Eleanor went to personally thank Truby King for the lend of the snap and go wheels from Plunket when she was a newborn.  Truby King Park is in Melrose on a hill behind the zoo.  I had never heard of Truby King Park before, and went there for the first time this week.  Mr. King built his house there along with a Karitane Hospital and a factory to make baby formula.  It’s all still there, surrounded by bush and winding brick walls and arches made out of local brick.  The factory has been turned into apartments, and the hospital is now a conference centre.


When you get up to the actual mausoleum there is a relief bust of Truby.  Strangely, even though the bust is only of his head and shoulders he appears to be naked (well, shirtless).  I hope no one is sculpting me in the buff when I’m in my seventies.  On either side of the central plaque there is this:


Save the babies?  From who… the mothers?  Needless to say I have a new obsession. 

Let’s find out more about Truby.


rupertVince Noir was right about Rupert Bear being an influence on The Mighty Boosh.  I’ve been looking at some old Rupert Bear comics and they are a nice fit with that TV show.

I read Rupert at my grandmother’s house along with Just William.  There is something about Rupert’s mum in the comics that I associate with my grandmother.  I think it might be her unruffled calm, the sense of quiet domesticity and all the old fashioned things around the house.  Probably it’s not the thing about her being a giant white bear.  

Rupert’s parents always seemed amazingly permissive, and forgiving.  In about every second episode Rupert vanishes across time and space, associates with the most outlandish, bizarre and sometimes threatening characters, and the most Mum and Dad ever do is go to look for Rupert with the local police constable.  Usually they don’t even do this.  They sit at home carrying on about their business until Rupert pops back up again carrying some choice artifact from another land.

Rupert has chums.  Vince Noir and Harold Moon have chums too.  One of Rupert’s chums, Bill, is waving to him in the picture in this post.  Most of Rupert’s mates are like him – little boys with the head of an animal – although there are also plenty of regular people hanging about in the environs of his village, Nutwood.  Just like in the Boosh nobody ever comments on this.  When Rupert goes to see the coronation of Elizabeth II he takes the Tube.  Nobody even notices the four foot bear as he stands amongst the sightseeing throng on the escalator.  In Boosh it is acceptable for the gorilla, Bollo, to pose for a portait and talk to Vince about death, just as it’s fine for them to have a chum called Naboo who is some kind of mystic, pot smoker in a funny outfit.

There’s also a real Boys-Own-Adventure feel to both Boosh and Rupert.  Not so much the adventures described in serials like the Hardy Boys, but closer in spirit to the fantastical adventures of heroes like Allan Quatermain in Haggard, or the science fiction of H.G. Wells.

In one story I read yesterday, Rupert and his chum Bill (a badger) go into a wood, climb into a car which automatically drives them into a garage where they are confronted by a mad scientist who ties an amulet on them and throws them in a time machine.  They spin through space and Rupert finds himself on a tropical island without Bill.  A monkey tells Rupert he should look on the next island for Bill, and a turtle carries Rupert across.  On the other island Rupert finds Bill, they get chased by a very black savage and are captured and tied up only to be released by the monkey.  Rupert and Bill sneak up on the sleeping savage, tie the time travel amulet on his arm, and they are all transported back to the wood where the savage chases the mad inventor into the trees.  Rupert and Bill go back home (where Mum and Dad are undoubtedly sitting about completely non-plussed).  If you included the middle section from Where the Wild Things Are in which Max and the Wild Things do a yawping, swing from the trees dance, I think you’d have quite a good Mighty Boosh episode.


The Mighty Boosh is a show that looks back.  The lead characters use video and cassette tapes instead of DVD and downloads.  They believe in a world where nothing really bad happens, where the heroes are saved at the end by their chums.  It is a world most of us would like to belong to.


Eleanor went to Te Papa yesterday.  For Eleanor, Te Papa was a series of enormous, empty rooms and long flights of stairs.  She flung herself  across the acres of grey tiles and carpet squares in great bursts of energy until she collided with a stranger or tripped herself up.  Te Papa didn’t make much sense to her.  For Daddy, Te Papa was calling “Eleanor” across large rooms, smiling apologetically at strangers, and kissing imaginary scraped knees.

I remember when Te Papa opened.  A foreign museum critic dared to say that Te Papa was a bit silly, architecturally, and a bit too much like a theme park.  Apparently this is a debate that musuem people have.  Should museums be silent rooms for the passive admiring public, or should they be interactive places?  I bet a lot of bitter ink has been spilt in the letters to the editor section of Museum Quarterly (or whatever it is museum staff read) about this.  Te Papa is both things really, but you have to pay to get into most of the bits where you silently admire things; the exhibition spaces.  It is a bit of a mixed success architecturally, but I like enough of it not to care too much.


Eleanor found two things to do in Te Papa.  In the first of the rooms designed for kids she spent quite a lot of time wrestling a large soft toy penguin to the ground.  The penguin put up quite a lot of resistance but Eleanor was tenacious.  Final score: Eleanor 4, Penguin 2.  In the second room for kids (what are they called? Adventure Zones?), Eleanor spent time sorting plastic food into baskets, buckets and a set of scales.  Eleanor loves plastic food.  A room with plastic food in it was always going to be a surefire winner.

The museum critic would not have been amused.  Stuffed penguin toys and plastic food!  Mind you, he probably doesn’t have kids.