Experiments In The Art and Science of Soap:

Bars of soap

Soap. It’s become the new gold in supermarkets since COVID 19 turned our world upside down. 

In recent years we’ve been bombarded with advertisements for soap alternatives. There are all sorts of fancy hand sanitisers, wet wipes, and sprays on the market. 

But it turns out that good, old-fashioned soap is the key to washing dirt and germs off our hands and down the drain. 

So, from a teacher and science-nerd, try these experiments to see why every bubble needs a little soap these days.

Continue reading “Experiments In The Art and Science of Soap:”

Remembering Russell Glendinning

Railway-sleeper & cartwheel seat, memorial information board and life-size cutout figure of Russell Glendinning make up the memorial.

Russell Glendinning was a giant of a man in Northern Southland. I think you’d be hard-put to find anyone as passionate and dedicated to trains and community as the man known to many as Mr Kingston Flyer.

A Crowd Gathers In Garston

On February 22nd a crowd gathered near the little railway shed on the Garston Green. They came from all over Southland and beyond.  Railwaymen caught up with their mates. St John’s personnel leant against their ambulance chatting to friends. 

Locals from Kingston, Garston and Athol came along. Family, friends, dignitaries… 

We were all there to honour one extraordinary man.

The Russell Glendinning Memorial Seat

The Russell Glendinning memorial, railway sleeper & cart-wheel seat with information board. The Kingston Flyer cutout runs along the top.

This rustic seat is a heartfelt tribute to a legendary Southlander. And, like Mr Glendinning, it’s down-to-earth yet complex. Aaron Abernethy built it carefully, from railway sleepers and cartwheels. Russell might have blushed to read the information board created by Donna Hawkins and Chris Chilton. But he’d have loved the attention to detail on Macaela Hawkins’ re-creation of the Kingston Flyer perched on top.

“I think it is a great tribute to Russell,” said Kingston Flyer Ltd Director Neville Simpson. “It’s a place to come and remember him, to sit and contemplate. 

Russell used to do a lot of that. He’d go up the track, do a few sleepers then lie back in the grass and contemplate life.”

But, who was Russell Glendinning and why did 100 people gather to honour him on that rain-threatened afternoon?

Let’s find out.

Continue reading “Remembering Russell Glendinning”

Behind the Scenes: The Revenant Community

Two things that Scott Worthington and Welcome Rock’s Tom O’Brien stand for – Community and Challenge. They’re building both in The Revenant Ultra Adventure Run.

I love the outdoors and I love a challenge. And I love people that love a challenge. It’s really important in my heart and in my wife’s heart to recognise the strength in everybody.”

Scott Worthington at the close of the 2020 Revenant Ultra Adventure Run
Scott Worthington and Tom O'Brien at the closing ceremony table with the Welcome Rock Whisky bottle and shot glasses.
Scott and Tom about to present the very first Revenants with their ceremonial shot glass full of Welcome Rock whisky.

One of the very special things about the Revenant run is its community feel. The runners, their families, supporters and all the volunteers feel a sense of connection and belonging. 

It’s not an accident. Everyone has a part to play in the Revenant family.

Continue reading “Behind the Scenes: The Revenant Community”

Tasty Veggie Bread

A loaf of sliced tasty veggie bread

Whether you’re gluten-free or not, many people tend to eat too much wheat in a day. Some days you even end up eating wheat in some form at every meal.

Because I’m actively trying to eat a wide variety of food — and especially increase my vegetable and protein intake —  I love to eat this tasty vegetable bread instead of an ordinary loaf.

This is a very forgiving recipe. I’ve tried all sorts of variations — and most have been delicious. 

Follow the recipe exactly and your veggie bread should turn out like this. But it’s such a forgiving recipe that you can make all sorts of variations and find the combination that suits you best.

Veggie Bread 

Preheat your oven to 180 C. Line a loaf tin with baking paper.

In a large bowl mix:

  • 1 ½ cups almond meal
  • ¾ cup of rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt

In a second bowl mix:

  • 1 large, grated carrot (2 cups, grated)
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 5-6 chopped sundried tomatoes
  • ½ – 1 cup of grated cheese
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

Combine the two mixtures in the large bowl. The mixture will end up damp, thick and sticky but not sloppy. 

Tip it into the loaf tin and bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes on fan-bake. In an ordinary oven, it will take 5-10 minutes longer.  

Uncooked veggie bread batter in the bread pan.
Raw batter in the bread pan ready to cook. I’ve added chopped spinach to this one.

Veggie Bread Variations

  • Vary the flour. Try buckwheat flour or gluten-free flour instead of the rice flour. The only flour I wouldn’t use is coconut flour because that would make the bread very dense and heavy.
  • Add some chopped walnuts for extra nutty goodness.
  • Swap the dried tomatoes for a few olives if you like them. 
  • Change the vegetables. Substitute grated courgette for the carrot or try a mixture of both. 
  • Add more veggies to the basic mix. I like finely-chopped spinach, cooked corn — canned or frozen  — and spring onions.

Once cooked, let the bread sit a little before turning it out onto a rack to cool. 

Veggie bread is delicious served fresh and warm with butter and your favourite topping. 

It keeps for several days in the fridge and is delicious as toast after a day or two. After that, slice it and freeze. Then you can get slices out as you need them.

If you like your toast crisp then it’s best to toast slices twice in the toaster.

More Farmhouse Recipes To Try

The Revenant Ultra Adventure Run: 2020

Revenant 2020 was all we hoped for and more. It had drama, heartbreak and challenge a-plenty.

I was lucky enough to be out on the course in this year’s event. Here’s how it unfolded.

The 2020 Revenant Ultra Adventure Run challengers meet at the race briefing at the Welcome Rock Trails / Blackmore Station woolshed. The next time they’ll all be together will be at the start line in the early hours of a January morning.

Can You Imagine Going Deep Into The Revenant?

“ I saw a black and white cow pulling a caravan up the river.”

That might have bothered Shaun the first time he clambered up the Nokomai River. But as he scrambled over boulders and under logs for the fourth time in 60 hours, the cow didn’t faze him at all. 

When you’re pushing body, mind and spirit to the limit, hallucinations happen. Your brain starts to play tricks when you’ve been running and navigating with no sleep. And when you’re climbing, descending and racing for 190km over three days. 

It happens when you go deep into The Revenant.

25 men and women lined up in the 2020 race on Welcome Rock Trails this year. Some had been there before — they had demons to conquer. Last year, no-one came close to finishing the race. 

Others were there to discover their own limits. How would they face the challenge that is the Revenant Ultra Adventure Run?

Two Revenant racers clamber over logs in the beech forest beside the rocky Nokomai River bed.
It’s tricky terrain down in the beech forest near the Nokomai River. Photo supplied by Scott Worthington.
Continue reading “The Revenant Ultra Adventure Run: 2020”

Philippa O’Brien: From Film to Photography

Photographer Philippa O’Brien travelled the world before coming home to Kingston. Now, her latest adventure is more personal; the opening of a new art gallery at her lakeside cottage. 

Philippa O'Brien in the doorway of her Oxford Art Gallery in Kingston.

In this bright room, you’ll find copies of her three books. ‘Photo Fables,’ (whimsical tales without words.) ‘How Art’ (a book of poems and photos with her Dad, Des.) And ‘Skateface,’ her sensitive portrayal of New Zealand’s roller derby world. 

There are huge, framed photos of cowboys on the gallery walls, part of Pip’s recent rodeo series. 

And what about the carefully-oiled yes/no river stones? These are ‘Seyonstones’ — a tool that Philippa created to “help when you just can’t make up your mind.”

Art photography — on old-fashioned, film cameras — is Philippa’s passion. Her photos are detailed and thought-provoking. The more you look, the more there is to see.

But, before she got behind the lens, Philippa O’Brien had another intriguing career. I’ve always wanted to know more about the world of movie costumes, so I was thrilled when Pip agreed to tell me all about her job as a costumier.

Continue reading “Philippa O’Brien: From Film to Photography”