Sunday, 23 December 2012

There's a camper in a corner of the garden:

And a tent in another:

There's room for games:

It's summer time in Taranaki:

Excitement is building:

The grands are gathering:

I have just one little worry.  Will Santa be able to find that tent at the bottom of the garden in the dark?

Friday, 21 December 2012

FSO - Rainy

It pays to be prepared when there is rainy weather around:

Where I live we can sometimes see it coming:

And see it lifting, too:

Sometimes it leaves behind proof that it has been here:

I drove through rain, drizzly, not spectacular, from Auckland to Taranaki on Wednesday but didn't stop to take photos.  These photos are from home.

And on the topic of rain, guess what is predicted for Christmas Day here?

Best wish to you all - have a wonderful Christmas!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Arrivals and departures

This is what held my attention at 4.30 am this morning.  A few minutes later my son walked through that doorway.

Near the domestic departure gate yesterday:

Sunday, 16 December 2012

We saw the mallets

Every summer Georgia and I spend some time down at the special place along the creek where we first saw the little fish she declared were mallets.  That was in January,09.

We haven't seen them since that magical summer when we saw them a few times.  

On Friday, they were there again!  And Georgia's delight as a 9 year old was no different to how it had been as a 6 year old.  I often wonder how much longer her pleasure in the little routines we have developed will last.   I try to prepare myself for the time she thinks she is too old for such childish activities. Seeing the mallets reassures me we will have at least one more summer of simple pleasures. 

As I sat and watched her and we chatted I couldn't help but notice how she has grown but still does exactly the same things she did when she was years younger.  She still spends a lot of time bending down picking up rocks.  She still picks them up and brings them to show them to me.  The rocks are a bit bigger now than they used to be!

Some things have changed - she no longer strips down to her knickers as soon as she sees water.

She still picks up weeds and asks me to photograph them.  She still throws rocks as high as she can into the air so that they land with a big plop.  This is the first photo I've ever taken of her doing that.  In the past it was wise to keep an eye on the rock but she can be trusted now to throw it so that it doesn't land on my head (or hers).

 Some things change - some things stay the same.  And I am so thankful for that.

Next time I post I will be in Taranaki! 

Friday, 14 December 2012

FSO - Favourite holiday

Tell us about your favorite holiday to celebrate.
What are the traditions associated with the holiday?
There is no hesitation or debate, there's no doubt whatsoever, I love Christmas more than any other time of the year.  It's when I indulge myself in the immense satisfaction of knowing I have a really terrific family, when I can sit back and smile smugly as I look at my offspring and tell myself I must have been a good mother because look how great they and their children all are. 

We all look forward to the family traditions we have developed as "ours".  

There will be some active games involving all the able bodied. The not so able will cheer and give advise.

There will be challenges with new toys.  

Georgia and I can't wait for the guys to see what we've made for them to play with this year! We can give them lots of clues but they will never guess!!

There will be camping in my daughter's back yard.  This shot is from my back yard last Christmas.

There will probably be a Treasure Hunt.

And there's bound to be some entertainment in the evening provided by the children. 

And this year, this little guy will join in the fun.  Last year he was crawling, this year he will no doubt be running to keep up with his big cousins. (Thanks to my daughter for the photo.)

I think, amongst the FSO team, there may be a few different favourite holidays, with their different traditions.   I look forward to seeing them here.

I'm heading towards Taranaki on Monday, should be there before the end of the week, arrival will depend on whether I decide to go the long way or not.  Will be back home some time in the new year.  So, if I'm not around between now and then, I wish you all a Happy Christmas and a touch of holiday magic.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Gibbs Farm

Two of my favourite sculptures from Gibbs Farm:

The literature said this work by Zhan Wang (2006) was inspired by monumental office block sculptures in Beijing and feng shui landscape gardening traditions.  Wang's scholar's rock is an enlargement of the so called "Chinese miniature landscape".  In the past, people would search for an idealistic world of immortals within these landscapes.  

That sounds a bit too intellectual and arty farty for me to grasp but there was something about this sculpture that enticed and welcomed contemplation.  It mesmerised as it moved ever so gently on the water. 

From a distance this work looked like a series of small tents on the top of a rise.  It's called Sea/Sky Kaipara, made of stainless steel and glass.  The artist, Graham Bennett,  said, "I was impressed by the changing nature of the estuary (of the Kaipara Harbour) its reflections, its colours and its relationship to the sky."  I get that, I've lived on the banks of the Kaipara and if ever I'd been able to find the words to describe the harbour, I would have liked to have found those.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Thank you, Alan Gibbs (again)

I first blogged about Alan gibbs' farm in December, 2009.  I said then my preferred route to Auckland was not via State Highway One but rather the less popular SH16 which twists and turns, following the Kaipara Harbour most of the way.  I still prefer to have a second rate road to myself than to share a first rate road with others.  Still prefer the road less travelled.

One of the big attractions for me about SH16 is the 1,000 acre property, modestly named Gibbs Farm, owned by millionaire Alan Gibbs.  He bought the windswept site in 1991. Since then, he has commissioned sculptures featuring original works by local and internationally renowned artists. 

My fascination with the place has been growing since 2001 when a huge wall appeared on the landscape.  I now know it's dimensions - 252 metres longs x 6m x 50mm, made from 56 Corten steel plates.  It has always looked huge to me and now that I've stood beside it, I am even more impressed by it.  And it leans out by 11 degrees from the vertical.  And, contrary to how it looks from the road, it has beautiful sensual curves.  

Every time I think about anything I saw when I visited, my sentances, even in my head, begin with "and".....and I saw this ... and I saw that ... and... and ...
I was so impressed by everything I saw at the farm.  Although it's so much more than a farm.  The farm it used to be didn't warrant a second look.  Since falling into Mr Gibbs' hands it has become a place of beauty.  It's a sculpture park like no other.  The scale of the sculptures are deceptively disguised by the scale of the landscape but approaching them on foot, they grow and become more and more impressive as you draw near.  The size of some of them just took my breath away.  I felt dizzy looking to the top of the one I've known as the steel struts for the past year  Eash of the 8 pieces of Corten steel are 27 metres long, 0.75m square.

When  I hurt my foot recently, my one thought was it had to get better before Gibbs Farm Day.  I had been so thrilled when my friend Chris announced she had gained access for us to an Open Day at the farm and I'd been looking forward to that day ever since.  I was so excited about it, I had even tried to prepare myself for a little disappointment - surely nothing could live up to my expectations.   

Hah!  It was even better than I expected!

To say thank you to Alan Gibbs falls way short. He allows the public to visit, for free, by prior appointment, about once a month.  It blows me away that I've visited one of the world's leading sculpture parks - and it cost me nothing.  I've been up close to monumental art works by some of the world's most famous artists - and I only had to travel an hour or so.  

And not just Chris and me, either.  We figured there were well over a thousand people there.  But at no stage did we feel crowded, the landscape seemed to swallow many or they looked like dots in the distance.

 Thank you, Mr Gibbs.

Friday, 7 December 2012

FSO -Introduce a friend

This week we are invited to introduce a friend.  I'd like you to meet my best mate.  If you know me, you will already know her or know of her.

She's the little friend who brightens my days, I feel happier just being around her. 

When she visits I don't have to worry about what I'm wearing or what I'm doing.  If I'm having a nap she will just lay down beside me.  If I don't feel like reading a book to her, she will read to me.

She likes to read the books I used to read to her.  Her little fingers are no longer short and chubby, they are growing as is she.

If I nod off she will play happily and quietly at my feet.

She knows me as well as I know her.  She takes no notice when I shove the camera in her face.

She is growing up fast, changing yet staying the same girl I've loved for over 9 years.

Please meet Georgia: 

I'm looking forward to meeting the friends of the rest of the FSO team.  They will be here.