Sunday, September 28, 2008


There is an old saying on Norfolk Island, no doubt originally coined by some old Norfolker in an absent-minded moment:

"You wouldn't know yesterday and today were the same day!"

It was a bit like that for us with our St Barnabas' Spring Fair. On Friday, there was a massive "low" over the island, with thick cloud and drizzle, and it really looked set in. There were thoughts of making a decision to postpone our Spring Fair the next day. But because of all the preparation, all the people involved, and the fact that you can never regain your momentum once you change your course, we decided we would go ahead "WHATEVER".

When we first got up on Saturday morning, there was still a little rain around, but we could see some promising little breaks of blue in the clouds. By mid-morning, the sun was shining bright and beautiful, and that is just how we would describe a very wonderful Fair......bright and beautiful.

The St Barnabas Parish Centre is a wonderful venue for a Fair.

It is actually six whole years since our last Fair. With dimishing resources of time and manpower, we had put it into the "too hard basket". But over the intervening years there was strong encouragement to revive an event had imprinted itself into the community psyche, and about which everyone felt so nostalgic and positive.

We made the decision to stage it again, but this time with a wider community participation. Individuals and community organisations were invited to take part alongside the Church of England, holding stalls and activities for their own funds.

Above all ,we wanted it to be a fun day, a family day, a community celebration. It was all that, and more.

I decided to have my own stall, which I stocked with handmade chocolates, some of my jams and jellies, and a large selection of my needlework creations.

The plant stall was popular and well-stocked...lots of plants ready for Spring planting.

There were two guessing competitions. Kim cooked us a lovely fruit cake, for which we had to guess the weight, and there was a jar of lollies, a prize for the lucky person who guessed how many inside the jar. Here Kim is writing down John's guess for how heavy the cake was- he was the second closest!

Some enterprising young people decided to hold their own stalls. Good on them!

The Donald twins, Brooke and Alanna had lots of goodies to sell.

So did the Hubber boys. Their Mum and Dad actually won the guessing competition for the Jar of Lollies, and Edward, Angus and Duncan were more than happy to take delivery of the prize!
Barbara and Sally had a stall selling the terrific homemade organic jams, sauces and veges from "Pig and Whistle" Farm.

Rotary was kept busy selling sausages, chips and drinks.

Meanwhile, inside the Hall, the Girl Guides dispensed welcomes cuppa with scones.

Parents and Citizens added to the festivities with Popcorn and Fairy Floss.

Joanne and David are pleased to have nearly sold out their wonderful table of donated homemade cakes when this was taken

The secondhand Bookstall always attracts lots of customers! The Patteson Room was chock-a-block full of piles of books for all tastes!

No doubt the highlight for the younger generation was the Waterslide. The pictures speak for themselves! Will (5) is quite pleased with himself after completing his very first waterslide!

Everyone stopped to watch NorfolkAir coming in to land. The Parish Centre is close to the Airstrip.

The climbing platform and swings were put to good use. Aren't we lucky to have such beautiful facilities and view?

So many people have said to us today that there was a good feeling and happy atmosphere there. It was certainly well worth the work and effort if, in these difficult times, we can all forget our troubles and worries and celebrate family, friends and community!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


The Norfolk Island Museum held a vintage car rally on Sunday to celebrate the restoration of A1, which will be the Museum's flagship, so to speak.

The cars gathered at Rawson Hall, and although I am not crash hot on the makes of cars, there seemed to be a fair sprinkling of Fords among them! Some of them are ex-army vehicles, a legacy from thedays when the New Zealand Army was stationed on the island during WW2.

Archie's vehicle was much admired, with all the timber body work, and even wooden wheel spokes!

Charles had invited us to ride on the back of the old A-model Ford from the Pitcairn Settlers' Village. This was the very first "Tour Bus" on Norfolk Island.

William wanted to try them all out!

The Rally course took about an hour, and there were questions to answer about things along the route. It was almost impossible to write as the old vehicles travelled along the bumpy roads.

It was a glorious Spring Day, and the wind blowing in our faces was invigorating.....although some of us suffered from windburn and sore eyes later.

A friendly wave to another participant

Some of the vehicles travelled better than others.

We passed one which had to stop for a while to cool down, while another was refilling the radiator from the spring in Watermill Valley!

Cemetery Bay looked beautiful as we passed

At the end of the journey, we all gathered in the penal compound at Kingston. The Junior Tennis Club provided a Sausage Sizzle and drinks, to raise funds for their trip to Pune in India, for the Junior Commonwealth Games next month.

The cars all lined up in the Compound

The kids really enjoyed it, although I am sure they did not appreciate all the hours and loving care that has gone into restoring and caring for these old treasures!!

The "Tour Bus" dropped us off at "Devon"

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The other day we were sitting on the front verandah chatting to our friend Tom, when I suddenly caught sight of a flash of white feathers in the tall old White Oak up on the edge of the woodland.
The bird is resting on the branch - towards the top lefthand corner
I realised that the first pair in our extended family of Fairy Terns had come back after spending the winter up in warmer climes to the North. And they were definitely in mating mode!!!
You can see the female slightly above and to the left of the centre
It is said that these little sea birds return generation after generation to the same tree and the same branches.
No nests for these little creatures. In a little while the female will lay her egg directly onto a branch, where it will sit securely, attached by a sticky secretion from her body.
When the fluffy grey chich emerges from his or her egg, he or she will also remain glued to the branch, thanks to the same secretion.
When I say "securely," they are high up enough to be safe from the predations of cats ......most of the time!!
These birds do not come down to the ground. However, we used to have a cat, Flynn, who managed to snare a tern or two each summer. He would leap into the air after them as they swooped low near the ground!
Their main enemy, however, is the weather, and when there is a severe storm or cyclone, there are always a number of casualties.
Sometimes we try to rescue these orphans who are blown from their trees. When Karlene and Jack had a shop in the Village, they rigged up a suspemded branch or two on the verandah between the posts, and each summer there would be a row of fluffy baby terns perched there waiting for a feed of guppies from the Kingston creek. But there is no substitute for the food brought back from fishing trips by Mum and Dad, and the adoption process by humans is not always successful.
Hopefully our little pair will soon be joined by the other family members, and they will be successful in rearing several members of the next generation.
The fluffy chicks will remain there until they acquire their sleek white adult feathers. Then, after some flying lessons, they will join their elders on the trip back to the Phillipines, or wherever they go, and the cycle will begin over again.
Meanwhile we will enjoy the summer treat of seeing them swirl in the air overhead. They always seem to fly in pairs - they say it is because "One good tern deserves another" or "they are taking it in terns" or even "tern and tern about".
Below is the page I did for my "Devon Book." The picture of the birds is a little pixellated, because I had to enlarge it so much.

Norfolk Island is in a subtropical zone climatewise, and both our summers and winters are mild. Although we are conscious of the seasons, they do not arrive with the fanfare that accompanies the seasonal changes in the more temperate areas.

Nevertheless, although our winters are mild and frostfree, we most definitely greet the arrival of Spring as we move into September.

My first daffodil has bloomed.

Along the driveway we have the first clump of showy Hippeastrums.

And the Clivea lilies are beginning to display their bright orange blooms.

The May bush is in flower.

The native wisteria is dangling its loopy bloooms at the edge of the woodland.

And the prolific pink climber - a self-seeding annual from back in George and Dorothy's days - is competing for centre stage with the Busy Lizzies with their identical hues.

The blossoms of the ornamental ginger have finished, leaving these succulent orange spikes.
I love the delicate cascade of pale pink when the Shell ginger is in flower.

This is only part of the story of Spring here at Devon. No doubt everyone's little patch of ground has its own delights!

Sunday, September 14, 2008


A few years ago I planted a couple of violet plants next to the water tank beside the house. As time went by, they multiplied and have covered what was rather a bare little patch in the shade.

That is the thing about violets. Although they are happy to spread out over time, you never see them actually getting out of hand, or growing where they are not wanted ! They are never obtrusive, but they are content to give pleasure to those who seek them out.

We talk about shy violets, and sometimes "shrinking violets", but I prefer to think of them as modest, contented little flowers.

I do believe violets are right there at the top of my list of favourite flowers. My earliest memory of them is a time when I was about five years old. My mother - bless her - had decided that she and I would have a special day together, even though it was a school day. We packed a picnic lunch, and went on a bus. I am not sure where we went , but it was a wooded spot somewhere near Sidcup. In the afternoon, while we were waiting at the bus stop to get the bus home, I saw a little pot of violets in a shop window, and I asked my mother if I could buy them for her. When we got home, we planted them in a little patch of dirt near the French doors at the back of the house. My mother always let me think I had given them to her as a gift. Actually her middle name was Violet, so perhaps I had felt the connection was appropriate.

My second memory is of a time when I was seven - perhaps eight. We had moved to Australia and were living in the Migrant Hostel at Kyeemagh (right where the Sydney Overseas Terminal is now.) It was a fairly small hostel, and the children often did things together. We had decided to put on a concert for our parents in the large meeting room underneath the Manager's flat. The older children, including my sister, got us organised. I decided to sing a song that I had learned at school.

The words began

"Violets in the Hedgerow Peeping(Sleeping?)

Are you very shy?

Yes, we're very shy...."

My mother made me an outfit for my performance in a pretty mauve crepe paper. Crepe paper came in handy for all sorts of things in those days.

I have a feeling that my item was a bit of a disaster. The notes were too high and I forgot the words. I was delighted to re-discover the words in an old children's song book among the music that we inherited from Bernie's Aunt Charlotte, but alas I cannot find that book now!!
This is the centre of a crazy patchwork cushion - one of a pair.

A few years ago I sent for a piece of fabric with violets on it, and have incorporated it into a few little projects, some of which I show you here.
A small heart shaped pincushion

The centre of the other cushion in the pair

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