Monday 5 March 2012: It's a small, small world...
Been saving this for a 'slow blipday' which today seems to have been - started off grey and cold but the weather did improve as the day wore on. We bought this painting by Scottish contemporary artist John Lowrie Morrison, known as Jolomo, from a Scottish gallery about nine or ten years ago. It hangs in our livingroom and I love the vibrancy of the colours that he uses - wherever this painting has hung has looked so empty and bereft when we have moved it! Unfortunately this photo hasn't quite captured the colours as they are, but it has glass in front of it which throws up a few reflections making it difficult to shoot.
When we met our next-door neighbours here in Nelson for the first time, we invited them round for a drink. Imagine our amazement when H. walked through the door and exclaimed "Oh! A Jolomo! We know him..... we used to help him hang his exhibitions in Lochgilphead!" H. is in fact a Scot and her husband is from Zimbabwe, though they have lived in New Zealand for decades. They still own a small pied-a-terre in Argylll and we found it extraordinary that, half a world away from there, we should have ended up living next door to people who know Jolomo!
Not only that, but as H and M looked around our living room, she recognised some Scottish west coast watercolour seascapes as well. She asked who they were by and when we told her, she said "Oh, I know her too! She would be thrilled to think that some of her paintings have ended up in New Zealand!" What a small world it is.
I have just come back from a two-and-a-half hour evening workshop at Immy's school, designed to make the participants more 'resilient' as parents. This seemed - to me at any rate! - an odd choice of word so I was rather intrigued by the concept and when it was publicised at the Year 9 parents' evening last month, I signed up out of curiosity. (It is in fact a series of three workshops and there is no charge as they are being funded by the Ministry of Social Justice).
It was actually quite interesting as it made us focus on what was - and what was not - working well for us as parents. We then broke out into small groups to offer help and advice to each other on the particular issues that we had each identified as needing work. I couldn't help thinking however that the parents who could probably have gained the most out of it were the ones who were not there. Listening to the problems that people were facing with their 13-year-olds, it seemed that most just wanted to be able to nag less; get angry less often and have better luck with their kids' household chores being performed properly. The fact that these obviously caring people were worried enough about such things to come along to the workshop was encouraging; but I wondered about the parents of teenagers who are getting into rather more serious trouble.