March 16, 2014
It's been a while. I've spent no time at all in the blogosphere over the past five weeks. Something to do with uncertainty: the replacement of NZ's Widow's Benefit with the Job-Seekers Benefit, meaning my plans to move towards financial independence have to be replaced with making a pittance ... NOW or else. A long-suffering tooth broke down this week and something noisy happened inside my ride-on-mower; so what with that and a dental bill, it's not only oil that's leaking uncontrollably, but my funds and my sanity. After a recent Earthquake Recovery Authority inspection of the Skudder House, there is still no indication of when I might be able to use it profitably - or not.
So a party in the Secret Garden offered light relief as well as a reminder of how much it is loved and valued by my children and their friends.
Preparations during the afternoon were done with a wary eye on the weather - a Cyclonic drift had been forecast to trail across Canterbury since Friday.
Saturday was mild and overcast - surely, surely the rain would stay away. The decorations went up, the food was prepared and carried out...
There were a few brief moments of will it, won't it? light drizzle
before everyone, in one beautifully orchestrated operation, stripped fairies, masks, draperies and lights from the trees and trooped like a story book parade of footmen - with platters and occasional tables -across the grass, up the steps and into the house...
to reset the Masquerade scene.
Early in the evening I noticed that there was no background music playing but there was intense animation amongst the costumed guests. Later, I remembered: these kids make their own music when they are ready! And since Bryony had invited a layer of friends - from the North Canterbury Musical Society Chicago cast as well as her Black Peach Theatre Company friends there was a new energy to the singing, with a five piece, male voice choir gathering around the piano for powerful - and competitive - delivery of favourites from Les Miserables, Jesus Christ Superstar, Leonard Cohen and... well, with everyone joining in, it was everything they've ever done together; with all the parts, harmonies, solos, dance moves as well as crazy, cross-genre canons. There were at least two pianists at play, both of them overcoming our tuneless old piano's faults with ease.
And now after a night of heavy rain the stream is up.
Before the overnight guests departed two daring souls have braved the weather for a splash!
Bryony, by the way, turned twenty on Thursday.