Celebration at Parklands

People love libraries. For library staff it’s a great satisfaction and inspiration to hear from customers the many and varied reasons why.

!0th Anniversary morning tea
10th Anniversary morning tea at Parklands Library

Parklands Library recently enjoyed celebrating its 10th anniversary with a full week of events for customers and staff beginning with a morning tea hosted for our celebrities – valued customers and friends, and founding and current library personnel. Warm welcomes from Sam Ludemann, Dan Daley and Carolyn Robertson, and karakia from Betty Situe began our proceedings. Musicians Dan Callahan and Alan Hawes provided just the right ambience for a gentle time amongst the tea and coffee cups.

Our calendar continued with with our incomparable Zac McCallum taking Hip Hooray Story Time, and an enthusiastically attended 3D printer demonstration, attracting curious customers from 4yrs to 86 yrs of age. Saturday was our Big Day Out with live music performers, Dylan Jonkers, Better than Bacon in the morning and The New Brighton Pirate Ukulele Band in the afternoon. Face painting and entertainment from Tania tale teller extraordinaire, ensured we had a buzzy, happy time with something for everyone.

New Brighton Pirate Ukulele Band
New Brighton Pirate Ukulele Band

What was especially heartwarming during this week was the amount of positive feedback staff received from our customer community (that’s what birthday celebrations are for after all). Cards and messages flowed in and people took time to tell us, fervently, just how much Parklands Library was a source of help and comfort to them in the very hard post-quake years and currently while rebuild issues continue. Warm, friendly, safe place, stability, information, connections, distraction and relaxation were some of the words we heard. “The library helped me get through.”

We’re back to a quieter busy-ness now, grinning at a comment we heard along the grape vine from a newcomer to Parklands, on our big day,  “Parklands is the best library in the universe!” And we have the lingering scent of celebration lilies.

We still have our usual roster of interesting community events on the go, so feel free to pay us a visit!

Mmmm-mmm, hokey-pokey whoopie pies … Nailed it!

Cover of BakingI reckon I’m a pretty good cook. Not one of those people who can take a bunch of weird ingredients and create something amazing at the drop of a hat, but when I’m in the kitchen I generally keep the customers happy. I had a flatmate who liked my pizza so much, he thought I should open a restaurant. I thought it would be a pretty boring pizza restaurant, since I only make one flavour! But still — happy customers.

I’ll admit I’ve had the occasional disaster.  My sister and I once made an apricot pie — lord only knows what we did wrong, but that thing looked so disgusting, we actually wrote “YUCK” on the top with the left over pastry. Anne Shirley-style lapses in concentration have made an appearance, like the time I put salt in the pancakes instead of sugar (that really was disgusting!) or the time I put a tin of bean salad in the pilaf instead of mixed beans (my lovely husband actually finished it — I couldn’t!). And there was that one pav I made that sort of looked like a pav pancake…

But those failures pale in comparison to the hokey-pokey whoopee pies that I tried to make the other day. As failures go, they take the cake. The recipe made them look so delicious, I just had to give them a try!  The biscuits themselves were a bit dry*, but not bad…the caramel butter cream filling though — complete failure! See, it all started with not having a small heavy-bottomed pan to boil the butter, cream, sugar, and golden syrup in.  I was worried that if I boiled it for 5 minutes without stirring (like the recipe said) it’d scorch — so I stirred it. Just a little. Just a couple of times. Surely that couldn’t make that much difference, right? Then I was to let it cool to room temperature, pour it into a bowl, and beat in the icing sugar.


Waiting for “room temperature” and “pouring” were clearly going to be impossible because the stuff was solidifying before my eyes! Perhaps if I just beat the icing sugar in straight away, thinks I. Nek minnit the beaters are stuck fast in caramel-concrete and unholy noises are coming from the motor. There was no turning this mess into anything that even vaguely resembled butter cream filling! I stormed out of the kitchen in disgust. But when I returned to bin the lot and clean up the mess, I found the beaters and bowl were already soaking in the sink.  Turns out Mr K didn’t think it was such a failure, so he’d hijacked it before I could bin it. Delicious it was. Fluffy butter filling it was not!

I’ve always said that anyone can be a good cook — you just have to find a good recipe and follow it. I’m not sure that I can blame this disaster on the recipe! Who’s game enough to give it a try and let me know? You’ll find the recipe in Kiwiana cupcakes, cake pops and whoopie pies.

*They actually tasted pretty good once sandwiched together with a new batch of butter cream filling, this time made just by replacing 1/2 a cup of icing sugar with 1/2 a cup of brown sugar and following my usual recipe from the good old Edmonds Cookbook.

Exploring nature’s pattern magic

Cover of Exploring nature's pattern magicPatterns in nature are beautiful. Exploring Nature’s Pattern Magic by Dee and Mike Pignéguy is an ingenious, well designed book that captures those spectacular forms – from spirals to fractals, and crystals to camouflage.

There is a lot of fascinating scientific information in here, presented in neat bite-sized snippets. Here’s some things I learned:

  • The patterns you see in rose petals are equiangular spirals.
  • Spheres are circles in three dimensions.
  • The head of the marine iguana is a study in tessellations.
  • There are Fibonacci patterns in pineapples.

There’s an action point in each chapter, encouraging kids to find examples in nature and lots more activities at the back.

I think adults will like this as much as kids. Yay science!

For more information, visit Dee’s website Feed me right.

Science for kids

Florence Nightingale, 1820 – 1910

Having been in hospital recently has given me pause to consider how amazing the nurses are and how dedicated they must be to work at times arduous hours and to deal with tasks which are not always pleasant. And let’s face it, at times they observe the deterioration and loss of a patient they may have nursed for a while. That must be hard, yet they are always so cheery and ready to make you as comfortable as they can and almost always with a warm smile.

I work as a library assistant and find it  hard and feel quite sad when we have to put what has been a great book to rest. So I figure in comparison I must be a bit of a wuss.

Cover of Florence Nightingale: The Lady with the LampI remember in school being taught about the early days of nursing and the role that Florence Nightingale played in that. Florence is very well known for her contribution in the Crimean War. Don’t be fooled though: this “Lady of the Lamp”, as she was often referred to, was so much more than a committed nurse, teacher and carer of those injured during wartime. This I only recently discovered when, on my discharge from hospital, I decided to read about Florence, and I am so pleased I did.

Let me share with you a little of what I have discovered. In doing so I hope you will be inspired to check out one of the many books we have about Florence at Christchurch City Libraries and discover for yourselves what an incredibly strong woman she was, very talented and a fantastic role model for all women.

Cover of The Story of Florence Nightingale Cover of A Winter on the Nile Cover of Florence Nightingale Cover of No Place for Ladies

Florence was born in Italy in 1820 and was named after the city in which she was born. Unusually for women of that era Florence was well educated. Her father, who was her tutor, saw her potential and tutored her, amongst other things, in languages, maths and history.

Florence’s talents included an understanding of politics, ability in maths and statistics.  She was a prolific writer and could be described as a trailblazer in her endeavours to improve the lot of prostitutes to prevent them gaining a criminal record.  She was also committed to improving health conditions for the people of India.

Cover of Letters from EgyptAt age 29 Florence travelled to Egypt. As a talented writer she wrote many descriptive letters to her family about her adventures. These letters have been published in Letters from Egypt: A Journey on the Nile 1849-1850, selected and introduced by Anthony Sattin. A wonderful Arabian Nights adventure and beautifully illustrated throughout, this book is an enjoyable read. Florence’s description of her travels is captivating: she takes one on the journey with her . This book is just one of several items we have to offer for you to read and gain insight into a very capable  and strong-willed woman. Do enjoy her story.