Thursday, 30 April 2015

A longer way home

The past two weeks I've posted photos taken when driving the long way home. 

We are lucky to have a few routes to choose from if there are no time constraints when travelling home from town.  (Have I told you how I love being retired?)  This week  I chose the highway west out of town, out past the hospital and through the pleasant suburb of Maunu.  I chose a side street at random, parked and went for a short walk to check out the fences.  

Two took my eye.  This first rather old and very ordinary fence, brightened by a cottage garden.

In the case of the second it was the old gum tree that beckoned me.  I was delighted to find a fence beneath it.

I wonder why there was a gap in the fence?  Seems odd that it was right beside the childrens' swings.

Out this way, a lot of the farm fences are made from the stones picked up in the surrounding area.  This is fence at the entrance to the Maungatapere Bowling Club.

Some have been there since 1846 when a pioneer of the district paid soldiers to erect them after the Flagstaff War.  Most were put up between 1850 and 1930. Around Maungatapere the stone is a blue-grey coloured basalt.  There are a few closer to home which are a red and brown scoria.

Maungatapere has been lengthened from what it was first called - "Tapere".  It means meeting place near the mountain. Next week there will be lots of shots of the mountains that I took after I turned off and headed for home.

Maunu, on the other hand, has been shortened from the original Maungamaunu.

I will be linking to Good Fences. 

Saturday, 25 April 2015

100 years from now

A Hundred Years From Now

When the playing of the bugle sent a shiver down my spine 
When I felt a sense of duty and stepped up to join the line
A song was sung, my heart was young, the ship it sailed away
When my mother stood there crying and I had no words to say 
When I wore my country’s coat of arms to pledge a solemn vow
I didn’t think they’d honour me a hundred years from now 

When I landed in an ambush on that distant foreign shore 
When I saw the bullets flying and I heard the canon roar
I turned my head, my friend lay dead, it happened so damn fast
When I made it through the mayhem of that terrifying blast
When I managed to survive that day…still I don’t know how
I didn’t think they’d tell the tale a hundred years from now 

When the battle raged forever and adversity was rife
When the courage and the sacrifice were daily facts of life 
As darkness fell, it seemed like hell, but mateship got us through
When nothing else made any sense… that’s the flag we flew 
When thoughts of home revived my strength and wiped my bloody brow
I didn’t think they’d call me ‘brave’ a hundred years from now 

When I felt a chill that morning – when my heart beat like a drum
When the captain gave his orders and I knew the time had come
No glory there, just pure despair, my best is what I gave 
When they wrote ‘lest we forget’ upon the headstone of my grave
When, beside my cross, the children of the future stop to bow
My spirit will remain alive a hundred years from now 

When the playing of the bugle sends a shiver down your spine
When you realise that your qualities are just the same as mine
From dreamtime land to coastal sand, the city to the sprawl 
When the essence of my legacy unites Australians all 
When Anzac legend shines a light on all who make that vow
With pride, the world will know their name a hundred years from now

Rupert Mc Call, OAM

This poem has been commissioned by the Australian War Memorial as part of the commemoration of 100 years since that tragic day when Australian and New Zealand forces landed at a small bay (now known as Anzac Cove) on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey. It will be recited at a couple of ANZAC day services today in my home town, Brisbane and then taught in Australian schools.  

On this day we honour all the men and women who have participated in wars, conflicts and peacemaking operations around the world as well as those men and women still serving in the Defence Forces today.  

Ceremonies are being held at war memorials throughout Australia and New Zealand and in places overseas where Aussies and Kiwis gather. 
I remember my great-uncle Martin Murphy, who returned home from WW1 a very damaged man.
 We will remember them

Thursday, 23 April 2015

The fences up Hewlett Road

I've shown you some of the scenery up Hewlett Road.  Here are some of the roadside fences.  You'll have noticed by now that nearly all farm fences are the same.  It's what on the other side of them that makes them different.

I'll be linking to Good Fences.  Last week I said I'd be home at the weekend to visit as many of the other contributors as I could but ended up spending most of the weekend elsewhere.  This weekend I once again expect to be home.  We'll just have to wait and see what eventuates.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Go Green

I had no plans for last weekend but that changed.  In a good way.  My friend, Chris, had two free tickets to the the Go Green Expo in Auckland so a trip to Auckland it was.  

My daughter and grand-daughter met us there although we had to split into two groups.  There was quite a crowd and even in pairs we had to keep an eye on our partner or risk losing them for a while.  It was easy to become interested in something and forget to tell my mate I was stopping for a bit.  Or to wander off when my interest faded, forgetting I wasn't alone.  

It was a world of organic, natural, healthy, sustainable, holistic - and a few other buzz words.  

I'm no scientist but I suspect a lot of the scientific evidence I heard about were more likely small scale studies of believers.  A fragment of science is not the same as science itself. 

I suspect more than a few stall holders confuse their belief with science and that some of the products rely more on faith healing than the science their sellers so glibly sprouted about.  

I bought a very nice aromatherapy perfume from the two ladies who produce the range of products. Not exactly the last of the big spenders.  In most cases the price of being green was far too high for me.

And I did taste some really nice organic, natural and healthy food.  I'll be having a go at making yogurt from coconut milk in the very near future.  That was delicious.  

I only took one photo and that was of a sign at what I thought was one of the best stalls.  The stall holders were young, bright-eyed and very friendly.  Their company is quite new and their enthusiasm was quite contagious.  I really liked what they were producing from discarded wooden pallets. 

I have no idea what the hell I've done to the font on this page.  Try as I might, I can't change it.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Up Hewlett Road

Until a couple of years ago a niece lived not far up Hewlett Road and I've never ventured further up the road past her old residence.  Today on my way home after a lovely lunch with a friend I told myself if there was no oncoming south bound traffic to stop me from turning into the road, I'd go have a look.   

The tide was out in the harbour, the sun was mostly hidden behind cloud but I still enjoyed the views.

Looking back south you can just make out the Marsden Refinery stacks on the right.

But my favourite view, as always, is of the Uppity Downities in the far distance, the hills of home.  I'm so predictable, aren't I?

Thursday, 16 April 2015

The long way home

When I take the long way home I pass through what I call the 'high country'. 

Stockyards are built wherever there is a bit of flat land.  Luckily, in this case, that is right beside the road.  The white line is the road marking and the yards are below road level.

Quite often the fences march across the tops of the hills.


Of course there are fences on either side of the road.

At one place a fence comes right to the edge of the road, you can see it there in the photo.  No seal or lines on the road up here.  The white marker posts are a warning to drivers approaching the corner.

But I was more interested in the moss hanging from the battens but not the post.

I'll to be linking to Good Fences, here.  This weekend I expect to have time to look in on lots of other contributors, too.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

My yukkas

I've had yukkas in the garden since I've been here.  The first one was in a pot when I arrived and I've cut the others from it.  All of them have flourished but the three at the end of the house closest to the road have gone crazy.  I'm not much of a gardener but that doesn't matter with yukkas.  They withstand frost and droughts and lots of neglect.  The only thing I don't like about them is their dodgy habit of sticking you with the sharp tip of a leaf if you’re not careful.

Although every summer I am hopeful, they have never flowered and I didn't even look for flowers this summer.  So imagine my surprise a couple of days ago when I was driving down the road (I usually approach from the other direction) and something white high up by the roofline of the house caught my eye - a huge bunch of beautiful creamy white flowers. 

I've read somewhere that yucca blossoms are valued in Central America as a vegetable, chopped and fried with eggs, and added to stews and casseroles. Evidently, the ancient Mayans used the flowers medicinally, as they have been found to contain high levels of vitamins and minerals.  I'd really like to see how they harvest them. 

I think I'm supposed to prune back the flower stalk when it has finished flowering. 

That won't be happening.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Silver dollar gums

Every now and then when I get to a T in the road on my way home, I am tempted to turn left rather than right, and take the long way home. 

Today was one of those days.  The weather was showery with occasional heavy downpours.  Not the best weather for taking a scenic route.  Still, the urge was there.

We don't have any silver dollar gums down our road and I just had to stop when I saw these with their silvery shimmer right beside the road.

Enough to make an old Aussie like me a bit homesick.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

The back fence

I've been lazy about collecting new fence photos.  Just as well I have a few more from my daughter's back yard in Taranaki.

Need I tell you it rains a lot where she lives?

This bit of fence in the far back corner of her yard is pretty nondescript but I like the long, late afternoon shadows.

I wanted the camera to focus on the rusty wire but must have given it the wrong instructions because it chose the mountain.  

I will be linking up with Theresa at Good Fences.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Boys and girls and birds

School holiday and the weather is still summery.  Ish.  Yesterday I took two of the grand-daughters to the beach.  The crowds of Easter had gone, just a few people braving the water.  There was a cool breeze coming off the water.

Little boys, dressed to keep them warm, enjoying playing in the sand.  I just loved the determined stride of this little guy.

Sisters, keeping low out of the wind, enjoying a giggle. 

I was trying to get a shot of a seagull in the air but didn't expect as good a result as this.

 Another beach goer walking by, wrapped up against the wind.

Looking south along Ruakaka Beach.  Dark clouds building but they didn't develop into anything much. 

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Those devices

One good thing, probably the only good thing, I can think of about those damned electronic devices the young have attached to their fingertips day and night, is they allow me to point my camera at my grand-daughters without being detected.

Well, most of the times.  Occasionally one of them will sense what I'm up to and lift their eyes to give me the evils. 

How did we manage before the advent of the cell phone?  When I was flying from Auckland to Taranaki recently, after I got to the airport, when flights started being cancelled left, right and centre because of heavy fog, I realised I didn't have mine.  I thought I should let my daughter at my destination know I wouldn't be there in time to watch her demonstration at the Home and Lifestyle Expo and ask her to contact my friend, Bev who was going to collect me from the airport.  My flight had been due to depart at 9 am and I was rescheduled on to the 6.30 pm flight.  I sent emails from one of the few computers for public use in the departure terminal but had no idea what time they might be read.  

While I figured out what to do next I went for a coffee and, as one does in such circumstances, struck up a conversation with another delayed traveler.  Lovely man, he insisted that I use his phone to contact my daughter in Auckland to see if she could come to my rescue and help me pass eight hours or so.  But could I remember her phone number?  Either her cell phone or her landline?  No, of course not.  One doesn't these days, does one, our phones do all that for us.  Luckily, from somewhere in the dim, dark recesses of my memory I could remember my son's number so I had to ring him back at home on the farm and get him to ring my daughter.  But then I didn't know if he had got hold of her, if she was free to come and pick me up and if so, where to meet her.  The other travel god (not the one of flight departures) was smiling on me and as I was strolling past a doorway I spotted my daughter hurrying past towards the departure lounge.  Just as well, she may not have been amused if she had to traipse all over the terminal looking for me!

She drove me around to the place where I had left my car parked for the few days I would be away and asked there if I could look in my car for the phone.  A delightful young male employee came along to help me, even got down on his knees to look under the car seats and rushed off to find a phone to ring the number for me.  Nope, it wasn't in the car.

Leone and I had a laugh when we got back to her place, rang my number and, sure enough, heard it ringing.  She'd looked in the bedroom where I'd slept the previous night and not seen it.  Black phone sitting on black and white bedspread.  

I was surprised that she hadn't rung the number when my son told her I couldn't find it.  After all, I do that about once a week to find where I've put the darn thing.  

So that got me wondering how I would have managed in similar circumstances in the past.  I would have managed, wouldn't I?  I remember sitting for nine hours in a departure lounge at Brisbane airport years ago. Did I get stressed about letting people know?  Nope, I, along with all the other passengers, just waited and left it to the people at the other end to find out when we would arrive.  Yes, there was someone there to meet me.  

The whole episode also gave me cause to reflect on the lovely people who are out there and come to our assistance when we do need it.  The kind man at the airport and the young man at the car parking place.  When I arrived back to collect my car, I was lugging my suitcase across uneven ground when a voice called out asking me had I found my phone and stop, wait, let him carry my bag for me.  

Good things happen when you meet strangers.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Cricket and the eclipse

I watched the Cricket World Cup Final while I was in Taranaki and wasn't going to mention it.  But then I stumbled upon this police report in the Cambridge Edition.  Cambridge is a small rural town, population 18,400.

Tuesday, March 24 
There was a call of disorder to a house in Stafford St where a male was heard screaming. On investigation he was found just to be excited watching the cricket.

Thinking I might very well not still be awake at the time of the lunar eclipse on Saturday night, I took an early evening shot.  But I set the alarm and got up to have a look.  It was so spectacularly beautiful, it would seem like an insult to show you my photo. 

Today the house seems very quiet now that the Easter visitors have departed.

I hope they come back soon and pitch that tent beside my house. 

This afternoon there was the smell of smoke in the air.  It was coming from somewhere in the forest, giving a lovely soft haze to the mountain.  

Friday, 3 April 2015

My daughter's back fence

I've been visiting my youngest daughter in Taranaki. 

The mountain was shrouded in low cloud for days but just when I thought I'd be going home without seeing it this trip, on the last evening, there it was.

It's pretty well impossible to get a clear shot without the power lines getting in the way unless you resort to crossing the drain and getting down to a weird angle.  

Or leaning out into the neighbouring farmer's paddock:

Today is cookie baking day in preparation for our Easter weekend visitors.  I'll post a few more photos of my daughter's back fence to Good Fences next week.