Category Archives: James

Summer Days

Trying to pack as much as possible into the last week of school holidays. James has spent a lot of time playing saxophones, bassoons and pianos but today was a little different. 20130120-235715.jpg

Today we drove for a few hours and then I left James in the middle of nowhere. A carefully laid plan to undertake his first solo tramp – to bring in a few supplies and walk to meet his Dad in the back of beyond.


Despite being well-prepared with maps and an emergency kit, extra food, a woolly hat and a PLB, I was on pins and needles til DOC radioed tonight to tell me he’d arrived safely. Without a hitch actually. So I needn’t have spent 4 hours worrying that the rivers were too high or that he’d take a wrong turn or that he’d fall down a crack and never be heard of again. And when DOC in Arthur’s Pass asked if there were any messages to pass on because Hope Kiwi Lodge was still transmitting, we sent through our love on the bush channel radio for the whole South Island to hear.


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We’ve been to a few weddings recently and this was one of the most beautiful. Friends got married in a local vineyard on the hottest day of the summer so far.


James was invited along as a special friend of the bride – she and James started Tae Kwon Do together when we lived in the country and they earned their black belts on the same day.


The wait staff kept James well supplied with fruit punch and, in return, he played gentle saxophone music while everyone mingled and chatted in the garden after the ceremony.

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BHS Orchestra rehearsal with the MSO musicians and Benjamin Northey (MSO Associate Conductor) in the Iwaki Auditorium (ABC Southbank) on Stanford.

James sitting alongside a real bassoonist and sharing his music stand.


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James… Again.

Remember last year? Exactly 11 months ago. Almost to the hour.


I’m amazed at how quickly and relatively painlessly James’ smile was straightened. Compared to the mouth full of metal and the monthly dental torture I suffered 30 years ago, James seemed to breeze through it all.

No longer a little boy either.

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In a few weeks, James is heading to Melbourne. His school orchestra will be students of the MSO, attending workshops and rehearsals, giving concerts and generally soaking up the knowledge and expertise of the professionals. This picture is not the school orchestra – it’s the school concert band – but James is in the back left playing his bassoon. The orchestra has less brass players and much more formal uniforms. They play Serious Music.

Music is pretty much a mystery to me but James is comfortable with his muso persona. He enjoys the company of his classmates, practises harder than I ever did (which is probably why music is still a mystery to me!) and understands scores that look like spiders crawled all over them.

While in Melbourne he also gets a bit of free time to do some touristy things including a river cruise, a visit to Philip Island, something NRLish and plenty of markety shopping. Oh and I think I saw Luna Park in the itinerary too.

Colour me jealous. Now I wish I’d practised harder.

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And What The Kids Did.

Because the High School was closed and there was nothing much else to do, they earned a bit of pocket money shoveling the neighbours’ driveways and did some baking.


Moustache cookies. Hilarious.

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Big Projects.

This one took more than a couple of hours – and involved a whole lot of faffing around at quilt shops. James was keen to make something special for two of his Tae Kwon Do coaches who were expecting their first baby in March. The original inspiration was this Sherbet Pips quilt by Randi at I Have To Say.  Love that collection…

We bought the fabrics from all over town during January and took them down to Grandma’s to cut out and sew. I cut, James sewed and Grandma made dinner. Team effort. We were at about this stage when the city fell over so patchworking went by the wayside for a bit…

But once we arrived home again, James took up where he had left off and it was soon time to quilt. Here is his quilt back taped to the floor with batting sandwiched in between and the quilt top pinned in place.

I quilted around each square for him on the trusty little Bernina Sport and he was kept busy trimming threads and de-pinning the layers.

He chose a very simple red fabric for the binding and on a cold and rainy Sunday afternoon, the last edge was hand-stiched into place. He is very proud of his labour of love which took about 10 weeks from start to finish and he took lots of artistic drapey photos. Red, blue and grey – a great boy combination to keep little Marcus warm this winter.

This is my favourite – it shows each square he made as well as the head and toes of the young man himself. Job well done Jimmy.


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