Friday, 29 June 2012

FSO - A Picture that Tells a Story

Right, I'm putting the problems of the week behind me and living in the moment.  I read during the week that psychologists at Harvard University have collected information from over 2,000 volunteers to find out how often they were living in the moment and focused on what they were doing, and what made them most happy.

They discovered that people were happiest when having sex, exercising or in conversation, and least happy when working, resting or using a home computer. And although subjects' minds were wandering nearly half of the time, this consistently made them less happy.  

So sitting here half thinking about this week's post is not making me happy. I'd best get on with it.


 To see many more pictures that tell a story, just check out the Friday My Town Shoot Out blog here.

Monday, 25 June 2012

FSO Spotlight Photos–Strange and Unusual signs

I've having some sort of technical difficulty accessing the FSO site to post the Spotlight photos from last week.  Yeah, that's right, the first time I do it and I can't do it.  Blame the Irish in me for that comment.  

Apologies to the rest of the FSO team for the delay.  That’s not the best way to start my first attempt at choosing the Spotlight photos is it?   I swear I’m a carrier when it comes to technical glitches.

Hopefully someone who knows how to link this up to FSO will happen along and do it for me. 

I wouldn’t want to be doing this every week.  It’s not all that easy.  I tried to keep in the front of my mind that it was strange and unusual signs that I was looking for.  And I was constantly reminded that what I find strange, others might not.   So I’ve chosen shots that caught my attention for one reason or another. 

For example, I have never heard of a Compact Car.  
Although now that I’ve looked it up I realize I probably should have. 
Welcome to FSO to Love2Bs.

compact car
 I’m afraid I’m one of those people who quite often doesn’t see signs until I practically trip over them;
that would probably be me sitting on top of a warning sign! 

 Suzy’s Little Blue Penguin sign I feel would be unusual to most of us. 
Not many of us have such delightful little flightless birds living in our midst.

Little blue penguins
 Obviously others have too many cats.  So many that they throw them at walls. 
No, Jama, I do think I know what the sign means but my sense of humour
keeps asking where should I throw them then?  

Don't throw cats
 I liked Loredana’s treatment of her Spiderman shot. 
Thanks for drawing my attention to him. 
A rural person like me would not be looking at a bus, but up, up at the overwhelming surroundings. 
Yet, there he was setting out to scale the building.

 Nothing left. 
Except Barbara’s forlorn nothing left to steal shot.

nothing left

Ahhh, that wasn't so hard after all.  Except it's not where it is meant to be.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

It was all good fun ....

This afternoon Camera Guy had gone from outside my house to further on up the road to record the rally action and been replaced by Citroen Guy.  He was a pleasant young man who smiled and said, "yes" to everything I said to him but I don't think he understood a word I said.  He was armed with two stop watches and seemed to be timing the cars from when they came onto the bridge down the road until they disappeared out of sight further on up the road.  He'd then relay that information in a foreigh language via two way radio to someone who would reply in, I guess, the same language.  And, language barrier or not, I could tell he was excited with Sebastian Loeb's time.

This morning from our viewing point the cars came from this direction

and went away in this direction:

We were safely behind the farm fence but I don't think it would have been very effective at keeping us safe.

Back by the house this afernoon I was getting a few close up shots, until I noticed they were driving into the sun and lost my nerve.  Strange how I felt safer behind a fence!


Then there was a lull, a long gap between cars, couldn't even hear one coming and believe you me, we could hear them coming from miles away.   I moved position and walked across the farm towards where we'd been in the morning and looked in the direction I'd expect to hear the noise and suddenly the rally didn't seem such fun any more.

A cloud of dark smoke was rising from up Pikiwahine Road.   You can see one of the many helicopters in this shot.  They came blat, blat, blatting from all directions. I looked up at each one praying this one would be the Westpac Rescue chopper.  Praying that no-one had been killed.  I could see in my mind's eye where the smoke was coming from and had pictured the car plunging down that steep, steep bank.  I've never been happier to say I had it wrong. 

And according to the News tonight, no one was hurt.  And according to a neighbour who rushed to the scene, the driver and co-driver, a pair of Swedish girls, got out of the car before it exploded into flames. 

There was no more racing today.  Eventually the rest of the field passed through, travelling at a sedate speed - they were still noisy though!

I hope the Swedish ladies are OK.

Oh, and here's my video of some of the action.  I'm hopeless at it, always forgot to stop recording so just stop it after the car disappears from sight.


It's not every day I hear voices when I'm alone in the house.  (Things might be slipping but they haven't slipped that far yet!)  There was no-one at the door so I looked outside and there by the road was a familiar figure. Camera guy, who was here when the last rally went through two years ago, was back again.   It was like seeing an old friend, he even enquired about the rest of the family.  (He said to say hi to you, Justine and sends his congratulations on Aiden's birth.  He's as charming as ever!)

He was giving instructions to these guys on where to place the sponsors ads so they would feature prominently in his shots of the rally cars.  I had to move down the road a bit to get the neighbours old cow shed in my shot.  This ad is just a few metres down the road from my driveway.

And there was another one down the road by the bridge.

Two years ago there were no sponsors billboards but Camera Guy explained that that was just the Asia Pacific Rally, this is the World Championships, the top drivers in the world are competing, and his footage will go on the official website.  He gave me a copy of the overnight placings and the order in which the cars will pass our gate.  Just as well as the first 12 placings were reversed so that the guy in 12th place came along the road first and the twelvth car to pass was the guy sitting in first place.   (Man, was he motoring!)

Before we left to take up our viewing position on the Pikiwahine side of the farm, the press were gathering at my gate.

We were a little stunned when we saw the number of cars parked along the road on the other side of the corner.

And the number of spectators on the other side of the road from our farm which was one of the official viewing points. 

All very strange and unusual sights for around here.  

And the rally?  It's not over yet.  The sweeper cars, sirens blaring, have started going up the road making sure the road is clear for the second round. Each stage is repeated and the fastest time is recorded.  I think that's how it works. 

Whereas this morning the weather was glorious, it is now overcast and drizzly but not wet enough to make any difference to the state of the road.

Later, or tomorrow, I may have some actual rally car shots to show.

Friday, 22 June 2012

FSO - Strange or Unusual Signs

What's strange and unusual is a matter of perception.  You might find it unusual for this sign to appear nailed to post beside the road on which you live.  It's not an everyday happening around here either.  It's been two years since Rally New Zealand (the NZ round of the FIA World Rally Championships) has passed along our road. 

Depending on where you live, this sign could be seen as strange, too.  I think I may have posted either this sign or one like it before. 

I had to dig into the archives this week.  I know I've posted this before:

I look forward to seeing what strange and unusual signs the rest of the FSO team has found.   They will be here.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

It's that time again....

Yes, it's Wearable Arts time again.  And this year I had no input into the outfits other than a discussion with Krystal about how to make a costume for the movie theme "Twilight".   So it was fun going along to the show at the school and having no idea what the girls would be wearing.  

Krystal made her outfit then asked a tall, slim girl in her class to model it for her.  Good move.  Krystal and her model are the pair on the left.  Has that girl got model stamped all over her or what?!

Georgia got second place in the Junior Hat Section with her Sponge Bob.

 I haven't been around blogland much lately.  Don't know why not, just haven't felt like it.  Haven't had anything to say.  It's been a bit "I remember nothing that happened worth relating this day.  How many such days does mortal man pass?"  James Boswell (21 July, 1763)  I know how you were feeling, James. 

Yesterday I tried to rouse myself from my pathetic state and set out for a walk.  Hadn't even gone 100 metres when I felt the rain drops.  I couldn't believe it when I looked back over my shoulder and saw the big black rain clouds.  I've been so not with it that I had only looked in the direction I was headed when I left home.  

I made no such mistake today.  After a fierce frost this morning I suspected a lovely day and indeed it was.  And suddenly I felt my world is such a beautiful place, how could I be so unappreciative and just loll about the house when it is here waiting?

The sky was the bluest of blues and the leafless poplars and the pampas grass only made it seem more so.

Everything seemed more alive in the strong sunshine, against that sky:

Even the big old half dead pine tree seemed more alive than dead.

 Battle scarred but hanging on:


It was a lovely, lovely day.  The kind that only seems to come in winter and after a frost.  I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

Friday, 15 June 2012

FSO - Guided tour

So glad you could make it all the way out here to my place.  I hope the road didn't scare you too much and you had time to look around, with the forest on your right and the creek flats on your left, farm animals here and there. 


I thought about taking you into town and showing you the must sees but any tourist can see those.  Tourists usually see probably thousands of farms from the road, rail or air but not many get the opportunity to visit a real working NZ farm.  

Let's see if I can find you some suitable footwear and we can go for a walk.  We'll stop and have a look at the dairy herd.  Go as close as you like, they will just quietly move away from you. 

 Later on we can come back and see them in the yard waiting to be milked. 

We'll pop into the shed and say hello to my son.  Go down and put the cups on the cows if you like.  Don't worry, they won't hurt you but you could get awfully grubby.

This is the place on the farm I love, the creek.  Our little stream comes straight down out of the mountain and feeds into the larger creek at this point and then flows out to the west coast.  Everywhere on the farm is quiet but here there is the sound of water rippling over rocks which I find soothing.

Goodness me, I forgot the health and safety talk all good tour guides give!  As we go around the farm this peak in the forest is our landmark.  There no chance of us getting lost is we follow the farm track but if I break a leg, just walk on a little and it will come into view.  As long as you are heading towards it, you are heading home.  And don't touch any fences, they could be electric.

For the most part it's an easy walk, nice and flat down the back of the farm. 

You never know, we might catch a glimpse of a goods train rumbling away in the distance.   There are only a few a day and I can't hear them from my house. 

When we get back would you like to have a horse ride?

Next time we'll take a walk up into the forest.  Take care on your way to visit the rest of the FSO team.

Oh, by the way, I've had Error bX-1io90b, I hope it's not contagious.

Saturday, 9 June 2012


Winter colds and flus are catching up with Georgia's soccer team.  Disasterous for a team that has the exact number of players required and not a single reserve.  Or it could be.  If the team they were to play didn't have enough players to almost field two teams.  If their coach wasn't keen to give all his players a full game.  We only had four players so they gave us five and they player nine aside.  I don't know who decided which opposition player would play for our team, maybe the coach did, maybe the kids volunteered but somehow we ended up with a boy who could have been one of their star players.

How the kids figured out who was on which side is beyond me.  Our borrowed players had red bibs but it was still difficult to differentiate.

From time to time it looked like the blues were playing amonst themselves.  The reds were outnumbered and outclassed but somehow won one of their games.  Last week Georgia's team got their first goal of the season and today they had their first win!

The good news is they are improving and developing a good team spirit!  And despite that dark sky in the first shot, we didn't get wet.

Friday, 8 June 2012

FSO - Interiors

The helpful words for this topic are: Take us inside some places in your community. Try not to use your home, rather community places. 

To gather my photos I did something rather unusual for me.  I made a plan and followed it through.  Usually I make a plan, get to wherever only to discover that idea is not going to work. 

Yesterday's plan was to go to Forum North and the library to get my interiors shots.  Both are owned and run by the Whangarei District Council, and they are next door to each other, so no need for two lots of parking. 

Forum North is an event and conference venue with council functions carried out in the rest of the building. These stairs lead up to the Capitaine Bougainville Theatre where I occasionally watch a movie. 


From this same spot I look around and see a lady with her laptop sitting quietly in a corner, dwarfed by the stained glass window. 

Red carpet to function rooms:

Posters of upcoming events:


Next door at the library I had to promise not to take any photos with people in them.  I took a few of the chess game and waited until the girl on the right made the move which lead to her defeat.  The young man liked this shot of his reflection so I figured I hadn't broken the rules too badly. 

I got a bit carried away with reflection shots:

 But I think the kids corner would have been much better with some little people in it.  

Back out in the parking lot  I got a twitchy shutter finger when I noticed the interior of the work ute parked next to my car.  Knowing I'd have to put the camera up to the window glass and risk the owner coming along and perhaps not being happy with my intrusion into his wardrobe, I nearly flagged it.  Then two lads approached and I had a delightrful conversation when I asked them if they would be my lookouts.  You can just see one of them in the corner of the wing mirror.  They were good kids, they sure put me through my paces before they agreed - they weren't about to be tempted into a life of crime by some crazy old lady.  They will make great policemen in a few years!

I hope everyone isn't having the formatting problems I've had today.  I think this has been a great topic with so many possible interpretations, I'm really looking forward to seeing the shoot-outs from the rest of the team.