Sunday, April 30, 2006

Kim and Charles took this picture of a coconut plantation. The coconut is a very important part of life and the economy in Vanuatu. Coconuts and coconut milk are, of course, used a great deal in cooking, and there are many bi-products, such as the soap that Kim brought back for me.
But no doubt one of the most notable cash crops for the locals is kava. This is a member of the black pepper family, and the roots are used to produce the liquid, which is touted to have wonderful medicinal value, as well as its obvious intoxicating properties.There are several kava bars in every village. This is where the menfolk gather when they knock off their work for the day. Each bar prepares a large bowl of kava, and when that is all used up, they move on to the next bar. This is their relaxation, unwinding time. The visitor, unused to the intoxicating effects, needs to be more wary!!!

Charles is enjoying a curry in a "food hall" type place. The price is modest, and the beef is beautiful.
In fact, Charles and Kim say that they have never tasted such tender steak as they have in Vauatu. It beats anything they have had anywhere in Norfolk Island, Australia and New Zealand.
The cattle do well there. They are mostly a light coloured horned breed, a fairly slight build. Not sure of the name of the breed.

Kim with a lady from a village outside Santo.
In the week between their visits, the ladies of the family made two dresses for Kim and a shirt for Charles. Kim is wearing one of the dresses...a traditional Mother Hubbard style.They also produced two large woven mats, fringed with brightly coloured wool.
Although they are not well off, the generosity and hospitality of the people is just wonderful.

Talk about a pig in a poke.
This live pig, firmly enclosed in a sack up to its neck, was actually "checked in luggage" on one of the flights between islands!

Two little girls wear the 'smiley face' hair ties that Kim took over to give to the children. She took a number of toys, some given to her by Agnes at the Bounty Centre. They played with them gently and carefully, and when they had finished, attempted to wipe them clean and hand them back!
They still had some hair ties left near the end of their holiday, so they stopped and gave them to some children they saw along the road. The little girls ran off excitedly calling out
"White man give it belong me!"

While they were in the village of Sola on Vanua Lava, a group of Rotarians from the Central Coast of New South Wales came to build an extension onto the Clinic. Charles took the opportunity to lend them a hand.
Most of the buildings in Vanuatu are either built in the traditional bush manner with sticks and natural materials, or they are built with concrete blocks. I suppose the block buildings are stronger in cyclonic conditions, and are not affected by the dampness and heat. Meanwhile, the traditional buildings can be easily and cheaply replaced if necessary.

This is the building that the team from Norfolk Island built at Port Patteson about twelve years ago. It was intended as a church, but is the headquarters of the Fysher Young Training School, where the boys learn practical skills such as carpentry.
Nearby is the Edwin Nobbs Training School where young men are trained for the ministry.

The people in Sola and Port Patteson (which is about 1/2 an hour away in the launch) are very conscious of their links with Norfolk Island and, of course, the Melanesian Mission.
While Kim and Charles wee there, anyone who had a T-shirt or anything with Norfolk Island on it diplomatically wore it most of the time!
The priest from the area who spent much of his time with Kim and Charles is Father John Coleridge. The names of the Melanesian Mission workers are much revered, and many people still bear names like Patteson today.

Friday, April 28, 2006

It is 150 years since the Pitcairners first came to Norfolk Island, and our beloved Ruby Matthews has lived through 100 of those years!

It was a very special day for Norfolk Island today. Not only is it the 217th anniversary of The Mutiny on the Bounty...where it all began.... but Ruby Florence Selwyn Matthews reached her century, and celebrated in grand style.
This morning at 10 o' clock, many of the community gathered in a little area off Rooty Hill Road, where a small park has been created to honour Ruby and this very special occasion.
There were speeches and gifts, and a special scroll signed by everyone present.
Ruby herself made a speech, and what warm words of wisdom she shared with us all. She said that her family had told her not to worry about what she would say - the words and thoughts would come, and they certainly did. Ruby said she did not know if she would be around 'for the next one' - but before we could reassure her that we would all be there for her 101st, she said she meant the next 100 years!
With the help of her 3 sons, Ruby planted a camellia bush, which is her favourite flower. She said her sons were all very handy. "And handsome" we said, and I think you will agree.

Don and Susan both entertained us with Norfolk songs. Susan sang "Dar Bounty Mutiny" which was most appropriate, and then Don entertained us with "Down a' Town" - also very fitting because "Town" (Kingston) was where Ruby lived as a child. The spot for Ruby's park was specially chosen because it overlooks the area.

After this, we all joined in a rousing HAPPY BIRTHDAY with a second verse!

Later Ruby had a special birthday lunch at Branka House with family and friends. I believe about 30 people came to the island specially to help Ruby celebrate the occasion.

Ruby actually left the island at the age of nineteen, "coming home to roost", as she put it, in recent years, to live in a little flat at the home of son John and his wife Jan. She spent much of her life living at Watson's Bay in Sydney. When she sold her home there, the buyer was so enchanted with this delightful lady that he named the new house he built on the site "RUBY" after her.

In a couple of the photos, Ruby is wearing one of her gifts from the community - a special hat plaited from Moo-oo (flax). The little girl watching on is her great-granddaughter, also called Ruby.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Kim and Charles returned yesterday from their fortnight in Vanuatu. They were full of their wonderful and memorable experiences.
Although they had a few days in the better known centres in Port Vila and Santo, much of their time was spent in a more remote area up in Vanua Lava in the far north. This is a little island which has a strong connection with Norfolk Island.
About 12 years ago, a group of fellows from Norfolk Island went up there to build a cyclone-proof church/school at Port Patteson. This is the spot where a Norfolk Island boy, Fysher Young, was buried in the 1860's, when he died from tetanus contracted after receiving spear wounds at another island. Fysher, and another Norfolk boy Edwin Nobbs had been travelling with Bishop John Coleridge Patteson, on work for the Melanesian Mission. Edwin also died, but was buried at sea. Fysher Young's grave has been lovingly tended ever since then by the locals, who are very proud of their heritage and links with the Melanesian Mission.
Last year, Toara ("Jimmy") Wona came from there to spend a few months on the island and gain some experience of the "outside world"! He stayed with our son John, who had first met him when they went up to build the church. We have also enjoyed visits from bishop and clergy from the province of the Banks and Torres Islands, which has its Diocesan base in the nearby centre of Sola.
In fact, out of gratitude for the financial support that our church here gives to the Fysher Young Training Centre in Port Patteson, and because of the friendship with Jimmy, Kim and Charles were entertained right royally by the people there, and by the local church in particular.
Even while in Santo, they spent time in a village outside the city, with relatives of George, who is living here at the moment with his wife and family.
Kim and Charles have some wonderful tales to tell about the hospitality, the foods, the local customs, and the truly lovely people they met.
I must post some more pictures in a day or two.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I opted for a quiet day at home today.
After watching the very moving Kokoda Track ceremony on Channel 7, I decided that I had a guilt-free day ahead which would be an opportunity to tackle a long-neglected U.F.O. (unfinished object.)
So out came my "seascape" which I first began exactly three years ago during an Anzac Day weekend workshop in Newcastle, with American tutor, Judith Baker Montano. I had done a fair bit of the work on the central underwater scene during those two days of the workshop. It just needed a bit more embellishing, but it was about 12 months before I got back to it.
Then it was put away again for another year.
Last year, I organised a "Marine themed Swap" with some of my on-line Crazy Patchwork friends, which greatly increased my stash of fishy/watery fabrics, charms, buttons, threads etc. So, inspired by these, I decided to do a Crazy Patchwork border for the underwater scene. Over a period of months, I eventually almost finished these borders, but then they got put away and forgotten again.
Today, I got everything out again, attached the borders, lined and backed the piece, and even bound it. And it only took a couple of hours. Why did I leave it so long?
Now it just needs a sleeve on the back for hanging. I think I will place it on the blank wall just as you go into the main bathroom........but I will have to pin one of the boys down to put me some hooks into the wall first. Hope that doesn't take another 3 years!

Monday, April 24, 2006

We may live a long way from anywhere here on Norfolk Island, but that does not mean we are in a culturally-deprived backwater. In fact, we are blest with a wonderful parade of visiting artists, entertainers, musicians....and when they are here, it is possible for anyone to avail themselves of the opportunity to go along and enjoy the performance with minimal effort or expense, and in settings that are far more intimate and accessible than on the mainland. Moreover, we are also blest with some very high class local talent.
Saturday evening's "Sesqui-soiree", held in St Barnabas' Chapel, was a perfect example. About 90 people were privileged to spend a couple of hours enjoying the very beautiful voice of visiting NZ mezzo-soprano Lynne Anderson. "Like silk" is the best description that comes to mind for Lynne's voice....she had us spellbound as she took us through 150 years of song.
Lynne's performance was beautifully complemented by Reuben Craig's keyboard accompaniment..that was a real treat as well. We also enjoyed some pieces from Eric Craig on the violin and Don Reynolds on classical guitar. Now I am told that is an unusual combination in the music world, but it is one that Eric and Don have been perfecting over many years, and we are just so fortunate to have musicians like this living on Norfolk Island.
Lynne sang so many songs, every one was beautiful, but the one that really brought tears to my eyes was "The old violin" which was performed as a duo with Eric. I know a favourite of many others was "The Holy City" and "The End of a Perfect Day."
Following the performances we were all treated to a "High Tea" in the Parish Centre, with the most scrumptious treats, both sweet and savoury.
Lynne most generously gave her time and talents to our Quota Club, who organised the evening. They all worked so hard to create a very special occasion which we will remember for a long time to come!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Now the School's Easter Carnival is a highlight in the year of all Norfolk families, and last night was no exception, even though it was held a week later this year!
It was a beautifully mild evening, and the community turned out in force to join in the fun, and make their usual contribution towards those many extras that the Parents and Citizens' Association provides to the school and its pupils.
My first port of call is usually the White Elephant table, but it doesn't matter how early I am, there plenty of people there before me. Nevertheless, I managed to find 2 or 3 "treasures" to add to all those others stashed away for that enormous garage sale my family will no doubt be holding when we "move on."!!
The Fish and Chips were cheap and in generous quantities, so that we could not even finish them...but it was so lovely to sit out there in the quadrangle under the stars and catch up with numerous old friends.
I could not resist a picture of this incredibly "over-the-top" yummy looking cake that was being raffled. You could invite the whole neighourhood round to afternoon tea and still have some left over. I believe it was made by Leanne Stanton, our Principal's wife.
My thoughts have turned to earlier school carnivals. Some of the entertainments were different in the old days. Back in the 60's, a very popular fundraiser was the "Cent line" where people were encouraged to come and add their loose change (1 and 2 cent pieces) to a line representing one of the School Sports Houses.
There was also the greasy pole. Now, just the other day, a lady who came to the island in the same year as me, and whose children I taught, told me that the first time she ever laid eyes on me, I was half-way up a greasy pole!! Well, I was game for anything in those days. I guess I still don't mind sticking my neck out, but in a different sort of way!!
Now one of the amazing things about these Easter Carnivals is the amount of money that is raised in just a couple of hours. Even in these financially difficult times, generous sharing and a sense of community are sustaining this island and its institutions!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Today is the birthday of our son John...he is 32 today. John is the middle one of our five children, and he was born in Sutherland Hospital in Sydney on April 20, 1974.
Bernie was still back on Norfolk Island at the time, and I can remember us discussing what we would call him over the phone! We settled on John Reuben. This was the name of Bernie's uncle, who died as a teenager after a football injury. Reuben was also the name of Bernie's maternal grandfather, and there was also an "Uncle Reub" back in my mother's family somewhere.
John was the easiest baby was such a breeze caring for him that we had no hesitation about having number 4. But by the time Peter arrived, John was an incredibly active and mischievous toddler. But he was still good-natured. Some visitors we had at that time called him "Happy Jack."
My mother liked to call him "Farmer John"...she would probably be surprised to know that it was Peter who became the farmer. My sister and brother-in-law used to call him "John Chicken"...I am not sure why, but I think it had something to do with his wide-eyed look and chirpy nature!
The picture was taken at one of the "Happy Holiday Hour" sessions run by the Seventh Day church here. He was about 11 at the time. I just love the look of pure delight on his face as he produces something with his own hands. Who could ever doubt that this was what he would end up doing for a living?
April 20th is something of a sad anniversary also. Bernie's mum Dorothy passed away, at the age of 88, on John's 17th birthday. It is hard to believe that was 15 years ago.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The French students who are raising funds to go to Tahiti in October held a special evening out at Rocky Point last night . What a beautiful spot, out on the grassy cliff above Crystal Pool, and what a glorious evening, after the wet conditions of the previous day.
We enjoyed sausages and chips as the sun went down. And I mean real chips, made from the Nobbs' boys potatoes grown out there at Rocky Point.
Once the sun had gone down over the sea, the sky began to fill with the brightest array of stars, one of the clearest nights we had seen for a while!
The big bonfire took a while to light, as the wood was wet, but they finally got it alight. There is something about a bonfire...the boys have to cluster around it as if it was some primitive cave man thing, and this was no exception. I tried to photograph it, but none of my after -dark photos came out very well.
Chelsea entertained us with the fire sticks ...quite spectacular. Then the girls gave us a couple of performances with their Tahitian dancing. They practice each week with Kath and Tania, but had some wonderful lessons recently from Marietta who came from Tahiti for a fortnight.
The evening was so mild and balmy.
It was a perfect family evening.
The kids all had a great time, and I think we all felt really glad that we live on such a beautiful, friendly and safe island!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Our dear friend Ned quietly left a little Easter egg for each of us on our table as we were having brunch at Tempo Cafe this morning....but apart from that, it has more or less been an egg-free Easter for us!
However, I thought I would take the opportunity of showing you my modest egg collection! I began collecting them a few years ago when I was looking for some easy little souvenir to take home from holidays. There are quite a few different kinds- wood, marbled, quartz, alabaster, ebony, decoupaged, and one of a really heavy sort of stone which feels lovely and cool in one's hand.
I stopped collecting once I had a "bowlful." I am a bit like that with collecting things...I only need enough for a small tableau or arrangement, and then I move on to something else.
But talking about eggs does evoke a few memories.
I recall as a small child having a duck's egg for breakfast. That day, we travelled by train to London (to see the King and Queen.) The duck's egg disagreed with me, and I was ill on the train.
Perhaps that was why I was not keen on eggs after that.
In order to persuade me to eat my breakfast or tea time egg, my mother suggested I try laying my own. So I would squat, say cockle-doodle-do, and when I looked round, an egg would appear behind me. The lengths some parents will go to get their children to eat!!!!! I was an incredibly gullible child.
I have since learnt, along with other lessons about the birds and the bees, that only chooks lay the sort of eggs we eat!
Actually, my relationship with eggs, and chickens too, for that matter, has not improved much. We have five or six hens, but they are strictly Bernie's responsibility. They are very faithful layers, but the eggs seem to be mostly given away, apart from the ones we use for our Saturday morning breakfasts, and the occasional baking spree.
I forgot to mention that I also have a small collection of ornamental birds and hens...but that is another story!

Friday, April 14, 2006


I am looking forward to a fairly quiet Easter weekend. I feel as if I have earned it. I am hoping that if I do not actually plan to do anything much, then I will unexpectedly find the impetus and energy to tackle some rather outstanding jobs and projects. Like organising paperwork, finding the surface of my desk, getting some semblance of order into the photo collection. (Okay...there is about six months' work involved in that, but you do have to start somewhere.)
Or I may even give myself permission to start a new creative project.
On the other hand, apart from going to church, I may do nothing at all, and enjoy doing it!
Because it is Easter, I thought I would show my one and only attempt at a tatted cross. I should re-word was about my fourth attempt, but the first I managed to finish. I still need to work out how to tie off the loose ends neatly. I am not very good with loose ends. Once I crocheted this woollen rug, in my own design that I thought was really rather nice. It did not take long for it to start unravelling from the inside out! I have never found anyone who will volunteer to fix it for me, and I have quite forgotten how to crochet now!
I can still tat, however. I was taught nearly four decades ago by a lovely old island lady, Cathie Snell. But I have never progressed beyond very simple little bits and pieces. I usually make an unfixable mistake before I go very far. However, the little lengths I do make are great for embellishing my crazy patchwork.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

One of my regular activities is making bookmarks for the Country Women's Association.
For well over four decades, these lovely bookmarks have been the main fundraiser for the C.W.A. here on Norfolk. The idea was introduced to them by an English lady who had come to live on the island.
The bookmarks are made by fixing a small spray of dried flowers and leaves between two Norfolk Island stamps. This arrangement is then sandwiched between two lengths of clear film, which are laced together with a full thickness of stranded embroidery thread, and a little tassell is made at the bottom.
Over the years, many thousands of these bookmarks have been produced by members of the Country Women, both individually and in working bees. For many years, Mrs Nene Burrell was "in charge" of the project, and even when she was well into her nineties, she could be seen delivering the bookmarks to local shops, where they were sold for a rather modest price.
Sadly, many of those busy former C.W.A. ladies have now gone to the "tea-rooms in the sky", while others are hampered by poor eyesight or arthritis, and there were every few left who were willing and able to continue to produce the bookmarks.
Although I do not belong to the C.W.A., I suggested that our little Tuesday Craft group could lend a hand by working on the bookmarks. It seemed a shame to let them die out, because not only are they a great fundraiser for community projects, but they are a lovely handmade Norfolk item souvenir for our visitors to purchase and take home. They make a great little gift for friends, neighbours and acquaintances, and when used as a bookmark can be a lovely reminder of one's holiday on Norfok Island.
About four years ago, finding that purchasing the embroidery thread was becoming costly, the CWA decided to make an appeal, through the NSW Country Women's Magazine, to ask if anyone had threads they no longer needed. They were absolutely overwhelmed with parcel after parcel of threads, many no doubt from ladies who had purchased them with good intentions, but realistically decided they would never use them up, and were glad to send them to a good home!
I have now ended up as the custodian of all these threads, and there are several thousand hanks, skeins, cards etc, some new, some partly used, several different brands - and every shade and hue imaginable!
I really get great enjoyment out of working on the bookmarks. It is very satisfying to choose harmonious combinations of colours for the stamps/ flowers/ threads.

A bookmark can be made in about 15 minutes. However that does not include the time taken to assemble the flowers and foliage between the stamps. Nor does it take into the account getting the supplies of film and Mexican Poppies from Australia, cutting the film into lengths (using a special cutter designed and built by someone's husband), and cutting and drying the Silver Artemesia every January/February when it is at a special stage of its annual growth cycle.
For all this effort, the bookmarks still sell for only $1.50 - $2.00.

Monday, April 10, 2006

I cannot resist posting one more picture of the Mosaic Mural.
This plate is in the bottom right hand corner of the mural. It began with a plain white plate, which had pictures of traditional Norfolk foods printed onto it.
I suggested to Archie and Sandy that our museum may be willing to hand over a few of the thousands of shards of pottery in their collection. Over years of archeological investigations in the Kingston penal settlement area, these shards have been collected from places like the bottom of old privies. This was the old method of disposing of things like old broken plates, cups and "gazunders" (goes under the bed.) The items would have belonged to the early Pitcairners, although some would date back to convict times. Many are in the traditional blue and white patterns. Many plates and other articles have been patiently pieced together by people helping the Museum staff. But there are still hundreds of loose pieces, all of which have been carefully catalogued according to where and when they were found.
Anyway, we were pleasantly surprised that the Museum director agreed to donate a few pieces, and they were cut into shape to form the outer rim of the plate.
The inner rim? Well.....about three years ago, Bernie gave me a lovely Spode "Blue Italian" sugar bowl for Christmas. After I unwrapped it, I sat it up on the mantlepiece. And because it looked so good there, that is where it stayed. That is, until the following Christmas' Eve, when Oliver the cat knocked it down and broke it!
Without saying anything, I quietly put the pieces away into a drawer, where they stayed until I decided that they could perhaps be used in the mosaic. Sandy has even included the "Spode " logo, which is quite appropriate because many of those early plates would have been manufactured by Spode.
I cannot tell you from the photo what all the foods are, but at the bottom of the plate is a baked fish which has been garnished, and rests on a piece of Banana leaf (the Polynesian equivalent of greaseproof paper or doileys!)
I think at least one of the other pictures represents Mudda.
Mudda is made by finely grating green banana (plun) and forming it into dumplings. These are then cooked either by steaming them in simmering milk, or frying them in fat or oil. Mudda is one of my favourite Norfolk dishes, and it is a beautiful accompaniment to fish.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

When I was growing up, I only remember having one pair of scissors in the house. They got used for absolutely everything...............all Mum's dressmaking, school projects, cutting nails, trimming wrapping paper, and a whole heap of other things. Then we acquired a pair of hairdressing scissors, and I thought they were so special!
Funny, I don't recall Mum's scissors ever being blunt or refusing to do the job we asked them to do, but perhaps they were better made in those days. They tell me that that the way that the two halves are pivoted together is just as important as the sharpness of the blades.
One thing Mum did not need scissors for was to break into the food supplies like we need to nowadays. I think I would starve without a pair or two of decent scissors in the kitchen (not to mention my can opener and jar openers.)
I have a confession to make...I could probably assemble a more impressive collection of scissors than those in the picture, just from our house. That is, if I searched all the nooks and crannies where I have hidden them...or where they are hiding from me! I have a real scissor fetish, and I feel dreadfully insecure if I do not have a pair or two within arm's reach wherever I am sitting in the house. It is a bit like your reading just cannot manage without a functional pair close by! My addiction and insecurity may have begun when the kids were little, and were always borrowing and losing my scissors. I took to hiding them in places where they would never the tea towel drawer. I think some of them are still hidden.
Scissors in the handbag are pretty important too. You never know when you want to snip off the tail of someone's shirt that has the most gorgeous fabric..or even a button or two to add to your collection.
One has to be careful now that the airlines will not allow scissors in your hand luggage. The last time I travelled, I was careful to empty my handbag of scissors the night before. Imagine my disbelief, then, when the X-ray machine leading to the secure area at the Terminal showed that I still had scissors in my bag! Not one pair, but three!! It took me and two security staff about ten minutes to extricate these three very tiny pairs of nail scissors from the deepest recesses of my handbag. Bernie was extremely embarrassed.
Actually, those three pairs of nail scissors had been confiscated before, from other people. Collections of scissors, clippers, nail files etc. regularly turn up at Trash and Treasure Sales for charity...they are donated by the airport staff from the massive collections they acquire when they have to confiscate them. And people like me, who are addicted to scissors, buy them up big time!
They tell me that a form of scissors have been around since 1500 B.C. in Egypt, and the modern cross-bladed ones since 100 A.D. in Roman times. In scientific terms, scissors are a tool or machine with a first class double lever with the pivot hinge acting as a fulcrum.
When I was in Canberra, I heard a talk by the Scissorman, now a well-known Aussie identity, especially loved by crafty ladies. He told us that you can now obtain(at a huge price) ceramic scissors, which never need sharpening. But they will break if you drop them on the tiles.
Bumblefingers, who is always picking her pins and needles and scissors up off the floor says "Forget it." Until they invent unbreakable ones, I have plenty to be going on with!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Mitti and Roany are 4 year old Dalmation / Labrador crosses. They are not our dogs. They are our grand-dogs. And they spend a lot of their time at our place. Roany belongs to Charles and Kim, who live behind us, and as soon as they go out to work or anywhere else, Roany heads straight to our place. Mitti belongs to Peter, who leaves her with us while he is working at the Post Office.
This morning, I needed to go and do a lot of food shopping, and as usual the grand-dogs came in the car with me. You see, I am a bit of a soft-touch.
When I came out of the supermarket with a very loaded trolley, I discovered the boot of my car was locked. I should explain that we rarely lock our cars on Norfolk Island. The key just stays in the ignition.

One of the **** dogs had pressed down the central locking with their paws!

A few helpful passers-by asked where my spare key was. It was also in the car, of course.
Where else??
Colleen Crane, who carries all sorts of stuff around with her "in case" saw my plight, and went and got a few bits of wire and stuff from her car. The window was open just a little bit under the weather shield. But nothing worked.
So I rang Bernie. He came with a coat hanger.
After only a couple of attempts at unlatching the catch, I managed to drop the coathanger into the car.
So we rang the garage. They brought a piece of wire that was even shorter and more useless than the bit we had already been using! The mechanic eventually resorted to a screwdriver.
And all was well.
Well, not quite. You see, I had kept my shopping trolley under cover, because it had been raining. However, the rain had stopped, and so Bernie decided to load all my grocery bags into the back of his open truck. On his way home, there was a real cloudburst, and all my shopping and groceries ended up very soggy!
To cheer ourselves up, we went out to lunch and took a bottle of wine. That just about wrote me off for the rest of the day!
The dogs are forgiven. You see, I love them dearly.
And the spare car key is now in my purse!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


I am just so excited today because we finally "unveiled" the finished mosaic, which hangs in our airport terminal just as you come out of Customs. It looks just wonderful, and I would love to post heaps of photos, but will have to limit myself to three or four!
At 1 p.m., we had a beautiful little Unveiling Ceremony, with a speech by David Buffett, the President of our Sesqui-centenary Committee.
The Mosaic shows so much of the history of the Pitcairners and the Norfolk community, and everytime I look, I see something else that I had not noticed before!

This second pictures shows the hats that are plaited here from "moo-oo" (flax) and from ra-hoo-loo (banana bark) and cornhusk. The frangipani and the red guavas that decorate the hats can be seen growing all around the island.

The banner carries the island's motto "INASMUCH" ...this is from Mathew 25,v.40, which says "Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto Me." These are the closing words of the island's Anthem.

The red robins perching on the banner are native to the island and can be seen up in the forest on the mountain. To the right in the background is the old schoolhouse, with a photo of "ours lettle sullen" (our children) etched onto glass underneath.

The third picture shows the colourful fish that have been placed in the bottom left hand corner. Right in the bottom left corner you can see three black hi-hi (periwinkle) shells. NorfolkIslanders love hi-hi, and a favourite summer occupation is to "go rumma." This means you go down on the rocks at dusk, and collect hi-hi and crabs, and then take them home, plunge them in boiling water, extricate them from their shells, and ENJOY!! Sometimes there are enough left to make into a pie...but that is a long process of picking them out. Now the fish on the centre right actually has scales made from the little "lids" on the periwinkle shells.

I cannot resist it. Tomorrow I shall post some more pictures!

Monday, April 03, 2006

On Saturday evening, about 30 former pupils (plus spouses) from the Norfolk School had a great get-together at Cat's Cafe. Now these "kids" had all gone to school in the 1930's-1950's. The wonderful shared memories and the camaraderie made for a memorable evening. They recited the pledge and saluted the flag, and everyone received Merit Certificates from former teacher Ian McCowan, assisted by the Queen and Prince Charles!! Edie and Susan were armed with whistles and canes to keep order, but were not too successful in that area!
Everyone sang the Norfolk Ode, which has been sung by generations of schoolchildren here. The words were composed by Gustav Quintal, who was headmaster at the turn of the century. The tune is the same as the one for Advance Australia Fair. We would all like to think the Aussies pinched the tune, but seeing that "Advance Australia" was composed in 1878, and Gustav Quintal was only born in 1859, I don't suppose that is the case. In any case, the copyright on Advance Australia ran out in 1966, so we can sing the Norfolk Ode with clear conscience.
I personally feel that the words to the Norfolk Ode have stood the test of time better than those of Advance Australia. (Look up all the words on the Internet.)
Here are the words of The Norfolk Ode:

On Norfolk's sunny sea girt isle
We'll raise our voices high
In praise of verdant hill and dale,
Beneath our kindly sky.
The laughing waves that lapping lave
Or loud in anger roar
Will join our song in cadence wild,
Around our craggy shore.
In joyful strains then let us sing,
The waves' tumultuous roar.
* * *
Our Island home though but a speck
On ocean's bosom wide,
It's dear to us its boys and girls,
It is our home and pride.
The lofty pines will beckon us,
If e'er abroad we roam,
And palms and ferns will welcome us,
Back to our island home.
No heartier welome shall we get,
Though all the earth we roam.
* * *
Our land is rich with luscious fruit,
With fish our waters swarm.
Our valleys deep are gay and rich,
Our climate mild and warm.
Let's bless the Giver of good things
Who all this good did plan,
And let us thankful be to Him,
For His great gifts to man.
Yes, let us thankful be to Him,
For His great gifts to man.
* * *

Now I cannot resist a little anecdote about something that happened way back in October 1974. This was the Bicentenary of Norfolk's discovery by Captain Cook, and the then Prime Minister of Australia Gough Whitlam was visiting the island. Some may recall that Whitlam had recently instituted Advance Australia as the National anthem for Australia. (This was later reversed, and was re-instated in 1984.) God Save the Queen was, and still is, the National anthem for Norfolk Island. We tend to be conservative and loyal to the Monarchy here.

At the start of a concert at which the PM Whitlam and his entourage were present, they struck up the National Anthem. I have never heard God Save the Queen sung so lustily! At the end, someone called "Second verse!!"

Now, no offence to the Aussies, but I hope we on this island never have to sing different words to the tune that we know as The Norfolk Ode!

Saturday, April 01, 2006


The great thing about living in a small community is that there is always something going on.
Well, I suppose things are always going on in other places too, but here you get to know about them, you know the people involved, and you don't have to travel far to get to them!
The first thing on my list this morning, after our Saturday family breakfast, was to go to the Girl Guides Trash and Treasure Sale. I actually came away with a big box of stuff (that I don't really need). I will bring it out of the car boot piece by piece over a few days, so no one here at home notices!
Then I went to fill the car with petrol, and on the way back noticed the kids were having a Car Wash alongside "Pawpaw's Pumphouse.". This was being run by a group of young people who study French at school, to help fund an upcoming trip to Tahiti in October. They tackled my very dirty car with great enthusiasm, and I thought that for $7.50, I got a bargain. It is a wonderful thing about Norfolk Island..the kids do not expect hand-outs..they are happy to work towards their goals!
This afternoon, a dozen ladies (and one man) from the different churches on the island gathered together here at Devon to make palm crosses for Palm Sunday next week. This was the first time we have all joined together to do it, and it was a really great occasion for sharing.

Tonight, we are going to a school reunion for some of the Norfolkers from the Year 19?????. In other words, some of Bernie's classmates. This has been organised by Ray Hall, who is home from Canada for a few months. I know there is going to be some hilarious reminiscing and antics going on at Cat's Cafe tonight.....from people who are old enough to know better, but who strongly believe you are never too old to have fun!!
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