SOMETHING quite extraordinary happened today. I didn’t expect it, nor did my husband.
I grew up without A A Milne’s Winnie the Pooh. It was as an adult that I came to see how the stories, matched with Shepard’s drawings, make for something wonderful. They are funny, charming, and profound.
My husband likes Piglet and his curly tail. I love Eeyore, probably because I see something of myself in him. We both like Pooh.
That is why we set off to see the newly-released film, Christopher Robin, starring Ewan McGregor. It was cool in the cinema and I thought that was the reason my husband was pulling his hankie out of his pocket often, very often.
The film finished and as we walked out of the theatre, I broke down. My husband said that he, too, was greatly affected by it and cried throughout.
We found our car and sat there quietly weeping and comforting each other before heading home.
Why were we crying? We both realised it was a film about loss and growing up, about missing a raggy, favourite toy and the joy of a balloon.
But, it was much more than that. We cried for ourselves, our families and others. And we cried for those who have never had a proper childhood, those who were robbed because of abuse of various kinds.
Becoming adult is not easy, leaving behind childhood’s playful innocence is hard.
How much harder for those forced out of childhood way, way too soon. That is the great and overwhelming sadness too many carry.
Julie Robinson, Cardiff
Sunny day in Newcastle
MAYBE this will put a smile on Wal Remington's face (Letters, 12/9). On Tuesday I had to be at Newcastle court for 9am. I decided to catch the bus in from Hamilton North. It was exactly on time.
I jumped off in Hunter Street west and walked around the corner to Wickham interchange. I waited just one minute for the city loop free bus. Both drivers were welcoming, friendly people.
The trip up Honeysuckle Drive went smoothly and I jumped off at the stop near Honeysuckle Hotel to walk through Civic Station onto Hunter Street. I was early for my appointment so decided to have coffee and toast at Blue Door. I was given wonderful service and enjoyed my breakfast.
After finding out my appointment was postponed for a few hours I decided to stay in the city and enjoy the sunny day. I wandered along Hunter Street and browsed in numerous shops along the route, especially in the mall. Every shop keeper greeted me cheerily and encouraged me to enjoy my browsing, one even offered me a free coffee because he was about to have one himself!
At one shop I bought a book for $7 – bargain! At one stage I enjoyed lazing in the sun on the terraced grassed area (where the overhead walkway used to be).
All in all, I loved my morning stroll and interaction with people along the way. With many of the construction barricades now gone, a much tidier, better version of the city is starting to emerge. I congratulate the business owners who have been able to hang on during the construction chaos. I hope they begin to reap the rewards now that the city is coming back to life.
I cannot wait for the light rail to start running. And I hope the light rail track is eventually extended right out to Merewether beach and our entertainment and sport precinct at Broadmeadow.
Bring it on!
Natalie Williams, Hamilton North
Health going up in smoke
IT was with much dismay I read an article in Wednesday’s Newcastle Herald that smoking is now being allowed on the Newcastle university campus (‘Backflip’, Herald, 12/9).
Apparently the university’s about face was driven by disgruntled overseas fee-paying students who want to puff and/or cough anywhere they wish. It’s bad enough we are selling Australia to who ever has the fattest wallet, but now it appears our health polices are under attack from the dollar as well.
I do have a suggestion that might benefit those that like ingesting carcinogenic chemicals: why not sign up now for a heart-lung transplant? Payments could be made in stages so in a few years when your internal organs fail everything is ready to go.
To those attending the university that choose not to smoke, try a class action, before you succumb to the effects of passive smoking. It’s a sad day when overseas influence also dictates our health policies.
Nick Ryder, Booragul
Bans not always answer
I DO not like cigarette smoking or the health problems it causes, but I sympathise with Newcastle university’s decision to open specific smoking areas. Adults have the right to smoke if they wish, and banning smoking does not necessarily stop them. Even the region’s hospitals find it difficult to police their non-smoking policies as evidenced by butts littering certain areas around their buildings.
The main university campus is set in bushland, and if a cigarette butt starts a fire significant damage could occur. Attempting to limit smoking to less dangerous areas could be the best compromise the university can achieve.
Life is not always black and white.
Wendy Webb, Belmont
Foreshore for the future
AS one of the 502 local attendees (plus two councillors) at the community rally to save the Toronto Foreshore near Bath Street from a council-proposed high rise, I was very impressed at the professionalism of the meeting and the sheer volume of background research that the Toronto Foreshore Protection Group put into the presentation.
A recent contributor to the editor coined the wonderful phrase “preservation is progress” (Letters, 12/9).
This was the unanimous sentiment of those present. The locals would be happy with some facilities on this patch of scarce foreshore, perhaps similar to those on the Warners Bay foreshore.
One option would be to keep the historical railway theme of this area. Renovate an old railway carriage for a café or restore the old “Coffee Pot” train and run short trips on the rails from the Toronto rail station.
There is a high-rise development scheduled to be built opposite this site which will bring an influx of 268 cars and the current infrastructure cannot support that, let alone a similar construction.
We ask Lake Macquarie City Council to spare us another eyesore and retain some semblance of the historical value of this foreshore area for our grandchildren.
Carole Obre, Toronto
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LETTER OF THE WEEK
The Herald pen goes to Julie Robinson for her letter about childhood.