December 23, 2017

Memories of Bedales and a Happy Kiwi Christmas

Pohutukawa flowers-

Many years ago, while eating breakfast on holiday in Orewa, I was amazed to read an article in the paper written by a man called David Hill.  He didn't mention the school involved then, but I knew; it could only have been Bedales. The unique culture that I remembered so well shone out from the writing.  I wrote to him at the time as I was returning the following year for the Bedales Centenary and he was kind enough to reply.  He is now a successful children's author here in New Zealand.

The Bedales Centenary was wonderful - as well as catching up with old friends, two of my grandfather Leslie  Kent's paintings were hung at the school as he was an OB from the early 1900's, along with his sister Phyllis. He started the Bedales Chronicle which is still running today, and in the holidays, before we left for a new life in NZ,  it was always my pleasure to sit with him in his airy studio, with the special northern light windows, the gas fire and the smell of turps, and relive Bedales with him.
Grandpa at work in his studio, with Grannie 

Today, another article by David Hill, on much the same topic appeared again in the paper here.  It made me smile - it is still a lovely story and has a nice Christmas feel. I hope you go and read it in full. Here is a short extract...
Just before Christmas four decades back, I helped raise the literacy levels of the British royal family.
It was the winter of 1975-76. We were halfway through a UK working holiday, and I'd landed a job teaching for the pre-Christmas term at Bedales School in Hampshire.
Bedales was – still is – one of those places where the UK's wealthy arties send their kids for a liberal education.
In my 12 weeks there, I taught poet Ted Hughes' daughter, novelist Frederick Raphael's son, and the youngest son of an actor called Sir Laurence Olivier, whom you may have heard of? Lovely kids, all of them, even if they reckoned I pronounced Shakespeare's Danish tragedy as "Hemlut".

Today we are getting together to celebrate Mum's birthday - I see Facebook has her age as 57 which I am sure she will be thrilled about!  The holiday period will be particularly hard  - the first without Dad and her older sister, Morag, who also died this year.  It makes us appreciate being together more than anything else could - the gaps left are so hard to fill.

Frankly, I can't wait for 2017 to end as it hasn't been a great year - but there have been lots of good things as well so I can still feel happy and look forward to the next few months. We are having a lovely warm summer which helps!

At a recent and excellent talk put on by the Veterinary Association, Dr. Tony Fernando spoke on The Science of Happiness. He is a psychiatrist, sleep specialist, educator, and researcher, who talks about compassion in healthcare, happiness, mindfulness, enlightenment, his journey as a Buddhist monk, and a bunch of other stuff. He suggested we practice gratitude - keep a diary.

You could also play the Glad Game or do Thankful Thursday posts as suggested by Jaz and GB - see here for an example... 

I can say I am very very glad that Jaz had a positive report from her latest MRI and the "thing" has shrunk further - all due to positive thinking, resveratrol and turmeric I understand.

Dr Fernando suggests that instead of mindfulness, practice kindfulness -  as mindfulness is better that way - with compassion and morals.  If you have time, he is well worth watching..... and thanks to "youtube" you can......

He also developed the CALM website - Computer Assisted Learning for the Mind

Now I must go and finish the birthday cake!

Wishing everyone a very happy, kindful holiday season wherever you are.

December 12, 2017

Christchurch Cathedral - Six years on

I don't write much about the earthquakes, or the reshaping of the central city, which is remiss of me as there are many areas of the city that are worth writing about. Today, some interesting new footage of the state of the Cathedral has been released.....  taken by a rogue individual as the building is still far too dangerous to enter.  I feel anxious just watching it as we just never know when another quake might happen...

The eerie world inside one of Christchurch's most famous earthquake-ravaged buildings is showcased in new video footage from the Christ Church Cathedral.
As central and local government discuss altering legislation to allow the cathedral to be restored, an anonymous videographer has sneaked inside the wrecked central city building.
Under the name Gardxn City, the videographer posts videos and photos taken inside abandoned buildings and homes around the city on YouTube and Instagram. He and others accompanying him have visited the Anglican cathedral more than once.
His latest cathedral clip is called "Six Years On." Its only sounds are the flight of the pigeons as he arrives, then his shoes crunching through the deep, dried bird excrement, which covers many surfaces.

My father was passionate about the progress of the decision making that has happened over the Cathedral's fate... we always read the letters to the editor and the articles in the paper about it to him during his last few months, and he was not impressed over the decision to repair it instead of rebuilding it.  As an engineer, he knew the risks and felt a safer building, preferably made of wood would be more suitable in this earthquake-prone land. 

I will watch the outcome with interest.

You can READ MORE about the Cathedral Saga:
Majority against spending Christchurch ratepayers' money on Christ Church Cathedral restoration
Crumbling cathedral can now be symbol
Work could start on restoring Christ Church Cathedral before Christmas
Synod urged to restore cathedral


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