Category Archives: education

Do you know what I know?

Do you know that :

~ instead of a bridal gown,  Marie Curie, “wore a dark blue outfit, which  for years after was a serviceable lab garment ” ?

"Marie Curie 1903" by Nobel foundation - http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1903/marie-curie-bio.html. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Marie_Curie_1903.jpg#/media/File:Marie_Curie_1903.jpg

Marie Curie Nobel Prize Portrait 1903 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Curie

~ 2015 marks the centenary of the execution of British nurse, Edith Cavell?

~ the  Cavell Nurses’ Trust is organizing a fund-raising ascent of Mount Edith Cavell  in Jasper National Park, Canada, 22nd – 29th August 2015?

Do you know that :

~ beginning in the 18th Century there was a craze for seashells called  Conchylomania ? As the name suggests, it was the shell equivalent of Tulipmania. Some shells were bought and sold for more than a Vermeer painting.

( This is not a Vermeer painting!  😀 In the 17th Century Balthasar van der Ast perfected the art of painting shells. )

"Fruit still life with shells" by Balthasar van der Ast (1593/1594–1657) - 1. www.ibiblio.org : Home : Info : Pic2. Unknown3. The Athenaeum: Home - info - pic. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fruit_still_life_with_shells.jpg#/media/File:Fruit_still_life_with_shells.jpg

“Fruit still life with shells” by Balthasar van der Ast (1593/1594–1657) –https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balthasar_van_der_Ast

Do you know that:

~ Dr Maria Montessori, educator, physician, humanitarian, and founder of the Montessori method, and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, was an unwed mother?   Do you know she sought refuge in India during World War 2 but was later interned  there as an enemy alien?

How about this? Do you know that Florence Nightingale ‘owned’ about 60 cats during her long life?  Her favourite cat, a Persian, was called Mr Bismarck. She also had a pet owl named Athena.

AND

Do you know the Christchurch City  Council Library has excellent online resources, a great  Facebook page , and an informative and entertaining  blog  where, just occasionally, there are wonderful surprises, like the Kobo eReader competition, which I won  at Matariki ?

My Koboglo eReader prize, complete with sticky fingerprints.

My Koboglo eReader prize, complete with sticky digital prints (my own!).

Thank you Christchurch City  Council Library and library staff. 🙂

Do you know if your local library has a blog, or wonderful digital and  paper resources like ours?

Check out all the resources I found at our library!

Spirals in Time
The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells
Scales, Helen 2015
https://christchurch.bibliocommons.com/item/show/881509037_spirals_in_time

An Illustrated Work for Amateur Collectors of New Zealand Marine Shells, With Directions for Collecting and Cleaning Them
Moss, E. G. B.
Book – 1908 https://christchurch.bibliocommons.com/item/show/161551037_beautiful_shells_of_new_zealand

 

Marie Curie And Her Discovery
Avery, Lara
Book – 2015 https://christchurch.bibliocommons.com/item/show/894783037_marie_curie_and_her_discovery

Florence Nightingale
Small, Hugh
Book – 2000 – Chinese https://christchurch.bibliocommons.com/item/show/594982037_florence_nightingale

Rose of No Man’s Land
Perry, Anne ~
Pre-loaded Audiobook – 2013 https://christchurch.bibliocommons.com/item/show/810767037_rose_of_no_mans_land

( Quick question. Do you know the history of Anne Perry? https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/heavenly-again/ )

Maria Montessori
Website or Online data https://christchurch.bibliocommons.com/item/show/578459037_maria_montessori#bib_info

 

© silkannthreades

Good citizens, past, present, and future.

For Halloween I treated myself to a simple beaker of flowers.

Eye candy for humans, real candy for bees:  borage and phacelia

Borage and phacelia, good citizens of the garden, giving treats to all.

But I also received another, unexpected, sweet treat for Halloween; a lesson in good citizenship.

Friday morning a stranger knocked on my door; a smiling, cheerful, young woman. She told me that she lived down the lane opposite me. She said she wanted to take her two children  trick or treating. Would it be okay  if she brought them to my door around 5pm? ( Bear in mind that Halloween is not widely celebrated in New Zealand).  She said she was consulting a half-dozen neighbours and that would be more than enough households for her children to visit, and to give them a taste of Halloween fun.  They are only little, she said, just 4 and 6, and they are very excited about their Halloween costumes. Of course I said, yes, that would be fine, but I would have to go and buy some sweets because I had nothing suitable in the house.  “Oh, please don’t worry about that,” the young mother replied, ” I have prepared sweets for you to give them if you would like to join in.” Whereupon she produced a small ziplock packet of mixed sweeties/candy.

At 5pm exactly, Mum and the littlies came down my driveway, full of chatter and high pitched glee. They knocked on the door and squealed delightedly when I opened it ( I guess I have authentic witchy-white hair!) . “Trick or treat, ” they said in giggly unison. Their mother introduced them to me. Pleasantries exchanged, I produced the sweet assortment, and their little eyes grew round and big with amazement.  Hands dipped in to the bag until it was emptied. Then, with a polite thank you or two, the pink-slippered, silver-hatted witch and her Dracula-draped brother skipped off to another happy reception at my neighbour’s.

It was a lovely moment. Possibly one of the best Halloweens I have had; a thoughtful mother, teaching her children that their community  is a good place, and that they can be  part of the good citizenry that makes it so.

I hope she will, one day, also introduce them to what comes after Halloween; All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Days (also not widely celebrated in New Zealand, as far as I know).

Tonight and tomorrow I will light candles and remember  the good citizens of my small world who have died during the past year. Some were old and ready to leave us,  whilst others seemed far too young. In particular I want to remember two of our blogging community,  Catherine Crout-Habel  of Seeking Susan and Christine of  Dadirridreaming .  Many of you will know other bloggers who have died in the past 12 months. Please feel free to remember them in the comments, if you would like to.  They were good citizens enriching, and lighting up, our lives.

Summer lights

Summer lights brightening the days.

© silkannthreades

The Life Enthusiast Chronicles with Gallivanta

You may remember that a while back I dedicated my post ‘May the Singing Never Be Done’  to  Britt, life/history enthusiast, blogger, and author of Nola Fran Evie.

BUT the dedication to Britt came with a proviso…..that she locate the Totem Pole by Chief Lelooska in Portland, the replica of which stands near Christchurch Airport.

Britt took up the challenge with her usual gusto, and is about to reveal all in a forthcoming post on her blog, A Physical Perspective. I can scarcely wait to hear what she discovered, and how. Whilst she was off searching for the Totem Pole, Britt decided to issue her own challenge to me  (tit for tat 😉 ).  My challenge? To write a guest post for her regular series the Life Enthusiast Chronicles.

Gulp! I thought. But I gave it a go. Here is the result, my first guest blog. After my initial ‘gulp’, I thoroughly enjoyed writing for Britt’s Chronicles. Have fun with me and the sheep, and please remember to bookmark Britt’s blog if you want to find out more about the Totem Pole challenge.

Britt Skrabanek

Last month Andrea Stephenson of Harvesting Hecate revealed how crucial it is to remain curious in life, to explore every piece of the world, inside and out. In my monthly series, The Life Enthusiast Chronicles, beautiful beings from all over the world explain why life is so awesome to them.

This month I’m overjoyed to bring you guys Gallivanta from Silkannthreades all the way from New Zealand. Gallivanta’s blog is always playful, positive, intelligent, and inspiring. Even simple photos from her garden seem to awaken something special in all of her readers, including yours truly. Her youthful zeal shines through her words and I always leave her blog smiling big. 

To show you all one example of what a lively woman she is, back at the end of July Gallivanta sent me on a totem pole quest in Portland. Yep, a totem pole quest. I’ll write about my discovery…

View original post 592 more words

The gifts of a lifetime

In my previous post I mentioned Barbara, giver of the Happiness Kit.

Long before the Happiness Kit came into my household, Barbara (and her family ) gave us other gifts: the gift of thoughtful words, like these,

Barbara's Words, School Magazine 1944

Barbara’s  student words about our duty and responsibility to establish a saner world for our children: School Magazine 1944

and the gift of Angela, otherwise known as my sister-in-law. This coming week it will be Angela’s birthday. This post is my birthday  gift to Angela. ~

I write a lot about reading; reading books, in particular.

This is where my official reading life began;  Lautoka European School,

My brother; the advance party on the reading path.

My brother, first row, 4th from the left; the advance reading party; my mentor at L.E.S.

a small school, in a small colonial town, on a dot of an island, in the vast Pacific Ocean.  My reading ‘prowess’ was acquired, staid word upon staid word, with the assistance of the utterly dull, ‘what-have-these-people-got-to-do-with-my-life’  Janet and John readers, and a young teacher who, whilst relatively benign most of the time, once had the audacity to strap some of us on the back of our legs for failing to recognise the word of the day on the blackboard ~ “BARK”.  I was offended, and still am to this day! WOOF! 😀

Despite this unfortunate hiccup in my early reading days, my enthusiasm for reading did not falter. I attribute that enthusiasm to the pre-reading skills that were nurtured at home,

Playing with Mother aka reading readiness

Gallivanta playing with Mother aka reading readiness

and at  my mother’s kindergarten, through play and story-time. I don’t remember being read to, but I do remember the books that were read and that I later learned to read by myself. Many of those books remain on my bookshelves.  Here’s a sample:

As I was learning to understand, and love, the written word in Lautoka, about 200kms to  the East, another young girl was already well on the road to reading her way through the world of books.

In May, this year, that young girl, now all grown up as Angela Namoi, was awarded the  Pixie O’Harris Award for Distinguished and Dedicated Service to the Development and Reputation of Australian Children’s Books at the  Australian Book Industry Awards.  It was a fitting honour for Angela’s hard work and enormous contribution to children’s literature.  But more than that, it seems to me, the award acknowledges how from the smallest of beginnings, a few, simple written words, be they Janet and John or Pearl Pinkie and Sea Greenie, come riches far greater than any we can possibly  imagine when, in that magical nanosecond, we first decipher those squiggles on the page before us.

Angela puts it like this in these excerpts from her acceptance speech for the Pixie O’Harris award.

This is a huge honour and something I couldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams.

Pearl Pinkie and Sea Greenie by Pixie O’Harris was a favourite children’s book of mine – who’d have thought that I would one day win an award bearing her name.

There are people to thank!……….

My parents are Australian, but I was born and raised in Fiji. My father was a missionary so we had very little money. Although our clothes might have been sewn from old curtains, it’s thanks to my mother’s excellent sense of priorities that our house was always full of books.

Growing up on a small island meant we were exposed to influences from absolutely everywhere. We read books from all over the world and I was always fascinated by the variations in language, and how connected that was to geography.

This has fed my passion for diversity of voice, so I have greatly enjoyed working to ensure the Australian voice is heard LOUD AND CLEAR in the wider world!

My early experiences confirmed the importance of books in a child’s life. The stats are there for everyone to see – broadly, a child who has books in their home is a child who will do better in life. I believe this passionately.

 

To that I would add: Congratulations and Happy Birthday Angela. You are much-loved.

Related but separate: two examples of Australian Children’s Literature

Possum Magic by Mem Fox

and  The Arrival by Shaun Tan

There are many more. Next time you read a children’s book, take a quick look and check its country of origin. You may find you are in the good company of an Australian. 😉

© silkannthreades

 

 

 

Hear our voices

Bethan at  the House of Bethan is moving house, in a virtual sense, and talks of closing doors and saying farewell to important rooms in our lives.

With her words on my mind, I decided to close the door on my birthday season with a photo of the birthday card that  Megan chose for me. It’s delightful and reminds me of the happiness that Megan is experiencing now she can be outdoors enjoying the beauty of Bloomington. Her winter room time is over.

Blossoms from Bloomington

Blossoms from Bloomington

And, in a really large segue, Megan’s card leads me into my next section, which is a celebration of New Zealand Music Month .  How, you may ask, shaking your heads in bewilderment? Well, Bloomington, home of Megan, has some lovely connections with New Zealanders and their love of music.

For instance; there’s New Zealand born Matthew Leese, baritone and conductor, who earned his  Master of Music degree in Early Music from  Indiana University in Bloomington.

And, then, there is New Zealander Michael Duff who works in Bloomington  and is ‘saving’ the world of music and the Music Tree  (the pernambuco), one Berg Bow at a time.

And, then, comes the annual  Lotus World Music and Arts Festival which is held in downtown Bloomington and, last year, featured the  Pacific Curls  ;  ‘ the high energy trio of Kim Halliday, Ora Barlow, and Jessie Hindin ( who deliver) an eclectic and progressive mix of world roots music with Māori, Pacific and Celtic influences.’

Closer to home, as in closer to my home in Christchurch, there is performer and teacher Valerie Wycoff who has a Master of Music in Opera Performance from Indiana University , and who has been educating our young ones at the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art (NASDA) for over 10 years.

And I am sure there are many more of us in New Zealand who have associations with, or have benefited from, the music, theatre and performance that are nurtured in Bloomington, Indiana.

Perhaps, one day, Bloomington will host some of the fine  singers who participated last year at the  New Zealand Secondary Schools’  The Big Sing.

I love this piece by Dilworth’s Fortissimo at The Big Sing. It thrills my heart.

I don’t have a translation for the song but I don’t think that  matters. The language of song and music seems to be universal, with very few barriers; it opens more doors than it closes.

So welcome, come on in and listen:

listen to this non-New Zealand choir, at Slovakia Cantat 2012, singing the beautiful Maori song,  Nga Iwi E, by  Hirini Melbourne. This song  begins All you people! All you people! Be united as one, like the Pacific Ocean

(Nga Iwi E was apparently adopted by Greenpeace and sung on board the Rainbow Warrior during its protest against French Nuclear Testing at Mururoa Atoll.  Maybe we can sing it next for the pernambuco 🙂 )

 

 

 

 

 

© silkannthreades

Looking Back

Still on the subject of my blogcation; first there were the  Preparations  and, then……..

My guest arrives….

We look back.

From 2014 to 1966

From 2014 to 1966

Mr Carter's classes

Mr Carter’s classes

The Two of  Us at Malolo Street 1966

The Two of Us at Malolo Street 1966

Mr Hodge's Sunday School Class 1964

Mr Hodge’s Sunday School Class 1964.  St Peter’s Anglican Church ,Father Butler’s residence, Drasa Avenue.

The Beginning

The Beginning : ‘When I was Three I was hardly me. When I was Four, I was not much more.’  A A Milne

Update: It has been a difficult week. It is tempting to look back to the past and think all was perfect. It was not. As a child I was dumbfounded, and unbelieving, when I realised that, at the age of five, I would be going to  Lautoka European School and my best friend would not. Fortunately, those policies were changed within the next few years as Fiji headed towards Independence, and my friend and I were able to spend a short time together at the renamed school. It became Drasa Avenue School.

The events of my current week, and  those contained in my post, seem to relate well to this quote

“Give us grace and strength to forbear and to persevere. Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind, spare to us our friends, soften to us our enemies.” 

This is the prayer inscribed on the bronze memorial to Robert Louis Stevenson in   St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh, Scotland. Robert Louis Stevenson was, amongst many other things, a witness to the colonial history of the Pacific Islands. Clanmother writes (and recites) about Robert Louis Stevenson’s connection to  the Pacific  here.

© silkannthreades

 

She’s taking the world by storm…..

The wind changed; the storm roared in, from the deep, antarctic South and, undeterred, like Mary Poppins, she, the Grand Emissary of Sophia Stuart, came; sans umbrella, but rosy-cheeked and just what we were expecting

Only she didn’t land quite as tidily as Mary Poppins, because you can’t without an umbrella, and if you are being delivered by a postman, into a bucket that is posing as a mailbox.

Will this start a new trend?

Will this start a new trend?

Very undignified, especially when the bucket, inverted or not, is being true to form, by behaving as all buckets should during a once in a century  deluge.

Luckily my neighbour saw Sophia’s Emissary floundering; her brown coat, courtesy of Mr Amazon, slowly dragging her down as it soaked up the icy water collected in the depths of the bucket, and he brought her to my door.  She was a pitiful sight; utterly bedraggled. But I helped her out of her coat, gave her a warm hug, a fluffy towel, a cup of tea, and a change of clothes, (and pearls), and she soon revived. Emissaries and world travellers have to be resilient, like that 🙂

A quick chat, and a note dashed off to  teamgloria (*tg*) to let her know that the Envoy of Who-She-is-In-Real-Life had reached her destination, and it was time for the voyager to take to her bed, to recover from jet lag and the general ordeal of arriving on the crest of a storm.

"It's time to rest"

“It’s time to rest” How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World”

Isn’t she lovely?  Nestled next to my welcome sprig of  bay leaves, for sweet dreams and good health.

Sweet dreams and good health

Sweet dreams and good health and victory in all things

Ssshh; softly, softly, we won’t disturb her now, but, maybe, I will come back later when she is fully recovered and we can discuss the dispatches, the  laureate letters, she has brought to me, from Sophia.

What’s that? Someone is not being quiet. You heard a stifled giggle.  Oh dear; it can’t be helped.  It’s *tg*’s fault; for reminding me that being dunked in a bucket has boarding school overtones. We know a lot about boarding school, *tg* and Sophia and I. Sophia has even written a book about it, called  Emerald.  There was no Emerald at my school, (or was there?), but I seem to recall buckets, full of muck, that were used to terrorize the naughty third formers on initiation day, at the end of year. ( Yes, at end of the year, came the dreaded day of Rangi Tangi! ) We all got horribly wet, bucket-dunked or otherwise, and, after the seniors had done their worst, ( which sometimes wasn’t very bad), they got to feast and we got naught. It sounds more ghastly than it was..but I am still very glad we have all grown up to offer the world a kinder experience of life.

How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World

© silkannthreades