Wednesday, June 6, 2012


I thought Stellar was the best way to describe two recent events.

The most recent was, of course, the Transit of Venus today. After a very snowy night, we Dunedinites were delighted to have an icy but clear day to look to the skies and see the transit of Venus across the face of the sun. I'd purchased a family pack of viewing glasses so the boys could go off to school armed with a pair, and so I could follow its progress during the day. Very cool! I have also been reading Awa Press's wonderful little book The Transit of Venus, which is a series of articles by scientists and historians on the effect of the transit on the world. It also reminds us that Captain Cook was on his way to Tahiti to observe the transit of Venus when he discovered New Zealand. It's a fab wee read.

The other stellar event was the fabulous Yarns in Barns festival in the Wairarapa. I had the pleasure of being part of the Yarns in Barns great debate, with the topic up for discusion 'The arts have a sporting chance in New Zealand - yeah right.' I was on the negative team with team captain Bernard Beckett and Catherine Robertson, and the affirmative had Captain Harry Ricketts, Marama Fox and Mark Reason. Gordon McLaughlan had to keep us under control. It was a great night out, and a lot of fun. I hadn't participated in a debate sine high school, so I was a bit nervous about it, but hey, our team rocked! And we won! Bernard Beckett was an awesome team captain, and Catherine and I made sure we flirted shamelessly with the audience and with Gordon. It worked.

I also did a talk at the Masterton Archive the next day. Yarns in Barns is organised by Hedleys Book Shop in Masterton, and it is fantastic that a small region like the Wairarapa can put on a full week of literature events to full houses. Awesome!


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a lot of fun, Vanda, and that's great. And yes, the Transit of Venus - quite an awesome sight.

Jason Payne, Auckland said...

Hi Vanda,

I've only just missed the events in Masterton (will be there for a few days next week) also wanted to let you know I'm now in possession of my copy of "The Faceless" which I've been reading till the wee small hours in my jetlagged state! A great dark read for mid winter evenings!
Glad to hear you had a good time at the festival as well as seeing the transit of venus (no such luck here in Auckland!)
Take care,


Vanda Symon said...

Hi Margot, I had to make the most of seeing the Transit, because I don't know about you, but I have no intention of being around for the next one!

Hi Jason, welcome back to Kiwi Land. Have fun in the Wairarapa, it had improved a lot since the last time I was there. Glad you're enjoying The Faceless.