. There were lots of letters and bills arriving in people's letterboxes then. Not so much now, except at Christmas. So I imagine stamp collecting must be a fast disappearing hobby. Dad collected stamps too - there are suitcases of them waiting forlornly for someone to sort them or sell them, or just look at them without feeling overwhelmed by the sheer size of the task.

I had piano lessons, belonged to a gymnastics club and a roller-skating club. I joined Brownies.I drew house plans on the spare plan paper Dad bought home from work. I knitted, sort of. 

Mum and Nana both knitted and were willing teachers, even when I dropped stitch after stitch for rows on end and sometimes made more stitches than required instead. I think the first garment I completed myself was a striped longline jumper with an oversized polo neck when I was about 14.

I wrote letters (it fed my stamp collection) and collected penfriends around the world and across New Zealand too. Mataura, Milton, Nelson and further afield Mauritius, Switzerland, France, Japan, Rhodesia (yes I am that old - Zimbabwe now), England, USA, Australia. Apart from friends and family I only correspond with one penfriend these days. Debby from Rhode Island; penfriends for over 40 years, and yet to meet.

I tried embroidery, because Nana did some and there were some incomplete attempts of Mums in the spare room at Nana's. I embroidered the bottom of my flares - it was the thing to do in the 70's - and some of my old school shirts.

I read as many books as I could lay my hands on. We went to the library every week, and I saved money to buy my own paperbacks, or was given novels at birthdays and Christmas.

We did jigsaws and crosswords as a family, learning new words and problem solving at the same time.

What do I still do ? 

Read - not as much, but I still love getting lost in the pages of a good book (not a kindle)

I try to write letters, mostly they are typed though, not longhand, and often only at Christmas. But I am going to change that and may the postal companies remember what they are supposed to be doing.

I knit, not as much as I would like, but I do. Mostly baby things.

Embroidery is the same, and cross stitch which I taught myself and did masses of in the early 90's. One day I will have time again.

I was a Brownie, Pippin and Adult leader with GirlGuiding New Zealand for 18 years - and some days I really miss the friendship and the activities and the girls.

I make cards, although most of my making stuff is packed away in boxes, so it doesn't happen so much right now. Except for Christmas.

I bake. If I have all the time in the world there is nothing I enjoy more than baking. Actually, it's been a while since I whipped up a batch of shortbread. Hmmm, there's a plan for my next free weekend.

#52Stories, Week 8, What have been the most important and valued friendships of your life ?

These two, these are them.

I've already told you how important and special Jo has been as a friend through my whole life.

My other bestie was Donna. We had a bunch of fun after we met in Sydney back in 1980 !

I had gone to Sydney in 1979 with another friend and ended up flatting with her sisters for 12 months. Things were good there, and we parted friends when they returned to New Zealand. I needed to find myself a new place to live with the minimal belongings I owned.

My initial thought was to find a place on my own, I'd done living with other people by then. But, that isn't what happened and it was probably the best thing ever as I ended up with a bunch of friends who came from all sorts of backgrounds, and from all around Australia.

I moved into a boarding house. I applied for a room in one in Homebush, which was a lovely old villa with wide verandahs. But ended up with a room in Campsie. The guy who owned the boarding houses - at least three in Sydney, staffed them with a housekeeper. In this case the housekeeper from Homebush was relocating to Campsie and she had picked which boarders should move with her.

Sue, the housekeeper did all the cooking and cleaning through the week and ensured there was food for us all to feed ourselves over the weekends. She and her husband and 3 kids lived onsite.

When I first moved in I shared a room with a girl named Liz. She was from near Newcastle (Red Head I think). She was only there a few weeks before moving back home. Our room could sleep three, and just before Liz left another girl moved in. Her boyfriend dropped her off with her things. 

It wasn't long before we were inseparable, as thick as thieves. We had so much fun, playing cards, drinking (just a bit), playing pool, weekends in Forster, weekends and late nights shopping or just hanging out. She was younger than me but that didn't matter. We moved to another boarding house in Hurstville and were roomies again there. 

We bought a car for $50 off one of our housemates, it had failed it's permit inspection thingie because it had a hole in the muffler. We fixed it by supergluing a 5 cent piece over the hole. Lots of fun times were had driving around in Bertha.

Swimming at Wanda beach in the middle of June. What ?! Were we crazy ?? I think maybe.

Later when I was living in Bexley she moved in too. Then when we were living in Queensland, so was she. There was never a dull moment with her around, and so many laughs.

I don't know how we managed to stay in touch with no cellphones. We both moved around a lot, but the mail always got through.

When we moved back from Adelaide to Sydney we stayed with her and her little family. Our truck full of furniture - and two cats - parked out the back until we moved into our own place.

She was always there for me, my only actual dinkum bestie the entire time I lived in Australia, and both times I moved back to New Zealand we kept our connection strong. Trips to the zoo with our babies, shopping, coffee or just sitting chatting and passing the time. ALWAYS catching up when I visited Sydney, staying sometimes and others just arriving at the door and saying "SURPRISE !!"

We went through a lot together, I don't know what I would have done without her when I was a brand new Mum, living far away from my family. We had differences, but never arguments. She made the BEST cheesecake. She did ironing to earn a bit of extra money - anyone who willingly does ironing deserves a medal in my book. 

Life takes such unexpected turns sometimes, and all of a sudden she was gone. Taken from her family and her friends too soon. She always had a smile, and her family were her world. I miss her so much.