Friday, 27 April 2012

FSO - Town Clocks

Surely there has to be more than one Town Clock in Whangarei.  I know where another two used to be but are no more. If there are more I couldn't think where they might be.

 Time doesn't matter so much in the north anyway and all time related things seem to be in the one spot at the Town Basin, so that's where I headed.

From the carpark the clock peeps over the top of the clock museum but I wasn't tempted to cheat and go inside the museum.  If you have to pay to see them they would hardly count as town clocks. 

Go around the corner of the building and you see the sundial for those who like to tell the time the old fashioned way.

New Zealand standard time is set as 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time but since the longitude of Whangarei is 174 19' 30"E, there is a constant difference of approximately 23 minutes between local and standard time.  This difference has been incorporated into the sundial design.  So what's the time?

Close enough?

Thanks heavens for this clock.  It is so easy to pass time strolling around the Town Basin, next time I look at the clock, it's time to get a move on - the movie starts at 6 pm.

 Last weekend I was in Dargaville where the town clock, which sits on top of the post office building erected in 1914, looks to have been recently refurbished.

Here's my take on time stands still.  A pile of old diaries.  But when I looked through them it hadn't stood still enough - couldn't remember what most of the entries meant. 

The rest of the FSO team will be posting here

Now let's see if I can play with time and schedule this properly as I will be away from home from Thursday till the Sunday of the following week.  Next week's post will come from Taranaki.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Anzac Day

Today is Anzac Day when commeration ceremonies are held at war memorials throughout Australia and New Zealand and in places overseas where Aussies and Kiwis gather.  We commemorate all Australians and New Zealanders killed in war and also honour returned servicemen and women.

In Whangarei the RSA (Returned Services Association) has installed memorial crosses to commemorate the 400 servicemen from the district who lost their lives in times of war.  This Field of Remembrance is on the lawn surrounding a public carpark and stays in place for 30 days, each day representing one thousand New Zealanders who are buried in 60 countries and the oceans of the world.

 "This field is a reminder to all nations that we have not forgotten New Zealand's 
significant contribution towards the freedom of others." 

Right beside the field of crosses is a small childrens playground.  I was trying to focus on the crosses and blur the playground but the camera knew better than me and captured the freedom our children enjoy because of the sacrifice of the ANZACs.

Lest we forget.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Tiniest church

I've posted about some the north's oldest churches but today I have something different and, if it were more known about, could be famous.  In New Zealand.  Thanks to my friend, Chris having a camera handy (and not one with a flat battery) I can share with you New Zealand's smallest church.

 I wonder if there is another church built from timber that is 38,000 years old?

Step inside (the door isn't locked) and see the beautiful kauri walls.  Take a pew but don't bring too many friends.  In a church this size there isn't room for a crowd.  They say it seats six adults but I think you could squeeze in seven.

It has lovely stained glass windows:


Warren Suckling, otherwise known as the Kumara Man, built the tiny church in six weeks. Thanks, Warren, I think it is quite wonderful.

It sits on a long narrow piece of land just off the road to Te Kopuru and Pouto, surrounded by a white picket fence and lovely garden.

You can wander and admire the huge whimsical kiwi:

or look at the old kumara harvester. 

A team of workers were harvesting kumara in an adjoining paddock and the modern version is much different.

(self propelled 10 man kumara harvester.
photo courtesy of Crompton Engineering)

I don't really understand why the kiwi and harvester and other things were there.  I would have been happy to just see the charming little church.   

Monday, 23 April 2012

Changing rooms

Terrific changing rooms in a shop called The Boatshed ....

But nothing I wanted to try on. 

Sunday, 22 April 2012


There's no quick way to travel by road from where I live to the west coast.  It's the same distance to the east coast but the road is quite different.  But it can be an enjoyable trip in good company, especially with the driver is happy to stop to let me get out of the car to take photos.  

 Yesterday Chris had an appointment to keep so we only made this one stop but commented a couple of times we would stop here or there on the way back home.  We were headed for TeKopuru, south of Dargaville, where I lived from 1977 - 1980.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered the appointment was right next door to the farm where I had lived.

However, we had arrived in Dargaville earlier than expected and wasted some time (and camera battery) with a comfort stop in the brightly painted conveniences by the river.

The seagulls must know winter is approaching, they were lazily soaking up the sunshine while they can. 

One was still on duty though.  It landed practically at my feet and waited patiently.  Only to be disappointed that it wasn't yet lunch time. 

To fill a bit of time we wandered into the second hand shop over the road. 

Now I know it's not nice to be uncharitable but the signs in this shop were just too good (or bad) not to share.  We had to negotiate our way around this sign to enter the shop:

And this one took up most of the wall on our left:

Getting the picture.? I thought I was but I hadn't reckoned on the owner's determination to convey their message:

(Yes, that's a cobweb adorning that one!)


There were signs everywhere.  I haven't cropped any of these shots and they were all fired off pretty quickly while avoiding the owner.  (He caught up with me as we were about to leave.  No, not taking a photo, just to chew my ear about a local tourist attraction.)

Terms of trade were hard to miss.

  (Someone overlooked underling the NO in that one.)


Some were a bit confusing:

Except where there was a discount. And what does this one mean "Were new" or "Were $69"?

I've never seen so much marker pen.

(Fond of mice, you think?)

And the goods that were being so carefully guarded?  You've seen a few and here are a few more:

 (Oh oh, here he comes!)
Time is getting on, he's probably waiting to put out the closed sign.

And to think I'd used up my battery and didn't get any photos of the old farm.

Thanks for a great day out, Chris.  It's so good having a mate with a similar sense of the ridiculous.

Friday, 20 April 2012

FSO - the rule of thirds

Rule of Thirds:
This is a compositional tool that places the subject of the photo 
 in an area of intersecting lines
created by dividing the photo in 3rds horizontally and vertically.

Anyone who visits my blog regularly knows I love taking photos of the dairy cows on the farm where I live.  One day I will capture their placid nature and gentle eyes.  I thought, when I cropped this one according to the rule of thirds, I'd achieved it.  Then I notice the crazed eye of the cow in the bottom left of the shot.  So I thought I'd have a go at drawing attention to her.

Also on the farm we have crops - and the cursed carrot weed, commonly known as Parsley Dropwort.

To nourish the cows and the crops we need (and usually get) lots of rain.  We prefer gentle rain, not storms, but that doesn't stop me loving a good storm and appreciating the beauty of storm clouds.

The Vodofone tower on the top of a peak in the Tangihau Forest is the local landmark we see daily and most of the time it just looks like a drab grey structure but occasionally, when the light is right in the early evening, we can see its true colour.  The tramp to the tower is way beyond me and although I've heard about the outbuildings, I've never seen them except through the zoom of the camera. 

I'm blessed in that I live close to the forest and not far from the sea. 

Once upon a time when I belonged to Toastmasters I learned that one should never say "And finally..." but what the hell, I'm complying with the Rule of Thirds today (I hope) and that's enough conformance for one day.  So, and finally, just to prove that I do occasionally see the night lights....

So many terrific photographers take part is Friday My Town Shoot outs, I'm looking forward to seeing how they have applied The Rule to this weeks topcic.  They will be here if you'd like to check them out.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012


From my kitchen window I look out at a scraggly old pine.  It's most redeeming feature is it's a tree.  I like trees, so I try not to think of it as ugly.  I remind myself that sometimes, just sometimes, when the evening light catches it just right, it looks quite lovely.  This evening I was distracted from preparing my dinner when I looked out at one of those sometimes. 

 The cows were distracted from their dinner by me.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Children who are born to move

"Children were born to move. It impacts not only physical development, but cognitive, social, and emotional development – the whole child." Rae Pica author of A Running Start.

I agree wholeheartedly with that. 

There was a fair bit of child movement around here today.  Georgia rang this morning and asked could her Best Friend Ever, Archer and his sister Niamh come and play with her at my place today.  That sounded like a lot more fun than anything I had planned!

I'm not sure I can remember the extact order of their games, they switched from one to the other quickly and seamlessly.  

They began sedately enough by picking passionfruit.

Which lead naturally to making and eating passionfruit pancakes.  I remember my nervousness the first time I allowed Niamh to flip pancakes but she is now confident and accomplished.  Georgia and Archer had done the measuring and mixing and they all enjoyed the fruits of their labour.

With fuel on board they raced off to the cowshed to see if they could find some nails.  Then came running back empty handed. 

Plans to build a cart changed in a flash to the need for a parachute. Before I had time to fetch them a suitable length of material they had delved into my stash and found the perfect piece.  I was about to tell them, no, not that bit as my mother had sent it to me.  But I figured they wouldn't do it much harm (and they didn't).  

A square of material, a ball of wool, a stapler and a fair bit of discussion later, the parachute successfully passed the ground test.

And, silly me, I thought they would be happy with that.  But, no, Archer wanted to give it a thorough test by jumping off the roof of the little shed in the paddock at the back of the house.  I suddenly had a vision of what happened when Bernie jumped off the hen house roof, he broke a number of bones in his foot.  But I reasoned he was only three when that happened and Archer and Georgia are eight now.  I wouldn't have had any hesitation in allowing my own children to do it at that age.  Bernie came undone because he tried to do what he'd seen his eight year old brother do dozens of times wearing his Superman cape.  He was convinced he was hurt because he hadn't been wearing the cape but he had no chance of getting that away from his brother for a couple of years, it took my sternest voice to get him to remove it to go to bed. 

But I'm much more protective of my grandchildren and their friends.  How horrified would Archer and Niamh's parents be if they broke a leg while I was looking after them?  And what if Georgia, in landing, somehow put too much weight on the elbow that has already been surgically pinned (following an accident at school).

You know how sometimes, if you put enough obstacles in the way of kids doing something, they forget about it?  I made them search the ground below the shed to make sure there was nothing in the long grass that could hurt them when (and if) they landed.  

Then they had to see if they could climb the tree above the shed.  It's a spindly old thing but the branches, I discovered, are surprisingly strong.  Then came the very careful testing to see if the old roof would take their weight.  

I ran out of things to worry about and finally said OK.  I think Georgia had been relying on me to say no, as she suddenly became a little reluctant.  But Archer assured her over and over with, "She said we could Georgia.  We can both do it, can't we, Granny?"

Niamh, meanwhile, was in the kitchen making scones for our lunch and I was moving back and forth between the thrill seekers and the sensible ten year old.  We discussed what was happening outside and when I said taking risks is how young children learn I loved her reply, "I can learn without taking risks like that!"

The parachute didn't open on the first jump but Archer assured Georgia it was a lot of fun.

 They were a lot happier with the chute when Georgia jumped.

The jumpers made a few more leaps after lunch - the scones were delish - then came running inside and without any discussion, out came the dress up clothes and Archer and Georgia were play acting like a pair of girls.

For a few minutes.  Until suddenly they wrestling on the floor wrestling like a pair of boys.

Just another day in the cognitive, social, and emotional development of the children I love.