Sunday, April 13, 2014

Style (waiting for Ita)

Nana Brine's house sits 50 meters from the high tide mark, where the rain is driving horizontally and little bits of frothy foam are blowing across the soaked sand, tumbling over a thick line of pumice stone, bird feathers and tangled pieces of seaweed, freshly ejected by the ocean. A cyclone is coming, but the choppy waves are still small and chaotic.

Nana Brine's house will never feature in one of those glossy Home Style type of magazines, but she doesn't care. She has her own style accumulated from 90 odd years of savouring the sights and sounds and tastes of the planet - Accidentally Retro. The 1970's cups and plates and clothes still function, so why throw them out? 

Nana Brine's house has withstood the onslaught of many thunderous weather events (and the odd debate about politics). It's 70's style wood panelling suits the enlargements on the wall of places visited last century and the collages of her children and their children and their children. Her garden is vital to her health and happiness - azaleas, hibiscus, New Zealand Christmas bush and all manner of veges and  the 30-year-veteran lemon tree in the back corner that she's loath to prune lest she jinx it's productivity.
Nana Brine's house exudes the soaked up memories and the laughter of a home lived in by the same clan for a long time. When she walks her country, she recalls the stories of those who went before her, remembering that style is more something you grow into rather than something you can buy from a shop and climb into or in her words "whack on".
Nana Brine's house shakes from the winds. An eerie whining sound in the wires is punctuated by a lone long blast of foghorn from one of the massive tankers anchored off the beach. But Nana doesn't notice. Her hearing isn't what it used to be. She asks me to make her "a cuppa" while the  fella on the national radio asks listeners if the pension age should be raised to 70 and Cyclone Ita creeps closer.

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