Monday, 31 July 2017

Taranaki again

I've just returned from my third visit to Taranaki this year.  I think I'll have a little "Home" time for a while.  Snuggle up in my own bed for the rest of winter. 

I experienced a variety of weather while I was away.  One night there was a storm which ensured the ewes in the paddock next to my daughter's house produced a lovely crop of lambs.  It's always a joy to watch lambs playing.

These four were great mates.  They ignored all the other lambs and only played with each other.

My duty while I was there was to get this little man off to school each morning.  I had to turn him around so he was facing in the right direction to get to school in the heavy fog.  Not really, but he thought it was funny.  Gotta love little ones who smile at their grandparent's daft jokes.

And then there was the little flood.  Blocked drains sent the runoff from heavy rain down the road and into my daughter's yard. 

I thought it was jolly cold when I was down there but it was here at home that the heavy frost came.   That was yesterday morning but I wasn't up early enough to get photos.  I was enjoying one of those snuggles I mentioned before.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Taupo fences

On our way down to the Wairarapa a couple of weeks ago, Chris and I broke the journey and stayed a night in Taupo.  It's about 430 kms south of here, in the centre of the North Island.   The following morning we took a stroll along the waterfront and visited the Saturday morning market before heading west to Napier.

At the time the British and Irish Lions rugby team was touring the country and in one place, the fence was being used to fly the flags of New Zealand and our British and Irish visitors.

Monday, 10 July 2017

A wet weather drive

Yesterday the rain bucketed down.  Not all day, just in intermittent downpours. The day started with a rainbow.  Change that to my day because it was well under way when, as I was making my bed, a rainbow caught my eye.  I guessed from the dark cloud behind it that a bit of rain might be on its way. 

Rather than sit inside all day and probably feel cold and miserable I decided to take a drive to see how much water was pouring down the side of the mountain and check out the roadside waterfall just up the road a bit.

Every crease in the hills was streaming.

 Between downpours it was drizzling, so all these photos were taken through the car window. 

Further from home, closer to Tangiteroria, the upper reaches of the Northern Wairoa River was just keeping within its banks and not by much. 

And here's my shot of the day.  Nothing at all to do with what I set out to see.  Isn't he beautiful?  Both of them are but I found the big fella closest to the road to be the most impressive.  He didn't move an inch when I stopped opposite him, just placidly gazed at me with what I fancifully thought to be a soulful expression. 

Friday, 7 July 2017


During the week I went to a funeral at a marae down on the Kaipara Harbour.  My friends final resting place looks down over the water.  It's a long time since I've lived in this area and on my way home I took a quick detour to see if I could find the place on the road which allows a good harbour view.  I should have paid more attention to exactly where I was but it wasn't far from the marae which is marked on this map.  Took me forever to figure out how to include the map, even following instructions.  I wanted to include it because the Kaipara is such a big harbour.  By area, it's one of the largest harbours in the world.

As you can see, the tide was out.

Rest in peace, Mihi.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Common and uncommon

Common sheep fence.

I don't often find a helicopter on the other side of the fence.

Linking to Gosia's Fences from around the world.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Random from the Wairarapa and King Country

Strangely, for me at least, I didn't take many photos while I was in the Wairarapa recently.  My camera stopped charging on the second day.  The battery is quite expensive so I didn't have a spare and even if I had owned one, I probably wouldn't have thought to have it with me.  I take crap photos with my phone so don't have many to share.  The first thing I did when I got home was order a new battery which is now in the camera and life is back to normal.

I wish I had taken more shots when we stopped for a closer look at a fresh farm milk supply cabin up a side road not far from Carterton.  The milk comes from a local farm, and is supplied to customers, untreated, through a vending machine.  It is dispensed into glass bottles for $3 a litre.  Customers can supply their own bottles if they wish.  

Suppliers say nothing is added, nothing is taken away. There are as many arguments for raw fresh milk as there are against it. 

Regulations for raw drinking milk were passed late last year and farmers who sell raw milk to consumers must be registered with the Ministry for Primary Industries.  

There doesn't always have to be a reason for a photo, does there?  Some just take themselves, especially on a phone.  And then sometimes I like the result.  It took me a while to remember this wall and chairs were in the visitors centre at Stonehenge Aotearoa.

This one took itself at Cobblestone Museum.

On the way back home we went cross country to Te Kuiti to see the recently unveiled statue of Sir Colin Meads

 A little admirer touching the shoelaces of the great man.  Sir Colin himself was impressed with the detail that the sculptor had got right as even his laces were done up as he used to lace them.  

Sir Colin is now 81 and very ill with pancreatic cancer.  You can't live in New Zealand and not know he is regarded by many as New Zealand’s greatest ever rugby player.  He has the reputation of being a good, honest, hardworking bloke.

His statue is truly impressive.  2.9 metres bronze, the man appears to be in full flight, the rugby ball dwarfed by his legendary huge hands. The likeness to the man is remarkable.

Another visitor agreed to stand in front of the statue, to give an idea of the scale.  We agreed that it was about 1.5 times real life size.

My one criticism is about where it is located.  It has pride of place, right on the middle of town but the railway building behind just doesn't look like the right backdrop.   

In a cafe on the other side of the road the female staff were sporting new tshirts celebrating the life of Sir Colin and the new statue.  They really like them and one of the girls took off her apron to appear in my photo.  Thanks, girls.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Wairarapa small towns

The advertising says, "Bring your appetite to Martinborough".  Unfortunately we arrived with ours mid-afternoon on a Sunday when the recommended eating place was closing so we settled for browsing a dress shop which had some interesting art on display, a kitchen wares shop, a wine shop and a cosy little bar.

Martinborough Hotel on the corner

Martinborough's other claim to fame is its vineyards and we sampled a lovely rich red.  I must return in summer sometime and visit some of those vineyards which are within walking distance of the quaint village square. Some of New Zealand’s best pinot noir comes from the town’s predominately family-owned vineyards.

Another of the small Wairarapa towns, Greytown has architectural charm and we enjoyed a stroll up and down the length of the main street with its excellent examples of Victorian colonial architecture.  It's New Zealand's most complete street of wooden Victorian buildings and is a favourite weekend getaway for Wellingtonians.  

I was most impressed by the huge Eucalyptus tree which stands outside one of the churches.  It was planted there in 1856 after being carted in a wheelbarrow from Wellington.  (Love a tree with a back story!)

Greytown really is a pretty town and is often described as the prettiest town in the North Island.  It's shopping heaven, with the street lined with  clothes, shoes and homeware shops, quirky antique stores, art shops and bric-a-brac.  Each shop reflects the personality of its owners, some being the odd side of quirky I thought.

We returned a couple of days after our first stop to visit the Schoc Chocolate factory and Cobblestone Museum.  I can close my eyes and imagine myself back there exploring my personality though chocology.   True, that's what the brochure says I was doing.  I'd be awfully ill if I explored in depth with all 85 flavours.  That's the chocolate shop on the right in the shadow of the tree below.  It stands on the edge of the museum grounds. 

Little chocolate factory on the right

The museum was excellent, far exceeding my expectations.  It's laid out as a small village with a schoolhouse, hospital, chapel, stables, blacksmiths etc. and a plethora of artifacts.  There's lots of variety - shearing shed, ploughs and farming and road making equipment, as well as a couple of houses moved there from their original locations.

 Old sheep shearing machine