So when do you speak out and when do you just keep your big trap shut? After a week in which life has delivered more than it’s fair share of bodyblows, we at the Homestead are left pondering that exact conundrum and, take it from us, you will find no guidance in sage words.
From the good old proverb “Least said, soonest mended” to Oma Jo’s favourite about not letting the sun set on anger, you can in all honesty find an idiom to back up any action. Nowhere, however, will you find advice on dealing with berry filching.
Lately, we’ve put a fair amount of graft into our front yard. It started, as mentioned in earlier posts, with the replacement of our rickety, quake damaged “this is our property and we don’t want you getting even one glance of it” front fence with a more open, friendly one. It lets the sun in (admittedly along with the howling easterly, but you can’t have everything), makes the bus stop more visible, and got us some valuable points in the Site portion of our Homestar http://www.homestar.org.nz/ rating. It also forced us to at least begin putting into place some of the often verbalised but until then not realised grandiose front yard “less grass, more plants” plans. Raised beds were cobbled together, the skeleton of a blackcurrant hedge planted, and many afternoons were spent “Breaking Rocks (or the mountain of hardfill we’d accumulated) in the Hot Sun” a la The Clash to form the base of the new garden paths. As some of our number are less trusting than others, the garden running the inside length of the new fence was earmarked the berry garden; a prickliest, gnarliest, harvest-wearing-your-asbestos-gloves type of berry garden: Karakaberry (rubus hybrid), Worcesterberry (ribes divercantum)and Gooseberry (ribes uva-crispa). Ha! That will discourage fence lounging, the less charitable of us thought.
Fast forward to Tuesday this week. The Milk Maid is watering the front yard when what should catch her ear but the excited shrieks of a child, more accurately a toddler, as he raced his father along the footpath. His toddler trademark lotsa-leg-little-else running style ground to a halt directly opposite our undisputed front yard star, the Karakaberry, where his shrieks gathered in volume. Dad then ambled up, cheerily answered the Milk Maid’s morning salutation, and proceeded to extract a pair of gloves of the asbestos berry gathering kind from his back pocket. “We love these berries of yours,” he smiled as he popped one in the youngster’s mouth, one into his, and a handful “for the journey” into a breadbag. “Oh, good” was the Milk Maid’s reply, accompanied by a wide smile; words and gestures which in truth did not reflect her actual thoughts in the slightest.
So, what DO you do? In the spirit of Less Said Soonest Mended and community relations we said nothing and stepped up the berry gathering forays but inside? Oh! Inside we burned with gut churning indignation!
In an effort to shake off the funk created by this, two still unwell, isolated, and so outraged Tinkerbells, a less than wonderful potato harvest, off the homestead work issues, Nessie the goat’s hard to watch paddock power plays, Delia’s that still haven’t laid an egg, and a traumatic social dilemma, we decided to have “a day in town” in the shape of checking out Oi You’s RISE street art exhibition at the Canterbury Museum. If we were to be totally honest, we were lured there by the promise of some Banksy originals, but we’re up for whatever. Ian “Kid Zoom” Strange’s Final Act piece was a little hard to take for some of us, featuring embellished quake written off houses, but it undeniably addressed the issues of what a home is. Not feel good, but good nonetheless, was the Homestead verdict. Of the other artists, some was thought provoking, some shocking, some gorgeous, some stark, some relevant and wonderful, and some…well, some fell into the Homestead “Try Hard” category, to be blunt. We tend to switch off when the art can only be enjoyed by those in the know; select groups ain’t for us. Worth mentioning is the merry tone of the overworked cash register bearing out the sentiment of Banksy’s “Festival” hanging not five metres away from it in which an unending line of “free spirits” cue to buy T shirts declaring “Destroy Capitalism”.
Which prodded us to question this over an unspeakably delicious lunch at a now favourite cafe: Why say something when no one listens?
So when do you say something?
We still don’t know, but we’ve worked this out: Sometimes it’s not important enough to cause ructions so you shut up and smoulder, sometimes you announce your heart and if one person gets it, then it’s worth it, and sometimes the issue is just too big to keep stum even though it could cause hurt.
Now, just how to identify each category…
Postscript: The Blog was completed and proof reading (yes it does happen despite the clangers displayed in each weeks published item) had begun when The Renovator and Farm Girl exploded into the room. “Look! Look what we found!” shrieked (yes, it was a shriek, not a manly exclamation as claimed) The Renovator. Farm Girl held out her hand and there it was.