The Middle Place

I have just received another shipment from Amazon, so I'm greedily devouring my new acquisitions, and of course it gives me the perfect 'excuse' to sit still and relax, particularly as I'm just getting to be too big for words - I really do feel like I'm about to pop, and there's still a whole month to go, at least in theory!

Anyway today I want to blog about Kerry Corrigan's inspirational book 'The Middle Place'. A moving story about Kelly's experiences coping with cancer, but it's much more than just that, it really cuts to the essentials of life, and I'm able to empathize a little too much with the pre-cancer Kelly, who's not really quite grown up yet, but somewhere lost in between childhood and real wisdom! She also has just an incredible network of loving family and friends supporting her. It's really a remarkable book, and not the downer you might expect. The author also has a great blog - her article Daring girl is worth a read, not to mention her cancer support page www.circusofcancer.org. She is also involved with an interesting parenting site, based in the Bay Area - Science for Raising Happy Kids. Having spent time living in the Bay Area it really is VERY Berkeley. For me one of the starkest and hardest difference to reconcile between Viriamu and myself are our approaches to children and parenting, these are pretty fundamental differences in values, and it's becoming a big rub for me, I need to look for the balance between my sentimentality and his hardness. Viriamu had a very different upbringing, children here in Rurutu/French Polynesia (at least from Viriamu's generation) don't necessarily enjoy what I consider to be a real childhood, they are expected to work and put up and shut up, for the most part. While I believe in the values of hard work, to me family relationships here seem cold and joyless, children are not expected to be engaged in conversations and have opinions. That said I do feel that my own childhood, where I was cherished and protected from life by kind and loving parents, may have left me emotionally fragile, unprepared to deal with the harsher realities of life.......anyway this gives me plenty to ruminate about! I still have plenty to learn! Happy reading......


Fête de la musique!

This weekend we had Viriamu's friend Maeva Bougues and her husband Marco staying with us, they have a small guesthouse in Moorea and Maeva is also quite a well known singer song-writer. Her father was born in Rurutu though she grew up back in Tahiti, in May she visited us in her quest to find her roots and her family's land. She has fallen in love with the island and our guesthouse and is back again full of energy and enthusiasm to get things moving here in Rurutu, at least on the music scene. June 21st was the Fête de la musique a national celebration devoted to getting anyone and everyone involved in the music scene, with free concerts across France. Maeva had very generously organized the first celebration of this day here in Rurutu, working with one of the numerous local music societies on the island, and holding a meeting for all the author compositors on the island - music, song and oration are integral to the culture here and every July the heiva showcases original dance and music shows produced by each village. I am not a gifted musician, but I do enjoy live music, so being invited along to Maeva's impromptu little celebration was lots of fun.....the weather was perfect, cool but sunny and we had a great location sitting in a friend's garden, on large logs, surrounded by greenery. Very relaxed an fun, I'm just sorry I didn't take any pictures - Matotea was very taken with the whole thing, she loves to dance along to the traditional drumming. Even before she was born she would wriggle away in my belly whenever she heard a drum-beat. The new baby wriggles a lot, but mostly at night and I couldn't notice any pronounced activity. I'm growing impatient to meet the new member of our family, and not to mention to lose a few pounds!


Austral Winter

Midwinter's day dawned here in Rurutu just before seven o'clock.....the stillness and beauty of the moment got me feeling all poetic.......
"In the depths of winter I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer"
-Albert Camus

Here's my invincible summer enjoying a warming cup of cocoa! Midwinter for us here at the edge of the tropical southern hemisphere is still very comfortable during the daytime, but it's definitely getting a little chilly at night for my liking. We've all got colds at the moment! So we're making LOTs of soups, lemon and honey tea and hot-chocolate....



Bonne Fêtes Mamans! Today is Mother's Day here in France, it's one of those weird things, it's not the same as the UK or the US, so I have to keep on my toes to remember Mum back home!

Here's a beautiful tropical bouquet that I ordered for my mother-in-law.....happy Mother's Day to all you Mums and Mums-to-be!!!!


World Earth Day!

Help celebrate UNEP World Earth Day - take a moment to think about your environment, and in particular try to adopt a few simple gestures (conserve, reuse, recycle) that conserve energy or just make the planet a better place to live in!

Here in Rurutu we have our own little battle going on with the local authorities - the Works department are putting down a cement road in our little community, and are mercilessly hacking the vegetation at the side of the road as well as illegally extracting sand from the beach to make the cement, which will eventually impact our shorelines as well as making ugly holes in the beach,
the local district has also been 'clearing' overhanging vegetation along the side of the road leading between our village and the next.
....while I can understand that they need wood for a lime oven, there are more respectful ways of obtaining it, aside from being an eyesore it is extremely irresponsible to cut all these beautiful old trees, as this will certainly increase soil erosion and runoff into the lagoon.....


Three quarters of a century!

Today was dad's 75th birthday - Congratulations Dad! Hats off to you - I only hope I'm as active as you in my old age.

Although he seemed a little reluctant to celebrate, I think this is a milestone worthy of note. We celebrated here by making soursop jam (a funny looking lumpy fruit with a marvelous sweet and sour taste and strange-looking pulpy white insides) - it's one of his favorite tropical jams, and we'll be sending a jar or two off very soon - a bit late for the big day, but I'm a big fan of the unbirthday present!