Gorbo Touches Down

Greetings All, if you read my last post, Has Anyone Seen Gorbo? you will know I was paying homage to the imagination and resilience of children.

My five year old grand daughter and I had decided that since I could not visit her, Gorbo would go instead. (Gorbo is a large monkey, a much-loved soft toy from my children’s childhood.) And so began our pretend story. You can read the post Has Anyone Seen Gorbo? see the photos and check out the story so far. Those who have read it, will know that he was on his way to see my grand daughters in Auckland.

Gorbo packed and ready

My five year old grand daughter and I had decided that since I could not visit her, Gorbo would go instead.  Under the auspices of Magic Airways.com she made him an aeroplane to travel in and I helped him pack and waved  goodbye. But he did not arrive.

After he left my house, I had handed the responsibility of his travel arrangements over to T, as we call her for short, but it turned out that pretend travelling in lock down can have as many complications as the real thing.  I persuaded T to contact MagicAirways.com. and see what was happening.

After a lot of discussion about what was real and what was pretend she did so and found that Gorbo’s flight had diverted to Wellington where he was  in the Koru Lounge, being looked after as the VIP he is. And then, nothing. Magic Airways lost contact for a few days. Had anyone seen Gorbo? I did hear from an undisclosed source, that Gorbo was living it up with a group of friends and had been seen swinging though the rafters at Wellington Airport.  See below. I can’t spot him but maybe you can. Finally on Monday T heard from MagicAirways.com that Gorbo was booked into seat seven and was to arrive that night. But …again no Gorbo.  However yesterday, someone reported they had seen him flying over Mount Taranaki in his cardboard box aeroplane,which inspired T to prepare a landing strip for his arrival. This  being a pretend story it had to be pink.  See below.

Aeroplane Landing Strip
Minnie Mouse Customs Officer

The Customs Officer awaits. (Minnie Mouse got the job.) The power of the imagination! She’s very glamorous isn’t she? And of course there had to be a welcome party. Here they are below.

The Official Welcome Party

Several seem to have fainted in the excitement of waiting. Apparently T has arranged a special treat.  Gorbo will be taken to McDonalds where there will be a party for him and he will be given a free toy. If I know Gorbo he will be delighted.

Breaking News at 5.30pm. Gorbo has arrived. I am waiting for a photo. I hope he has a nice time up there. I quite miss him. Lucky it’s a pretend story!

A few hours later…I have received a photo!  Gorbo arrived complete with a new friend, Jo, who also helped with the flying. Apparently it was a pretty rough trip. It has been a bit wet over the last couple of days…Gorbo isn’t in the photo. It seems he is still suffering from air sickness and had to rush off. Or maybe he ate too many goodies …

But you can see that the plane has suffered a battering. What an adventure they’ve both had! The McDonalds treat might have to wait for tomorrow.

The End

Lots of us are wishing that Covid 19 is a pretend story too! I wish you all the best in developing the skills we all need to manage this new way of life. Be kind to yourselves and others. Multiple Blessings and Arohanui, Helen and family. Thank you to my grandchildren and their patient mums for supporting the emergence of this story.








Tuesday Poem – Cow – by James Norcliffe

He is learning language.

He points.


The table is a cow.

The plate is a cow.

The book is a cow

with a cow on the cover.

The fridge magnet is a cow.

The fridge magnet is a picture of a cow.


And then I see I have it all wrong:


The cow is a table.

The cow is a plate.

The cow is a book.

The fridge magnet is a cow.


And he wants to tell Papa

And he wants to tell Mama

He is pointing at a table,

A plate and a book.

He is pointing at a cow

stuck on the fridge.

The cow is a fridge magnet.

The fridge magnet is a cow.


The fridge is a large white cow.

The large white cow is a fridge.

(c) James Norcliffe

As you might have guessed family is important to James. He and his wife, Joan Melvyn, have two children, Tom and Elizabeth, and three grandchildren. One aged 7 lives in Christchurch and the other two in the UK: one 5 and the other 2 and a half.  It was Sebastian, the youngest, who inspired this poem.

James says: The poem is probably self explanatory, but I might add that small children not only sometimes get intoxicated by language and individual words and that they often make us re-think the logic of things we take for granted. In this case a little like the surrealist Magritte’s painting of a pipe – The Treachery of Images – which included the words ceci n’est pas une pipe (this is not a pipe).

Magritte said: “The famous pipe. How people reproached me for it! And yet, could you stuff my pipe? No, it’s just a representation, is it not? So if I had written on my picture “This is a pipe”, I’d have been lying!”

James Norcliffe was born in Greymouth. His family moved to Christchurch when he was young, and apart from periods spent in China in the late 1980s and Borneo in the 1990s, he has always lived in or near Christchurch. As well as family, he also has a great love of gardening and trees.

While James has always been a teacher, he has also been a writer and editor for many years. He has published a collection of short stories called The Chinese Interpreter, ten collections of poetry, and ten novels for young adults, including the award-winning The Assassin of Gleam and The Loblolly Boy. James has been involved with Takahe magazine and has had a long and continuing involvement with the Christchurch School for Young Writers. Currently he is an editor for the on-line journal Flash Frontier….A new children’s novel Malory, Malory or the Revenge of the Tooth Fairy will be published by Puffin this year and his first adult novel will come out from Penguin Random House. To read more go here

Thank you for sharing this previously unpublished poem with us James. I love the logic of Sebastian’s  thinking.  Children …what would we do without them?

To my readers, I hope you are doing well in lock down,wherever you are. I also hope that in NZ it goes on for longer than four weeks. I don’t see how we can get rid of the virus otherwise. Multiple blessings Be safe be well, be kind to yourselves and each other. Helen