There has been knitting going on, amongst all this reading and parading up and down mountains. Much of it has been secret knitting, of which I can't put up pictures. However I did knock out a couple of pairs of these handwarmers, which are a cross between making-it-up and an actual pattern. This is a truly international pair, being made from some of the NZ possum yarn (shh) and from alpaca that mum bought me in Chile.
The final pair of socks for 2007 has also been cast on.
Its a good thing I have the calm of knitting, as I have been driven to the edge lately by flies. I have always been quite live-and-let-live about flies, wafting them away and covering food but otherwise not being too bothered by their existence. Not here. New Zealand flies are stubborn, lazy, and everywhere. A gentle waft means nothing to them; they just stay put and rub their little legs together. There are so many of them, and they're on stuff: the countertop, the floor, the rug, me. When I was bemoaning being able to see my breath in the cold of the house in winter, I failed to realise it was that cold that kept these babies from hatching. Our recent warm spell started up the ticking time bombs, and I've finally snapped and become one of those people who chases around with a magazine whapping frantically at the air.
My sort-of-brother-in-law-in-law is a biologist and a bug guy. His daughters are cool as cucumbers when it comes to bugs; they are unfazed by household spiders and can tell their tussock moths from their, er, non-tussock ones. (I suspect they don't call them "bugs", either). His calm and fascinated approach has brought up no Miss Muffets, but warrior princesses who accept the wonders of nature in all her forms. It's a skill that I aspire to in my future parenting - if only so that my kids can calmly get the glass and the postcard instead of running outside, bolting the door and immediately putting the house on the market when incey wincey spider makes an appearance. So you can imagine how I put this into practice when I spotted out of the corner of my eye, a tropical-sized cockroach wending its way across my floor this morning.
I absolutely. Wigged. Out. I said such words, at such volume, that my sister - who was on the other end of my phone conversation at the time - thought that at the very least the house had been napalmed by axe-wielding maniacs. I think it was the lead-up with all the flies, culminating in this character, who got a cold tea shower as I upturned my mug over its head to imprison it while I calmed down, that led to the final breakdown.
I recently read an article about scientists creating a computer cockroach to change the behaviour patterns of real cockroaches, who are apparently highly impressionable and susceptible to peer pressure. After this episode, all I can think now is - where are the peers, and when are they arriving?