Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Over the hills and far away

It's been a long time since I took Mangapai Caves Road through to the caves.  When I turned off down the road yesterday it wasn't with any intent other than revisit a drive I hadn't done for a while.  At the corner of Graham Road I decided I'd go that way, I don't think I've ever been up that road before.  

My timing for meandering along an unsealed metal (gravel) road was perfect.  There's been just enough rain to pack down the metal leaving a relatively smooth surface.  The road twists and turns ever upwards.  At least it did when I decided to turn back and return to complete the trip another day when I've remembered to visit the loo before I set out.  There are no public amenities out here.   

I only passed two vehicles and could stop often to take in the views.  This one is looking inland towards the hills of home:

From a different spot looking east, towards the harbour

I know I can't be relied upon to take photos of a straight horizon and I struggled to straighten this shot until I settled on the tree in the foreground.  I just hope it has grown straight as the wind would be a bit fierce on these hills.

When I first came to New Zealand all those years ago green, hilly country like this used to freak me out.  Literally.  I couldn't sleep at night  in hilly countryside.  I'd dream that those hills were closing in on me and wake up panicked, feeling I couldn't breath. (Isn't it weird that you add a k to panic to make the past tense?)  I'd yearn for the wide open harsh dry flat countryside of Queensland's north west.

Now I can't imagine living anywhere else.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Straight to the top.

I must not let my amusement interfere with my mission to elicit an apology from New Zealand Qualifications Authority for helping themselves to one of my photos.

I received a prompt response to my email.  What I call a drafting gate letter where the help desk decides in which direction to send the complaint.  

While I'm in a bad mood I might add I'm not impressed by the reply which was signed by V.  That's right, V.  If the drafting gate people can't even identify themselves I don't hold much hope of anyone accepting responsibility.  

So what caused the amusement you might ask?  The drafting gate person decided my complaint should be handled by the Executive Assistant to the Deputy Chief Executive Qualifications.  I wonder what jumped up self important personage holds that title?  I'm just being nasty now.  Venting as the young ones would say.  I'd hazard a guess the title is the best part of the job.  Probably some harassed, under paid, overworked well meaning person trying to earn a living in the  bureaucratic BS that is the tertiary education sector, trying to sort out the stuff ups of their seniors.    

In other news, the rain has stopped.  There was a lot of it and more is predicted.  The sun is shining, there's a stiff breeze to dry out the puddles.  If I weren't in a grump it would say it's a lovely day.  Oh, what the hell, it is a lovely day.  I'll put my bad mood on hold until I get a response from ... who was it? That's right, the Executive Assistant to the Deputy Chief Executive.  

I have to put my cynicism aside and offer bouquets to NZQA for the blinding efficiency with which they handled my complaint.  Obviously, the drafting gate person on the help desk forwarded it to correct Executive Assistant who forwarded it to the correct Team Leader who explained that NZQA has an exemption under the Copyright Act 1994. 

It makes sense that examination material must be confidential until the exams are sat lest they be compromised.  So they are allowed to use material even when it is copyrighted and permission is not necessary.

I still think for the sake of good manners they should find a way to inform the source of the material and have so responded.

I guess in some ways I'm still a dreamer.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

The cheek!

I'm trying to find a way to politely explain that I'm a tad annoyed with the New Zealand Qualification Authority.  A friend from my days working in the tertiary education sector has drawn to my attention that a photo from my blog has been used in an examination paper.  No, not with my permission.  A few times in the past people have contacted me requesting to use one of my photos and I've been only too happy to agree and have been chuffed to see my photo in a book or on the cover of a CD.  This time I can't even see which photo they used as they have had the good grace to print "For copyright reasons, this resource cannot be reproduced here." when the exam paper appeared on their website.

So, my mission for today is to make my displeasure known to the NZQA.  I've given up trying to get through by phone so will have to put it in writing.  I know that putting photos on my blog and doing nothing to protect myself from copyright infringements leaves me open to such things happening.  And I know NZQA would not have profited by it but I think it is just rude considering, from the exam question, that the photo was used as an example of poor farm drainage.  The bloody cheek is what I really think!

So, now I will finish that letter and then do something about adding copyright to my photos.

Saturday, 21 May 2016


It's that sort of day.  I feel like curling up in sunshine.  Trouble is, there's no sun.  So I will settle for a comfy chair and a book.

Lately I've been choosing one 'wild card' book each time I go to the library.  Taking home an author I've not heard of or read before.  This time it was Ian R MacLeod.  Oh darn, I've just looked again and it is fantasy.  

I'll give it a go and if I can't cope (which I usually can't with fantasy writing) I'll do some to knitting.  

It feels like the first day of winter.  

Friday, 20 May 2016

Kaipara fences

A couple of weeks ago I stopped in again at the Kaipara Coast Plant Centre along SH 16 on my way to Auckland.

These are a few more gates positioned so they work as fences.

And a few random art works:

I really liked this and should have got out of the car to get a better angle as it was positioned  above my head.  It is titled "The weathermen".

I'll link to Teresa's Good Fences.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Home again, home again, jiggety jig

Don't get me wrong, I love visiting Taranaki, my daughter and her family and the visits on my way down there and coming back with my other daughter.  But nothing beats coming home again, the comfort of the familiar sights and routines. And attending a stretch class.  How my body misses those strenuous stretch classes.  No matter how hard I try on my own I don't push myself like I do in class.  And I do so enjoy the company of the other ladies who attend this class.  This morning, from my position on the floor I could see out the door, across the lawn and burial ground of the marae to the other side of the harbour.  Who could ask for more?

I flew down to Taranaki on a very early flight, leaving Auckland in the dark and watching day break along the way. 

  Mt Ruapehu in the distance.  It sits in the middle of the island, roughly 250 kms from the coast. 

 I should have known from the strong colours in the sky that morning that rough weather was ahead.

But why worry about what can't be changed when there is a beautiful early morning to enjoy?  The morning was still and clear, the sun just starting to touch the tops of trees along the roadside.  No snow on Mt Taranaki as yet.  It's been unseasonally warm lately.

It wasn't long before the rough weather moved in and the mountain, which can most times be seen from this spot, is hiding behind the fog and mist.

Not that I cared too much about the weather.  I had a lovely visit with the family.  And when I went down to the harbour to take another photo this morning it had started to cloud over and now it is raining here.  Well, trying to rain.  

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Kaipara Coast

When I was travelling back from Auckland with my five year old grandson a couple of weeks ago I decided to take a stop at the Kaipara Coast Sculpture Garden Centre to give Aiden a change to stretch his legs and for me to try the coffee at the cafe which I haven't visited before.

The coffee was so so but the childrens play area was excellent.  I was ready to move on long before Aiden was which gave me a chance to wander around the plants.  The staff in the cafe were lovely saying he'd be fine there by himself and they would keep an eye on him for me.  

There's a sculpture trail at the centre.  I will call in sometime when I have time for the 1 km walk. The artwork on the gates and fences give an indication of what to expect.                       

I'll come back to link to Theresa's Good Fences.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

That's a lot of stringers?

I had such a laugh yesterday after my friend, Chris said, "Have you seen Roger's new stringers?" and I walked around the corner of the surfboard factory to see a mini forest of logs.

Surfers will know that the stringer is the thin strip of wood that traditionally runs down the middle of the surfboard. The wood is typically made of balsa, although this is poplar, and the thickness increases the strength and rigidity of the board. Some boards have multiple stringers for added stiffness.   Here's a shot of a board with its single stringer that I lifted from Roger's Surfline website. 

You've got to agree there are a lot of stringers there waiting to be integrated into surfboards of the future.