Seems like I've always had a cat, since my first flatmate and best friend Lee Whiterod and I went to the SPCA in Hornby and picked out two kittens to be ours in 1984. We brought them back home in boxes on the bus. Mine was Hazel, a slinky black boy, and hers was Smith, a smoochy tortoiseshell female. Since then, there's been:
- Esther - jumpy from the outset, ran away when we moved to Papanui Rd
- Seymour - avid cricketer as a kitten, tap dancer as a senior; developed kidney failure at 12 and was euthanased
- Chester - appeared at my parent's house one day and made it clear they needed to include him in their plans. They were smitten, but their three other cats hated his guts, so we took him back to Moir St with us. Pleasure seeker to the last, he died lying on his back in the sun at our neighbour's house
- Frank - ran away from Moir St when I was in Cambodia. Sweet little guy, a bit dumb - got stuck up trees a lot
- Nina - Frank's sister, chunky tortoiseshell bombshell. Would follow me when I left for work each morning. Was donated to Kate and JB, our over-the-road neighbours in Moir St, when we went to Auckland
- Mao - handsome, kittenish, increasingly unstable offspring of Burmese female and neighbourhood ginger tom. also living with Kate and JB now
- Catriona McLeod - stray, winsome creature who made our stay at Transplant House much more homely.
- Pippi - came with the house when we bought Hebron Road. When we sold it, she came back to Moir Street with us. Sweeney's furry friend - he tries really hard to be gentle with her, and she's entirely patient with him when he inadvertently gives her the bash. There are times when we wonder which of them is the more feral.
I couldn't go past that one, could I?? I simply love Craft. I could argue for hours about the relationship between Art and Craft, but I don't actually care if people respect it or not. I respect it, I respect what I do, what other people do, what craftspeople have done in the past. I personally get no joy out of those family groupings of pebbles with eyes stuck on them, or gingham covers for jam jars, or most of the stuff that's done with greenstone out there, but someone does - or else these things wouldn't keep cropping up anywhere they let you set up a stall.
Kimberley introduced me to Craft 2.0, and the women associated with it. Reading their blogs and seeing their work excites me, and gives me ideas for my own work around the house. Kimberley's eye for colour blows me away - when she puts stripes together, they're magic. Melissa's Tiny Happy work is especially invigorating, and the other day I checked out Rhiannon's hoodies - these women are working at making a living from their craft, and they don't know it, but they're helping me get up the nerve to try getting my stuff out there.
I learnt to knit from my mother, and to embroider from my Nana - both tremendous technicians. I'm very snobby towards the machine-knitted aran-type cardies in shops today, because of the work Mum produced. She also is skilled at constructing curtains, cot sheets, cushions, and I remember she devised an amazing quilt for Nana when she came to stay with us once.
What is my stuff? Well, watch this space ...
C is for ... Copper
I have a copper relief rubbing-thingy that my Grandpop made when I was young. It's on the wall at toddler's eye level, just outside Sweeney's room. I'm not that fond of the form, but I like it more as I live with it - the design is a traditional Maori taniwha-shape, based on limestone cave drawings, and the detail displays pretty good craftsmanship. I didn't know him much until I was about 19, and I grew very fond of him. He died when I was 28. Dad and his brothers occasionally tell stories about him, but he's really a cloudy figure. History may prove it to be a piece of old tat, but for now, I see it as a way to trace the line from Sweeney back to his great-grandfather and beyond.
C is for ... Counselling, Children, Cardigans, Cooking, Capote, Creche, Cambodia ...
I could go on and on and on. Obviously.