Thursday, 26 November 2020

Where the road takes you

I almost didn't notice the flowers on the banana tree, they are so subtle - and so pretty.  We were pulling out of the carpark at The Gallery and Cafe at Helena Bay where we'd enjoyed a leisurely browse through the gallery and gardens.  I had to fire off a quick shot through the car window as the little parking lot was very crowded and we didn't want to cause a traffic jam out in the middle of nowhere.

The gallery has some beautiful pieces of artwork (at quite reasonable prices) and the hand made jewelry is stunning.  Unfortunately the piece that took my eye is a little beyond my means.

While we were there it was dismal and rainy, not the best for seeing the lush subtropical gardens and magnificent bush and sea views.   We couldn't even see the sea but it's there I assure you.

  Can you make out her eggs in the wire nest below her?

 



 

 

 

 

 

 




 I preferred this view through the trees, it looked more life like.




We must go back again when the sun is shining.  It was a bit too cool to sit on the cafe deck and take in the view while appreciating the very good food.  It's only about a 45 minute drive from here along the scenic coastal route north to Russell.  Rather than turn left to return home when we left, we decided to turn right and check out a couple of favourite beaches, it's only another hour to Russell.  

Russell was sparkling, warm in the sunshine.  It's a nice time of year to visit as it can get terribly busy in summer.  


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were lucky, the car ferry to Opua was about to depart but the lovely lass who takes your fare waited for us to come on board.  A short ride  and just over an hour later we were back at my turnoff.


Don't ask me what the big gaps in my post is all about.  I've fiddled and fiddled and can't get rid of them.  

I'm linking to My Corner of the World.

Saturday, 21 November 2020

When one falls

Gosh, that tumble shook me up.  The external injuries - the wrist, elbow and humongous bruise on my thigh - are practically healed but, oh boy, does my poor old body hurt.  Even my brain is suffering.  The doc thinks I have a mild concussion from the jolting as I hit the ground.  So just smile and be patient if I make even less sense than usual.  I've always thought of myself as a tough old bird but it seems I'm getting soft in my old age.

And you want to know the worst, the very, very worst  bit?  Almost overnight I've become less confident.  I've always been quite proud of being pretty fearless when it comes to facing life, I've never been concerned about living alone either here in New Zealand where there are few things to fear or when I lived alone in the bush in North Queensland where the snakes could be life threatening if you accidentally tangled with them.  If anyone has any tips on how I regain that confidence, please let me know.  I do no want to become risk averse from fear.  Neither do I want to fall again.

I was lucky this time, there was someone else around which isn't usual most of the time I am at the lodge.  I was walking and turning to wave goodbye to someone when I tripped, otherwise no-one would have known I'd fallen.  I would have been OK even if no-one had been there but it was nice to have a gentle, caring soul come to my assistance and render first aid, a trained first-aider no less.  Thank you, Nicky.

When I was living in Nth Queensland, as mentioned above, I fell off a ladder while trimming trees overhanging the driveway to the house.  I broke a couple of ribs and was so knocked about I couldn't get to my feet.  The fall happened about 4 o'clock on a Saturday and I figured if I didn't turn up for work on the Monday the boss would ask the man who lived out past my place to call in to see if I was OK.  I wouldn't starve to death in that time, it was summer so not cold at night, I was in the shade so the sun shouldn't hurt me too much, I'd survive.  It was a terrible night laying there, the night noises of creatures moving around was really scarey.  I even imagined that creepy crawlies crawled over me.  I tried over and over to crawl towards the house but just couldn't do it.  

Then luck was on my side.  The neighbour's driveway was on the other side of the trees I was trimming and they were in the habit of shutting their roadside gate.  Their house was quite some distance away.  Early Sunday morning they drove down the drive to go to church and heard me calling out when the wife got out of the car to open the gate.  The gate was about 50 metres from where I was, and if there had been traffic on the road, they would not have heard me.  Believe me, I was awfully glad to see them and didn't give a toss that I had grass and twigs in my hair, dirty clothes or anything else when they helped me into the A & E Dept at the hospital.  The lovely couple came back after their church service (and no doubt many prayers on my behalf) and took me home again after I'd been patched up.  I still have one rib that hasn't been broken at one time or another.  I guess ribs are my Achilles' heel.

I'm managing to move around enough to look after, Lexis, my 4 year old great-granddaughter for a few hours yesterday and today.  Her company does me the world of good.  Although I wasn't quite so impressed with her when I was awakened at 5 am by my alarm clock ringing - and it wasn't on my bedside table.  She loves dress ups and always chooses the same things.  First she gets my little red handbag, then she puts in it a silver sparkly necklace, a little coin purse and my little alarm clock.  She knows where to find these things, I don't have to help any more.  Then comes my blue sun hat, a yellow scarf and a pair of my shoes. 

So you know where this is going, right?  

When she tidied up she put the purse back on the stand, the alarm was wrapped in the scarf still in the purse which was zipped close and some distance from my bed.  My sleepy befuddled brain just could not figure out what that faint beeping noise was or where it was coming from.  So tidying up in future will include putting everything back to where it belongs.



Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Make hay while the sun shines

Summer weather has arrived, it's time to make hay.  

To be honest it was the wide open gate that first caught my eye, bales of hay are a common sight around the countryside at the moment.  Open roadside gates aren't. I guess the contractor knew those big bales weren't going anywhere.

 

I always feel disappointed when I take a photo and the outcome is not what I have seen.  Even if I had been able to get closer or been able to zoom in more, you probably wouldn't see the sentinels standing guard on the horizon or notice the gaps where a couple of them had skipped guard duty.  I do so miss having a child around who believes my silly stories and finds wonder in the imagination.

 


I'm reminded of going for a walk on the farm one day with Georgia before she started school and her telling me a story she had made up when suddenly she stopped walking and talking, then explained she didn't know what happened next cause she couldn't find it in her 'magination'.  "It's only a tiny thing", she said, "about as big as a nit so it's hard to find things sometimes." 

Several years later when she was 8 or 9 Georgia was in a creative writing class and each week would work on similes.  She'd come running in from the school bus on Wednesday afternoons and announce the word of the week, then try to include that word in all our conversations using different descriptive words until she was happy.  "Scared" , gave her great difficulty, then she came in one day announcing "I've got it.  As scared as ducks on the pond on the opening morning of shooting season."  No doubt her teacher understood.

I was so proud last week when I went with her parents to Georgia's school prizegiving where she received two awards, one was for Excellence in English. 

Some of you will remember her as a little child and here she is, the self appointed Golden Girl of Letterland (in 2009), 17 years old already.

Another grand-daughter, Jami who is at university in Wellington turns 22 today.  And my baby grand-daughter in Brasil is 7 months old.  I don't even say out loud how old my oldest grandson is.  I took a tumble a few days ago and today am feeling a bit sore and sorry for myself.

I'm linking to My Corner of the World.

 

Sunday, 15 November 2020

Swan plant and tea tree

Our manuka (tea tree) is currently in full bloom, its snowy white flowers are adding colour to the forest.


 

I can guiltily remember, when I first arrived in New Zealand, decimating a couple of trees to use the branches as kindling to light the fire.  Blame my Kiwi relatives-in-law who told me tea tree was a bit of a pest.  As I'd never lit a fire in an open fireplace in my life until then, I really appreciated how reliable it was as a fire starter.  Thankfully, these days I am a little more enlightened and appreciate the tree as the source of manuka honey with its antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. 

I don't know how I've never noticed the pretty little flowers on swan plants.  I picked up a twig that had been knocked off by a passing car.  There are a dozen or so plants lining the drive to my house, self sewn according to my neighbour. 




It won't be long and the caterpillars will come along.

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

A day for cows

Sometimes there are no animals at all to be seen alongside the road when I drive to the lodge.  Other days I give thanks if I have time to stop and take a photo of grazing cows or sheep.  On the day I took these photos, in the morning the cows were strung out along the little creek which is hard to make out in this shot.

  

On my return a few hours later they had moved towards the trees.


I'm linking to My Corner of the World.

Saturday, 7 November 2020

Cracker night

All the debate about Guy Fawkes/Bonfire/fireworks night aside who doesn't enjoy a good fireworks display?  As well as being spectacular to look at, they give an opportunity for communities and families to come together to have some fun.

Our local fire brigade is manned by volunteers who give their time to keep our community safe.  Last night they gave even more time to organise a fireworks display and I suspect inspired a few firefighters of the future.  While we waited for darkness to come they gave rides to the children in the firetruck, lights flashing, sirens blasting.  

No admittance charge although they accepted gold coin donations which in our currency is one or two dollars.   It was an extremely generous gift to the community.


 The spectators gathering on the other side of my fence.
 
At the Sports Club my daughter-in-law and two of my grand-daughters were hard at work in the kitchen preparing takeaways.


 
The firemen were on duty throughout the evening manning the hoses just in case there was a stray spark.  It was a warm, still evening so perfect conditions for it.

 Reflections in my bedroom window

This is a lively little community and from where I am situated I get to see or hear most of what is happening around me.  Two days a week I delight in the sound of pre-school children playing not far away at the Play Centre.  I often hear excited cheering from the small three teacher primary school, can usually tell when it's lunch time.  It's far enough away that I can hear the childrens' voices (a sound I love) but not be disturbed or distracted by them. All the sporting events happen at the Sports Grounds more or less next door to me.  This morning it's cricket.  Shame about the burnt out remains for the bonfire but it will grow back.

 

Thursday, 5 November 2020

Wet wood

One of the big differences I notice living in the township is that bad weather is not very noticeable.  I guess it is the protection provided by neighbouring houses and trees.  The weather is the same but it feels very different here - milder.  

There was a heavy rain warning out for today, there has been a fair bit of gentle rain, maybe the heavy stuff fell elsewhere.  My fence is one of the indicators I have of how much rain there has been.


The fence before heavy rain

The first sign this morning that the rain had started overnight


A huge collection of pallets was dropped off in the paddock on the other side of the house.  It had me puzzled for a while until I remembered there is to be a fireworks display tomorrow night for Guy Fawkes night, I guess that will be the bonfire.  I associate a bonfire with old fallen trees pushed to a reasonably accessible spot, maybe a few offcuts of timber and the odd piece of unwanted furniture.  The townie version looks quite different but I daresay it will all look the same once it is burning.  I hope the sun comes out to dry the stack out tomorrow or the local volunteer fire brigade who are putting on the fireworks display will have to show us a few tricks.

I do realize there's no logic in having a celebration to commemorate a bloke who tried to blow up the British parliament in the umpteenth century, there never was but that didn't stop us from loving bonfire night when we were kids, although we never had a bonfire as lighting big fires in November in Queensland would have been asking for trouble.   

A box of matches did the trick for us and a few boy scout type kids would light a small fire, not too big and not too many because we had a healthy respect for Mr Rafter, known to all as the boss of our venue.  And it was the venue that was the major attraction.  All the kids gathered on the wide expanse of lawn in the front of the local cemetery and the reflections of the fireworks on the headstones were spectacular.  I'm so thankful I was a child when I was and where I was.

(The date was moved to avoid bushfire season to May, Queen Victoria's birthday and was known by different names, then it sort of fizzled out in Queensland.)  The fizzle is a bit slower here, but they are becoming a thing of the past.  Only one major city in New Zealand is having a free public fireworks display this year.

I know one day fireworks will more than likely be banned as there are too many idiots torturing animals and setting fire to things (the world needs more Mr Rafters) and sadly, I agree that is what should happen.  

I feel sad that the times I grew up in are long gone when, generally, people (even children) could be trusted not to be total morons when it came to consideration of others.  For me it was always about getting together with my brothers and sisters and our mates for a bit of fun and learning a bit about fire safety along the way.  It was a big deal when we graduated from our own back yard with Mum and Dad to the cemetery.  We knew not to burn up too much of the lawn, and to pick up what we could find of the burnt out crackers or we wouldn't be allowed back the next year.  Consequences.

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Country roads

I feel as if Blogger is part of a conspiracy to get me to believe I'm losing the plot or quietly going do-lally which I think is a nicer term.  I do not wish to use the medical terms, they make it seem too real.  The observant will note I said I think it's part of the conspiracy, there are other co-conspirators out there.

I prepared a post a couple of days ago, it's still there in my list of posts with a 'Published" status but is it anywhere to be seen on my blog?  No, it is not.  I've been back in a couple of times, reverted to drafts, had a fiddle and reposted.  Nothing!  If anyone spotted Lily, please let me know.

So I'm not going to waste much time on today's post.  Just a couple of shots taken from the driver's seat along my most frequently travelled road in my corner of the world.  The dirt road is not all that wide in some places so it pays to not be driving too fast if you don't have lightning fast reflexes (which I don't have any more.)

Luckily I saw the dust trail for this monster some distance away and had plenty of time to pull over and reach for the camera.  He needed a lot of the available space on the road.

I had plenty of time to slow down for these beauties as there had been a vehicle in front of them warning of their approach.

Don't know what this fellow was doing out on the road by himself, he certainly wasn't concerned about any traffic.  Not that there is a lot.  But still.  I wound down the passenger's window and had a little chat while taking the photo.  He just gazed at me.  He was back in his paddock when I returned an hour or so later.  Either the farmer had come along and put him back in or he'd decided the grass really wasn't greener on the other side of the fence and got back in the way he'd got out.

 


I'm linking to My Corner of the World.

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Bivouacs

Not far from the Tangihua Lions Lodge is an area where kids on school camps can make bivouacs using dead material from the forest floor.  Sometimes students sleep a night in their creations.

I thought to post some photos of the efforts of the school that was there last week after I heard someone refer to the bivouac of life and held my tongue rather than admit I had no idea what he was talking about.  Thank heavens for Google.  It's a good expression referring to life as a temporary shelter.  Google tells me "it re-emphasises that we are on earth only for a limited period of time and whatever we wish for should be achieved while we are alive."





 I'm taking part in My Corner of the World

Friday, 23 October 2020

Lily

She shares my mother's name - Lily - and she's a delight to be near.  Especially when she is having a rare treat, an icecream, after her first day at kindy.


On the way home

On the way home from Taranaki I stayed in a cute little Airbnb just 9 kms off the highway in Pukekawa, cropping country.  I should have taken a photo of the brand on the bed, it was just so, so comfortable.

 

The owners obviously go to a lot of trouble to establish a tranquil rural retreat.


 


 The area has rich red soil and is known for growing a range of vegetables. 

 Potatoes, I think


Wednesday, 21 October 2020

A week somewhere else

Any time spent in Taranaki is time well spent in my book, even when it's a fair bit colder than here at home.  I didn't even complain about the wind.  Well, not much.  Spending time with my daughter and her family are added attractions, staying with her in her new home with a view of that marvellous mountain, Taranaki, make for the perfect getaway.

Taranaki is the home of Betty who hosts Welcome to my Corner of the World each week.  It might be just as well I don't live there all the time, I'd just post constant photos of that mountain.

I drove down there this time, didn't like the thought of wearing a mask for hours on two flights and while waiting in Auckland for the second flight.

I set my GPS for the temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Hamilton thinking that would be a good place for a little rest and walk around.  Should have looked it up before I left home, that would have saved me from driving out of my way only to be disappointed that it is closed for renovations (estimated to be completed in 2021).  The best I could do was a photo from the side of the road.

It wasn't very far out of my way, to be honest.  The same road gave me a very pleasant drive through to Pirongia where I had booked a Shed to stay the night.

 

A very creative couple had taken a half round farm shed and turned it into a funky and very comfortable one bedroom accommodation.  It had been raining lightly most of the way and continued to do so through the night, so I didn't get to enjoy the view of Mt Pirongia which is out there in that mist.  Despite the rain, I enjoyed what there was of the view.

It was still raining the next morning when I stopped for a cup of coffee at the Otorohanga playground.  The brightly coloured equipment looked as dismal as the weather with no children to be seen.


However, the weather cleared as I went further south and I could easily see the mountain as I drew nearer and started pulling off the road to take photos. 



My grandson, Aiden is soccer mad.  He's outside with his soccer ball for hours every day.  While I was there I got to attend his club prizegiving so could share the family pride when he won Most Valued Player for his team.


A great reward for the hours he puts in.  And a good lesson for a young bloke to learn - you have to  put in the time to reap the rewards.

This was very much a family visit, I didn't go off wandering.  Had a day shopping with my "shopper" daughter.  Three hours of it!  I was exhausted after that but have some nice new clothes that my daughter decreed as an improvement on my usual.  There are so many things one should think of when clothes shopping according to the fashionista.

Found this delightful spot one day in Pukekura Park.


Love your corner of the world, Betty.