We had a biggish earthquake in my town a couple of days ago. No surprises really, as my town happens to be Wellington, in New Zealand. For those that don’t know, New Zealand is basically made from earthquakes, and it’s still evolving – quite a lot to do with being right on top of two of earth’s tectonic plates that just happen to be moving around a bit, the Pacific Plate and the Australian Plate. (I do wish those two could get along better).
The quake was 6.5, located nearby in the Cook Strait, at a depth of 13km. I grew up here, and as a result have been in more earthquakes than I can count, however I have to say that this was the biggest I’ve experienced, and it was pretty scary. Anything up to a 5, and I’m able to be fairly blasé about it, however I have now discovered that a 6.5 is a bridge too far. I was scared, alarmed and generally unsettled. The unsettled part of course not being helped by the multitude of aftershocks that occur after a largeish quake.
I’ve just been to Tulip Sunday, at the Wellington Botanic Garden, in New Zealand. You will of course have spotted the Dutch connection between Zealand and Zeeland, and won’t be at all surprised to read that it was all very Dutch in the garden today…the Dutch Ambassador, children doing traditional dances, and stalls with Dutch goodies. Lots of people attended – it’s a very Wellington thing to get into events like this and Wellingtonians are generally guaranteed to be a good audience for whatever might be going on around town.
The Dutch Ambassador did point out that tulips weren’t originally Dutch, and that they are now grown very successfully in the South Island of New Zealand, but hey – we’ll give them their day anyway. The kids doing some traditional dances were sweet, although some were so tiny that they fell off their clogs a few times and had to be carried from the stage.
I was going to call this Marmite, the new black, but oh wait…it already is. Purists would say it’s a very dark brown, but I’m not going there. For those of you who have only just arrived back on this planet, and haven’t caught up with the news, you need to be made aware of the latest crisis in New Zealand…an impending shortage of Marmite.
What, you may ask is Marmite? It’s edible Kiwiana. Originally English (like many Kiwis), it is a savoury spread, which was imported around 1910 then made with NZ ingredients from around 1930. This meant that it became quite different from its ancestors – also like many Kiwis, really. It has its own website – www.marmite.co.nz, and is made by Sanitarium.
Ring the bells, sing choirs of angels, open the Champagne and do a happy dance….it’s Bluff Oyster season again. For those who know what this means, no further explanation is necessary, as they won’t be reading this anyway; they’ll be trotting down to their local seafood shop or fish-and-chippery, with tongues hanging out and a slight propensity to drool.
For those of you who don’t like oysters, please accept my grateful thanks for leaving more for the rest of us, and stop reading now. For those who love an oyster, but have yet to sample the sublimity that is the Bluff Oyster, read on.