Tag Archives: stories

Middle Earth

The world premiere of the film The Hobbit happened in Wellington last week amid much excitement and hype. The vast film studios are located in Wellington and the film maker Sir Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) lives nearby and has made films based from Wellington all his life. He is easy to claim as “ours” and to feel very proud of his successes and creativity.

A quick pick-up at Wellington airport this week saw us enter a different world.

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Gandalf, the dwarves, the Hobbit and other characters are found portrayed in different images around the terminal.

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Gollum is an immense 13 metre long replica suspended from the ceiling catching “juicy sweet fishes”. He weighs in at 1.2 tonnes and is made from polystyrene, coated with epoxy resin. It had to be created as 9 separate pieces in order to fit through the airport doors.
He is easy to walk around and under and offers an impressive installation to appreciate.

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The bag collection area resembles the shire and features hobbit holes and various characters. A local Porirua sign writing firm (Henshaw signs) was responsible for this impressive piece.

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People arriving at our airport are under no illusion about the part of earth they are entering as part of the launch of this film. It opens next week in cinemas. It promises to be a fantastic journey with two more parts to come.

Kindergarten can teach us much

Recently I reread the original edition of Robert Fulghum’s book “All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten”.

I first heard one of the stories from this book when it was read to me in an Accelerated Learning course. The story was called “Where do the mermaids stand?”

It was a story which spoke to me and it was one I often read to women in self awareness and self esteem courses I ran.

So what is it about Robert Fulghum’s writing that appeals to me, that speaks at times profoundly to me and which can cause me to nod slowly in agreement with him or to laugh out loud with him?

He is interested in quirky things; he comments on the ordinary things in life; he laughs at his own quirks, idiosyncrasies, habits, beliefs and behaviours and in some way makes allowances for the reader to have the same bumbling, complex humanness.

He finds value and enjoyment in the great diversity amongst us all. He reminds us that we are all simply trying to get on with life in the best way we know how; he is keen on opening and easing the mind and in so doing expands the heart.

He offers some very simple observations around what makes us extraordinary people and some really simple guidelines that help make life work.

I really like his style, approach and attitude and it is with interest that I learnt from his website that in 2003 the 15th anniversary edition of this book was released. Fulghum has revised and expanded the original essays. The preface is new and there are 25 new stories in it, all of which tell us that ordinary events can hold universal insights.

“Recipes of Life”

Quite recently I heard a piece on the radio about a retirement village in Auckland which was raising funds by selling a recipe book. The purpose of the fund- raising was to ensure that money would be available to take the residents out and about on short trips. They particularly like going out to see houses decorated with Christmas lights in December each year.

However this recipe book was not in the usual style of such community based initiatives. The residents and staff in this village were asked to contribute a favourite recipe and to offer a memory or story pertaining to the recipe.

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I have a special interest in food and recipes in families having made two family history recipe books for my own family. Food and how we produce and cook it, how we then share it together can offer fascinating details across the generations. So this book caught my interest and the cause was a very good one so I sent off my cheque.

The book contains recipes that date back to the 1930’s through to the present day. So that in the accompanying stories the reader hears about the tough times back in the Great depression days when families were often large and the various ways in which parents stretched meagre resources to ensure growing tummies were filled. It is also a very accurate representation of just how multi-cultural our New Zealand population has become in the 21st century.

There are food anecdotes from England and many, many other countries around the world and plenty from New Zealand that I relate to from stories my Mum told. Stories about picking wild blackberries, boiling a billy, cooking on a coal range, selecting veggies from a large and well-tended garden plot, substituting ingredients when others were scarce or unobtainable.

The means of cooking the recipes include: coal ranges through to modern microwaves and traditional umu. Ingredients range from foraged apples from trees growing alongside the road, to exotic spices, Asian sauces and plants, Pacific island fruit and veggies, European dishes, a very sophisticated dessert and current “off the shelf, ready to use” products.

The book is a fascinating journey through time but also into diverse cultures and the myriad of ways people use food to celebrate occasions and to show their love. Many recipes have been handed down from generation to generation and live on with great affection still.

Food is to be enjoyed and shared and this book offers me a wide range of new recipes to experiment with as well as a “feast” as I sit and enjoy the associated wonderful stories.