The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay

Still puppy, plant and house sitting in The Hunter Valley. Loving the green rolling hills and abundant wildlife – hating the heatwaves. Yes, plural. The Labrador continues to wake me up three times a night for ablutions. One of us will be popping Valium shortly and it won’t be me…

Kangaroos Across The Road

The Library at Maitland currently has a lovely exhibition as part of its Walls That Talk series, celebrating 100 years since the publication of The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay.

”At a time when children’s books were usually filled with fairy tales and whimsy, Lindsay’s tale of a quarrelsome, endlessly renewable pudding marked a complete change of pace. Lindsay complemented his playful use of Australian slang with over 100 distinctive Magic Pudding drawings.
Norman Lindsay’s timeless classic follows the adventures of koala Bunyip Bluegum, sailor Bill Barnacle and penguin Sam Sawnoff – owners of the much-desired Magic Pudding ‘Albert’ – as they try to outwit Possum and Wombat, the professional, and extraordinarily persistent, pudding thieves.
First published in 1918, it is still in print and has been translated into Japanese, German, French and Spanish as well as having been published in Britain and the United States. It is regarded as a classic of children’s literature.” – Courtesy of Maitland Library.

The Magic Pudding is right up there with The Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie as Classic Australian Children’s Literature. I think everyone of a certain vintage grew up with Bill Barnacle and Albert.

I hear tell that prior to Christmas the Library was selling Xmas Puddings too. What a fun initiative.

Courtesy of Maitland Library Facebook Page

The Exhibition finishes next week. If you are in the area it is worth dropping by. You can pick up the Labrador as you go past.

It’s In The Cards

I was recently gifted a box of Dreamtime Oracle Cards by a friend which are based on the beliefs of our Indiginous people. Stop rolling your eyes – I know what you are thinking……

Oracle Cards have never been my thing though in my last working arena it was a tradition to read the Cards around the table at the annual Christmas luncheon. (Don’t even ask). No Work Christmas function this year so I thought I would continue with this ritual at home. Funny enough the cards have never been wrong. Didn’t I ask you not to roll your eyes?

My card this year was the Campfire Card which explains the importance of fire for both cooking and the sharing of knowledge amongst our ancient people when they gathered around the fire to eat. My own life very much resonates with this as I hail from folk who came together at day’s end and
dined with a glass of wine or a frothy, music playing quietly in the background, making time to share the days events as well as events of the past. They were storytellers and we grew up looking for the fairies at the bottom of the garden and the pot of gold under the rainbow.

I continued this ritual when I had my own family. No morning or evening television at meal times and always, ALWAYS, a clean tablecloth. Actually, no morning TV – EVER. No time nor inclination.

There was always space at the table to share with friends and enough food to go round, and my humanitarian daughter was regularly bringing home young men and women who needed a feed and maybe even some respite. “ Mo, some roast beef and Yorkshire pudding will sort them out”.

Food and Stories have been the constants of my life. The Depression parents instilled in me that it was “ better to pay the butcher than the Doctor”.

I am fortunate in this sphere to be connected to storytellers too, with tales of food, of camerarderie in hard times, of books, movies, gardens, of journeys and all sorts of adventuring. Some of you even share stories within stories for which I am grateful.

My Oracle Card said “ Everyone has something to share, some knowledge that you did not yet know. Knowledge can come from the most unlikely of people and places, so value the sharing of wisdom, whenever you get the chance.”

No resolutions, no goals for the New Year. Never bothered with that stuff. But I’m gonna embrace the advice of the Dreamtime Cards with a firm hand.

Eccentric Vs Passionate

When I travel, even on short trips, I like to buy myself a momento, something that will “take me back there” when I’m old and grey, fifty years from now. Anything but frivolous, I don’t buy tee shirts, tea spoons or snow domes, but rather books or sometimes, a painting. Nothing flash nor expensive, just a little thing that means something. Something to starve off the Alzheimer’s…….

So in a Retro second-hand shop in Bungendore, NSW, forty kilometres out of Canberra, I located a first Edition copy of Rudyard Kipling’s Kim for $7. Couldn’t leave it there, could I?

I was telling my Canberra based daughter of this find over an alfresco meal in the city and she said “ Is that the place run by the bloke with a beard? He’s renowned for being eccentric!”

I don’t know about eccentric, though passionate for sure. He let me touch his virgin ( Mickey Mouse) Mouseketeer vinyl LP with accompanying booklet, though sadly it was for Display purposes only. He then went on to share his feelings of fifty years ago for Annette and I just had to respond likewise about Bobby with the beautiful smile.

There was also a collection of books from TV series’ from the 50’s and 60’s for sale : Combat, Leave It To Beaver, The Munsters. My head went into a tail spin and the Gemini within faced dreadful turmoil. Bad Gemini said YES, what a wonderful addition to your bookcase, Good Gemini said NO and did acrobatics over spreadsheets and I could hear my mother’s voice from fifty years ago reminding me of the starving Ethiopians. The internal struggle was real. It was Batman Vs The Joker all over again.

I just loved The Big Valley. An American Western television series which ran from 1965 to 1969, starring Barbara Stanwyck as the widow of a wealthy 19th-century California rancher and Richard Long, Lee Majors, Peter Breck and Linda Evans as her family. At primary school there were huge debates as to who was the cutest son.*

As usual, the daughter rolled her eyes when I shared this tale. Though I’m not sure why really. This is what I brought home from my London travels………….

Be kind. Passionate rather than eccentric.

*Jared