Watching this orb web spider spin her web on the Christmas tree, which had come in from the garden, reminded me of the challenges I've faced this year - how every step forward seems
followed by a set back. Of course the spider's web didn't last long. Once the morning sun had moved away the gossamer disappeared from view, we carried on placing presents for each other under the tree, and broke the threads. I'm sure she had another go and that's all I can do for the time being. When the chronic tiredness that dictates how I organise my day, or the indifference of social welfare reformers, or Newspeak from the Earthquake Commission threaten to overwhelm me I count my blessings and take the next step.
There are certainly plenty of blessings in my Life and December brings so many of these to the fore.
Early in the month Kitty and I visited friends in Wellington, fitting in a spot of Morris dancing with the Britannic Bedlam Morris Gentlemen at the Thorndon Fair. A spot was about it with the rain that day driving us into the nearest pub for a pint or two.
But leaving the Capital behind doesn't mean leaving behind a rich cultural life. We came home to a house full of thespians, rehearsing, sewing, tweaking their Christmas show due to open next day at a school near us. I went to bed as Bryony and her Black Peach Theatre Company friends were puzzling over a framework of wire and draped fabric. I got up in the morning to be greeted by...
a fully-fledged and personable penguin! Teagan, Logan, Holly; they've all been part of Bryony's social circle for a few years now, but their place here is definitely one of my blessings.
Thanks Peaches for the extended version that you performed for adults in the DHSSD studio theatre - all those improvising skills of yours came in handy!
which reminds me how well roses grow around the Ashley village and how late the early roses have flowered this year. They are often over by Christmastime but are still budding and cascading here on New Year's Eve!
One blessing that cannot be forgotten in my December round-up is the progress on the new Ashley bridge. Those of us who live this side of the Ashley River watch with anticipation as we cross the old bridge, which has suffered badly from age in the last few years. I'm sure I'm not the only country dweller to count the new spans as they have been laid over the course of the year. Early in December the first beams of the tenth and final span were put in position. I toasted the bridge builders that night: they work in that exposed place through all the extremes of Canterbury weather and I understand that many of them work far from home.
Here one of the beams for the final span is being moved into place. Visible just left of centre is one of the big gates that were fixed at each end of the old bridge, to be shut when high water flows dictate that the bridge be closed. Their presence is a constant reminder of the 25 minute detour we face when that happens. Such is the flux of life - Earthquake recovery, bereavement recovery, bridge building... re-making your cobweb when it gets broken.