Wayside

My blog entries have slowed to meanderings and I have fallen by the wayside.  Re-reading my old posts, especially some of those on my first blog,  made me realise that sometimes in my writing I was almost achieving what I once aspired to, but I am not any more.  An old friend’s Facebook posts recently have driven home that she is a better writer than I and indeed a better person with a more interesting and worthwhile story to tell.  She should be writing a blog.

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Tui in a Kowhai Tree

I feel I am at a dead end.  My life has been one of neophilia and hodophilia, the love of new things and of travelling to new places.  I believed, or told myself,  each new adventure in a new location was also a way to do something good.  Maybe it was.  Maybe it was actually just running away from old places.  Most of the major moves I have made have been after events I would rather forget.

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Battle Hill Stream

That raises another disturbing thought.  I spend a lot of time remembering things I would rather not, and trying to remember things I cannot.  Odd.  Mnemophobia is a word that means both the fear of memories of past events and fearing memory loss caused by mental illness such as Alzheimer’s.   The irony of the duality in that word, and in my current frame of mind, is not lost on me.  I have already written that one of my greatest fears is Alzheimer’s.  I have also written, sometimes obliquely, of the memories I wish I did not have.    Then I remind myself that I am writing this blog principally for some future me so I might remember.

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Owharoa Waterfall, Karangahake Gorge

I watched  Hunt for the Wilderpeople on Google Play last night.   I really liked the movie.  I never read the Barry Crump novel on which it was based, but Taika Waititi made a gun movie from it.  Not flawless, but  so very very kiwi and so very entertaining.  One of few films that can make me laugh out loud, and one of many that can make me weep.  What was interesting was that it was not the poignant heart-rending scenes that caused the latter reaction, but two simple things – or perhaps three; Kiwi humour in a kiwi accent, and the New Zealand bush.  This made me realise something.  I think I may be homesick.

I pondered this for a while and this morning I think I have pretty much come to the conclusion that as soon as I have a few more grand stashed away, I am going home to retire.  Maybe next year.

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Roadside Grass near Thames, Coromandel

These are four of my favourite New Zealand photos.  Each a pleasant memory.

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Coming Down

Almost like the Lost Weekend.

No snakes came out of the walls, no bats flew around my room.

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Scene from The Lost Weekend, a Billy Wilder film starring Ray Milland and Jane Wyman (1945).

But I had some really weird dreams and I was pretty much incapable of doing normal things without being clumsy.  I walked into walls and felt disoriented. On the up side, I felt none of the usual leg pain.  That was remarkable.  It was actually a pleasant buzz and I sort of liked it.  But I was fully aware that I was not in operational mode and should not, for instance, be driving a vehicle.  The GP did not mention any side effects like this when she prescribed this medication.    I learned about it on the web.

Maybe the GP did not anticipate my reaction at the dose prescribed.  Perhaps I am sensitive to this drug, or the other medications I am on interacted in some way.

Whatever, this morning I still felt a bit wonky so after tending to the laundry, feeding and playing with Zeus, I spent much of the day in bed enjoying some more weird dreams.  All a bit surreal, if not psychedelic.

Before I did I spoke to the neighbours who were up early raking up leaves in their yard. They asked how I was and I told them I was still a bit stoned and told them why.  My natural honesty and frankness coming out.

It may be coincidence, but shortly after I spoke to the neighbours, the boss called on the phone.  I told her about the state I was in and why.  She was very supportive.  I promised to get back to normal before I drive up to town.

I shall not be taking any more of these pills until I have spoken again with the doc.

When I was 16 I had a similar experience taking some medication prescribed by one Dr. Ogg at the Bexley clinic in Remuera.  He was supposed to be curing my stammer.  I know he started me on Mogadon, then switched me to something else.  I don’t know what it was; the pills were stamped with the letters OCPA.  I was stoned out of my head for months until Peter Gruebner, my form teacher and subsequent friend and role model, contacted my mother to say the school thought I might be a drug addict.  She flushed the pills down the loo.  I went through a difficult withdrawal period.

Mind you, I never stammered while I was taking those pills.

I was riding a 250cc Triumph Tigress at the time.  FSM only knows how I stayed alive.

I did not like giving them up though.  The withdrawal was difficult.  I don’t remember much about that time, except while coming down I had a fight with my brother for some reason I do not remember and smashed my guitar over his head.  That ended my future as a rock star and set me on a different path.  I never did learn to play.  A tragic loss to the world of music.

That is not going to happen again.

 

Odyssey

 

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Herbert James Draper – Ulysses and the Sirens – 1909

Sing, through me, O muse, the famous story

Of he, the wily wanderer far and wide

Who – after Ilium was lost – did travel

Through distant lands and cities; there to learn

The manners and the mysteries of men.

Though oceans overwhelmed his troubled heart

And waves of sorrow rocked him now and then

All his companions did he not abandon

He found his way, at last, back home again.

Homer –  Odyssey – 1st stanza, retold by me 2017

odyssey[1]

 

Muse make the man thy theme, for shrewdness famed

And genius versatile, who far and wide

A Wand’rer, after Ilium overthrown,

Discover’d various cities, and the mind

And manners learn’d of men, in lands remote.

He num’rous woes on Ocean toss’d, endured,

Anxious to save himself, and to conduct

His followers to their home.

 

Homer – translation by William Cowper, 1791

 

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Henry Fuseli – Odysseus facing the choice between Scylla and Charybdis, 1794/6

 

 

Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story
of that man skilled in all ways of contending,
the wanderer, harried for years on end,
after he plundered the stronghold
on the proud height of Troy.

He saw the townlands
and learned the minds of many distant men,
and weathered many bitter nights and days
in his deep heart at sea, while he fought only
to save his life, to bring his shipmates home.

Homer – translation by Robert Fitzgerald, 1961

 

It is never too late to begin an odyssey.

I have poetry in my soul.

Beyond the Dreaming Place

Beyond the dreaming place
I watch from my darkness
All the stars I know
Kiss your head, my love
Beyond the dreaming place

And no backward journey
Nothing’s left of that time
That door is shut forever
Now is the time to move on
Beyond the dreaming place

Tim Harries, Robert Johnson, Peter Knight, Gay Woods

 

 

Stolen Dreams

Caledonia

I don’t know if you can see
The changes that have come over me
In these last few days I’ve been afraid
That I might drift away
So I’ve been telling old stories, singing songs
That make me think about where I came from
And that’s the reason why I seem
So far away today
Oh, but let me tell you that I love you
That I think about you all the time
Caledonia you’re calling me
And now I’m going home
If I should become a stranger
You know that it would make me more than sad
Caledonia’s been everything
I’ve ever had
Oh and I have moved and I’ve kept on moving
Proved the points that I needed proving
Lost the friends that I needed losing
Found others on the way
Oh and I have tried and kept on trying
Stolen dreams yes there’s no denying
I have traveled far with conscience flying
Somewhere with the wind
Oh, but let me tell you that I love you
That I think about you all the time
Caledonia you’re calling me
And now I’m going home
If I should become a stranger
You know that it would make me more than sad
Caledonia’s been everything
I’ve ever had
Now I’m sitting here before the fire
The empty room, the forest choir
The flames that could not get any higher
They’ve withered now they’ve gone
But I’m steady thinking my way is clear
And I know what I will do tomorrow
When the hands are shaken and the kisses flow
Then I will disappear
Oh, but let me tell you that I love you
That I think about you all the time
Caledonia you’re calling me
And now I’m going home
If I should become a stranger
You know that it would make me more than sad
Caledonia’s been everything
I’ve ever had

Dougie MacLean