kathy dudding (left) and clare o'leary (right) at my 40th birthday party in 2006.
it is a mild monday morning in münchen & i am sitting alone in the apartment wearing a long black velvet evening gown. i'm wearing this dress in memory of kathy dudding, who gave it to me, and who died at the weekend a few months after being diagnosed with bone cancer. only a month ago, her latest film asylum pieces premiered at the new zealand film festival, gaining excellent reviews.
kathy and i shared, amongst other things, an appreciation of good frocks. about 3 years ago, the day before i left wellington for one of my european adventures, kathy appeared at my front door and announced that she was having a clear-out; her car boot was full of frocks & i could take my pick. we hauled 2 or 3 huge bags into my living room and spent a delightful couple of hours trying on frocks. naturally there were several that became part of my collection, some of which have since migrated to other wardrobes and some of which are now in storage in wellington. but one, this elegant evening gown, travelled with me to europe the next day & has travelled with me again. on its first european trip, it dazzled guests at a new years eve party in sweden then became my costume for "women with big eyes" in denmark and later cuba. it will continue to travel, dazzle and perform, and every time i look at it i will remember kathy, her love of frocks and her quiet perceptive manner.
new zealand has lost several amazing women in the last couple of months - kathy, sue dunlop, peta rutter - all young & contributing actively to the film, music and theatre worlds. arohanui to kathy's family & friends.
i've just got back from cycling to schloss blutenburg and back. originally built for one of the bavarian king's mistresses, this 15th-century castle with moat and ornamental lake is now the centre-piece of a public park and houses a restaurant, late-gothic church, and the internationale jugendbibliothek - the largest children's book library in the world. it's currently showing an exhibition of australian illustrator shaun tan, but today i didn't go in as i want to see it with andy at the weekend.
the radfaht (cycle journey) from westkreuz to blutenburg took under an hour, following the route along the würm - a small river that normally meanders gently along. however at the moment it's very swollen due to the excessive rain, and in at least one place had broken its banks and flooded a grassy area. some bits of the path were closed due to flooding, and in other places there were detours due to the never-ending roadworks (i'm sure this is münchen's solution to the economic crisis - eternal roadworking projects). but nearly all of the way it's a very pleasant route, with the river, trees, other cyclists and a few pedestrians. today is the first nice day since we got back from scandinavia - sunny and mild without a breath of wind. i've learned that münchen is easily as windy as wellington, & living on the 6th floor accentuates the wind-factor.
it's hard keeping up with a blog when one's life is busy; more than a month has passed since i last wrote here, & in that time i've been in london, munich, denmark & sweden. i've given the first presentation of make-shift, a new networked performance i'm making with paula crutchlow; written more funding applications; driven from munich to sweden & back; had lots of parties; been to the tivoli, the karen blixen museum, christiania and louisiana; i have been on planes, in cars, on a ferry and a ferris wheel. i have read one novel & done countless sudoku puzzles. i have spoken english, deutsch, srpski, dansk & svenska. i have had very few swims but they were good. mostly the rain has followed me around europe.
one of the highlights has been coming home to münchen to find the tomato plants still thriving, covered in fruit and starting to ripen (thanks to andy's neighbours doing a great watering job - along with plenty of rain). we sampled the first fruits yesterday & they were very very tasty! if we could only get a little sunshine, i'm sure we'll have a great harvest from the little balcony garden. today we bought new lettuce plants, as the others have all gone to seed, but we had months of salad from them.
as for the holiday, there were too many highlights to mention, least of all dear zab's fabulous 40th birthday party - a great weekend at a big old house in the swedish countryside, with several kiwis and germans amongst the swedes. there was good food, plenty to drink and dancing until it was almost getting light again outside. it was great to hang out with zab & her friends, & welcome into this most fabulous decade.
some of the other highlights were indeed very high, & deserving of photographic evidence here as there are people who many not believe that i actually went on a ferris wheel - & even enjoyed it! (after recovering from the initial terror & impulse to insist on getting off). this was not just any ferris wheel, but the highest transportable ferris wheel in the world, at the hamburger dom.
emboldened by the ferris wheel experience (there are other photos where i'm smiling, but i thought this one would be most entertaining for you) i went on to climb the pretty damn scary external spiral staircase of vor frelsers kirke in copenhagn. there are 400 steps to the top of the spire, the last 150 being outside, & the last few are so small even zecica had trouble getting her paws onto them.
i'm not really afraid of heights, but when you're standing on the narrow copper steps of a 270-year-old 90 metre spire with the wind tugging at you & only an ornate metal handrail between you & the quick way down - well, i felt better hugging the core of the spire than leaning over the railing, that's for sure! but the views and the satisfaction of reaching the top made it well worth the climb. i'll even say it was fun - however, i'm not planning on taking up rock-climbing or abseiling just yet ...