Letter 27 / 1 / 84
Last week our parcels which we posted in
James loves his new shirts and they are a good fit.
Alison loves her new spoon (though right at this moment I can't find out where she's hidden it).
I opened the parcel when we were sitting on the school oval, and Alison immediately started crawling around happily with her spoon in her hand.
Then we came home and sat her in her seat and put her bowl and spoon in front of her ... after a few minutes the light suddenly dawned - its a spoon - and she started digging into her bowl with it.
I've given up trying to feed her - she spits out anything that she hasn't put into her mouth by herself. (She's like the little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead ... when she's good she's very very good, but when she's bad she's horrid.)
So its mostly "finger foods" - but she loves using a spoon, so every now and then I make some gluey custard (which sticks to the spoon easily and won't fall out of the bowl even if its tipped upside down!) and she has a go. I'm never sure how much actually gets eaten though.
The Tombstone Opening ceremony is a strange religious mixture. They have an Anglican-type service that is mumbled through (all wearing proper Anglican robes).
Don't know where this particular service came from, who made it up specially, and how much the Anglican powers-that-be know about it.
The real purpose seems to be final appeasement of the ghost, the Anglican service is more along the lines of getting them out of Purgatory (which of course is a totally Roman Catholic concept and not generally accepted in the Anglican Church).
The non-religious excuse for the ceremony is "out of respect" for the deceased.
Fruits, and everything dies
Sorry to hear about your fruit flops.
Our corn looks like its doing well. The tomatoes look hopeful. And the three citrus trees are growing despite their holey leaves. I think there may be some pumpkins on the way.
Everything else ... well it all dies one way or another. James has had death explained from "Daddy's corn dead" to "sick man is dead" when George B died.
Sacks and clothes with holes
I'm still wearing my cotton "sacks" from my last pregnancy - I never really got out of them after Alison was born except for a few months in skirts to make feeding her easier. They are rather dull and faded-looking, I keep wondering if they will last the distance. What with the sweat, scrubbing, and sunlight, nothing lasts long here. Peter's shirts suddenly have big holes in them.
At first we thought James had got hold of some scissors, then we thought battery acid must have got onto them, ... and despite great care they just keep producing holes.
So we are guessing its body acid / scrubbing / deodorant etc. - they are pure cotton. His older shirts which are a synthetic mix have survived ... except that in recent years he has continued to develop around the shoulder area and of course the sleeves keep tearing off - I've given up trying to sew them back.
Our ducks are neurotic.
The day we got them, there were ten of them crammed into a tiny box. But as soon as we tried to separate some of them off, they made so much noise and fuss that we put them back.
Since then we have had many consignments of ducks arrive for other people, and we have had no trouble separating these ones.
Then after one duck got sick (and well again) they wouldn't go into their house at night. Now with the six drakes gone, they won't come out in the morning.
And ... still no eggs.
Our tiny chicks are a lot of fun though.
We didn't mean to get them. We over-ordered ... and although we could get rid of them by merely whispering that there are some chicks available ... we decided they would be fun to keep to replace the drakes.
They are so independent right from the start. They scratch the ground and peck and everything - just like big ones, but they are so tiny, and light. When you pick them up you barely know they are on your hand. Then they flutter their tiny wings and leap off into mid-air.
After three days of kindy James came down with a nasty "cold-sick" so he's home today. He sounded like he had asthma this morning.
Alison has a runny nose too, but otherwise (apart from heat-rash) seems fine. She is certainly full of "bounce" as always.
Right now Peter has gone fishing and taken James with him - he hasn't had to go fishing for nearly a week because other people have given us fish to eat.
We are looking forward to Peter S (white principal) and his family returning any day now - I wonder how they feel about returning.
James likes having Narissa around because she plays his kind of games (like teddies and tea-sets) and she has white hair like him. He does feel very conspicuous among the island kids sometimes.
Little Danielle is another "girl with a curl", so cute and sweet but with a terrible temper - she should be getting on well with Alison before the year is out.
Then the family will leave and we will have to break in another teacher family .... although, change is in the air. The Education Department is scheduled to take over the school about mid-year, and that should mean bringing in some more white teachers - somehow.
Having stopped formal language sessions for the Christmas break, Peter's been trying to build up a supply of tapes of different ones talking or telling stories fairly informally.
But we are up against the old brick wall again.
Even James Rice and Barnie Day say : "Yes, I'll come at 9am. No, don't come to my place, I'll come to yours." And then, two days later, with a smile, "Oh, I didn't come because I went to my garden."
Sometimes we have seen them buy a drum of flour in the store and then walk past our house with it on their shoulder hiding their head, hoping (apparently) that we can't see them or recognise them.
We are missing something here. Our heads are full of bright new creative ideas, but creativity is not the "in" thing up here, and we don't know where to start next.
George S is on a drinking binge, can't even walk straight. Balaga is teaching in the school now to replace the habitually drunk Saibo whom Peter S sacked last year. (These school teachers - Balaga and Saibo -are straight off the street, no training whatsoever.)
My little old treadle sewing machine - given to me by an old lady who is moving into a home - is in