Monday, December 27, 2010


It has been rather a long wait. It was nearly two years ago that we decided to bring over one of the long-haired Chihuahua puppies that Miriam breeds, to be an apprentice to Digby. Mind you, Digby has a few years in him yet, but we thought we should get another before he gets too old and grumpy to tolerate an upstart.
Miriam set aside "Dexter" for us, one of Baby Doll's litter. Sadly he was run over before he made it to Norfolk Island.
On September 18, Kea had a lovely litter. One of those puppies really won Miriam's heart. The rest of the litter was sold, but Miriam asked if we would like this little one. And I mean LITTLE. Although they were all born around 200 grams, this one only grew at half the rate. But she was by far the most active, and had the biggest appetite. She proved to be Miss Personality.
The new puppy finally arrived at Norfolk Island on the plane, along with Sarah and Emily, at 12.30 a.m. on Thursday morning, after a 3-4 days delay.
This was our first glimpse of her....

She was glad to be reunited with Sarah!

Neil, our Quarantine Officer, thought she was really cute.

We were all wondering what Digby would think of her. After a brief bout of sniffing of backsides, he decides he is not particularly impressed.... he has since learned to totally ignore her!

 Roany is still somewhat curious about the smallest dog he has ever seen.

 Mr Shingles cannot believe his eyes, and has remained cautious about the little newcomer.
 She had bonded with Sarah and Emily back in New Zealand, and is not yet too impressed with her new family. But funnily enough, she and Ed have fallen in love right from the start.
 Her first trip up the stairs to where Emily and Sarah sleep. This has now become her haven. She can actually slide underneath that gate at the top of the stairs! But she has not yet learned to come down the steps, so she gives a little bark for someone to come and fetch her.
 She is getting to know her new house and the front lawn.
 Sienna was keen to come and meet her ...and Jasper thought she was wonderful
 We have decided to call her Ruby Anna, because we recently had our Ruby Anniversary. This will help us to remember what year she was born.
 Ruby is now about 3 1/2 months old, and still has a little bit of growing to do.....but we do not think she will reach even half of Digby's size. Miriam and the girls gave us this stylish dog's bed for Christmas, and we are glad to say that Ruby likes it!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Christmas is coming....although my house is not in full Christmas mode yet. But we are getting there!!
It is usually round the beginning of December that people start asking: "Are you all ready for Christmas yet?" To which I reply "No, but the getting ready part is what it is all about, because once Christmas is come, it is gone. You just have to enjoy the preparations." Let's face it, if I do not get all the decorations up, no one is going to notice or care. And nowadays, many of the cute, random and tizzy bits and pieces of Christmassy stuff seem to stay in the cupboard. I mean the stuff that used to hang on every doorhandle and sit on every shelf, and sometimes stayed there unnoticed until February or March! Only the really meaningful pieces come out - like my 'Klu Klux Klan' Santa that I think I wrote about two or three years ago:

The tree is important. I am very grateful that I have a very roomy and accessible attic, where our tree stands, all its decorations still hanging there, all year. I do take them off and re-arrange them every 4 or 5 years! This year, I was delighted that one set of tree lights that have refused to flash for three years have now decided to put on their intended show once again...and I did not even fiddle with them!
The fireplace is very important in the scheme of things, no doubt because of my traditional British background.

And the centrepiece, both literally and figuratively, is the Nativity Crib.

We have built this crib up over our 40 years of marriage, starting at a time when Lladro figures were extremely cheap on Norfolk Island. We still add small figures to it every two or three years. Last year, a small kitten and a cat joined the menagerie, representing Basul and Mr Shingles.
Today I have a bit more shopping to do, and the last of the Christmas get-togethers. This one will be our Tuesday Craft Group lunch.
This afternoon, I will make an attempt to tidy the house, and sort through all the piles of papers and miscellaneous clutter that has been accumulating on every table and flat surface. The wrapping paper, sticky tape and other wrapping essentials will have to remain. Our place tends to be "Wrapping Central" at this time.
Oh I can feel the excitement building up!!!

Thursday, December 09, 2010



I realise I have not posted for a while. I seem to have been caught up, as well as bogged down, with all sorts of things, including pre-Christmas activities. I really needed to get things back into perspective!!

So when Tina suggested we head down to Kingston yesterday afternoon, for a Jazz concert, we jumped at the chance to blow the cobwebs away and totally relax for an hour or two.
Actually, the term "blowing away the cobwebs" takes on a whole new meaning when you are sitting just a metre or two away from these magnificent big brass instruments!

Each year, Norfolk Island stages a big "Jazz in the Pines" Festival, which attracts large numbers of Jazz lovers from all over Australia and New Zealand. Performances and concerts take place all through the week in different venues, and many, including this one, are free.

When we went to the airport on Thursday evening to meet my sister, there were three musicians in the terminal, entertaining as people were coming through customs! My sister said there had even been a jam session on the plane!

The concert at Emily Bay started at lunchtime, and went on right through the afternoon. There were fish and chips, and masses of salads available to buy for lunch.....Ten dollars for all you could eat!

 Lots of visitors and locals took advantage of the opportunity to sit back and enjoy it all, in this most picturesque setting. Now I have a confession, that I am not a great fan of jazz music. But I do love to see Jazz musicians perform, in a spirit of joy and total immersion in what they are doing, so much of it ad lib as they take their cues from one another. There has to be real bonding in a jazz band.

You can see why they call it Jazz in the Pines!

 Ricky Robertson is a "local", and always takes the opportunity to come over to Norfolk Island with his family and his band at this time!
 Andre is one of our Governmental Ministers, but music is his first love, and he enjoys being at the "controls".

 Here are my sister Sally, her husband Roy, and Bernie feeling totally relaxed.

And even young Jasper seemed to be loving it.
 Now, how lucky are we, being able to enjoy this sort of thing, totally free, in magic surroundings, and just five minutes from home??

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Hands at work.

The Gentle Art of Stitching.

For the last two years, a dedicated little band of ladies on Norfolk Island have organised a "QuiltNorfolk event in October.
The word is put out all over Australia and New Zealand, and quilters are invited to come to Norfolk Island for a week to enjoy what the island has to offer, and to take part in workshops related to their craft. Visiting tutors are invited from both countries, and there is a whole range of activities available. Sightseeing and get-together dinners add to the experience, and mid-week, there is a quilt exhibition featuring the work of both local and visiting quilters.

This year I was asked if I would like to participate as a tutor.
I thought about it and said yes, as long as the numbers were kept to about a dozen and I could do it in our covered patio at home.

I decided to do a Crazy Patchwork workshop, where the participants would make either a small Christmas stocking or a hanging heart. I thought both were projects that were easily achievable in a couple of days - and so they turned out to be. In fact, several went on to a second project, such as the little patchwork chickens they had seen in my display.

It turned out to be a lovely two days. We all felt very peaceful, stitching away.
I told the group right from the start that I did not really like the word workshop. I wanted them to think of it as a "playgroup", and that there were no rules, and that they were to follow their own dreams and visions and colour preferences.

I said that most "mistakes" could be covered up without unpicking, and may be opportunities to try something new.

I had put out baskets of scraps and embellishments, and containers of buttons (from my stash - I can well spare it, In fact, I really need help in actually using just a small fraction!) I also had a fair bit of "eye candy" and books on display in case anyone needed inspiration.

I cannot mention the workshop without mentioning Basil. He went from lap to lap. Fortunately most quilters are cat lovers.

The vibes were really good, and everyone seemed relaxed and engaged.

Everyone's bits and pieces covered the tables - fabrics, laces, beads, threads, ribbons, buttons, needles and pins....

Refreshments were "on tap" to help the concentration and relaxation!

Even a couple of partners enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere when they came to collect their wives.

I was really delighted that many people actually finished their projects, and moved on to another one of their own choice. They were all so motivated, and that is really satisfying for a tutor!

I was not surprised when Rowena, the organiser of "QuiltNorfolk" said the feedback was really good. I was really encouraged, even flattered when she described me in the newspaper article as the local guru"anything is possible" Mary Christian-Bailey. Because "Quilt Police" are banned from my place. Everyone deserves the opportunity to get in touch with their own "Muse." The point is to enjoy what you are doing, and to get personal satisfaction from your own creativity, without worrying about the expectation of others. That way you are more likely to give pleasure to others, and encourage them to work with hands and heart in a fulfilling way.

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