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A Letter From Bill - Autumn

Enjoying a late autumn with lots of warm sunny days and changing colours here in Oamaru. Summer visitors filled the shop and several entertaining ‘Slide Night’ events highlighted the last few months.

December’s reunion and presentation by all seven surviving members of the Patanela expedition to Heard Island was a fantastic gathering! About 80 attended this 50th anniversary reunion, and it really was a fun night, hearing tales and seeing photos and film from the expedition. In January we showed an enthralling film by Cas & Jonesy called ‘Crossing the Ice’, a winner from the Wanaka NZ Mountain Film Festival. Next up, David Sutton gave a lecture on Antarctic Photography, with an accompanying history of photography and showing photographic artefacts to enhance his presentation. In April Anna Kirtlan gave a talk and book signing, launching her new book “Which Way Is Starboard Again?” regaling us with humorous tales of sailing the South Pacific.

Our latest gathering featured John ‘the Walrus’ Crick and his performance captivated the ‘child within’ of all the crowd. He used homemade hand puppets and chanted singalongs of his own poetry, covering ecology and lore of Kiwiland.

That night we took up a koha (gift) for the Nepalese people and mountain villages who are suffering from the recent massive earthquake, and thanks to 'the Walrus' for his support. A silent auction on two signed books helped bring the total donation to $692.50 on the night – an excellent result. We sent that amount to the Himalayan Trust, who have people on the ground in the Khumbu region, so the aid is going directly to the field, mostly for tarps and shelter to replace shattered houses before arrival of the monsoon. We’ve posted our receipt from the Trust on the inside of our door to show some of the community support for Nepal.

Bookshop shelves are full of new arrivals, now processed and displayed after their arrival by container from a recent overseas bookscouting expedition. We are working hard on getting more books on our website, properly described and accompanied by photos of the books. Now that winter is coming on, visitors have just about disappeared here, so there is plenty of time to devote to bookshop projects.

We’ve added a new bookcase which features some of the best adventure stories of all time. We added to our staff favourites with National Geographic’s 100 best Adventure Books, Conde Nast’s best Travel Writing list and the Boardman-Tasker award winners for Mountaineering Literature. Great armchair travel is found here.

Looking forward to Steampunk Festival weekend, and our contribution will be hosting a troupe of actors from Australia, presenting a play on Robert Falcon Scott called ‘Ice Suite’. At the bookshop, theirs will be a Thursday evening free preview of the complete play to be performed at the Opera House on Saturdaynight – discounted tickets for those attending Thursday. Expecting another fun gathering.

Hoping to participate at the NZ Mountain Film Festival in Wanaka, perhaps with a table again, first weekend in July.

Swing by and have a yarn with us anytime. We’ll be cranking up the old woodburner stove on cold days coming up, a comfort to sit around with a cuppa and trade tales. Love to talk books and always enjoy meeting new friends, so you’re welcome here.

Cheers, Bill

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