Saturday, March 29, 2008

Our local Community Arts Society is holding its annual exhibition.

People in the community are encouraged to enter up to four pieces for display over the 4 days of the show.

"Purple Sage" - needlefelted with silk and wool fibres and embroidered

There is no competition, which is just as well, because there is an enormous vartiety of techniques and media on display.

You can, however, put a price on your piece, and the Society will sell it on your behalf for 20% commission.

"Edwardian Lady" - lace collage (mainly old doileys) and embellished with beads and embroidery

I must confess that it is many years since I have had the courage to put a price on what I have submitted. Which is strange, because I did sell a quilt and a couple of paintings in the first two exhibitions many, many years ago.

But nowadays, I am just not sure how people will react to my work, which is usually the result of playing and experimenting with new media and techniques. I am conscious of the fact that because I largely work with textiles, many people will regard what I do as "craft" rather than art, and therefore would think me cheeky and over-optimistic if I were to put a price tag on it to make it worth my while.

Nevertheless, I do enjoy the positive feedback from these exhibitions, and having someone come up and say they really like this or that piece gives me enormous pleasure.

"Porpay" (Red Guavas) - fabric collage with embellishments and embroidery. Funnily enough, this piece was hung sideways, and I thought it looked much better than the portartait orientation in which I worked on it!

This year, I took the step of actually framing the four pieces I submitted. It was suggested that this would make them look more like art, and I must say I was pleased with the effect.

The framing was somewhat amateurish and "do-it-yourself" because I left it too late to have it done professionally. If I had them done properly, not only would I be a little more brave about putting a sale price on them, but I would probably need to sell some to pay the costs!!!

"Seashore" - textile collage with embellishment and embroidery

Most of the entries in the show were on a much larger scale than my work. I don't think that is going to change. I really like working small. However, I will definitely be doing more pieces with the idea of showing them off in proper mountings and frames. And who knows - I may even have the cheek to place a monetary value on them next year?

From Grandma's Brag book - Charles and William on the opening night of the Exhibition

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


It is hard to believe that it is a whole year ago that Bernie and I waited in the hospital lounge in the middle of the night awaiting the news of our grandchild!

Yesterday, William had his first birthday. We actually began the celebrations a week ago, with a get-together with the New Zealand rellies before they went home after the wedding.
Mum Kim realy excelled herself with a cake made like a frog pond!

Then yesterday, there was a lunchtime picnic party with his little boyfriend babies and their Mums.

And last night, we held a specal fish fry here at Devon. Cousins Tina and Mike and their families came along too.

Tina, Kate and Mike watch on as he opens his cards and presents

With all these parties, including the wedding, William has become quite a party boy, and has taken great delight in being passed from arm to arm and making new friends.

Our little man is a real joy. He just loves to laugh - and to make other people laugh! He has a great sense of humour.

Teddy and Sienna help with blowing out the candles

Overnight he seems to have changed from a baby to a toddler - although he is not quite "toddling" yet. He is, however, very mobile, crawling and scrambling and climbing and exploring all over the place, with a noisy accompaniment of baby chatter.
I hope you will enjoy these pictures. I know his other grandparents in New Zealand - Karen and John -will enjoy seeing them!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


At 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, we gathered out at Simon's Water, near the clifftop overlooking Cascade Bay. The fog and drizzle of earlier in the week were gone, there was barely a wisp of cloud in the sky, and the afternoon sun sparkled on the calm sea.

There was a spirit of happy anticipation as we chatted over our champagne/orange juice and awaited the bridal party. The children -and some adults - happily began blowing some of the bubbles that had been provided.

The bridal party arrived in style - in Marie's old A-model Ford truck, which had been the very first "tourist bus" on Norfolk Island. They came up the mown strip to the accompaniment of the bagpipes. Then they came up the specially created "aisle" with the words of "Falling in Love"(sung by best man Brandt "Elvis" McRitchie) providing a very moving atmosphere.
The sincere joy and happiness as Charles and Kim spoke their specially and individually composed vows to each other was palpable.

After the ceremony, the Ultralite flew over, to take photographs from the air, and to release a wonderful trail of confetti and tickertape - which, in spite of their best efforts, drifted out to sea.

Finally the whole party of guests gathered together for one large photo. Then the bridal party travelled to Kingston for some more "posed" and formal photographs, while the guests made their way to Devon.
I do not have any official photographs yet, nor have I seen any of those several thousand that seem to have been taken by various friends and family members. I am just showing a few of the candid shots I took myself.

As you can see, we partied, ate, cheered and celebrated well into the night.

The whole day was just magic.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Years of dreaming...

Months of planning...

Weeks of organising...

Days of preparation...

And on Saturday, on a beautiful and balmy Autumn afternoon, we joyfully celebrated Kim and Charles' marriage to each other.

I have included just one small photo of the ceremony (to whet your appetite)...more will come later. But first I would like to tell you some of what goes into the preparation and planning.

From the outset, I must tell you that it was our Kim who was the inspiration and organiser of this very wonderful day. What was a very relaxed, happy, informal, and homely occasion only happened as a result of her extreme hard work and thought and care...right down to the very last detail!

Trying on the flower girls' dresses

Wrapping cutlery for 180 guests

Marquees were hired from the Administration - but needed to be scrubbed clean first!

Family and friends all came to lend a hand to erect the two big marquees and fix lights all around!

The table setting is underway! Kim's sister Bec, her friend Alex and Miriam all lend a hand.

John waterblasts the patio ready for the food tables

Ed tackles the job of cleaning kitchen windows

Mal helps set up the bar area on the front verandah, complete with Brandt's (t)rusty old homebrew dispensing frig!

William and Roany the dog are somewhat nonplussed by all the fuss

And it is all looking good!

And the food? Well, like most other things on Norfolk Island, this is usually a do-it-yourself affair, in the absence of wedding caterers and Reception places. Just one week before, when the catering arrangements suddenly went awry, the task was taken on by the magnificent Kathleen. Joanne and Glen offered the facilities of the kitchen at Bounty Lodge, which is a former restaurant. Dishes and equipment were borrowed from all and sundry.Two pigs were fattened for the occasion at Devon Cottage, and baked in the local Baker's oven. And when I tasted the wonderful pork and marvellous crackling, I tried not to think about my former neighbours!

"Speed" came to the part with a young steer, which was roasted to perfection on a spit. Fish was served baked whole, as Tahitian Fish, and as Fried Fish nibbles while we waited for the bridal party at the Wedding Reception.

John preparing the fish fry

Lance may have been a guest, but on Norfolk everyone lends a hand!

The netball girls earned some funds by helping with the serving and cleaning up on the night. The magnificent Croquembouche was made by the South Pacific Hotel - and consisted of hundreds of profiteroles all the way through!

The young guys like Joshua here helping on the bar did a wonderful job

Now I have told you that it was the lovely bride Kim who worked the hardest to make sure that this was a wonderful occasion for all her family and friends who wanted to share in her happiness. I came into the kitchen during the evening, and found her at the kitchen table helping get the desserts ready! That is the sort of girl she is, and that is why we love her so much!

These lovely island pies - coconut, passionfruit and lemon - were baked by Christine Sheridan

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


With Kim and Charles' wedding rapidly approaching this Saturday, there has been much activity at Devon. The ceremony is to take place at Simon's Water, but the reception -for about 175 guests - will be here at home. The importance of the occasion demanded a little more than mere spit and polish.
The house is freshly painted

There has been much removal of dust and clutter inside the house, although at times it seems as if we are merely re-arrangeing both! Those jobs which received attention early in the piece already need doing again, and the constant mould, and the dust from the sanding being done by the painters on the outside have not helped!

While the window frames dry, they are wrapped in plastic. The atmosphere inside was eerie!

The outside of the house has been receiving a much-needed facelift, with a fresh coat of cream paint, and trims of Rivergum green and a warm yellow. John has been re-spraying the verandah furniture to match, and it is all looking great.

Unfortunately, the foggy rain has come again, causing many concerns. It is making it hard for the painters to finish the job. The aircraft which are supposed to bring our overseas visitors are delayed. And there is the all-important decision - do we proceed with plans for an open-air wedding here at Devon, albeit using marquees, or do we go for Plan B???

Do you like our new colour scheme?

Thursday, March 06, 2008


It is not widely known that when the First Fleet sailed from England to Botany Bay, with its cargo of convicts, to found a new colony, one of their prime priorities was to establish a second settlement on Norfolk Island. In fact, many historians have believed that hoisting the British flag on Norfolk Island was equally, if not more important, than the presence in New South Wales. Not only was the island in a strategic position to thwart French interest in the area, but Captain James Cook had reported on the presence of useful flax plants, which could provide a source of linen canvas for sails, and he also believed the skyward-reaching pines would be valuable for masts.

So within 40 days of the arrival of the British at Botany Bay, a group of convicts and Marines, under the direction of Captain Philip Gidley King, made their landing at Kingston Norfolk Island. Each year, a public holiday known as Foundation Day is celebrated on Norfolk Island on March 6th to commemorate these events of 220 years ago.

The history of the present people of Norfolk Island, with their Bounty ancestry, is of course, quite separate to these events, although they took place around the same time. Nevertheless, it does mark the beginnings of more permanent settlement of the island, following intermittent temporary occupation by Polynesian visitors over the centuries. And we do actually have descendants of Philip Gidley King here, since the time in the early 1900's when one of the King family line married into a local island family.

The Foundation Day re-enactment provides a colourful spectacle for our tourist visitors, and large numbers of First Fleeters, - descendants of those who came with the First Fleet, particularly those who actually had forbears on this island during the times of the Penal Settlement- take the opportunity to visit Norfolk Island at this time of year.

This year, two of our boys were taking part in the re-enactment, so we took the opportunity of joining everyone down at the beach to watch the proceedings. It was a glorious day, and the waters of Emily Bay were like a mirror.

Thinking back to those earliest days..... Norfolk Island was to prove invaluable as a second settlement, but not for the reasons that were intended. The plans for the pine masts and the flax came to nothing, but the flax venture is an interesting story on its own, which I would like to tell you about another day. Meanwhile the French had already come across the island just a few weeks before, and had sailed on, declaring it "fit only for angels and eagles!"

The trustworthy convicts who accompanied that first expedition worked hard to help establish the little settlement at Kingston town, and there was a period of time when their agricultural efforts even helped feed the main colony at Port Jackson, whe supplies from England were delayed. Many of them became free men, and received grants of land, which they cultivated very successfully. But within 20 years, the whole colony was moved to Tasmania.

It was in later years, particularly in the period of the second penal colony some 40 years after the first settlement that the island became a "hellhole", a place to which the worst of the convicts were sent. But that scene was far removed from the happy optimism we saw among our local actors today!!

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