Our castle and our keep

black and white, two children aged 5 and 3 standing by letterbox outside a typical New Zealand house of the 1960s.

Big sister, little brother. Image: Leslie family archive.

I have two brothers; one two years younger than me, the other eight years.

My relationship with “the baby of the family” is strong, loving and straightforward. With my other brother, it’s more complicated.

As kids we were constant playmates, best friends. We share the same sense of humour and listened to the same music. But my mum was never good at hiding the fact she valued sons more highly than daughters (possibly because she’s the fourth sister of five) and as “The Firstborn Son” my brother was indulged to the point of becoming, for a while, a horrible little brat.

We’re in our fifties now, and the tide of our relationship has ebbed and flowed, washing away all but the bedrock. He’s my brother and I love him.

For a long time, music was a powerful bond between us, and since I am participating in Sarah’s 30 Days, 30 Songs project, I thought I’d sneak a bonus track into today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt | sibling.

In many ways, the best time for us as brother and sister was in the early 1980s, and there are so many songs from that time I could have chosen.

But this one’s fun, and it is about family.

The title of the post comes from the line:

Our house, was our castle and our keep
Our house, in the middle of our street

 

Here’s one I prepared earlier

img_4538

The view I’d see if I went for a walk this morning. Upper Waitemata Harbour and Herald Island, from Greenhithe Bridge. Image: Su Leslie 2018

I’m definitely feeling more human again after my bout of the flu. I’m not happy about the lingering cough, but am very grateful the fever and aches (especially the headaches) are gone.

After yesterday’s constant rain, it was nice to wake up to some sunshine today. The tide is full and the wind has dropped, so if I had the energy I would walk across Greenhithe Bridge and enjoy seeing this part of the Waitemata harbour at its best. But I’ve learned not to do too much too soon, so for now I’ll content myself with a photo from a previous walk.

Posted to the Ragtag Daily Prompt | view

In the pink

The pink onsie

The boy-child; healthy, happy and rocking the pink onesie. Image; Su Leslie 1998

Don’t you love looking at old photos of your kids?

I remember taking this shot, and more particularly remember my mother’s reaction to me dressing her grandson in pink (and lavender, lime green, red …)

That was over 20 years ago, and I had thought such outdated notions of gender-based clothing (not to mention toys, games, behaviors, etc) was steadily being consigned to the dustbin of history. Then last week I had a conversation with my sister in law about how her mother complains that my four year old niece is always dressed “like a boy” — in blue!

Sigh.

Posted to the Ragtag Daily Prompt | pink

What really takes my breath away …

img_3361 Muriwai beach, Auckland. Walk far enough and you can almost ignore the tour bus parties destroying the rock pool eco-systems with their sunscreen, body lotions and general stupidity. Image; Su Leslie 2019

I live in a country that earns quite a sizeable portion of its living out of being breathtakingly beautiful.

It is true that these days human impacts on land and water are beginning to show, and we’re increasingly like a hung-over media celeb, relying on Photoshop to pixel over the cracks. But it’s still relatively easy to turn a corner or crest a hill and find a vista so beautiful you can be forgiven if you forget to breathe.

I wouldn’t say I’ve become inured to such beauty, but if I’m honest, what really takes my breath away these days is the appalling ease with which my fellow New Zealanders (and some of the paid guests we’re taking in to help pay the bills) feel it’s ok to desecrate our environment. Apart from the terrible damage inflicted on landscapes, waterways, eco-systems and wildlife, it’s biting the hand that feeds.

This is death by a thousand cuts; dumping litter, over-fishing, clearing forests to create dairy farms, freedom campers who (literally) leave their shit behind, people who turn every available patch of grass on a beach reserve into a de facto car park because someone else did it first, a national mindset that says dairy farming and tourism are GOOD FOR GROWTH and let’s not look too closely at the negative impacts … the list goes on.

As always, the prescribed treatment for my chronic environmental grump is to get out the door and connect with the little miracles of nature that also take my breath away.

Posted to the Ragtag Dail Prompt | breathtaking

Rainy-day pattern making

IMG_4399

It’s too wet and cold to go out today, so I’ve been amusing myself with some photo-editing toys to create kaleidoscopic and fractal patterns.

I love the simplicity of kaleidoscopes, using mirrors to create a seemingly infinite number of possible patterns from whatever objects are placed inside them.

I’m not even going to try and understand the maths that replicates those mirrors in software, nor that which creates fractals.

According to Wikipedia, in mathematics, a fractal is a subset of a Euclidean space for which the Hausdorff dimension strictly exceeds the topological dimension.

Luckily, the Fractal Foundation has a definition for the more mathematically challenged:

A fractal is a never-ending pattern … They are created by repeating a simple process over and over in an ongoing feedback loop.

Posted to the Ragtag Daily Prompt | patterns

An act of judgement

Craft brewery in an old seaplane hangar with water views — Little Creatures in Hobsonville Point was ticking lots of boxes. Great food too. Lamb rump for the Big T; Caesar salad for me. Plus chips, but that goes without saying in a pub.

“Gourmandism is an act of judgment, by which we prefer things which have a pleasant taste to those which lack this quality.” — Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Posted to the Ragtag Daily Prompt | gourmand