Friday, March 30, 2007

Just a week ago, he was not here. He was a figment of our hopes, dreams and imagination. He was a swelling in his mother's belly. He was an anticipated visitor, for whom there had been much planning and preparation. But we had not yet met him.

Today, we are madly, head over heels in love with this little man.

He fills our waking thoughts and our night time dreams.

The name "William" peppers our every conversation.

We cannot imagine a time when he was not here, part of our family.

His Mum has formed a lifelong bond, and the ties will never be broken.

His Dad is the proudest man alive.

His grandparents are ecstatic about their first grandson. And the New Zealand grandparents are anxiously counting the sleeps until they meet him in person, instead of relying on emailed photographs!

And his uncles, aunts and cousins are ready to serve and protect him, and dance loving attendance on him.

William Mason Christian-Bailey - Born 1.46 a.m. Saturday 24th March 2007 - 7lb 5oz

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Just after midnight yesterday, Bernie and I became aware of activity and vehicles in the driveway leading down to Charles' and Kim's house, which is just behind ours. Soon after came a phone call from Charles to say that Kim's waters had broken, and they were at the hospital.

Kim had been scheduled for a C Section next Tuesday, and the prospective parents had been boasting that they were getting to choose their baby' birthday!
But the baby had other ideas. Bernie and I headed to the hospital, where we waited in the nurses' lounge. It was a little frustrating, because although the baby had been born at about 1/4 to 2, no one came from the Theatre until everything was sewn up and cleaned up more than an hour later!

But eventually we received the wonderful news that we had a healthy grandson. We were able to spend a little time with him, and also with the very proud new parents.

He looks so much like Charles did as a new baby, the likeness is incredible. But he seems to have more of Kim's colouring. And we have agreed that he has nice shaped feet like both his grandfathers! Isn't it amazing how we examine every physical detail of a new baby...I guess it is all part of the bonding process!

Yesterday afternoon, both Bernie and I were able to have a long cuddle of this very new member of the family.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Cristina made her first visit to Norfolk Island when she was just 6 weeks old. At that time she was with her mother Sally, who is my sister.
Over the years, she has made many visits and has always felt a strong affinity with the island.
On his first visit 5 years ago, her husband Brandt also fell in love with the lifestyle and landscape.
Brandt and Tina became a little busy producing their first two littlies, Teddy (3) and Sienna (1).
But now they have decided to make their sea-change. They have left behind their home in the semi-rural hinterland of Noosa in Queensland, and have come to enjoy the delights of Norfolk Island for a while.
Cristina (Tina) and Brandt have taken on managing our family business, Fletcher Christian Apartments, and are wow-ing our visitors with their incredible hospitality, as well as getting involved in the community.
Meanwhile, Tina has decided to start her own blog, to record her experiences and activities while on Norfolk Island. This is not only enavbling her to keep in touch with friends and family back home, but is also a showcase for her wonderful photos. Tina has always been a clever, keen and prolific photographer, but has recently purchased a super-duper camera, with which she is excelling herself!!!
Take a look for yourself at
I think you will realise that Cristina and I are kindred spirits in many ways, and understand why we all love having our niece/cousin and her family around!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Almost 41 years ago, I set off on a grand adventure. I received an appointment to teach at the school on Norfolk Island, at only five days' notice. Those five days were an absolute whirl, because my life in the city had been a very busy one, but one thing stands out in my mind.
When he heard my news, and after recovering from his shock, my father said:

"Just imagine........on an island, you will be able to seethe sun rise and set over the sea!"
And it is true. We are always conscious of that sea around us. But it does not represent a great divide or barrier; it is more like a wonderful calm and protective presence when this island has become your home. It is both reassuring and inspiring at the same time to go to some high point, be it a hill, the mountain, or the cliff top, and watch the ever changing vista of the ocean. At times you may see a fishing boat appear on the horizon, returning from a day's fishing. Or you may see a cargo vessel or oil tanker bringing supplies to the island. One can imagine what it was like in decades past as women and children watched for their menfolk to return from their whaling expeditions.
But we are often conscious of other horizons, such as that of the ever-present tree-lined twin peaks of our Mt Pitt and Mt Bates hovering over the island. One could become quite philosophical about the contrasts.
When I was challenged to produce a page for a fabric book entitled Horizons, I decided to feature these two very literal horizons, and leave it to the viewer to dwell on the more metaphorical implications! The book is part of a Round Robin I have been invited to join, with seven ladies from NZ, Australia and the UK. Each lady has chosen her theme, and each month the others produce a complete page for her on her theme, using textile and/or mixed media techniques. The first page I am working on is for Carol from Queensland.

For Carol's "Horizons" book, I decided to reproduce two Norfolk scenes...the sea and the mountain....printing photos from my computer onto fabric. I have then created a foreground using collaged lace, which is hand dyed and embellished.
This is a technique I have been experimenting with for 3 or 4 years. I have since learned that the basic technique is called "Normandy Lace"....yes, I naively thought I had invented it!!! It seems that Normandy lace is a means of using and preserving small pieces of precious and special laces by joining them into either a pattern or crazy-patch style. I have done the latter, and then taken it a step further by colouring the laces, and adding embroidery, beads and other embellishments, as well as incorporating items such as pictorial images on silk and other fabrics.

I hope Carol enjoys her pages. For next month, I think I need to explore the theme of "Openings" this space!!

Sunday, March 11, 2007


I have no doubt mentioned that we are to become grandparents again very soon, with Charles' and Kim's first baby due in 2 or 3 weeks.

Yesterday was the day of Kim's Baby Shower, and would you believe it, the heavens opened up the night before with some much needed heavy rain showers, with the drizzle continuing throughout the day. But it did not spoil the lovely occasion, with a number of female friends and rellies gathering together under the roof of our patio to wish Kim all the best, and to make a fuss of her for an hour or two before she makes a start on her very busy life as a Mum.

Tina had organised some fun games and activities, including a competition where we had to estimate the size of Kim's belly with a length of toilet paper! Another belly comparison tok place when Kim and Joanna (due about the same time) lined up their bumps!!

There was a chart for people to make a guess at the size and sex of the baby, and suggestions for names and who the baby will probably look like. Some of the answers were somewhat tongue-in-cheek!

There was much ooh-ing and ah-ing as Kim unwrapped some lovely gifts, which included some very unexpected hand-knitted garments! (Well done Linda - you are not just clever round computers!)
It is hard to imagine that the tiny person inside Kim's belly (currently known as "Little Nibby") will be wearing some of these little garments before long. Kim felt very spoilt with all those thoughtful and generous gifts.

Young Anna and Amy acted as scribes, writing down the list of gifts and givers for future thank you's.
Everyone contributed to a delicious afternoon tea.

The menfolk had been banned from attending unless they were prepared to wear skirts. No one took up the challenge, although 2 or 3 did appear later in the afternoon! Here are the father-to-be and the grandfather-to-be! Bernie had shut himself up at the far end of the house for most of the afternoon, but said there was plenty of noise and laughter drifting up...a good sign that we were enjoying ourselves.

I could not resist the opportunity to get a picture of 3 generations of Bailey girls as they left. Unfortunately cousin Marie had already gone, or it would have been four!

Thursday, March 08, 2007


You will remember from your schooldays that the Sirius was the flagship of the First Fleet that came to Port Jackson in 1788, and together with the Supply continued to serve the needs of the new colony. On 19th March 1790, while bringing supplies and a contingent of convicts to the penal settlement on Norfolk Island, the Sirius was wrecked on the reef at Kingston. She remained there, almost undisturbed just beneath the surface for 200 years. It was not until the 1980's, as part of the Bicentenary activities, that a major project was undertaken to recover artefacts from the wreck, most of which are now housed in the Pier Store Museum on Norfolk Island.

The most recent addition to the fleet of the Royal Australian Navy has now been named the SIRIUS, and has chosen, fittingly, to make Norfolk Island its "home port." That is in spite of the fact that Norfolk Island does not even have a harbour!! A local lady, Janine Nobbs, was the Sirius's commissioning lady when it was commissioned in September 2005. Janine's husband, Brancker, is not only a Bounty descendant, but also a direct descendant of Philip Gidley King, who was in charge of the first penal settlement on Norfolk Island, established within weeks of the settlement at Port Jackson.

Last weekend, the new HMAS Sirius paid its first visit to Norfolk Island.
On Saturday morning, in an impressive ceremony in Bounty Square, with all the pomp and protocol that the Navy does best, a special presentation was made to the ship's commanding officer, Commander Tim Crawford.
This was followed by a march through Burnt Pine.

The presentations included a ceremonial scroll, giving the ship's company freedom of the island, and then a specially made symbolic key. The key and its box, I will proudly tell you, were made by our son John. He also produced a special box containing six of the nails from the original Sirius, mounted on a Pine knot.
The new Sirius is a former oil tanker, the MV Delos. It was purchased and converted by the Navy to replace the HMAS Westralia .
And that little flagship of the First Fleet could fit inside this modern vessel at least 5o times over!!
We look forward to many future visits from the Sirius. One interesting remark made by Commander Crawford was that he will ensure that his ship will never be in its home port on March 19!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

I was recently invited to participate in a Round Robin to produce a fabric book. The Round Robin involves 7 women from New Zealand, Australia, and England. This has been organised over the Internet.
We have each chosen a theme, and produced one page of our book before sending it on to the next participant to make another page, using our theme and dimensions, but using their own style and interpretation.
I chose the theme of "Tea Party"...why do I always end up in a nostalgic vein, I wonder??
Today...1st the day we are to post off our first page, and I did not think I would make the deadline. But I have just completed the final stitches, and it will be heading off to England tomorrow, which is the earliest mail.
For the front cover, I have done some Crazy patchwork.

And for the reverse side, I used an old photo from Bernie's family album. It shows afternoon tea on the lawn of "Hillcrest", which was the home of Bernie's great-aunt Maria Heaps and her husband Dick. We think it was taken in the 1920' or early 30's.

I had a better photo, of a smaller group, which showed Maria actually pouring the tea, but it would not reproduce as well. Bordering the photo is some fairly old lace which probably dates back to that era

As a border, I have collaged recipes from old cookbooks, plus some handwritten ones, including some in my mother's handwriting.

The RR will be quite a challenge. We have a month to work on each page. I am looking forward to receiving my first task from Carol in Townsville. Carol's theme is "Horizons", and ideas for how to interpret this in fabric and stitches are occupying much of my waking thoughts. I am determined to try at least one new technique each month.

The other themes we will be interpreting include "Trees", "Openings", Catholic Saints", "Autumn"and "Architecture."

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