Peter Pan – Susie Dunn

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susie dunn

“Second star to the right, and straight on ‘til morning …” were Peter Pan’s unforgettable directions to his home in Neverland. Imagination gives you clear images of things that, they say, are not really there.

I can’t imagine a world without imagination, and it would be unspeakably sad if devices and manufactured virtual worlds took the place of our own imagination – particularly in the minds of children. Armidale’s Fairy Lady can certainly take (not only children) on a spell-binding journey into another special and magical world she can conjure up, capturing us within the kind and exciting world she inhabits (with Mr. Gnome as back-up). I for one am certainly a willing traveller straight on ‘til morning with her.

From imagination comes resourcefulness, creativity and the road to that innovation our Prime Minister is so keen to see. Never underestimate the importance, power and comfort of imagination to change and improve things.

(I do admit to a downcast moment recently when I saw in the SMH’s Company Notices a “Winding Up Order and Appointment of Liquidators of Dreams Come True (NSW) Pty Ltd.” I have no idea – and don’t want to know – what the company actually did, but the notice struck a pang in me.)

Balancing life is a good guide ‘til morning, remembering that imagination needs room to work.

We all have times that can have a “pinch of magic and a sprinkle of stardust”. The beautiful, talented Deidre Rickards led a strings performance at the end of last year at PLC that was one of my golden moments for 2015. From the small girls and their small violins, the concert built up to the most stirring finale with the tiny ones, through the Juniors and Seniors to some ex-students now at Conservatoria in Sydney and Brisbane. It lifted our hearts – and the roof off at the same time. And I can’t claim to be musical.

2016 has cranked up, and we are well into the 21st Century. Fingers crossed this year shows the blossoming of possibilities for the malls in Armidale. The opening of new fashion boutique FRAMED gives an edgy international city style, and choices for different markets in fashion and food in our malls offer us a blend of something for everyone. And of course, established locals such as Concepts and Turners both hit the spot for their very loyal markets.

I’d again like to float a discussion point from an elephant sitting in an armchair in the corner of our room. Should we be thinking of trialling a mix of retail examples from many other places (including Gloucester and Uralla)? Some places in Armidale already follow this pattern.

Reality tells us the biggest market for the sort of special “recreational retail” available in certain precincts may not be 9 – 5, Mondays to Fridays in the world’s changing economy.

What’s the point of creating marvellous specialist shops and cafés, when their market is often unavailable to take advantage of them? When can most people find the time in busy working weeks for recreational dining and shopping with family and friends? Give people what they want, and they turn up. Wages based on hours worked are welcomed by those who look for more flexible ways to manage their lives. Would it be advantageous for some businesses to close for two different days – say, Monday and Tuesday, or to stage their opening hours? Just a bone to chew without anyone needing to panic politically or shoot from the hip before thinking through the various alternative directions and opportunities for particular businesses. Or not. Just musing …

Finding that balance in life and surrounded as we are by the ever-present natural environment, gives us perspective on the realities of our beautiful, fragile world. Our imagination can surely give us the perfect launch pad for our thoughts, plans and ideas to flourish.

Susie Dunn.

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