Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Look at what buzzed into Norfolk!

There was the usual line up around the airport perimeter on Monday, as word had got round that two RAAF Hornets would be dropping in for refuelling en route from New Zealand back to Australia.

The excitement began when they first buzzed overhead, with one of the planes diverting to fly over the school, where three hundred children were waiting to see the spectacle.

At last they touched down on the airstrip. Bernie compared it to his memories of the very first aircraft to touch down on this island back on Christmas Day 1942. I must admit it was somewhat spinechilling.

The aircraft are well-named - one almost expects them to have beady little eyes to match the pointy probiscus!. But no doubt they are equipped with sophisticated radar, and everything else they need to perform their appointed task!

After an hour or so, the two manmade insects were on their way again, and we all returned to our daily routine!

Friday, March 20, 2009


On Wednesday afternoon, we went out to a part of the island that very few visitors - and few locals for that matter - get to see.

The road to God's Own Country

Those who were born and bred in Rocky Point call it "God's country", but they really have to compete for that title with several other areas of Norfolk Island, whose own residents hold enormous affection for the friends and families and the landscapes of the areas where they grew up. It all goes to show - there are paradises within Paradise!!

The occasion was the 99th birthday of a much loved lady - Girlie (Sylvia) Nobbs.
Girlie and son Steve

Plans had been made for a somewhat more formal celebration, but at Girlie's request, it was decided that an afternoon tea and Fish Gry on Girlie's own front lawn would be best, and the timing would enable all the children to join in the fun. Girlie had a daughter and six sons, and now has numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren and even great-great! And she prays for every one of them every day!

These pictures will best tell the story of this lovely afternoon.
.In good Norfolk Islamd fashion, everyone had brought along a plate of food.

Was there ever a more beautiful setting for a band? Grandson Wayne (Pendo), together with Lee and Trent began the entertainment.Later, four of the Nobbs sons , together with Trent, Archie and granddaughter Gaelene took over. We had guitars, keyboard, piano, squeeze box, mouth organ - and Trent's easy-listening voice.

We all sang Happy Birthday - three times!

Outdoor kitchens don't come more picturesque than this - and the fish, chips and green plun fritters were so delicious!

Grandson Andre, who is Norfolk Island's Chief Minister, recalled a few funny stories about Grandma, who retained her sense of fun and playfulness right into old age!

That was a yummy Pavlova birthday cake!

It was a typical good Norfolk party, with great camaraderie and good feeling, a real celebration of family and belonging, wonderful food in great quantity, and best of it all, it was one of those occasions when you are so glad you live on Norfolk Island, and feel really sorry for the rest of the world.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Bernie and cousin Marie in the new Gazebo

It really has been a month of celebrations. As well as Bernie's 8oth, we have had May's 9oth. Last night it was Noelene's 50th, this week there will be Auntie Girlie's 99th, next week is William's 2nd and Joanne's 40th, and the following week we have been invited to Maureen's 70th!!! Bernie's cousins Mildred and Brenda have also celebrated significant birthdays in the last week. Mildred is just one day older than Bern.
Kim and Charles on their first anniversary

In the late afternoon yesterday, we joined Kim and Charles and Marie in the new (still uncompleted) gazebo over the road from Devon. It was Kim and Charles 1st wedding anniversary.
The Gazebo is set in the midst of the wonderful park area that cousin Marie is developing, to be called Queen Victoria Gardens. Some wonderful plantings have been undertaken, including many plants with a "British" flavour and others that are truly Polynesian, like Breadfruit.

William tests out the joinery

The Gazebo is eight sided, and each side will represent one of the families that came to Norfolk Island from Pitcairn Island in 1856.

There will be a bust of the 'Grand Old Lady' placed centrally in the Gazebo, acknowledging what the Pitcairn descendants have always believed - that this island was given to them by Queen Victoria. The bust was imported from England - here is a picture of it in Marie's kitchen.

I will look forward to telling you more about Marie's project later as she plans to have the official opening on May 24th, which was Queen Victoris's birthday!

After the Anniversary drinks, we went on to Bounty Lodge, where Noelene's surprise 50th was to take place. As is usual on Norfolk, it was a wonderful friendly family occasion, with great food and company, and all ages enjoying themselves immensely.

William and Ben have a "ball" on the lawn

Noelene, who thought she was off to join her parents at Seaworld for tea, was very surprised to see all those friends and rellies when they called in to Bounty 'so Peter could attend to an electrical problem for Joanne.'
As usual, more than enough to feed an army, thanks to Joanne and Masalita

Balloons are always a party pleaser

Noelene enjoys a joke with friends

William has a cuddle with Auntie Norma

More fun and laughter in the kitchen

Cutting the cake. I think Peter is rightly feeling pleased with himself over the success of the Surprise party!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


There had been some weeks of planning for our very special celebration for Bernie's 80th birthday. Invitations had gone out, and many offers of help had been accepted. A couple of days before the day, the big marquee went up on the front lawn - with quite a bit of help from William and the animals.

Finally the big day arrived. The congratulatory phone calls started early in the morning. Edie arrived on the doorstep with a beautiful arrangement of roses.

The cards had been arriving in the post, and there were emails from near and far. During the day there was quite a bit of to-ing and fro-ing getting things all shipshape and ready.

At 5 pm, with the weather still gloriously calm and warm, the first guests started to arrive.

It was a magic evening. Everyone was really enjoying themselves - everyone literally from 1 to 90 years old. That is the sort of party I love.

The older folk sat and chatted and reminisced, and there were great hoots of laughter coming from the tables. The Mums and Dads stood around enjoying the great atmosphere and company - not to mention the food.

There were plenty of people nearby to lend a hand to John at the fryers, cooking the fish and the green banana fritters, which were served with a caramel sauce. We had prepared lots of food, but much of it did not even leave the kitchen, because so ,any people turned up with platters of tasty treats.

The kids - of all ages - ran around both outside and in, and after dark took great delight in playing chasings while wearing the luminous head and wrist bands so thoughtfully provided by Tina. The little ones had great fun on the Jumping Castle, which was left up all night. By the end of the evening, the older kids were sitting in a circle playing "Truth, Dare or Double Dare." Who said that today's kids cannot entertain themselves?

Mavis brought along a special fern headpiece for Bernie to wear. After all, he was the V.I.P. for the night.

Kim had made a lovely banana cake in the shape of an 80. Before cutting it, There were a few speeches, with Charles taking on the role of M.C. It seems many people had special memories and tributes.

When it came time to sing Happy Birthday and cut the cake, all the small children suddenly appeared for front row positions. Here was their opportunity to run their fingers around the edge of the cake for the first sampling of the yummy chocolate icing!!

Charles and Kim had produced a lovely album with a collection of stories and old photos contrinuted by friends and family for the occasion. It was so beautifully put together, and full of special memories, both amusing and nostalgic.There were over 100 people there to share in the special occasion. I am sure Bernie was quite delighted to be able to share this milestone with so many friends and family.We had said "No presents" - but many were brought any way, including a wonderful selection of red wines! People know Bernie's taste! I don't think anyone wanted the evening to end, but it had been a long day for some!

When everyone had gone, Bernie and I sat in the dining room and read all the cards, savouring the wonderful expressions of love and friendship. It had been a very special day.
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