Wake up with me, Dinah Priestley, travelling from Wellington to London in an accident-prone WW2 truck called Leviathan. Friends said to us “You are mad! Those toddlers of yours will be dead before you reach London.” But we were lucky.! We survived, with help from peasants and prostitutes, missionaries and maharajahs.
…Dinah Priestley and her grandson Cassidy Abbott perform at the Thorndon Fair last Sunday. Dancing and singing along with Pavarotti, Cassidy is the very soul of the endearing and talented dog Oscar, who stars in Dinah’s book, Oscar Star of the Opera.
Papawai Park in Mt Cook. Sunday morning early. And thirty eager children and their parents experienced a drama that involved scientists, artists, actors, gecko- and- weta- wranglers, a talking fish and a shy elusive
Moa which the children chased with enthusiasm.
All part of Nature Through the Arts efforts to help children see the connection between science and the arts and imagine the city they would like Wellington (and Mt Cook/ Brooklyn area in particular) to be.
The initiative is backed by the NZ National Commission for UNESCO.
Nikki Wright the collective’s spokesperson said that the project draws on international research around children’s growing alienation from nature, now coined as “Nature Deficit disorder”.
Instead of having a birthday party this year I decided we’d organise a grandchildren’s Dans Palais and Vaudeville afternoon tea party. So with 11 year old Cassidy as MC we careered through a Punch and Judy show, a Balloon Dance to the tune of Zorba the Greek, two ukelele songs by Cassidy, a piano recital by Olive, a Bull dance with Lauchie as the bull and myself as the bullfighter and Hazel’s film of How to Make Friends starring the Chaplinesque Tony Burton. Lots of flowers and champagne, asparagus rolls and chocolates. And a couple of dancing chickens.