31 (b) Highsted Road Phone (0064 (0) 3) 359 3478
Bishopdale Fax (0064 (0) 3) 351 9224 David’s Shop
Christchurch 8053 David firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW ZEALAND Deborah email@example.com
January, 2008 SKYPE debnwnz (email beforehand)
MSN MESSENGER firstname.lastname@example.org
We began the year at Little Akaloa on Banks Peninsula and ended it up at our Quaker Summer Gathering at Chosen Valley, Bombay Hills. The major event of the year was our trip to South America taking in French Polynesia (Papeete & Moorea Islands), Easter Island and the Chilean Mainland, Ecuador and its Galapagos Islands and Peru and the long awaited Machu Picchu mountain – see separate trip report at
This year we have not attended as many wine tastings as we would have liked. A Penfold’s tasting was perhaps the highlight. We also went to the annual Waipara Wine and Food festival with our friends Alec and Gillian in March.
On Thursdays we go into Centennial Pool to Aquasize. Deborah just bought a Power Rider at a friend in Blenheim’s garage sale so we will add that to our fitness tools. We love relaxing late at night in our spa pool too but that is not exercise!!
We have survived the 7 year itch and this year made it to our 10th wedding anniversary. This is a photo from our annual garden party.
At Easter we rented a lovely modern cottage in Akaroa. On Easter Sunday Deborah’s Mother and Aunt came over with her brother Sholto and his wife Bev. We went to see an art exhibition by Chris Turland, husband of Philippa Burtt, who was a great buddy of Deborah’s at primary school. Chris started painting seriously after ill health forced him to give up his job in business. He had paintings in three different styles. We ended up buying a very modern, straight line, abstract style oil painting in bright primal colours entitled From the Mountains to the Sea which hangs proudly in our livingroom opposite our gentle watercolour of the port of Concarneau in France. This time in Akaroa we managed to get a booking at the C’est la Vie restaurant and our friend Marian Frey came too.
The very saddest thing this year was the loss of our beloved Possum, aged 18. She was a small long-haired tortoise-shell cat, probably small because she had kittens when she was too young. She was Janine’s cat but when we moved to Highsted Road 11 years ago she came with us. She gave us great joy. Possum would come and sit on Deborah’s knee when she was teaching and join David at his computer when he came home, poured a glass of Chateau Cardboard Australian red wine and looked up his emails. As an older cat Possum had a thyroid problem. Last year she has an ugly cyst removed from her back and cancerous growth from under a nipple. She recovered well spending her days in the warmth of our new heat pump and lots of pampering. We had decided to have her irradiated to cure her from her thyroid problem but she was one of the few for whom it does not work. We knew as we left her in the care of Deborah’s sister Caroline, recently retired as a librarian, and set off for South America that she might not be there when we got back. David arrived back however in time for her burial. She has a beautiful stone with David’s inscription in gold paint in the corner of our garden.
We have kept up our subscription to the Court Theatre this year and Deborah’s mother has come with us several times. Twice when we were at the theatre alarms went off and we had to spend up to an hour outside the second time while all nooks and crannies were searched.
Through SERVAS, the Peace homestay organisation, which has made us some many wonderful friends, we recently hosted Marie from Germany who turned 20 while in NZ. In January we welcomed Jerry, a Swedish host and enthusiastic traveller. We also stayed with Barbara and Helen in Auckland. Barbara, an Englishwoman, who recently retired from her job in Paris, stayed with David in NZ when Deborah was in France and then we both subsequently stayed with her on the outskirts of Paris.
Just after Christmas we went to the Quaker Summer Gathering at “Chosen Valley” just south of Auckland. This year’s theme was to “live adventurously” and the site allowed everyone to do just that. There was kayaking and archery which we both tried, a water slide, flying fox and go-carts. There were many stimulating workshops ranging from Solar Heating to Serendipity. David spoke about QIET (Quaker Investment Ethical Trust) of which he is the clerk. Deborah had a few people who came to ask about the Peace Tax. There were some wonderful practical workshops in making glove puppets, pois (used in Maori dance), cards and printing T-shirts. These were also useful occasions for making gifts for one’s secret friend.
We are both very excited to have been accepted for the Quaker Spiritual Nurture Course which will involve our going to Wanganui three times during the year. This will prepare us for further service within our Quaker community.
I took my great niece, Sophia, aged 10 down to Dunedin, to attend a two day course at the Portobello Aquarium early in January. That gave me time during the day to sit in the backpackers’ hostel overlooking the sea and rewrite my will!
My Mother has become more frail but that is to be expected at 94! She gets out each week to the hairdresser, on trips on the bus to the shopping areas or to a place of interest every week. I take her to St Barnabas once a month too.
We celebrated 60th birthdays of two special friends this year – Karen Bradley (nee Skellerup) who grew up next door to me and Marian Frey, (in photo with Deb and daughter Michelle) whom I have known since we studied German at Massey University. My cousin, Tom Williams’, daughter Kate, who lives in Sydney, got engaged recently to her Greek beau, Vass. I love all these celebrations of food, wine and most of all people!
In July I went to the biennial Goethe Institut German course for teachers in Wellington. As always it was fun and stimulating.
2007 was the year I had adult clients who were going to either follow the Tour de France cycle race or go to the World Rugby Cup. Most had learned French before but needed a refresher course. From December 2006 to February 2007 I gave a young Korean teenager some intensive German lessons. Euncho Yeom, now aged 16, plays baroque recorder at an international level and we were privileged to have her play at our garden party last year. A year later Cho is now in Korea preparing to go to study in a European university. My French class for 5 to 8 year olds who come with a parent are planning to continue in 2008. I seem to start the year with not enough work and then get too many hours!
I have again enjoyed teaching a student of the Alliance Francaise. I look forward each month to the French breakfast and the speakers at the Wednesday permanence which allows me to hear and speak to native French speakers. Since the big trip I have been doing language exchanges with a Frenchwoman of my vintage, Chantal, and a charming young Frenchman, Guillaume, who is on a working holiday visa.
I have continued to visit the same man in prison. He is now on work parole and loving earning some money of his own. He started several vegetable gardens in the villa area where there are four men per villa catering for themselves. I bought him a secondhand guitar and he has now bought a brand new one and planning to have lessons when he gets released. We hope that the Parole Board will give the green light mid 2008.
Healthwise we are both well but I am overweight. I give blood plasma at irregular intervals as sometimes my blood pressure has been too low for the needle! I took part in some research on swallowing. This involved putting tubes through my nose and I nearly choked twice with the first fat tube. In the interests of science we all persevered and the tube finally reached its destination and the experiment could begin. Very interesting!
Another busy year.
My middle daughter Koa told me in November that her female partner Spider had proposed to her. She was sparkling and wearing her engagement necklace. It was great to see her so happy. The wedding is planned for November. Photo is of Koa (with snake) and Spider.
My youngest daughter, Martha, is a journalist working on the NZ Herald in Auckland. I usually plan a business trip to Auckland in May for her birthday but 2008 she may be off on her OE. In 2007 I was in Auckland in June for the NZ Body Art competition that I am a judge and sponsor for, so I missed her birthday, but we had a good time.
My oldest daughter Janine is busy with her massage therapy business in Wellington and is doing further study. She lives in Lower Hutt with her husband and his son and daughter.
I am the clerk of QIET (Quaker Investment Ethical Trust). I really don’t have the time to do it, but the potential for the trust is exciting and I have a great group of trustees.
I am starting to take retirement seriously –maybe it will happen in a couple of years. I have discussed this with Koa as she manages my Victoria Street shop. She is not interested in taking the business over, so I intend to sell it. Koa will take off on her OE with Spider. I have two plans – plan A is to do nothing except to play more music. Plan B is to work for the Quaker United Nations Office in New York. Seems somewhat unlikely, as I don’t know much about the UN and as I have been self-employed for over 20 years I don’t have much of a CV – but you never know.
Have put a lot of work into my new business web page. This is the fourth version. The first one, which I think was the first page on makeup on the web I wrote myself – since then they have got better. Check it out at www.minifies.co.nz The business is going well – there are always new trends – we are setting up the back room at Victoria St and having staff trained for semi-permanent eyelash extensions. We will be starting air-brush foundations later in the year. Also planning a simplified range of makeup. Photo is of some bodypainting we did for a fashion parade at the A&P Show – hence black singlet, scarecrow and sunflowers. There is video of Koa painting on the sunflowers on my new web page, at the bottom of the 'Services' tab.
Decluttering seems to be the in word. Koa has decluttered her house, with the help of her friend Maria. Maria is helping her declutter my Victoria St shop. There has been a major change around our house with a lot of decluttering. Deb and I have thrown out bags of clothes and are tidying cupboards.
We finally decided on a heat pump for the lounge and it is great. Still planning solar hot water and a revamped bathroom. Will be a big project. There is a lot to sort out before deciding on what to do.
I have been playing music occasionally with the Cashmere Wind Ensemble and more regularly with Alison Edgar's group. It was a shock when she passed away on Friday May 25. She was a talented pianist and composer and played a number of instruments. Her sister Elizabeth has continued the group. I have helped her with her computer and emails.
August was the Waimataitai school (Timaru) Reunion. We took my Aunt Margaret Shirtcliff – she thought she might be the oldest ex-pupil, but was the second oldest. My father was first assistant and took the brass band there for many years. Meeting some of the ex-members still involved in music was the best part for me like Paul Dyne, Tony Lewis, David Wolf. Even the Prime Minister, Helen Clark, was there as her mother was an old girl! She spoke with humour of her mother’s association with the school.
I finally learnt a Tai Chi short Yang form from Dave Thew at Papanui High evening class – now I have to keep practising it, as it will be good for my arthritic hip.
Sorry for the delay in sending our news. We love reading yours.
Deborah Williams David Minifie