One million UK merchant navy seamen records have been released on Findmypast.co.uk. Thousands of these seamen were recorded as being born in Australia and New Zealand. The records include biographical information such as name and date of birth, and in the most complete records eye and hair colour, address of kin, and a photograph of the seamen.
They also contain vivid and unusual details such as scars and tattoos.
Picture this: you are lost and peering intently at an information board when you spot a bright arrow and three magic words:
“You Are Here.”
Delighted as I would be that in these times of great change someone in the Universe knows where I am, my relief would be further enhanced were there another smaller arrow indicating the location of the nearest public toilets.
It is in this spirit that I bonded with one of my recent holiday reads: The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim by Jonathan Coe. Maxwell has lost his way in life. His wife and daughter have left him, his depression has debilitated him, he has given up his secure job. Instead he becomes a travelling salesman for organic toothbrushes and his most enduring relationship is with Emma, his name for the SatNav in his hired car. Maxwell Sim badly needs a “You Are Here” moment.
Rescue is at hand though in the form of three pieces of writing that come his way. From his ex- wife, an old flame and his father – these writings help Maxwell understand who he is and where he should be. Coe has written this novel in a disarming style which fudges the boundaries between the writer, the protagonist and the reader. Coe speaks directly to us, further enhancing our engagement with this character for whom everything seems to have gone wrong. Yet make no mistake, this is a very funny book.
This is the first of Coe’s novels that I have read so I am well pleased to discover that he is a fairly prolific and very successful writer. My only gripe is that I absolutely hated the ending of this book. Did anyone else get that far?
The other night I ventured out in a torrential downpour and returned with a tray of Chelsea buns somewhat blackened on the bottom. Yes I had been to night class. It doesn’t sound very encouraging but the buns tasted delicious once the blackened bits were removed. The burning was the fault of a somewhat dodgy oven.
I’ve been to a number of night classes over the years – woodworking and yoga revealed my personal inadequacies in those fields but breadmaking has been fun and I have been learning heaps – not to mention eating some delicious fancy breads. My multicultural classmates and teacher bring all sorts of interesting traditions and ideas to the class. The course culminated in me producing a very nice wholemeal loaf. (Pictorial evidence provided on request).
Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 Choral Symphony is considered one of his greatest works and is one of the enduring favourites of the classical repertoire. The NZSO are performing it tonight at the CBS arena, along with a newly commissioned work by Gareth Farr.
The performance features a great collection of New Zealand talent – Madeleine Pierard – soprano, Sarah Castle – mezzo-soprano, Simon O’Neill – tenor, Jonathan Lemalu – bass.
Listening to the Concert Programme the other day, I heard a glowing review to the effect that (to use the technical terms) they really nailed it. An excerpt from the last movement of the Auckland performance was then played. The reviewer was right. It was stunning. Pietari Inkinen clearly has the orchestra, choir and soloists under his spell. The audience is in for a special evening.
Dr Patricia Te Arapo Wallace was involved in one of Christchurch City Libraries’ most significant cultural taonga Pūawaitanga o te Ringa – Fruits of our busy hands, a series of tukutuku panels that were specially woven as a community project for the Ngā Pounamu Māori Centre.
She is widely respected for her knowledge of Māori material culture:
When Dr Patricia Wallace wanted to piece together the mysteries of traditional Maori dress, she found inspiration in an unconventional form – modern-day plastic Ken dolls. With the help of ‘Barbie boyfriends’ she was able to reconstruct how early Maori traditionally wore large kaitaka (cloaks) wrapped around their bodies.
Last month Dr Wallace became the first Ngata Centenary Doctoral Scholar to graduate from Canterbury with a PhD in Maori. While the department has previously awarded four doctorates, Dr Wallace is the first Maori person to do her doctoral study solely in the Maori department. Her achievements are even more remarkable for the fact that she only embarked on a university education in her fifties. Research throws new light on traditional Maori dress.
Fans of classic crime fiction, of film and of the Court Theatre should all turn out for tonight’s fundraising screening of Ngaio Marsh – Crime Queen (Monday 26 September).
Hosted by Peter Elliott as Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn, there will be a Q & A for 20 minutes with the film makers after the showing and a full compendium of Ngaio Marsh’s 32 detective stories and a signed copy of Joanne Drayton’s biography of Ngaio Marsh will be raffled on the night.
All funds raised will go to the Court Theatre’s fundraising appeal for “The Shed”.
This event is on at The Aurora Centre (corner of Greers Road and Memorial Avenue), at 7.30. tonight. Tickets are $25.00 and will be on sale at the door.
Their new venue is at the CPIT Students Association (CPSA) Hall, 5 Madras Street (close to their previous home Madras Cafe and Bookshop).
Events include open microphone and guest readers including Vincent O’Sullivan, Bill Manhire, David Eggleton, Poets of the The Hagley Writers’ Institute, and James Norcliffe. It takes place on Wednesdays at 6.30pm.