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.
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?
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.
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.
Macaroni cheese is a favourite in our family so I like to add extra goodness by including vegetables and eggs in my recipe. Be warned. Once you’ve tried this recipe you may never be satisfied with plain macaroni and cheese again.
1 cup uncooked macaroni
1 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1 cup grated tasty cheese
½ cauliflower, cut into small florets
½ can creamed sweetcorn
½ cup frozen peas
2 – 3 hardboiled eggs
4 rashers bacon
½ – 1 cup grated cheese
2-3 slices bread or packet breadcrumbs
Cook the macaroni, cauliflower and bacon
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add 1 cup macaroni and stir to loosen all the pieces. Cook the macaroni at a rolling boil for 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
Add the cauliflower to the pot halfway through.
When cooked, drain the macaroni and cauliflower into a sieve and rinse with water to stop the macaroni sticking. Put aside until it’s needed.
While the pasta is cooking, fry the bacon in a separate pan.
Make the white sauce while the macaroni etc is cooking
Put 25g butter into a large, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave until melted.
Stir in 1 heaped tbsp flour using a whisk. Microwave for 20 seconds.
Stir the roux (butter & flour mixture) again with the whisk.
Slowly add 1 cup milk, stirring constantly with the whisk to mix it all evenly.
Microwave on high for 2 minutes then remove and stir to help it thicken. Cook for another minute and stir again.
Put it all together
Tip the macaroni/cauliflower back into its large pan.
Stir 1 cup grated cheese, frozen peas and ½ can creamed sweetcorn into the white sauce.
Cut the fried bacon into small pieces and add it to the macaroni.
Peel and chop the hardboiled eggs and add them as well.
Pour all the cheesy sauce into the pasta mixture and stir together till combined. Then tip the whole thing into a large baking dish.
Mince the bread into crumbs in a food processor or open a packet of crumbs.
Sprinkle the crumbs over the top of the macaroni cheese mixture in the baking tin, then sprinkle grated cheese on top.
Bake in the oven at 180°C for 15 minutes.
Alternatively, if you’ve been quick and the mixture is still hot, simply pop it under a grill until the cheese is melted and crusty on top. (Take care that it doesn’t burn.)
Tips and Tricks
A simple hand whisk is your best friend when it comes to making a white sauce (also called a roux). It works like magic to keep the sauce smooth.
You can make this gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta and flour.
I sometimes add chopped fresh tomatoes too. Yum!
I find it easier to make a white sauce in the microwave, but you can do it on a stovetop too. Here’s how:
Melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for a few seconds. Remove from the heat and gradually add the milk, stirring all the time.
Bring the milk to the boil, stirring it often while it thickens.
When it’s thick enough, remove from the heat and stir in cheese and corn.
The normally-tranquil Garston Cemetery was a-buzz early in November.
Residents past and present were gathering along with SDC mayor Gary Tong and councillors John Douglas and Rob Scott, for the opening of the cemetery memorial board and shelter.
The ceremony marked the end of two years planning, fundraising and organising for the Garston Cemetery Trust. Designed by Gordan McMillan and built by Aaron Abernethy and Jordan MacGregor, this lovely little building is one-of-a-kind.