Thursday, June 29, 2017

Wairarapa

There's some rather clever marketing going on in the Wairarapa.  I don't know why I always call the area the Wairarapa.  I've seen it referred to as both with and without the 'the'.  The area is only about an hour's drive north of Wellington and each of the little towns makes itself a destination for something in an effort to attract the Wellingtonian's weekend dollar.  Carterton, where we stayed has its central location as an advantage and claims to be the arts hub of the Wairarapa, although we didn't discover any of the authors, illustrators and painters it is home to.  

We did, however, visit Paua World where paua shell is incorporated into the jewellery and homeware which is admired by many tourists.  Not my cup of tea but there was an interesting video about the life cycle of the paua and how they harvest and polish the shells.

Stonehenge Aotearoa, on the other hand, was fascinating.  Yes, New Zealand's very own Stonehenge!  On a rural hillside, overlooking the Tararua Ranges.   A full scale working adaptation of the original, built right here in Aotearoa (New Zealand) to help us understand the wonder of stone circles.

I'd never remember everything they told us so have cheated to gather this information.
 
Stonehenge Aotearoa is a giant astronomical clock constructed from circles of stone, as is its 4000-year-old ancestor in England. Both are 30 metres in diameter, and they  have the same task, but that is where their similarities end. Our Stonehenge is designed for its specific location’s latitude and longitude. Its role is to accurately track the seasons and help New Zealanders understand the beauty, complexity and scientific truths of our southern skies.

Though there are other astronomical clocks, this one is unique as it links with Maori astronomy and the navigational points of the Maori star-compass that Kupe and his fellow sailors used to navigate their way to and from New Zealand and around the Pacific.

Richard Hall is one of New Zealand’s foremost astronomers. It was his idea to build a Stonehenge here. But this vast structure is not a one-man creation. The Phoenix Astronomical Society, which has 250 members, provided voluntary labour over a period of two years to construct it. Robert Adam spent over a thousand hours completing the required surveying and astronomical calculations and the Royal Society of New Zealand helped in the funding.

 

Near Stonehenge Aotearoa is the most frequently photographed building in the Wairarapa, known as the Haunted House at Ahiaruhe.  It sits on top of a ridge and can be seen from miles around.  It was built in Palmerston North in 1925 and moved by a farmer to this location in four pieces in the mid 1980s. The farmer intended to renovate it and make it his family home but the couple separated soon after and he was left with four children to raise at a time when it was hard to make money on a farm.  There was no money to spend on the house so he so he has left it to Nature’s devices and it has continued to deteriorate. It didn't look what I imagined a haunted house would look like.


There are fences in all my shots of Stonehenge Aotearoa, so am linking to Gosia's Fences from around the World.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Driving to Wairarapa

It was a long drive for Chris this year for our mid-winter break.  If we had taken the shortest route it would have been 1,550 km each way but we went the long way in both directions.  Via Napier on the east coast on our way south and via Te Kuiti in the west on our return.  We stayed the first night in Taupo and our last night in Taumarunui, with four nights in between in Carterton.  We were happy with our decision to stay in Carterton as it is pretty central to all Wairarapa towns and we had a very comfortable unit in the Carterton Holiday Park.

Early morning at Carteron Holiday Park on the one morning when there was no frost

GB's old stomping ground of Napier.  

 A scene GB will recognize - and a great place for a late lunch

 Hastings

Between Taupo and Napier Chris followed a sign to a lookout which, to our initial disappointment, was shrouded in fog.  Luckily we could just see the Waipunga Falls and decided that the mist added rather than detracted from them.  




Fog once again descended upon us further south until we could barely see 100 metres in front of the car.  


It lifted in some places, just enough to give what I thought was a rather romantic hue to the scenery.
 
 
Tomorrow I'll sort through my photos for some around Wairarapa.  

Friday, June 23, 2017

A few from the Wairarapa

I managed to get a few fence shots during this past week while I was in the Wairarapa.

Here are just a few, mostly just ordinary farm fences. The first two are from the car window looking towards those mountains that I loved.



This wonderful creature would never be contained by any fence.  It wasn't all that late in the day but the fog was descending. 


 Fences down an alleyway in Carterton where we stayed.


 Linking to Gosia's Fences around the World.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Taranaki fences

I'm very much an occasional blogger these days.  I don't post while I'm away from home and I've been tripping around a bit lately.    Below are some fences near my daughter's home in Taranaki.  Just practical farm fences in farming countryside.

  Raindrops clinging to a farm fence

 The family returning from a late afternoon bike ride.
 
Arriving home

 Looking back the way they have come earlier in the day.

The view from Aiden's school

Since I joined Good Fences and embraced the fence I don't need to get cross every time a fence gets in the way of my shots.  Which is just as well as it sure happens a lot!  Now I just have to learn to love power poles!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

My new friend

I get the best baby sitting gigs.  This time it is Smudge, the family's new kitten.  It's the most laid back little cat I've ever come across, spent half an hour exploring the house, finally decided a cushion on the couch in front of the heater is the top spot - and went to sleep.  Maybe she didn't like being awakened by a camera poked in her face.  But no doubt she will get used to it.


I returned from a week in Taranaki a few days  ago.  I helped to celebrate my baby daughter turning 40!  For some reason that made me older than my oldest son turning 50 recently.  The mind works in mysterious ways.  The nights were cold with fresh snow on the mountain although cloud passed in front of it every time I pointed my camera in its direction.  I'll be back down there in mid July when there will be more snow and more photographic opportunities.  I never tire of trying to capture the beauty of that mountain.


It must be the crisp, cold air that makes for such lovely sunsets in Taranaki.  I was out the back of my daughter's house taking photos when she told me to go around the front, the sunset was even better in that direction. 
 
 Back yard view

 Front yard view

My friend, Chris and I take off for our annual mid-winter break later this week.  This year we have decided to visit the Wairarapa, the southern most part of the North Island.  A fair way from home, about 770 kms (around 480 miles) and probably a whole lot colder but we will pack our winter woollies. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Foggy morn


It's that time of year when I can imagine all sorts of mystical, magical things happening up in the forest.



The little people could be out dancing with the cows and we would never know.


Mornings are cool but not cold.  Well, not inside my warm home.  It could be different if I were the one to get up early to milk those cows. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Monday, May 15, 2017

Towards home

Yesterday, mid morning on a cool, sunny day I had time for a wander around near the house on my son and daughter-in-law's "other" farm, the one on which they are milking hundreds and hundreds of cows at Mititai.  It's about a 15 minute drive from here, so the hills that are close to here seem far, far away.  

I didn't have my camera so, for the first time, took landscape photos with my phone. 



 After a lovely Mother's Day breakfast cooked by my son and views like that, who wouldn't be happy?  Thanks, Dan.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

From back when

My mind has been taking me back to Scotland a lot lately.  Scrolling down memory lane via my photos I came across this shot of crofts.  And, thankfully, I had labelled it properly because I would never have have remembered the name of the village - Eoropaidh, on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides.  I think of it as the place where they farm fences. 


 My friend, Graham had taken me to this spot to visit St Moluag's, a 12th Century church which stands about 100 metress back off the road, accessed by a path between two crofts.



Friday, May 5, 2017

Morning, noon and night fences

It's that time of year where we often have a foggy morning followed by a clear, sunny day.




And in the evening, we've had some pretty sunsets. I was driving home and hoping to get to a particular spot to capture this sunset but stopped to take this shot when I realized it was going to be dark in a few more minutes.  I had to lighten the image so you could see the fences on either side of the road.


Linking to Gosia's Fences around the World.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Pataua south

One of my grand-daughters is adventuring in Thailand at the moment and constantly in my thoughts. My thoughts of her today lead me to drive out to Pataua South, where she once (or maybe twice) holidayed when she was younger, and a total contrast to the hustle and bustle she is currently experiencing.  

Today I chatted briefly to a lady and her elderly mother who were enjoying a picnic by the quiet, gentle waters of the inlet.  I crossed the footbridge to Pataua North on the other side, to the wild ocean beach.  No surfers to be found on this sunny but cool day.  

 Whangarei Harbour


The perfect day for fishing in the harbour

 Pataua South

 taken from Pataua North side of footbridge


 North side entry

Friday, April 28, 2017

Working fences

The majority of fences around here have a job to do.  Either to keep animals in - or keep them out.  I took the first photo a couple of weeks ago and the other two today on my way home from town.



I converted this to black and white trying to show up the sheep on the hill in the background.  They are still a bit hard to see.

 
 Linking to Gosia's Good Fences.