Friday, May 4, 2018

Back to Pouto

In just over a week I will be flying to Cairns in North Queensland to meet my sister, Trish and start a road trip down the east coast.  I have so many things to do before then, the only sensible thing to do right now is postpone everything and do a post to catch up about my latest little road trip with my daughter, Leone to Pouto.  The theory is it will clear my brain.  Hah!

On Monday we left home around 9 am, spent time wandering around the shops in Dargaville, while my car was having a small part fitted in the garage, had lunch before leaving town, then took a couple of detours before finally catching up with my niece and her husband at Pouto Point, sometime around 4 pm.  Had we simply driven from here to there it would have taken less than 2 hours.
The weather was changeable from minute to minute.

Kellys Bay looked foreboding and moody at low tide.

The colourful poles on the little jetty brightened the scene.  You can see by the puddles in the foreground that it had just stopped raining.

All was calm looking down the harbour.  

Leone always enjoy going back to Pouto.  It was the first place we lived when we moved to New Zealand.  She, and her brothers have wonderful memories of carefree, happy childhood days on the beach and nearby bays at Pouto Point. 

It's always a thrill to walk out on to the beach, see that beautiful harbour, feel the wind in your hair. There's nearly always a breeze at Pouto.  I know this isn't much of a photo but it was my pick from the trip.  The cousins stopped before stepping on to the beach to talk about the olive trees.  My daughter really does have an odd listening pose, doesn't she?

It gladdens my heart to see how the bonds formed in childhood are still strong.

We enjoyed a pleasant walk, the morning was cool but warmed up as we walked.  Sometimes it is wild and blustery on the beach with the wind giving a free microdermabrasion session, but not on Tuesday.  

 Beach fluff
Beach sculpture

Walking down through the trees to the little beach just around from the point.  We stayed in this house, right on this beach when we first arrived.  After living in the dry north west of Queensland, it was like heaven.  (And still is!)

Recently blown in black sand on the beach.  The next storm could bring in snowy white sand.  And sad evidence of erosion.

Thank you to Christine for the wonderful tour you gave us to all the old sights.  Below is Sheehan's Creek (the photo taken from her brother, Simon's farm)  where the children and I returned to holiday a few times after we had left Pouto.

Christine's contented cows

My fascination for churches remains.  This is the little church at Waikaretu Marae with its beautiful window that I found impossible to photograph.

Christine and Andrew exemplify the friendliness and hospitality for which Pouto is well known.  I've never known them to be any different. May they never change.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

A change of scenery

There's nothing like being busy to make the time fly.  It seems impossible that I haven't been back to The Paddock since 10 January.  And this is only a fleeting visit.  I've been beavering away writing about my ancestors.  It's been time consuming but very rewarding.  I've loved finding out more about the amazing bunch of pioneers who came before me.  It's made me wonder a few times about how closely linked are bravery and craziness.  

Yesterday, I felt I just couldn't sit at the computer for a day longer, so I grabbed my camera, which hasn't seen the light of day for so long, and headed out.

I enjoyed a walk in the bush.  We've had a lot of rain lately, the ground is very damp and all the plants and trees looked so clean and shiney.  I was taken by the many shades of green.


And then the back roads called.

It always feels so good to stand by the side of the road, not a soul in sight, and take in the view. 

Back at home, the last dahlia of every summer is on its last legs.  Winter is coming!

Now back to this week's ancestor -

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

52 Ancestors

I've done it!  Created another blog to dedicate to 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.  I'll be lucky if I can stand up straight, I've spent so long at the computer doing that and writing the story of the first of my featured ancestors, my grandfather Jesse Noah Osborne.  

It's over here if anyone wants to have a look

But I warn you.  It's long and it's a very personal view.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Update before the side road

I've lost the blogging mojo.  I can think of a few reasons why, none of them are very interesting.  But I want to keep the blog going as a diary for myself.  I've often found what I've been struggling to remember on my blog.  Thank heavens for Labels.    

So, before I head off on the side road I intend to take, let me first do a little update.

A couple of weeks before Christmas, I took a few friends for a visit to Pouto.  A young relative, Christine and her charming husband, Andrew welcomed us and showed us around in true hospitable Pouto style.  

Pouto never disappoints.

Bernie and I also had a day trip across to Glinks Gully on the west coast.  It was a windy, blustery day, quite chilly on the beach.  I've deleted my photos by mistake but they weren't very clear anyway.   It was too misty. 

Bernie was home for Christmas and we had lovely, family togetherness in the forest.   Lots of fun and activity.  Thanks to Georgia, Justine and Heather for organising the Family Survivor games for us all. 

The six year old testing one of the Survivor challenges

 Every Survivor game must include a puzzle.  The Pippa Pig puzzle took ages with so many fingers

  On a hot day a water slide is almost compulsory

And now it's 2018.  The highlight of the year so far has been a beautiful wedding at the lodge.   A bunch of energetic, creative young people turned the lodge and surrounds into a magical venue surrounded by bush.

They erected platforms and canopies and a "poruwa", a beautifully decorated, traditional wooden platform.  My introduction to Sri Lankan wedding customs and one I thoroughly enjoyed, despite the rain.

The poruwa
Quite a number of wedding guests camped in the nearby clearing and survived the storm which swept over the country quite well.

My favourite shot of the handsome couple.

The side road I mentioned above is a 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks challenge.  I don't know how it works but the first hint is:  Week 1 - Start so I will start tomorrow and find out.  I needed something to kick me back into family story mode.   I'm thinking I might do it on a separate blog.  Will ponder on that overnight. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Mental soundtracks

A few days ago I was up at the lodge in the early evening after the last school to use the lodge this year had departed.  I walked around to the confidence course and was struck by the silence and a haunting sense of loneliness.  In my imagination I could hear the shrieks of excited children and picture them unleashing their inner monkey on the different challenges. 

Is it just me or does a place designed for youngsters always look desolate when all is quiet and we are just left with our mental soundtracks.

The next evening I was out by the dam, another place  where my mental soundtrack has splashing and laughter playing.  The blue raft in the middle of the shot looks wrong sitting there amongst the rushes. 

Bring on Christmas I say.   Then what plays in my head will be matched with what I see.  Bring back the children.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sights of summer

For Kiwis nothing says Christmas like the pohutukawa tree.  Its blazing red flowers have earned it the title of New Zealand's Christmas tree.  It starts to flower in November and usually stops by Christmas and New Year, with its peak in mid to late December.  This is a great time of year to find myself with time to kill.  It's a joy to wander looking for flowering pohutukawa.  I found them blooming right on time along Princes Road, Ruakaka earlier last week.

 Providing a beautiful canopy over the road down to the beach

Framing the view out to The Hen and Chickens (that's Taranga, the Hen, pictured.  I think.) 

 Looking across to Whangarei Heads

Legend has it that if the pohutukawa flowers early it will be a long hot summer.  I've noticed the cabbage trees flowering.  That has always been my go to for a predictor of summer.  And, yes, I thought they were early.

The only blight on my time at the beach was this oystercatcher.  I think it was injured, it didn't fly off as I approached as I expected it to and didn't move in the time I watched it.  I think it was keeping a wary eye on me.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Make hay while the sun shines

or before that rain in the mountain comes down here.

How different hay making is from my introduction to it in the early 70s.  Back then the sight of that rain so close by would have caused great consternation. Back in the day hay making was a lengthy process.  The grass had to be mowed, turned and aerated, turned again and combed into tidy rows before the baling.  With delays in between each activity for drying to take place.   And much discussion between everyone involved about the timing and the weather.  The whole business took days with the 'haymakers' needing to be fed and watered on a regular basis.  It seemed like the more people involved in the picking up of the bales the better.  A baled paddock would be swarming with people. I kid you not.  The bales had to be lined up so the truck coming along with an attachment to pick them up and load them on to a truck could do so without much manoeuvring.  If you were lucky enough to possess such a device.  Otherwise, brawn was required to throw each bale up on to the deck of a truck for transporting to a haybarn where it all had to be unloaded and stacked.  My younger son paid for a good proportion of his university study by haymaking during his summer holidays.  For the farmer's wife who had to feed the masses it would be hard to get an accurate headcount to know how many to expect for dinner which often had to be served at 9 or 10 o'clock at night when all the hay was finally stacked in the hayshed. 

This morning Campbell, the young farm manager, mowed the grass in the paddock opposite my house somewhere around 8 am.  (I think. I should have looked at the clock.)  He moved on to the paddock behind the house and before he had finished there the baler and the tedder had arrived.   I used to think 'the tedder' was my ex's nickname for the machine, I have no idea where the name originated because it doesn't say 'machine that turns and aerates the grass' to me. 

Anyway, it looked like these two were chasing each other around the paddock.

By around 10 am they had finished baling the two paddocks near my house and now, not yet lunch time, I can hear the machinery working away on the hills on the other side of the farm.  Nearly finished.  No rain.  There were three men involved and three machines.  Sometime soon these monster bales can be easily lifted by a tractor and moved elsewhere for storage. 

Neatly wrapped baleage, or silage in a bag, sitting in the paddock.

I'd noticed a neighbour's new bales neatly stacked on the far side of this paddock earlier in the week.

We are seeing the typical sights of summer a little earlier than usual this year.  La Niña is doing her thing.  It seems ridiculous that after all the moaning I did about the wet, wet winter to say it is now quite dry.  Alarmingly dry.  Cracks are starting to appear in the ground.  I'm becoming even more weather obsessed than usual!