Southerly by David Haywood

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Southerly: Høstens Vemod

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  • Aidan, in reply to David Haywood,

    Polly's explanation is great. Particularly loved the "BUGGAH", and the explanation that she got hot and took her overalls off. Those sorts of continuity problems can be really distracting, so glad she didn't try and gloss over it, but addressed it straight away.

    Canberra, Australia • Since Feb 2007 • 154 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to David Haywood,

    Can you possibly provide a suggestion for a shabby-genteel suburb in Timaru? One with nice old turn-of-the-previous-century houses that’s fallen on slightly hard times?

    I reckon I know exactly the bit you mean, but I can't remember what it was called. I shall look it up and email.

    Timaru, though. No need to be respectful.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4631 posts Report Reply

  • st ephen,

    The flip-side of the possibly non-existent høstens vemod is våren eufori. The dull grey day in autumn that brings on melancholy is matched by an equally dull grey day in spring that ignites euphoria, even though the weather is exactly the same. I know a kiwi in Norway who finds these extreme reactions a bit odd, but that may be the Presbyterian in him.
    My experience of Finns is that they stoically endure all four seasons equally.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 253 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Brilliant, thank you, David. Just the thing for a dull Monday morning. I was quite enjoying the weekend until I remembered Monday.

    BTW, what is Polly's charge out rate? We've got some work that needs doing around here.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Aidan wrote:

    Particularly loved the “BUGGAH”

    I'm afraid that Polly has inadvertently picked up some engineer's language from her old Dad. We've had a few conversations about how children are held to higher language standards than incorrigible old codgers such as myself. So far with moderate success.

    Emma Hart wrote:

    I shall look it up and email.

    Thank you, Emma -- hugely appreciated!

    PaulVeltman wrote:

    Hoskings vemod is even worse

    This may indeed explain many of New Zealand's failings in comparison to Norway...

    Stephen wrote:

    My experience of Finns is that they stoically endure all four seasons equally.

    Oh dear, yes, you're absolutely right -- I'd quite forgotten about that...

    Deborah wrote:

    BTW, what is Polly’s charge out rate?

    You can get an awful lot of child labour out of her on the promise of a new tiara...

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Pff. Presbyterianism is about enduring treats in anticipation of unpleasant things.

    to be fair these treats involve aged butterscotch

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2584 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Somehow I feel that "Høstens vemod" sounds like it fell out of somewhere in game of thrones ..... but what I want is a word for "home that isn't here"

    When I went to live in the US "home" meant Dunedin, after 20 years when I moved back it somehow magically changed to mean "Oakland" .... now, 10 year later, it's just confused. I need a special word for that other place.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2584 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    I do find evidence of Hostens vemod as ‘a thing’ – see: http://ensamvandraren.se/Dokument/hostens-vemod.pdf

    Höstens vemod
    Nu är det höst. Solen
    har ännu inte visat sig.

    But that's Swedish, isn't it? The .se and the umlauts are not terribly Norwegian.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    But that’s Swedish, isn’t it?

    You're quite right, Chris -- I should have spotted that...

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Here's more evidence of vemod being Swedish with the author's Swedish wife claiming it was probably the "most Swedish" word she knew. It seems to fall somewhere between wistfulness and wishfulness, which doesn't sound like a bad place to be.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1342 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    When I went to live in the US “home” meant Dunedin, after 20 years when I moved back it somehow magically changed to mean “Oakland” …. now, 10 year later, it’s just confused. I need a special word for that other place.

    It certainly sounds like Paul Brislen is halfway to helping with his definition of Hiraeth:

    (noun) “a homesickness for a home you cannot return to, or that never was”

    We know at least what you're suffering from now (if not the name of the actual place).

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    I don't know about the Norwegians, but the Danes think that the absolute best kind of practical joke is the one where the butt of the joke never finds out about it, ever.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 580 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    the Danes think that the absolute best kind of practical joke is the one where the butt of the joke never finds out about it, ever.

    I’m reminded of Margaret Mead’s Coming of Age in Samoa.


    A philosopher-blogger has coined the word solastalgia, (solace+nostalgia) meaning “the distress caused by environmental change". I’m dissatisfied with this word on etymological grounds ["comfort-pain”? Really?] and I thought we had to fall back on “dislocation” or “alienation” to describe our relationship with Christchurch.

    So I’m delighted to know the word hiraeth!! [can anyone explain how to pronounce it?].

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3886 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell, in reply to David Haywood,

    It certainly sounds like Paul Brislen is halfway to helping with his definition of Hiraeth:

    (noun) “a homesickness for a home you cannot return to, or that never was”

    We know at least what you’re suffering from now (if not the name of the actual place).

    I was more after just a place that is/was home but I don't live there now (even nthough here is also home) ... it's a sort of state that lives in ones own mind and changes over time (I wasn't so much going for 'wistfulness')

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2584 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    I haven't been back to Chch since I moved to Dunedin in early 2014, except for 20 minutes a couple of months back when I was changing planes. I felt such a heart-swell seeing the patchwork of the Plains and the Port Hills in the distance out the window of the plane. Then waiting in the terminal I was so tempted to jump on a bus and try to go Home, back to the pre-quake city. Perhaps it might still be there?

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3886 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to David Haywood,

    “You must be so relieved not to have another Bob”

    Surely that's where the høstens vemod comes in handy "oh, but I'm going to die". No need to mention that it's likely to happen some time in the distant future.

    I love the Polly-tales :) Hopefully Polly will not have the interesting side of her too tamed by the school system. I once failed a word association assignment on the grounds that the teacher didn't understand how I could connect some of the words (I fear she didn't know what some of them meant, but that's by the bye). Some teachers could use a bit of "concerned parent just wants to have a quiet word" which at times my parents were enthusiastic about providing. Which I suspect was, on balance, a useful thing.

    Those bloody bob builds bits videos are likely to be expensive, though. I keep seeing tools and going "one of those would be handy". I am not sure it's a good thing that my partner also watches them and goes "ooh, that's a handy looking tool, I wonder if we have one of those". An impact driver not the least of it, I might have to switch brands because the Panasonic kit is over $500. Annoyingly, the kit with the hammer drill is cheaper than the kit with the lighter non-hammer drill, and I apparently can't just buy the impact driver with battery and charger, I have to also get a second battery and a drill. Bah, humbug!

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1111 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    Oh and David, I forgot to say, thank you for writing these wonderful posts. Please do lots more.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3886 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    Earth roofs kind of appeal to me, especially if you're doing a reverse veneer, since that also gives to excess structure to support even the most over the top earth roof. But since I also demand PV and solar hot water on a small house, we're likely to run out of roof from that alone.

    Reverse veneer, for the uninitiated, is having insulation on the outside and the solid stuff on the inside. That way you have a big thermal mass, but still have insulation. Normally you'll clad the insulation with weatherboard or something lightweight, but in Australia (of course) some people just paint the polystyrene insulation. Which then starts accumulating dents and chips from the minute it's painted (because Australian really is that stupid).

    My partner just visited Melbourne and has returned to announce that our double brick house that drives me to despair with the numerous vents, lack of insulation and crumbling tile roof... is a lot better than the shitty wooden sieves our friends inhabit in Melbourne. I'm assured by friends in Norway that such things are just not done there, and they have expressed surprise at the standard of building we can get away with in NZ and Oz.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1111 posts Report Reply

  • Fiona Mckenzie, in reply to David Haywood,

    Can you possibly provide a suggestion for a shabby-genteel suburb in Timaru? One with nice old turn-of-the-previous-century houses that's fallen on slightly hard times? Failing that, just a straighforward genteel suburb with nice old houses? Any help gratefully received

    If you'll excuse me for butting in I'd suggest lower Highfield or (as that's a pretty large area), individual streets - Park Lane, Beverly Rd, Nile Street, Orbell Street all have homes like this.

    Christchurch • Since Jun 2015 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • Fiona Mckenzie, in reply to Fiona Mckenzie,

    PS Lovely article, engaging an articulate Polly and impressive film-making Bob!

    Christchurch • Since Jun 2015 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    But that’s Swedish, isn’t it? The .se and the umlauts are not terribly Norwegian.

    Buggah!
    Those slavic languages all look the same to me, with their interchangeable Swiss Army vowels and never Finnishing interlocking consonants - bloody Om louts meditating on street corners, tossing rutabagas bold as brassica, sleepy Hamlets one wouldn't deign to waken.
    Apologies to all those in the far north...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7704 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    some people will claim that New Zealand can’t afford financially to indulge in Norwegian-style social responsibility and social fairness).

    jeez some people have to put a money value on everything, politicians are leading this charge to the real detriment of future generations.
    You sound very devoted to your children, beautiful.
    And we should all gently, constantly remind ourselves of the impermanence of life, and not grab it round the throat and throttle life to death.
    Beautiful writing thanks.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1709 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Jag älskar hösten. Det är min favorit säsong eftersom Nya Zeelands vintern är inte olycklig. (Ja, det är svenska och inte norska. Jag tala inte norska!)

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Apologies to all those in the far north…

    Wikipedia informs: "Along with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants."

    Not sure if that sentence passes the intelligibility test, tho...

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3886 posts Report Reply

  • daleaway,

    I spent a brilliant summer once hunting down stave churches all over Norway. Came in from the North, from Finland over the so-called Arctic Highway and camped everywhere, in the wild raspberry and bilberry and lingonberry and cloudberry season. Lush. There's warmth in that midnight sun. No time for moods, melancholic or otherwise.

    Now why didn't New Zealand's early settlers adopt the stave church model instead of the severe shearing sheds so many of our little old churches resemble? We already had the fjords, the mountains and the tall timber. We even had the wood carvers. All we needed was the imagination. Our scenery would have looked AWESOMER with some stave churches dotted about.

    I mean, I like Old St Paul's, but it doesn't hold a candle to a saucy stavkirke.

    Since Jul 2007 • 198 posts Report Reply

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