Category Archives: books

Brisbane’s South Bank – a cultural highlight

Having family in Brisbane provided Iggy and me with the strongest motivation to visit this Queensland city. Somehow I had formed the impression that the city was a stop-off point for Surfers Paradise and Noosa – a transit lounge for melanoma seekers. I did not expect Brisbane to become one of my favourite cities in the world. And – apart from the lure of family – why has Brisbane become a favourite destination? Because of South Bank.

South Bank, across a walking bridge from Brisbane's city centre.

South Bank, across a walking bridge from Brisbane’s city centre.

South Bank is on the site of the World Expo 88. It opened to the public as a cultural precinct in June 1992. A pleasant ride on the Brisbane River by City Cat is an easy way of reaching South Bank, where there are shops, a beach, an auditorium, a conservatorium, a gallery of traditional art, a gallery of contemporary art, a library, café, book shop and more.

Iggy is happy to take a break in the café - sheltered above and on three sides while open on its fourth side - while I indulge in the contemporary art exhibitions.

Iggy is happy to take a break in the café – sheltered above and on three sides while open on its fourth side – while I indulge in the contemporary art exhibitions.

Looking out from the open side of the café.

Looking out from the open side of the café.

He usually joins me in my favourite book shop in the whole world.

He usually joins me in my favourite book shop in the whole world. I don’t think we have ever managed to leave this shop empty handed.

It's worth a look around the corner at the selection of books for all ages and the beautiful gift wrap.

It’s worth a look around the corner at the selection of books for all ages and the beautiful gift wrap.

The shop by the contemporary art gallery stocks art books and high quality, novel gifts.

The shop by the contemporary art gallery stocks art books and high quality, novel gifts.

After being absorbed in a rich display of Aboriginal art, we crossed the bridge to the city side and made our way to the station for an easy train ride out to the airport. Off to Perth!

After I had my fix of magnificent Aboriginal art, brilliantly exhibited in the gallery of contemporary art, we crossed the bridge to the city side where this charming colonial building took my eye. From here, we made our way to the station for an easy train ride out to the airport. Off to Perth!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Club Paihia, Northland

My relationship with Iggy came complete with a timeshare. Previously we stayed in Taupo in winter. This year, yearning for warmth, we chose to have a spring-time holiday at Club Paihia in the north of the North Island. We hit a week of New Zealand-wide extreme wild-weather conditions, with Northland getting the best of a bad deal. We know how to enjoy wild wet days. We settled in with a pile of books and Sky TV, which we don’t have at home. (If you are looking for an engaging read, I recommend “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I went on to a recommendation of Iggy’s, “Red Runs the Vistula” – a gripping autobiographical account of a prisoner of war escapee working for the Polish resistance movement.)

Our unit was spacious, well-equipped – and at the top of a steep hill. We had no trouble ensuring there were five minutes of good hard uphill puffing each day! We were rewarded with privacy and a view over the valley.

This was the first time I had experienced resort hosting. We enjoyed meeting the other guests at a drinks night. Tourist activity providers’ presentations on local activities whetted our appetites and, unusually for us, we did sign up for a tour. On the days when the sun did shine, we ventured far and wide from Club Paihia – the subject of future posts.

Northland's Club Paihia Resort.

Northland’s Club Paihia Resort.

Graceful gardens

Graceful gardens

Crafty totems - must look out for some interesting pots and vases and try this at home.

Crafty totems – must look out for some interesting pots and vases and try this at home.

If the weather had been warmer, the pool would have been most inviting.

If the weather had been warmer, the pool would have been most inviting.

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Iggy’s Air Force Tales

The hottest spot in the Waikato winter is right here at our house. We are fizzing with energy, having taken delivery of “Iggy’s Air Force Tales”.

Local print firm Printhouse delivered multitudinous copies of our book right to our door.

Local print firm Printhouse delivered multitudinous copies of our book right to our door.

The sheer volume of books looked a bit daunting at first.

The sheer volume of books looked a bit daunting at first.

“Iggy’s Air Force Tales” started life as “Some of these stories are based on fact” – a great title, which says it all really, but which wasn’t Google friendly.

With both of us working from home, we have morning tea together. Each day Iggy told me another story, which I transcribed, typed up and edited. Having served for three decades in the RNZAF, Iggy could tell stories which spanned the Vampire, Harvard, Devon, Strikemaster, Skyhawk and Macchi. Even though (or because?) I grew up in a family where the men were (and are) fanatical about flying, I thought that collecting stories about aeroplanes would be terminally dull. However, Iggy is an engaging raconteur, and his phenomenal memory (and extraordinary ability to embellish the ordinary) meant the stories were more about the thrills and challenges of the people who flew than the bits of metal they flew in. We flew close to a range of emotions along the way.

Iggy started off with the stories he loved best – those that made us laugh. Boys really will be boys, to the extent that one of our proof readers commented “Boys are weird”. You’ll know what I mean if you read the story of Iggy doing a low pass over a frigate, of which his friend was captain.

We then tackled some of the more serious aviation topics – and I ruthlessly removed any stories that you needed post graduate qualifications in aerodynamics to be understood. We left in some of Iggy’s aeronautical explanations though. He was a qualified and respected instructor, after all – and this book is chiefly for pilots or people who ever dreamed of flying.

Finally, we tackled the tough stuff.  We huffed and puffed our way through a story of betrayal. We cried our way through the story of the fatal accident of a close friend.

When we had a couple of hundred stories, we spread them out all over the floor and put them in some kind of sequence. I then put them into a book format. But something was missing.

Iggy spent a couple of days at the RNZAF Museum in Christchurch where Matthew O’Sullivan, Keeper of Photographs, did an amazing job of finding images to match and illustrate particular stories. These were the days of wet film, and quite major events (such as a survival camp avalanche which took four lives) were simply not recorded photographically, it seems. John Bates’ memorabilia and personal collection of photographs provided the finishing touches. “Iggy’s Air Force Tales” had come to life.

What we were not prepared for was the wild ride generated by even a small amount of publicity. Today’s massive thrill was taking an order for 15 copies – and we haven’t even officially launched yet! In addition, catching up with so many awesome people from our past has been a magical trip in a time machine.

Iggy's initial excitement at seeing our book grows by the minute as RNZAF, airline, gliding club, Warbirds and aero club friends share our excitement. Wow!

Iggy’s initial excitement at seeing our book grows by the minute as faithful friends and family members, RNZAF, airline, gliding club, Warbirds and aero club friends share our excitement. Wow!

To follow the “Iggy’s Air Force Tales” on Facebook please go to https://www.facebook.com/RNZAFtales

To find out more about “Iggy’s Air Force Tales” please fill in the contact form.

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