Friday, February 18, 2011

NZSG and Whitcoulls

It was sad to read the news this morning that one of our oldest national book shop chains was in financial trouble but its not too surprising. Over the years, the way people receive information has changed and book shops and stationers everywhere will be struggling to maintain their relevance to customers.

Retailers such as Whitcoulls are not alone in the struggle.

The New Zealand Society of Genealogists, a society formed to promote and enable the study of family history suffers the same problem. The council elected to run the society and many members would deny this fervently. But they belong to an old school of thought which follows a 'tried and true' policy which rules out innovation and speed in adaptation to our fast changing world of communication and the delivery of services to members.

Anyone who has shopped at Whitcoulls regularly over the years may have noticed the chain's lack of innovation and adaptability. It's been comforting to have a reminder of the old days around in our shopping malls. I hope they survive in some form.

The Nzsg roundly defended the old days last year when a group of members challenged this state of affairs among other issues at a special meeting. Since then it seems to have gone to sleep peacefully, prod it and you are unlikely to get a response. The local group meetings are still good value though, there you get to a chance to communicate and catch up on news. But forget the national body, it only wakes up briefly to fend off the future.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Adoption Beat

Looking around this evening on the internet, I chanced on this blog 'Adoption Beat' which discusses adoption in the USA.  In particular the author talks about the way the media approaches adoption topics, the putative father's disconnection with the process, the language used to describe adult adoptees as 'adult children', the baby scoop era and many other interesting thoughts and issues that would strike a note with those who live with this topic daily in any country in the world.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Historic fruits

The earliest advertisement I can find for the importation of damson fruit trees is a shipment from Sydney on the 21st of August 1851 in the New Zealander. I suspect a lot of even earlier settlers would have brought fruit trees with them but this advertisement gives a list of varieties, most of which are new to me.
  • Peaches; Newington, Royal George, Bellegrade.
  • Pears; Windsor, Beurre, Jargonelle.
  • Plums; Golden Drop, Green Gage, Egg, South American, Orleans, Damson.
  • Apples; Permain, Mobb's Royal, French Codlin, Ribstane Pippin, Red Colville.
  • Figs; Malta and Spanish.
  • Nectarines, Filbert, Mulberry, Loquat trees, Quinces, Cherries etc.

Today the topic of fruit is very much on my mind. I'd forgotten to order the damson plums from the Hawkes Bay and thought I'd missed the season, but I was delighted to find the season is in full swing and my plums will arrive this week.
If you have ever tasted damson plum jam, you would never again buy the insipid concoctions the supermarkets offer.

Next month is guava time for making jelly. I gave most of it away last year and ran very short of it, so I'll be making a lot this year if I can get them. The little trees grow like weeds in Auckland and many people don't ever do anything with the fruit except let it rot on the ground - what a waste and it tastes divine. Pick a bucket of mature and immature fruits to get the jelly to set and taste the best.

Other favourites are Crabb apple jelly and Golden Queen peaches.