Friday, 30 July 2010

FSO - Things that Barry made us think of

Barry, a founding member of the Friday My Town Shoot Outs, is gone.  Good fortune lead me to discover his blog An Explorer's View of Life early in my blogging life.  He immediately became an inspiration. 

Although our Friday Shoot Outs are primarily about photography, I remember Barry more for his writing, his stories about his adventures with his beloved dog, Lindsay.  That man sure knew how to tell a story! 

It has been an honour to walk alongside him and his lovely wife, Linda through his illness, to learn from his bravery, to be touched by his loving spirit.   

Thank you, Nan for suggesting this topic.  We all loved Barry, we all want to honour his memory.

I'm sure there will be as many interpretations of this topic as there are posts.  We each have our own way of expressing grief.  It's not something I am good at, it's something I am very private about.

My grand-daughter, Georgia and I often fancy ourselves as intrepid explorers, so yesterday afternoon we set out to explore around the farm where I am housesitting, me with camera in hand and thoughts on Barry.

We came to a creek crossing.  An "interesting" bridge had been built to allow access to the other side when the water is too deep for a vehicle.  I guess this bridge is used by a farm bike but there's no way I would attempt it.  Sometimes the paths we are forced to take are not as safe and secure as we would choose.  I saw the bridge as the path Barry's life took.  His treatment took him along a path that may have restored him to health.  Instead it was a rough path which lead him to the other side.

Georgia very cautiously crosses the bridge.

We looked down at the water rushing by under our feet.  For the moment we are safe from the turbulent waters.

A little kingfisher sitting on a power line reminded me of how Barry had flown in his very last post.  His spirit is now free.

Barry had a quote from T. S. Eliot on his blog.  I'd like to end with another from the same source:

“You do not know how much they mean to me, my friends, and how, how rare and strange it is, to find in a life composed so much of odds and ends… to find a friend who has these qualities, who has, and gives those qualities upon which friendship lives. How much it means that I say this to you -without these friendships - life, what cauchemar!”

Monday, 26 July 2010

The four girls

Last weekend my older daughter, Leone and her lovely daughter, Jami, visited.  It was to be very much a girls weekend.  We met up with my son, Danny and his wife, Heather early on Saturday morning to watch their twins play soccer.  Krystal and Shayde played very well, holding their own with the rest of the team, all boys.  Shayde has loved playing with balls since she was a tiny tot and has spent probably hundreds of hours with a ball at her feet.  She can kick naturally off either foot, a very handy skill for a soccer player. 

It was a nicer morning than it looks in this photo:

I'm house sitting at the moment and there is a huge lawn.  Danny and Heather headed home after joining Leone and me for a cuppa after the game, leaving the girls here to play.

And play they did.  All day, with only a brief stop for lunch.  The first pizza for lunch disappeared before we even had the second prepared!  Healthy girls with healthy appetites!

Krystal, Jami, Shayde and Georgia

We all went for a walk to visit the resident ostrich.  The girls were sure that was a worm hanging from its mouth but it really was grass.

They were amazed at the number of eggs - and the size of them.  There were probably three times this number:

While Leone and Shayde played even more soccer, the other three made themselves a hut:

They had come to me wanting pantyhose to tie it together but when they found that wasn't going to happen, they went completely natural:

What a thoroughly lovely day it was!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

No church on Sunday

Until my back improves and I can sit for longer I will be having a bit of a blogging holiday.  So there's no church to visit this Sunday.

Instead I just have a few photos I took Friday afternoon on my way home from work.  Just south of Whangarei is a small picnic area and lookout, with a lovely view down Whangarei Harbour.  Usually I just drive past but on Friday I felt the need to stop and takes a few deep breaths.  I'd been rushing around a bit at work and felt a bit wound up so I pulled over, thinking I'd walk around to ease my back a bit.  But no sooner had I stopped than it started to rain so I just sat in the car.  (It's not the sitting that hurts my back, it's the getting back on to my feet after sitting!)

I hadn't been there long when another car pulled up, a man got out of the passenger seat with a jar in his hand, walked over to the grass and scattered bird feed  around, calling loudly, "Here, chook, chook, chook."  And immediately the hens and roosters that live in the wild around the picnic area, emerged from the bushes. 

He told me he buys a bag of chook meal every week and stops to feed the fowls every time he comes to town.  Because it was raining he didn't linger but I benefitted from his visit.

One cheeky sparrow joined his much bigger cousins but was quickly chased away. 

The rest of his mates sat on a flax bush and looked and waited.

Friday, 23 July 2010

FSO shoes and feet

Last Sunday, as I was cleaning my shoes, in preparation for another working week, I thought about this topic, shoes and feet.  I decided there is no way I would post a photo of my feet.  They look a bit like these:

I've had a sore back so sensible boots are what's needed at the moment:

I love my boots, they are quite waterproof and have great tread.  I wear my boots to work and can then wear them around the farm.  Mud is easily removed.  Give them a bit of a polish and they are as good as new.  Oh, and did I say how warm they are?

Last Monday,Semester 2 started where I work and new students were welcomed with a powhiri at our Marae.    The powhiri recognises the coming together of two groups that are separated not only physically but also spiritually. It is a profound acknowledgement that we are all creatures of a spiritual realm.  While generally seen as a courtesy the principle of removing ones shoes is also a symbolic of leaving  the dust of Tu Matauenga (God of War) outside so that it does not soil the house of Rongo (God of Peace).

After all the students had filed inside there was an interesting collection of shoes at the door, representative of the diverse range of students.

I guess I'm just not a shoes and feet person.  Faces, I like but I rarely look down to check out the feet.  The footwear I like most are like the faces I like most, weathered and worn, those that tell a story.

Thanks for the topic, JarieLyn.  I bet there are some great shoes and feet photos coming our way from Las Vegas. 

I will be interested to see how the creative FSO people interpret this week's theme. 

Just a few more random feet:

Tui feet

Dog foot

flying feet

and Georgia is happy she has running feet

Saturday, 17 July 2010

A Church on Sunday – Around Horeke and Okaihau

It was after we left Rawene that the navigator (guess who?) told Chris to take a left instead of a right and we ended up heading towards the east coast instead of travelling west around the top of the Hokianga Harour to its northern shore.  Ah well.  It just meant we saw a few extra churches. 
But before we went astray we took a short detour to Mangungu Mission, another place maintained by the Historic Places Trust.  The mission was established  in 1828 as the second Wesleyan Mission in New Zealand.  The house was built in 1838 and there is also a smaller house which is inhabited, probably by the caretaker.   The Mission is famous as having been the scene of the largest gathering to discuss and sign the Treaty of Waitangi in February 1840.
In the mid 1850s the house was moved to Auckland to be used as a Methodist parsonage and later sold to private owners.  Upon the deaths of the owners, it was purchased by the Historic Places Trust and returned to its present site.
Mangungu Mission Collage
It was raining when we arrived but we dashed from car to the front verandah of the house to take photos and took the rest out of the car window. 
The rain became a bit persistent so it was a matter of spot a church, stop and dash out for a quick shot and scramble back into the car.   In one there was a huge cobweb.  I’m so glad Chris spotted it before I walked into it!  I think it was the very old one on the top left, which was the only one that was opened., and where we found the English and Maori prayer book that gave us a hint as to where we were.    It was a long time since anyone had been in that church I think. 
collage taheke with background
It was getting late, time for us to think about where we would find a bed for the night! 

Friday, 16 July 2010

FSO Transitions

A combination of working full time this past week and a sore back (surely it can’t be from sitting so much at work?) has stopped me from having much to contribute this week. 
Every morning as I drive to work I see my favourite tree.  And every morning lately I look for signs of fresh growth.  None yet, but soon (the next photo was taken in Sept last year) this stark beauty will make the transition from this:
fav winter to this:
I forgot when I stopped to take yesterday’s photo what spot I had taken the previous one from.  Yesterday I was just up around that left hand bend. 
Thanks for the topic, Redlan.  I’m sorry I’m not up to it. 
To check out Redlan’s interpretation from the Iloilo City, Philippines  just click here.  Or why not have a look at everyone who has participated this week?  You will find them here.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Clendon House, Rawene

Between visits to churches in Rawene Chris and I visited Clendon House.  It’s a shame we weren’t there on a day it is open to the public but we enjoyed wandering around outside. 

When I looked up Clendon House I became fascinated with James Reddy Clendon and wondered how the United States Consul at Okiato (the first capital of NZ) from 1839-41 came to settle in Rawene. I presumed he had been American but no, he was born in England. He started out as a ship owner (how does a young man get to be a ship owner?) married in Sydney, Australia and their first child was born in London. There’s a story there for sure, he married in October, 1826 and the child was born in January, 1827.  By 1830 he had bought property in the Bay of Island (on the other coast from Rawene) and returned to London.

In 1832 he purchased a schooner and sailed back to NZ. He settled in Okiato, I guess that’s where all the action was as it was the capital back then, and started up a successful trading station supplying whaling ships working in the Pacific Ocean. He backed the winning party in a argument over sovereignty and witnessed the signing of the Declaration of the Independence of New Zealand in 1835.

Five years later, despite representing the US, he assisted in negotiating the recognition of British sovereignty over New Zealand and was a witness to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

We went on to be a member of New Zealand’s first Legislative Council and a magistrate.

His first wife died in 1855 and in January 1856 (mmm), aged 55, he married an 18 year old girl named Jane. After six children with his first wife he then had eight children with Jane and they settled and built the house in Rawene in 1862. He died in 1876, leaving the still young Jane to pay off a mountain of debt in order to keep Clendon House in the family. In 1972 their descendents sold the house, complete with its contents, to the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, who have maintained it and opened it to the public.

I’ve looked but can’t find a book about him. Surely there must be one!

clendon house

As is befitting an historic place, an historic tree is helped to stay upright:

clendon house tree

I’d love to go inside for a look around next time I visit the Hokianga.  As it was I could only take photos of the old clothes wringer  and meat safe on the back verandah.

clendon house clothes wringer 

clendon house meat safe

Sunday, 11 July 2010

A Church on Sunday - Rawene

down the road

Rawene was built in the early settler period and the town is proud of its history and beautiful environment and immaculately maintained historic buildings.  It is one of the country's oldest European settlements.

The population is around 500.

Rawene started as a timber centre, with a mill and shipyard established in the early 19th century. An attempted settlement by the first New Zealand Company in 1826 failed. Captain James Herd in 1822 had taken out the first shipment of kauri timber fom the Hokianga and in 1825 he returned with his own and another ship and  60 settlers between the two vessels. What adventurous, intrepid souls they must have been!   Herd negotiated to buy a vast tract of land. The deal was contested but for decades Europeans referred to the town as "Herd's Point". Later it was called "Hokianga Township", and in 1884 it became "Rawene", possibly to identify the post office and telegraph office.

My New Zealand history is not what it should be but I know Rawene was famous because of the Dog Tax War.  That’s right, a war about dog taxes.  It was hardly a full blown war.  

In the 1890s, a dog tax of two shillings and sixpence (25c) was introduced. Sounds like politicians haven’t changed much over the years, they are just a bit more inventive these days when it comes to thinking up new ways to gather tax.  Maori from Kaikohe west to the harbour, were vehemently opposed to paying it - not only because many used their animals for hunting but because tax represented the erosion of tino rangatiratanga (chieftainship).

One chief maintained, 'Firstly they're going to tax dogs and then they're going to tax people.' (His crystal ball was functioning well, wasn’t it?)

The stand-off occurred in April 1898 when an armed Maori numbering fewer than 20 men marched on Rawene. Although no blood was shed, the government sent a force 120-strong to the town. Their leader was arrested and served time in prison.  Life was not easy for the early protestors!

There are probably more churches but we only found three.

All Saints Church, South Hokianga Co-operating Parish is neat and I’ve read it described as the best church in Rawene but it was a bit character-less for my liking.


I much preferred the lovely little Catholic church over the road.  We learnt it was a Catholic church from a young lady walking past who was a bit embarrassed to admit she didn’t know its name as her mother “goes there often enough”.  It was unlocked and felt welcoming.  Chris and I thought one of the statues inside looked like St Francis but I have since been informed by Ngaire, the administrator extraordinaire at the Rawene NorthTec campus  that it is St Anthony’s Church, so I guess it is him.  (We must brush up on our saints, Chris!)

Saint Anthony?:

st ant

From the outside it just looked like a ordinary, small, well used church with it’s simple design and humble little bell tower.  The inside was a wonderful surprise.



The walls were lined with beautiful timber, the altar and pulpit were small and oh so lovely.



There were beautiful holy pictures:

holy picture 

And Stations of the Cross:

stations of the cross

After a leisurely lunch on the waterfront and a visit to Clendon House (more about that tomorrow), we found the Methodist Church.


side wall 

There was a marked difference between the side of the church facing the sea and the sheltered side.  The windows below are on different sides.  Quite a difference, huh?

2 windows

But the best part (for me) was the glass encased history lesson:


Before leaving Rawene,  our interest was piqued by this sight across the water.   We will be there soon!

teaser Motukaraka

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Forbes and Jay

"The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live."
Flora Whittemore

We were standing outside a door we hadn't even noticed,  when we spotted a man with a great face smoking a funny little pipe.  He was the only other person around and I guess he couldn't help but hear us commenting.  He happily accepted our compliments and chatted to my friend while I took photos of him.  I missed the explanation of what the pipe was made from, tend to not hear much when I'm taking photos. 

It started to rain lightly and he invited us to come in to his studio.  Stepping through that door probably will not have an impact on our lives but it did decide the course of our afternoon.  Or maybe it will, maybe it reminded us to stop to chat with a stranger more often, to be open to possibilities.

We entered the studio of Forbes Roxburgh, artist.  Learnt the history behind his name, where he was born - like us, in Australia.  He pulled up old chairs for us and a stool for himself and we hung out.  We told him why we had been visiting the craft shop at the Quarry Arts Centre and he told us the best person for that particular commission.  (All will be revealed about that in a few weeks, I hope.  Watch this space, Hana.)

We talked about his paintings and expressed our opinion about his work in progress.

He told us about the Blues Band he and a few friends are forming.  My eyes and ears don't seem to work at the same time any more, I was engrossed in what I was seeing, just hearing the tone of his voice more than the words.  Chris did the active listening and I should have asked her for the details before starting this.

At the Quarry Art Centre 10 or more artists have their studios set in the grounds of an old quarry.  There is a ramshackle collection of old buildings to house the various artists.
Forbes invited us to come and have a coffee with Jay, the man who makes the pipes, a bone carver and another member of the new band.  Jay also makes cigar box guitars which originated in the American south.

In no time he had finished the last of his lunch and picked one up and was giving us a demonstration.  What a sweet, sweet sound from the simplest of simple instruments.  To hear such music while touching beautiful whale bone carvings was very special, a delight for the senses. 
Don't ask me how the conversation turned to Jay's rattlesnake skin boots but in a flash he was up the stairs to his bedroom and returned to show us his boots.  Sounds like they are what gets his mojo working!

I found it hard to get a good photo of Jay, the light from the window behind him kept catching on his hair.  And when I take photos of people I like to get them as they are.  Ask them to move somewhere else and it's not the same for me.  Shame really because here was another great face, a younger one and not yet wearing the test of time but I'd like to photograph him again in another ten years or so.  And I loved the broken off end of the beer bottle!

and the bone:

Forbes was pouring the freshly brewed coffee as I took this next photo and the steam, combined with my lack of skill, produced this:

And I love it!  It somehow captures our afternoon.  
Forbes eventually took us off for a stroll around the grounds, to see the waterfall and the first flowers of spring.
Thank you Forbes and Jay for a fabulous afternoon!