Matariki parade one not to miss

book coverUnique and stunningly beautiful. This is my lasting impression of the Parade of Cloaks at South Learning Centre last Saturday. The variety of this small collection exposes the depth of skill and artistry needed to create such items.  The weavers  are of local and national repute:  Ranui Ngarimu, who explained to us the physical attributes and cultural context of each garment, and Paula Rigby. Read our interview with Paula here.

Awed as I was by the elegance of the show, I couldn’t seem to watch and listen at the same time,  so I’m going to see it again at New Brighton Library at 1.00pm this Saturday, and learn a bit more.  Too precious to photograph, the garments must be seen in person, so you’ll have to come too!

Hot for Cole Porter

Cole PorterWhen you think of songs that make you want to be a torch singer and wear a bias cut gown, you think ‘I’ve got you under my skin’, ‘Night and Day’ … you think Cole Porter. He was the man behind these glittering gems of the Great American songbook.

He  was born 120 years ago today – June 9, 1891.

The wheels on the bus go round and round …

Curses! Now you’ll be stuck with that  tune in your head all day, in much the same way that wheels and libraries have been on my mind of late.

It all began with my soft launch into graphic novels – The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger.  Let’s face facts, when talents were being distributed, Niffenegger had definitely elbowed her way to the front of the queue.

Endowed with a fertile imagination and already a very successful writer – think The Time Traveler’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry – she is also the gifted illustrator of her books The Three Incestuous Sisters and more recently, The Night Bookmobile . Harking back to the Hindu notion of  Akashic records that keep a tally of all our previous incarnations, The Night Bookmobile keeps a record of all our past reads. What further talents could Niffenegger possibly unveil, other than to set the whole shebang to self-composed music and place a little disc in the back of this beautiful book?

Which leads on to my second crumbling bastion of the month – books with accompanying discs, and in a serendipitous turn of events, I finally got a long-awaited book: Shanachie Tour, A Library Road Trip Across America. I just flipped through the book but actually watched the DVD. It’s about three Dutch librarians who travel across America visiting libraries. Why didn’t we think of that first! Despite a disturbingly truncated presentation, it’s inspirational stuff for library lovers. My favourite quote from the DVD is:

The Universe is made of stories, not atoms.

I can only think of two other books that relate to this theme of wheels and traveling librarians: The Camel Bookmobile  by Masha Hamilton and one other (whose name I cannot remember) about books being transported around South America on a donkey. Whatever was its title?

Any travel tips for this last-minute Minnie?

The magic of MalaysiaOk, so I went to get my cash today for my Malaysia trip. I don’t really want to use my credit card too much on holiday ‘cause  I can sometimes spend a wee bit too much on the old plastic. Also, being quite new to this travel thing, I’m a bit worried about credit card fraud. So … I go into the bank to get some cash. Well, wouldn’t you know it, there has been a bit of a run on Malaysian ringits lately. The bank can let me have a limited amount of  ringits but its all in $10 notes.

While looking at a wad of cash like that may make me feel good,  it  may also make me look slightly conspicuous walking around with a bulging money belt. I had no idea that I should order my money well in advance of my travelling date. I thought there was just a big, old storeroom of it somewhere handy.

So that’s what happens when you aren’t organised. I’ll get some travellers’ cheques though and resort to using my credit card for emergency purchases – like really gorgeous must-have shoes or that desperately-needed new handbag that I’ve promised myself.

So now I’m thinking – what else have I overlooked or left until the last minute? A quick search and I find the perfect book to help me – Ready, Set, Go – Travel. Fabulous – all set now,  just need a lovely coffee and a comfy chair and I can settle in to practise my Malay. What’s your best travel tip for the last-minute traveller?