Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Wonderful Wonderland!

Archie Bigg is a wonderful sort of community hero in our family.
I first went to his fantastic Wonderland by night while on holiday on Norfolk Island in March 2002.
Archie is a bush poet, he has written wonderful poems using lots of humour and the Norfolk language, which is very special in itself.
He developed a way to show his poems to the visitors who come to the island in a very unique setting, he has imaginatively decorated his Norfolk property with many, many lights and life size dioramas. The night time tour called 'Wonderland by night' is clever and witty and really quite pretty (oops didn't mean to rhyme there, I have only discovered this after spellcheck. ha ha).
I loved this night so much and bought Archie's book of poetry for Brandt who has always been amused by the Norfolk language which is so unique as it is a mix of 18th century English and Tahitian. Brandt would read these poems often when we went home, but the pronunciation is not easy and you just end up sounding funny(he is getting the hang of it now 6 years later).
When we returned at Christmas 2004, I took Brandt and 18 month old Teddy along, Brandt carried him in the backpack.
By this time, Archie had written a second book called 'kids and pines and nursery rhymes'
We took this back with us and read it to Teddy often, when we decided to move here, our well loved copy was one of the very few of our favourite books that we brought with us.
When we moved to Norfolk Island, Teddy began at the local preschool called Banyan Park Playcentre and was automatically put in the 4 year old group as he was born on the 20th of June(the cut off for the school year is the 30th of June).
Archie kindly lets the 4 year old group visit his wonderland in the day time and he makes it just as special and magical for them by day. There is a magical jelly bean tree that produces a bag of jelly beans for the children if they share them.
Unfortunately, Ted missed out on half of this excursion as he had shut the car door on his fingers and I took him to the hospital to check that he was o.k.
A few months after this, we decided to drop Teddy to the younger 3 year old group at playcentre, so this year when he was back in the 4 year old group, they were again invited to Wonderland. Teddy returned with absolute stars in his eyes and talked of nothing else but Archie this and Archie that and Jack in the beanstalk and the amazing Jelly bean tree that is still producing for good children who share.
Even a few weeks later in the school holidays when he saw Archie at the movies with his Grandsons, I didn't hear how the movie was only how great it was to see Archie!
Teddy asked me to draw Jack in the beanstalk for him, just like at Wonderland, I had to search the memory after Ted told me the first 2 drawings weren't right and then he wanted to decorate it to say Thanks to Archie(I was impressed that he had thought of it, I was also amazed although a touch embarrassed that he was thoughtful enough to think of his little sister Sienna when he saw Archie at the service station and asked if he could bring his little sister along to wonderland as she had missed out....).
Archie must have been impressed also as a week later, he rang me and offered to open up wonderland for the children to see the lights and to have a little ride on the moon buggy and generously offered other children in community to come also.
Look at the pure Joy on Ted's face!
It was a fantastic and magical night.
Archie and Celia, what kind and generous people you are!
I know that Teddy and Archie have become good friends and there is always a beaming smile from Ted when he catches sight of you.
Thankyou, Thankyou, Thankyou for helping to make mine and other kids in the community's childhood, extra special and magical.
You are both real treasures!!!!!!

This is Teddy with one of his favourite local stories about "Bunny Nuffy", It is really Barney Duffy who local legend has it that he was escaped convict who hid in an old hollow pine tree for 7 years. He was found by two guards and he cursed them that they would be dead by the end of the week and they both drowned within the week whilst fishing at Headstone.
In the shed, lining up for Caramello koala's.
Sienna says "yum, Thanks for the Chocolate"

At the end, Teddy was worried that the Teddy bears picnic wasn't there anymore as he had remembered it, but didn't see it (there are so many wonderful things to look at) so Archie let us go back through and find it, cute and tiny set up on a rock at the base of a wild olive tree, Some of Teddy's friends followed us out to find it too, so I snapped these photos of them.
'Wonderland by night' featuring the unique bush poetry of Archie Bigg is a must see and do when you come to Norfolk Island, I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I have.

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