Where to start at the Hororata Highland Games 2015?

What is the best thing about the Hororata Highland Games? Is it the huge sense of community that has enabled this area to produce the best Highland games in the Southern Hemisphere? Is it the passion and skill of competitors? Or maybe it is the “give it a go” areas where I got to toss my first mini caber? I really cannot put my finger on the best part of the games so I will have to tell you about some of my favourite moments instead.

The cutest moment of the day was when a boy, barely three, complete with a mini kilt, decided to participate in the kids’ tug of war. I am not sure he was pulling the right way but he was still as fierce and brave as the grown up competitors.

Hororata HIghland Games
Highland dancers, Flickr, Hororata-2015-DSC3679.jpg

Then there were the anxious moments where the crowds and I braced ourselves and held our breath as if we could somehow help the caber, stones or weights meet their correct destination. We lamented a loss and applauded a success in an emotional workout which sits next to the physical workout of the heavy weight competitors.

Off to the side of the competition arenas was the fascinating Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) pavilion where you could see recreations of medieval objects and watch combat demonstrations. Just feeling the weight in the chain mail and sitting down in a medieval tent complete with tapestries and ladies gave me an entirely new perspective on the many historical novels I have read!

What else is there to mention in a blog that is supposed to be brief in duration when you could write an essay? Do I mention the Highland dancers in their strength, grace and colour? Should I talk of pie eating competitions, haggis throwing, hurling or the endurance of the winner of the Kilted Mile who had to sprint after downing a can of Irn-Bru and a Hororata Pie? I guess the most useful thing I could say is that you are a fool if you don’t go next year. It is simply a day of heart-warming brilliance.

Browse more photos of the Hororata Highland Games.

There is nothing new under the sun … Word.

LogoMy Mum is a fine one for idioms and phrases. When I was heart-broken it was “there are plenty more fish in the sea” and when I was being smart it was “pride goeth before the fall”. I find myself saying these same phrases now and again and feeling terribly wise and knowing. Like I should own a pipe or robes like Gandalf the wizard?

Recently the Oxford English Dictionary  entered “twerking” into its dictionary. They found it was originally used in 1820 when referring to a “twisting or jerking movement”. So although Beyonce and Miley may have brought it mainstream, I can safely recline back in my leather chair and declare to anyone who would listen that “twerking” is “as old as the hills”.

Another word that has recently entered the OED is e-cigarette so maybe I can puff away on one of those in lieu of a wizard’s pipe? That would not really have the same gravitas though would it? I would be “barking up the wrong tree” trying to emulate Gandalf with one of those! What idioms do you use? Where did you pick them up from? A penny for your thoughts?

People-watching online

Cover of Oxford Dictionary of National BiographyI was six when my Grandmother handed me a cut out picture of Lady Diana Spencer from the Southland Times that announced her engagement to Prince Charles. She told me to keep a hold of this as the lady in the picture was going to be a Queen. I can remember the picture was in color which was rare for newspapers at that point. Lady Diana was wearing a red dress and I remember thinking how sophisticated she was. I have no idea of what happened to that photo but I do know that there was to be no happy ending for the lady in red.

We consciously and unconsciously “people watch” all the time. It was probably based on an evolutionary need to establish friend from foe but it continues to this day in our everyday habits and the media we watch. As a library we are here to cater for even your evolutionary requirements! If your needs are for research or pure evolutionary based interest then we have the online resources for you in the form of:

There are stories of courage, malice and romance capturing the diversity of human conduct. All you need to examine the lives of people from nuclear physicists to royal mistresses is a library card number and password/PIN.

Happy gawking.

What was new and interactive in 2012?

That fact that 2012 has come and gone fills me with some horror. I was told that as you get older time speeds upBusyThings, but this is ridiculous! I can remember when I was young  it seemed to take years just to get to the May school holidays; now I can’t even remember what happened in May. Actually, I am not sure what happened this morning…  What I am sure of, though,  is that we did have a bumper year at the library when it came to introducing new online resources at the Source! Here is but a sample:

TumbleBookCloud: e-books, chapter books, graphic novels, videos, and audio books for young adults;

BusyThings: colourful and quirky games and activities for ankle biters;National Geographic

National Geographic Virtual Archive: digital archive of the world renowned magazine;

Auto Reference Repair Center: repair and maintenance information for those who drive [subscription ended June 2013];

Road to IELTS : General and Academic: a self-study preparation course to help candidates prepare for the globally recognized IELTS exam;

Mango: language learning online;Mango!

Sunday Times Digital Archive 1822-2006: fully searchable digital archive of the British Sunday Times newspaper.

There really is something for everyone at the Source! Have a peek and a play, as these resources are available in community libraries and from home 24/7 with your library card number and PIN.

Carter’s Price Guide to Antiques… and home of pretty shiny things!

I don’t consider myself to be a materialistic person, nor do I have expensive tastes. That is probably just as well as, despite a “higher” education, I have not found a pot of gold at the end of the “user pays” rainbow; in fact, it was more a cesspit of student debt that I am still paying back in my thirties! But I digress….Carters

What has led me to despair at my own poverty was playing with a new electronic resource – Carter’s Price Guide to Antiques.  Amongst the colourful online pages of antiques and collectables are whole sections devoted to antique jewellery. What stories these pieces could tell! How did a “Georgian enamel and seed pearl mourning ring from the late 18th century” ever make it to Sotheby’s Australia? Why was an “Art Deco 18ct white gold necklace with a centrally oval solid white opal” sold at auction rather than being placed by some handsome Mr Darcy type of a man around my neck? Could it be the $AUD 7,000 that it sold for?

Most of my possessions are old and second-hand, so maybe if I look through this site I may spot something worth selling? Something that I could sell so I could get just one glittering jewel around my neck or on my finger? It could work for me or you, considering Carter’s is an Australian product with plenty of New Zealand content. Time to sort through dusty boxes and see if you can trade up to pretty shiny things!

You can use this online resource and another like minded one, Price it! through the library catalogue and at the Source using your library card number and PIN. Enjoy your fossicking!

Seeking refuge in print this silly season?

C.S. Lewis once said that “You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me”. Now there is Books and Authorsa man after my own heart! But where do you start? There seems to be such a vast array of new titles and then there are those wonderful shelves of older books just waiting to be discovered. To top it all off, where are you going to find a book as good as the one you have just read? This is where we can help. Let me present:
  • Books and Authors: Helps you decide what to read next by allowing searches by genre such as wagon train westerns (!)  Then there is the Who, What, When, Where function where you can  browse by character, subject, location and time period. So, if you are looking for books on a boxer in London, this is the place to start!
  • NoveList Plus: a reading advisory tool suitable for all age groups. My favourite bit is using read-a-likes where you use a favourite author or series  to find others just like it.
  • NoveList K8 Plus: Aimed at kids and teens, this resource will help them find new reading options using their favourite writers, books or stories as a starting point.

All of these resources and many more are at the Source. You can access them at any community library or from the comfort of home with your library card number and PIN. Let’s face it, with the roads and shops the way they are, if you can escape into a book and a cup of tea then you have found yourself a happy refuge!

Australasian enquiries answered here!

“Love thy neighbour” is a much easier ideal to keep when you live in a country like New Zealand. You share no borders and you can beat your biggest neighbour at rugby! There can be no denying though that we are part of a globalised world and need to be aware of our own region.

The Australia / New Zealand Reference Centre  collection is a vital resource for anyone seeking information onExplore the Australia / New Zealand Reference Centre virtually any topic of regional interest. It includes:

  • Australian and New Zealand periodicals in full text;
  • Full-text Australasian reference books;
  • 80,000+ full-text biographies;
  • Full-text leading Australian and New Zealand newspapers and newswires;
  • An image collection of over 510,000 photos, maps and flags.

Access this and many other fantastic electronic resources  from home with your library card number and PIN, or at our community libraries through the Source.