Tag Archives: publishing

Recorded Time

In my previous post, but one, I mentioned that  Sheri de Grom had nominated me to join the Travel Blog. One of the questions she asked me to consider, in relation to the nomination, was this:

“What am I working on at the moment?”

The short answer to that is, nothing much; except what is coming to life, right now, as my fingers touch the keyboard.

I am, however, reading; reading  memoirs,

Memoirs of Cairo and Christchurch

Memoirs of Cairo and Christchurch

and preparing, in my thoughts and heart, a small post to add to my private, family history blog. Perhaps, in a few days hence, the time will be right to commit thoughts to virtual paper. I hope so, for otherwise I will be in danger of forgetting the stories that came to me whilst I sat with the old ones. As  Kerry reminded us the other day;  ‘Write it down, label your family treasures, be a record keeper. Do it now.’

And it is precisely because some people take serious note of advice such as Kerry’s that I am now enjoying two memoirs, written about vastly different countries, by vastly different authors, but having, in common, all the intricacies, complexity and vibrancy of family and family relationships.

The first memoir is Apricots on the Nile, A Memoir with Recipes, by Colette Rossant.

Apricots on the Nile by Colette Rossant

Apricots on the Nile by Colette Rossant

Colette Rossant’s memoir includes the years she spent, as a child, in the care of her wealthy grandparents and their large extended family, in their mansion in Garden City, Cairo. Although the Egyptian reminiscences relate mainly to the period from  1937 to  1947, the timelessness of Cairo and the equal timelessness of family events  ( deaths, births, weddings, picnics, holidays,  guests, gossip and weddings ) meant that my own experience of Cairo life, in the late 1990s, came flowing through me, again, deep and rich as the Nile itself.

Closer to home, is the memoir Eventful Years, by Sir Ernest Andrews, my great great uncle.

Eventful Years by Sir Ernest Andrews

Eventful Years by Sir Ernest Andrews

Sir Ernest, or Uncle Ernie, as my mother called him, was a Christchurch City Councillor for thirty-two years, and nine of those years he served as Mayor of Christchurch. He began his Council service in 1918 and retired in 1950. During his time in local politics, he witnessed the 1918 Flu Epidemic, the Great Depression, the 1931 Napier Earthquake, the Second World War and the Ballantynes’ fire . Eventful Years covers all these events and more, but what is not specifically mentioned is that, during his tenure as Mayor, he lived  in his daughter and son-in-law’s modest, two bedroom home, with their four children and my mother. Quite a houseful! But my mother loved living in that vibrant,  occasionally  rambunctious, household of young and not so young; helping with the little ones whilst their mother acted as Mayoress for the widowed Sir Ernest.   My mother was still living there when she married; her wedding photos were taken in the beautiful garden of that compact home,

My mother in her happy place.

My mother in her happy place.

her wedding reception was held there, and, even after her marriage, she returned to stay with the family, until my father’s family moved to Christchurch, and she was able to move in  with her husband and her in-laws.  Thus it was in Christchurch in those years. Though very much smaller in scale and wealth, not so very different to a similar period in a large, lively family in Cairo, at least as far as familial ties, and caring and sharing,  were concerned. ( I doubt, however, that my staunch Methodist relatives indulged in poker parties as  the Palacci family  did! 🙂 ).

“So, as I end this stage of the family history, sketchy as of necessity it has had to be, I again place on record what I owe to a long list of brave and honourable forbears, and especially to the example and influence of a good father and a gracious mother.” (Eventful Years, Chapter X )

I would also place on record that the last time I looked, more than a year ago, this special house in our family history was still standing but it was in an area badly affected by the 2010/2011 earthquakes.  I do not know if it remains today.

And, in case you are wondering, this is not the story I am planning for my family history blog. I have quite another in mind. This one is at the periphery of that one to come.

And, again, in case you are wondering why I removed the dust jackets of the memoirs, it is to acknowledge the importance of recording the outer and the inner, the cover and the contents, as can be seen in  The Art of the Dust Jacket;  the latest exhibition organised by our City Council funded Art Gallery in our City Council funded Central Library. ( Can I hear Uncle Ernie’s approval of these initiatives? He was not only a councillor but a  writer, an educator, a printer and a publisher.)

Finally,  for not much reason at all….save that  it is lovely, and is the result of our City Council’s long-standing support of public gardens… a  winter camellia at Mona Vale.

Like a wedding dress; a camellia at Mona Vale, another of my mother's happy places.

Like a wedding dress; a camellia at Mona Vale, another of my mother’s happy places.

© silkannthreades


Winners in my book

In my previous  post   I wrote, amongst other matters,  about baking delicious, crunchy rye crackers, using a  recipe  by New Zealand caterer, Ruth Pretty.

Rye Crackers

Rye Crackers

I mentioned that ” I had to  bake the crackers about 15 minutes longer than suggested, to get the degree of cracker-ness that I like..” and I said “…. but, my goodness, they are good.”

And, my goody-goodness, within 24  hours of publishing my post, I found this comment in my inbox…

ruth pretty November 11, 2013 at 4:40 PM

Hello and yes they are lovely crackers. You mentioned that you needed to bake them 15 minutes longer than recipe said. They look much thicker than how we make them so that will account for the longer time. Ours are thin and crisp. I will try them thicker as that will be an interesting change. Keep cooking!

Yes, a comment from  Ruth Pretty herself!!!! … with helpful advice as to why I may have needed to cook my crackers a little longer than her recipe suggested. Now, I am an iddy biddy blogger in the middle of itty bitty  nowhere, so I nearly choked on my cracker crumbs to see Ruth’s comment on my blog: a) BECAUSE SHE NOTICED; and b) because she CARES enough about her recipes, and her work, to follow what is happening to them on the blogosphere.

In my world that makes Ruth Pretty AWESOME. I can’t tell you how many times I have  commented on author/poetry/artist websites, because of my genuine interest in someone’s work or book, and received no feedback; none, not a bite, so I give up, disappointed, and wondering why said persons even bother with a web presence.

Sophia Stuart,

Sophia Stuart

writer, photographer and award-winning digital media advisor in her article, New Hollywood (Digital) Dating Rules  for the Huffington Post, writes “You need real people to manage your Social network presences. Try not to outsource. It won’t be your voice. This is too important to farm out. And if you engender real loyalty from your audience, not only will they follow and friend and respond to you and your brands — they will tell everyone they know (many more people than you know, when you add up the network effect) and this is the best bit — they’ll do it for free (but only if they really like you). There’s no substitute for a true relationship.”
Her article should be compulsory reading for anyone wanting to establish a digital presence. ( And just so you know, she follows her own advice to the letter….communicating with  Sophia [or her IL persona  teamgloria ] is a delight, a true delight )

I am not sure who directs Ruth Pretty’s digital strategy; perhaps Ruth herself but  she clearly  knows how the relatively new internet world/market works.

I am not currently in the market for a new recipe book  but, if I were, I would definitely be looking at one written by Ruth Pretty. For one thing, I now know that the recipes will be accurate (v. important!), and, should I have any difficulty , Ruth is  willing to help me get it right.

So cake tins and chefs’ spatulas off the bench, and raised, to Ruth Pretty.

And now it’s time for my cuppa and a Rye Cracker slathered  with my favourite manuka honey.

Crackers, Ruth, Sophia, manuka honey, teamgloria; all winners in my book; oops blog. 🙂

© silkannthreades