Thursday, September 30, 2010


What a beautiful time of year on Norfolk Island! The days are balmy, and the nights are still cool enough to cuddle up and be comfortable!
My garden is shouting SPRING!!

All the "naughty poppies" are in full bloom. They came uninvited to my garden some years ago, and settled in. And because they have not shown any desire to stray further, I have welcomed their bright show for a week or two each September.

Tina held her customary birthday High Tea in the garden.

I took her some additions to her little bowl of "frosted fruits".and was delighted to find her original ones were the centrepiece of the table.
Sienna proudly showed off her spring outfit, including the lovely patchwork/lace skirt made for her by her Granny (my sister Sally)

What a beautiful setting, with the white foamy waves of Ball Bay just visible in the background.

St Barnabas Spring Fair was held on the last weekend in September, and as usual, it was a very special family day.

Sarah and Emily had asked if they could hold their usual Old-fashioned Lemonade Stall.
They had only arrived from New Zealand that morning, and came straight from the airport out to the Parish Centre.
There were lots of great activities for the kids.

And the waterslide was, of course, the main attraction.

The Spring Fair is a wonderful Family Day Out.

On Tuesday the girls were looking for a fun activity, so they went down the street and bought several bags of water bombs. They got busy in the old laundry, filling every container they could find.

They even had mini-containers for the littlies.

All the cousins were invited.
Jasper had his very first water balloon.

Filling the balloons was every bit as much fun as the actual fight, which was over all too quickly!

We were all very proud of William, who went and picked up every bit of balloon he could see!!

Holiday fun on Norfolk Island - you can't beat it!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Her name was Charlotte, But she had been known as Girlie forever. It is common on Norfolk Island for childhood nicknames to persist into old age. She was Bernie's aunt, one of hs mother's sisters.
This is the only picture I have of Girlie, although I know there is another over at Marie's place, taken with her cousin, also Charlotte.

This picture was taken well before I knew Girlie. By the time I married Bernie, she was somewhat confined to her little cottage, where she lived alone. We visited her regularly, and she "held court" from her tall bed which was placed in her loungeroom, partly tucked behind an old pianola.
Girlie had suffered some major tragedies in her life. Her lovely old home, Ivy House, had burned to the ground. And she had lost her leg in a horseriding accident. But this had done nothing to lessen her good humour and feistiness.
Girlie never came to terms with her artificial leg. My daughter recalls a day when she was a small child, going to Girlie's house with her grandmother, who was Girlie's sister. They were doing a bit of housekeeping and tidying up. They moved the artificial leg from one spot to another, and out jumped a rat!!!
Girlie preferred to sit up on her bed, with all her useful possession tucked around her in plastic carrier bags. When I look into my sewing room, or in corners of our bedroom, I wonder if Bernie isn't a bit afraid that I am growing a bit like his eccentric aunt, with bits and pieces tucked into bags everywhere.
I never saw Girle off that bed, except for a couple of times when she had a short spell in hospital. But my sister went to visit her once, and she climbed down to get a jar of guava jelly for her from under the bed. Actually her cottage was a bit like a "clearing house". It was a family tradition. My mother-in-law was the same! People would bring gifts of produce and preserves, and much of it would leave with the next visitor. Girlie really made you feel special, and would tell you that you were the only visitors she had received in over a week - even though you had passed someone coming out of her door when you arrived!
Now the point of this story is Girlie's quilt.
She was in the process of making it when I first knew her. You see, many of those plastic bags around her contained scraps of fabric. Girlie would while away those long and lonely hours when she was alone piecing them together. The stitches were rather large and rough, but her eyesight was failing, and her bed was in a rather dark corner of the room.

I was fascinated by this quilt as it "grew", although I was not really into patchwork in a big way myself at that time. The last time I saw it, it was draped over the settee next to her bed.

Then there was a period of time when Girlie went to live with a niece. She stayed there for about six months, and although she was well looked after, she longed for her rather eccentric form of independence. But after she returned home, I never saw the quilt again. I presumed that it had gone out with the rubbish at that time - or perhaps after she died. It was not exactly a beautiful thing, but I always felt its simple and humble workmanship would provide a link with this wonderful lady.

Then I recently found that Elaine, one of Girlie's many great-nieces, had rescued the quilt in a sale of Girlie's goods afer she died. Elaine has kept it in beautiful pristine condition, and has lent it to me to run my fingers over and enjoy for a little while.
Now that quilt would probably be a wonderful catalogue of Sixties and `Seventies fabrics. It is not an heirloom in the sense of having beautiful workmanship and a complex design. But I am amazed how "Square" it is, and how Girlie sewed in narrow, unsymmetrical pieces to ensure that it would lay flat. Should we finish it for her, and give it some inner batting and lining, and a binding?
I think not.
The best part of this quilt is the memories it evokes of a proud, independent and spirited lady.


I told you Girlie was eccentric. When she died, her will stated that her property and money were to be divided among all her nieces and nephews, her great-nieces and nephews, and any that were to be born in the next 21 years! There were over 80 heirs! And she did not want the land to be sold to facilitate the arrangements. What a legal nightmare! I bet she was having a chuckle in heaven. You see, she loved family, and she also loved her island, and she wanted us all to keep our roots here.
I have enjoyed having the quilt here, and I am so glad that Elaine  found it under a pile of stuff on that auction day, because I did not expect ever to see it again. Those random pieces of fabric, joined with those crude but strong stitches, are a real family treasure, and I am so glad to know that Elaine and her family will value and preserve it.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I was invited to a 5 year old's birthday party last week.
Boy! Five year olds certainly know how to have fun!!

Some of the younger ones like to do their own thing - like Theo with the popcorn. I am sure I got a similar shot of Theo with popcorn at Halloween last year!

Yes - here it is!

William had fun playing with Teddy and Sienna's toys.

While the bigger kids joined in a fabulous treasure hunt!!
There are always plenty of fairies at little girls' parties.

And Fairy bread is an eternal favourite too!

Everyone gathers round when it is time to blow out the candles on the cake.

Big brothers like getting into the act too!

Sienna and Teddy's baby brother Jasper was enjoying it all.

It may be one of baby Nathaniel's first parties, but he has many years of family and friends' parties ahead of him!

Happy birthday to my great- niece Sienna! I cannot believe that you are growing up so fast!

Monday, September 06, 2010


Bounty Lodge is a lovely old Norfolk Island home, once belonging to the Jenkins family.

 For the past 40 years it has been used, on and off, as a restaurant and function centre. A few years ago, Bernie's niece Joanne purchased the property, including the large area of park-like land around it. Since that time, it has been a very popular place for Norfolk Island locals to gather for celebrations and special occasions.

We chose Bounty as a venue for a farewell lunch for Rev. David Duchesne and his wife Bernie. David has been our Chaplain for the past three months and we have all become very fond of them both.
David is probably telling one of his famous jokes in this picture!

About 38 members of our church family gathered, and all had a wonderful time.

When I first arrived, I caught Joanne and Ernie by surprise in the recently refurbished kitchen.

Everything was beautifully laid out for our smorgasbord lunch.

Afterwards there was a birthday cake for Bernie, who had celebrated her special day two days previously.

 We all enjoyed a slice of the cake with ice cream for dessert.

The Duchesnes were presented with a Norfolk pine bowl as a parting and thank you gift.

There is always a great atmosphere at Bounty Lodge.

And joanne, Ernie and Archie are great hosts -and great around food too!

The grounds around "Bounty" are spacious and relaxing.

Thee are plenty of great spots to sit and dine both inside and out!

If you are ever visiting Norfolk Island, make sure you put Bounty Lodge at the top of your list of places to go!
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