Monday, 29 March 2010

Ships and more ships to Norfolk Island.

Being on an Island and surrounded by lots of water in the South Pacific ocean, ships have been a huge part of every islanders way of life.

It has either brought supplies or people here such as back in the convict settlement times or the Bounty desendants arriving on Norfolk Island from Pitcairn Island on the Morayshire back in 1856.

Now, we rely on cargo ships to bring all sorts of Supplies to the Island, from grocery items to horses and cattle and the cars and buses that drive the tourists and ourselves all around the 170km of roads on this 5x8km island.

Our Cargo ship is called 'The Norfolk Guardian', It sets sail fully loaded from Yamba in NSW and arrives here on Norfolk for unloading the old fashioned way by local stevedores on lighters pulled by a launch.

Giftware like coasters,mugs, placemats and stubbie coolers with photos of The Norfolk Guardian and buses and Trucks coming in on the Lighters can be purchased from Image gallery on Norfolk Island
Image Gallery Contact

The Guardian will then sail on to New Zealand and then fully loaded back to us.

Our Local supermarket here on Norfolk Island, Foodland, stocks both Australian and New Zealand grocery items, though we have strict quarrantine laws and dont import fruit and vegetables except onion, potatoes, ginger and garlic. All local produce is grown fresh here on the Island, although seasonal, you can't get any fresher than our own backyards.

When we woke up this morning (26/3) We had a lovely treat as P & O's Pacific Sun had arrived just outside Norfolk Island at Cascade.

Preparation had been underway for months some last minute beautifying the town iced the cake, now we just had to wait for our new visitors to arrive.

Amazingly, The Pacific Sun fits more people on it than live on Norfolk Island.
About 2000 can stay on the Pacific Sun and about 1600 to 1800 people live on Norfolk Island.

To find out more about how the cruise ship visit went please visit our community blog, Norfolk Island Happenings that I also write for. CLICK HERE

Monday, 1 March 2010

The journey of Jasper

After spending a month in Sydney away from our quiet Island home on Norfolk Island, Our baby's due date was looming (31/1/2010).
Brandt had flown over early as the last doctors report was that we were going to have a huge 4.5kg baby and I was to be induced a week early, the next doctor wasn't quite so worried and was happy to let me go to full term.
By the 30th of January, Brandt was in NZ performing as Tom Jones at the opening ceremony of the Masters games and I was enjoying the Full Blue moon in the night sky.

By the next morning, my due date, I got that 'feeling' of the calm before the storm.
I had planned to take the kids to a small zoo with some of my family and decided to go anyway instead of sitting around all day counting contractions.

So after a fun filled day patting Koalas and handling snakes and cooling off in the swimming pool, I was feeling tired in the afternoon, we stopped at Macca's on the way home where I got all signs of labour beginning in regular force.

I sat on my sister Jenni's front verandah as it was a beautiful summer evening, my neice Alyssa looked after Teddy and Sienna and managed finally to get the very excited letl salan to sleep, my nephew Nic kept me entertained during and in between contractions by playing of variety of nice, funny and bizzare songs on his mobile phone to me. Goodness knows what the neighbours thought of all the noise etc. We finally talked Nic into going to bed as it was the first day of school the next day, even though he begged to be part of team Tina and play music to me in the hospital.

Jenni, Alyssa, both kids and I left for Sutherland Hospital at 1am, met other niece Jess and sister in law Kate in the carpark and after the initial examination, things were full on from then on.

Teddy and Sienna slept in a waiting room with my nieces watching them. Jenni and Kate were being unbelievably fantastic helpers to me.
 I said I was determined to have the baby by 6am which was apparently very optimistic. 3 shift changes of  midwives later and still saying no to pain relief other than heat packs and being told that it would definitely be a 4.5 kilo baby, Our baby boy came bursting out of the seams at a very lucky birth time.
He was born on the 01.02.2010 at 12:00 on the dot.

Brandt received a text while pacing up and down the Christchurch airport terminal waiting to board his flight to Sydney.
Luckily, our big boy wasn't quite as big as predicted, he weighed in at 3.79 kilos or 8lb 6oz, but unfortunately his large shoulders did some tearing damage to me and I was taken to the theatre (no, not to see any more musicals) to be stitched up under general anesthetic.
Granny and Poppa arrived quickly to meet their latest and 12th Grandchild and Teddy and Sienna kept an eye on the baby in the Special care nursery while Mummy was in surgery.

When I came to, it was about 4pm and by the time I got back to the room, it was about 4:30, Brandt had landed in Sydney and was on his way.
 So I got to meet our baby boy not much earlier than Brandt did.

Even though the room was full of family, I wasn't revealing any names until I spoke to Brandt as we really hadn't decided and I had only a firm girls name picked (Isla Jasmine, in case you were wondering).

There were lots of possible boys names, like Sienna's boy name would have been Billy Flynn or perhaps we could add a bit of Norfolk Island influence by calling him Kingston.
We had a bit of fun on the family guessing chart, trying to find "Norfolk Island names" mostly from my brother in law Dave's Norfolk t-shirt.

But the name Jasper had jumped out at me several times while in Sydney, especially after seeing all the wonderful polished stones of Jasper at the science museum. I asked Brandt if this was o.k, he wanted to make sure that he was the only Jasper on the Island and that his name could be shortened as Aussies always do, I suggested Jazz or Jay.
 Lyle is my maiden name, so it was settled that we could introduce our big bouncing baby boy Jasper Lyle McRitchie.

3 days in hospital and then we were allowed back to Mum and Dad's, The hospital was trying to keep us in Australia for 6 weeks to have check ups for my repair work, but we settled on 3 and a half weeks.

Before he left Sydney to return to Norfolk, Brandt had a day out with Teddy to see Avatar and a Princess/Daddy day with Sienna.

We then had the mammoth task of getting Jasper's birth certificate and Passport which required 3 city trips and getting passport photos of a one week old baby accepted.

As we were staying longer in Sydney and Teddy was missing the first few weeks of school on Norfolk island, my sister Jenni was very kind to let Teddy come to her Kindergarten class as her 'helper'.

I was lucky enough to stay to celebrate many of my family's February Birthdays, Nephew Joshua's 20th, my brother Mike's 45th and my two nieces Alyssa (my sister's daughter) and Jessica (my brothers daughter) 18th's as they were born 3 days apart.
 Add to this, my eldest sister Mandy's 50th late in January and we had some very momentous and memorable Births and Birthday's at this time of year.

For Mum and Dad, who were so wonderful and kind to us for the whole 9 weeks we stayed with them, They celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary early in February and also the Milestones of their first born's 50th Birthday, Their first born Grandchild's 20th Birthday and their last born & 12th Grandchild's Birth.

My mum Sally was about to give birth 50 years ago, My sister Jenni 20 years ago and me, now.

Here are our babies 50 year old Mandy, 20 year old Josh and newborn Jasper.

We fitted so much in to our time in Sydney, 2 musicals ( Mamma Mia and Wicked), Australia day fireworks, many sleepover with the cousins, lots of train trips to the city, the science centre, ten pin bowling, lots of swims to keep cool, dress ups  and playing with the kids in the street, the dapto show, swimming carnivals and restaurants, a visit from my NZ cousin's daughter, picnics,coffees, shopping and playgrounds, a roadside rescue involving a tow truck and a fogmachine, 2 nieces having emergency trips to the hospital, even a wedding and a small school reunion.

As a friend on facebook commented before Jasper arrived, "will you stop having fun and spit that baby out!"

Stop the paparazzi! No more photos please.

Since Jasper has been born, there have been plenty of snuggles and cuddles from everyone.


 As we all know, they grow up way too fast.


A few days before the trip home, we planted Jasper's placenta at Mike and Kate's house outside where the old boatshed used to stand (Brandt and I lived there for 8 years) We planted 2 Pandanus, kindly ordered in from Qld by Mike and Kate, these palms grew prolifically on the Sunshine Coast where Brandt & I also lived for 8 years before moving to Norfolk Island.

We said a sad farewell to Granny and Poppa at the airport, but appreciated the time we had spent together.


On the plane trip back, we were well looked after and were suprised to see Brandt waiting for us in the Customs hall ready to give a hand and have a cuddle with his new baby boy after 3 weeks of not seeing him.
There were more cuddles to be had from family and friends and it seems like the whole island waiting to meet him.
Now that Jasper has entered this world and travelled safely from Sydney to Norfolk Island, we know that his life journey has only just begun and hope it will be filled with love, laughter and his hearts desires fulfilled.

We Thank all our friends and family for their love and support.