Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Happy Thanksgiving on Norfolk Island 2017

The children up the front of All Saints church on Thanksgiving

Did you know that Norfolk Island is the only place outside of America that celebrates Thanksgiving?
It is held on the last Wednesday in the month of November here and is celebrated with a public holiday. Most of the island will go to church services where the churches are decorated with amazing home grown produce followed by Norfolk Island style pot luck lunches with families in their island homes.

This tradition is most likely to have started when American whalers and their wives were stationed here on island and the wives shared their traditions, recipes and kitchens with local wives.

This a bittersweet last Thanksgiving on island for me. I am grateful to have had 11 wonderful Thanksgivings here but miss my family terribly and need to get us all back together.
This is me (the hairy baby with my mum, brother and 3 sisters) on my second trip to Norfolk Island. Look how sparse Philip Island is in the backround.

I am grateful for so much here on island but am also saddened by things that have been happening here on island. I adore its customs and traditions but cry for the Norfolk Island peoples loss of independence, their way of life and even their sense of humour and the ability to laugh at themselves.

I love the slower way of life even if I am still 100 miles per hour within it. I love that my children have been raised by a village and encouraged and nurtured by some.

I love that my children have learned patience like waiting for the seasons and the fruits and vegetables to grow, not everything is available all the time but when it does grow and is picked and eaten in the same day, it is the sweetest thing. We have the yummiest natural tasting veggies here. I have learned how to be resourceful and make do with what we have got.

They learn patience while waiting for the mail to arrive via ship. We once kept out Christmas tree up until March and April as our Christmas presents didnt arrive until then. They learned that it was okay to wait, that not everything is available 24/7.

We love that the beaches are only 5 minutes away and there is always parking almost right on the sand.

We love that it only takes a few minutes to get to the  school if the children leave a laptop/hat/lunch/book etc behind.

We love that the community turns up for everything and know how to celebrate. any event (especially school events) become a community event. Pot luck dinners here are phenomenal.

I am forever grateful for the opportunity to live on this wonderful island. I have met some of the very best people and have been embraced as one of your own, for this I will always be grateful.

Thaenks f'aklan an tek keyah

Cousin love

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Saturday, 11 November 2017

5 minutes with artist Cristina Rose (Courtesy of Norfolk Online News)

5 minutes with artist Cristina Rose.

How long have you been painting?
Ever since I was child and was given paint with water books when I was about 3 or 4, I have been fascinated with paint and brushes ever since. My childhood house had different patterned wallpaper in each room. I remember using a fine brush and an egg cup of water to trace all the patterns. Mum probably gave it to me to keep me out of mischief.

What are your favourite things to paint?
I love my underwater paintings as much as I love snorkelling. So much serenity to be found down there, I could quite happily be a mermaid.
I love painting turtles, coralscapes, jellyfish and tropical fish.
The ebb and flow under the water is so relaxing, I actually feel like I am there while painting an underwater scene.

What are your least favourite things to paint? 
 Abstracts and realism (portraits and landscapes)I cant take photos if I want realism.
My art always turns out a little quirky and cartoon like so I wouldn’t even try to pretend to be a real landscape artist.

What or who inspires you?
People, when they give me challenges and commissions I hadn’t thought of doing before. Or if they ask me to do one of my favourite paintings in a totally new way.
And Colours! I love colour.
2 childrens book authors & illustrators I really love are Shirley Barber and Donna Green.

What is next on your list of goals?
I love whimsy, little bright coloured paintings that catch children’s attention, like little mushrooms with a fairy hiding behind. A dream would be to write and illustrate my own children’s books.
I always wanted to design a postage stamp and got that opportunity with Norfolk Island Philatelic, so I will always be grateful for that.

What do you love most about living on Norfolk Island?
 The natural beauty of the whole island. Every nook and cranny, every vista and view. And the ease of getting anywhere, it is all 5-10 minutes away, no traffic jams or traffic lights, just the occassional slow tourist looking around. Plus you can park straight up at the beach and jump out almost on the sand. The community spirit is pretty awesome too.

What would you change on Norfolk Island?
More ART! More volunteers to work with Community arts to keep the old favourite activities going such as art in the park and the yearly art exhibition.
I would love to see an art trail here and Burnt Pine shopping precinct boosted with some art and murals on the walls of the alleys and even the front of shops, maybe some sculptures also down the street. I absolutely love Norfolk Island, the colours are amazing. I would love to see more of the pacific flavour throughout the street with street art…. Maybe it will be a good project for me to run, one day.

Find cristinaroseart on Instagram and on facebook as art & murals by Cristina Rose.
She loves having fun and running competitions for locals like the great art treasure hunt and Free art Friday.
Currently she is running a comp where you name exactly what you want painted by her and she will draw your name out of a hat. Good luck everyone.

If you want her photography page, find her at Captured by Cristina Rose photography on facebook

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Halloweeeen on Norfolk Island 2017

Halloweeen 2017
by Cristina Rose

Halloween on Norfolk Island is just like one big giant island wide fancy dress party and EVERYONE is invited!

There isn’t any random door knocking wondering if anyone is home, it is well organised by some amazing community members who not only open up their house to the island children (and parents like me who absolutely love the fun of this night) but spend a lot of time and thought as well as cost to make it a memorable experience.

It starts as a call out from Spiders daughter Le Webb that she is starting to compile ‘the list’ for this years Halloween and the excitement starts building from there.

The children at school discuss possible costumes with their friends and start organising who they will go trick or treating with.

In case you don’t know, it is legal for children over the age of 5 to travel in the back of trucks here as the maximum speed limit is 50km/h. So the preferred method of travelling around on Halloween is on the back of trucks with friends. This also allows a little more Halloween mischief to transpire with the odd water bomb landing on cars and trucks. There is a little posse of young teens that stake out behind the gardens on the roundabout to surprise those travelling with a rogue water bomb. But they are not too cool to go visiting the houses either.

Speaking of the houses, Wow!

This year there were 4 houses on the list which you may not think is much for the whole island to visit, but we are not talking about average houses. Each one is an adventure in themselves worth spending time in.

The 4 houses were

  1. Spider and Deb’s
  2. Jenny and Adam Jauczius
  3. Pixies
  4. Kim and Charles Christian-Bailey at Pitcairn settlers village

Spider (aka Obi wan kenobi) greeted us with the lovely gruesome Nikita complete with plenty of large spiders and a graveyard at the front steps. The kids were very lucky to get some treats from local chocolatier Deb (from the seriously chocolate shop) It was fun to see the creatures coming and going up the front path too. So much effort in costuming, everyone looks fabulous.

The drive to the Jauczius house is an adventure in itself. There is a sign at the gate to ask us to please ring first before progressing down and up the very long single lane spooky tree lined driveway. There is no room to move over if a car comes the other way, but I haven’t heard or anyone yet who had to reverse the whole way back. Once there we were greeted at the door by the lovely witchypoo Lesley who opened the minidoor into the wonderous world of Harry Potter. 

There was a fairy light tree lined path inside the garage complete with forest floor matter which led us to the lotions and potions room. Their daughter Katherine made special concoctions with the younger children while Adam and Jenny placed the sorting hat on each child’s head and told them which house they were in. Each year I love how they transform an ordinary garage space into such a wonderland of magic.

This was a room we could have spent an age in to read each fascinating bottle label. But onto the next house hoping to again avoid cars coming up the driveway as we are going out.

At Pixies house, she is always the smiliest witch with the prettiest Halloween lights. Pixie also has her house lit up with Christmas lights and we love visiting her and her inflatable Halloween lights and bubbling cauldron. She had already gone through 2 boxes of self pre made lolly bags when we saw her early on and was expecting so much more as the night progressed.

Her house GLOWS at night time. Thanks for all the treats each year Pixie.

Charles and Kim always go over and above at Halloween since they first started decorating in their own house in 2008, so much so that they need often a year off in between Halloweens to get over it.

So this year was their biggest to date and they spooked us in spectacular fashion.

Held at Pitcairn settlers village beginning in Marie Baileys house, we were mesmerised and horrified by the very real and high tech hologram talking to us in the crime scene of a dining room, the portraits on the wall eerily changed as we walked past and into a room with a twitching decapitated corpse. On the opposite side of the ‘randa sits scary granny rocking back and forth on her rocking chair.

The red lights around the house and in the garden reflected off the warm humid fog that had descended over the island during the week.

The tour led by ghoulish Kimmy with the red glowing eyes led us through the garden with more twitching ghosts and even their children headless Liam and mummy zombie Nate got involved to keep us on the edge, wondering what will happen next.

My Uncle Bernies old Hilman car complete with rocking body and half corpse half hidden in the tangled forest led us through another garden path where a vampre sat on the toilet for those who dared to open the door.

 A headless backward walking zombie charged before Witchy Bec jumped out to scream at us and vampiress Angie cackling around the smoky cauldron made eerie sounds on her microphone, but just as you planned to get out of the garden as quick as possible, the sound of a chainsaw coming at you through the bushes was the best finishing touch.

It was funny enough to watch back as the next unsuspecting tour group ran and screamed in fright.

Jasper the dinosaur wanted in on the fun so hid at the end of the path to growl at people as they passed.

VERY well done to try not to scare the smallest children coming through by using live actors but aimed to mostly scare those a bit older who profess to be the bravest to Kim the tour guide.

Adam and Ketherine Jauczius left their house to come and visit Charles and Kims scary masterpiece.

Remember that this is a small community and we know just about every child on the island, no one says you HAVE to go out trick or treating, but by golly it is fun if you do. 

And as one child (of mine) was heard saying as they left “they ran out of lollies at the last place, but that was so cool that it didn’t even matter”.

Maybe spare a thought for the people who put so much effort on this amazing Halloween party and take a bottle of something in appreciation for all they do to make it a memorable childhood experience for our kids.

THANK YOU for all you did to set up and pack up, what an amazing night.

Last to go to sleep in this house and sad to take my Halloween facepaint off at the end of the night. I LOVE Halloweeen.

For the adults, there was pre Halloween dress up events at both the Leagues club and at Castaway on the weekend leading up to All Hallows eve, So some may say as an island, we know how to party!

A last minute costume malfunction caused a change of plan and some quick facepainting by mum (hence the sad face)

At the end of the night, it all ended well and a happier face.