Saturday, 20 June 2015

Mid-Winter Lantern Parade


We had to wait until it was dark. Luckily there was just a sliver of moon. To help keep warm and happy there were food stalls selling burritos, soup, mulled wine, potato kebabs ... Our grandchildren were happiest with the candy floss  ...


Then the parade started ...


Street lights around the Octagon were turned off ...


The theme this year was Dunedin's Botanical Gardens ...


The peacock was a major attraction ...



Blurred flowers - hard to take photos of moving objects at night ...



But I'm a fan of colourful blurred effects ...


Goldfish  ...






Stilted aborists ... ...






A great parade. The weather was still, cold and clear. A perfect mid-winter's evening. The evening was also to celebrate Matariki - Maori New Year, which happens at the rising / appearance here in the Southern Hemisphere of the Pleiades star system (called Matariki by the Maori).

Info from Google:
Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. It rises in mid-winter – late May or early June. For many Māori, it heralds the start of a new year. Matariki literally means the 'eyes of god' (mata ariki) or 'little eyes' (mata riki).

Garden Notes: Part Two


winter warmth

NZ native - deciduous


shaggy driveway monster


ghost flowers


urn-ing its rest


stone story


tanuki and friends


driveway boulder


grouped things


blue-eyed gnome

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Garden Notes. Part One



blue dancers in the dark

These two photos of flowers were taken by my granddaughter - I've taken a bit of artistic license with them.


pelargonium butterfly


 the fluffed feather-look so popular in the winter



rainbow holder


petunia-pink & wintry-white

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Trolleys in the Leith


A picture of pansies growing at my in-law's ...




Pansies are for thoughts  ... A play on the French for the word thought 'pensee' - normally with an acute over the first 'e' to help with pronunciation; but I can't do an acute on this keyboard. (My keyboard isn't cute enough?) It is also, I guess, where the English word 'pensive' comes from.

Thinking of thoughts, my thoughts often stray to past times. In this mood I went back to my first posts on this blog to read what I had written nine years ago. Yes, nine years!

Written March 23rd, 2006 

'What is it about mid-day that confuses me? I often get times wrong around noon ... I had arranged to meet my daughter today at 12.45 and turned up at 11.45. Maybe it's going back to 'real' time from daylight saving time, that has confused me. 

Because I was an hour early, I decided to buy a coffee, plant myself at a table and do a bit of writing. I used to do this quite a bit two years ago, enjoying the experience of writing in the midst of a busy downtown cafe. However today it didn't seem as much fun anymore. I wrote a little bit, but everyone else in the restaurant appeared to be particularly loud and annoying, so I ended up just going back to my car where it was parked at my daughter's flat, and reading the newspaper until she turned up.

I ended up having my granddaughter after school, which was an unplanned but pleasant surprise. One of the things we did, was walk around the university. I showed her the Leith, which is a stream that runs through the university grounds. 

We saw three supermarket trolleys lying in the stream. She was very puzzled as to why the students would think it a good idea to do such a dumb thing as tip supermarket trolleys into the Leith. I must say I had a hard time trying to explain. It's a tradition was the best I could come up with. To her, teenagers and young adults are a very scary, very weird breed. Except her uncles - she likes her teenage uncles, and this helps her to understand the species a little more. 

The Leith's official name is Water of Leith which is certainly a grand name for such a little body of water. Granddaughter wasn't impressed by the coke bottle and other bits of rubbish she saw in the stream. There is nothing quite as righteous as an eight year old! However, she does have a point. Righteous indignation often does. 

She was a little nervous of all the students walking past. "They'll look at me and think I'm a brat," she said. As it was just on five p.m. I told her the students weren't even noticing her, that they were all heading home and that probably all that was on their minds was food - pies, chips and two-minute noodles. 

On the way back to my place we stopped at a supermarket to buy some spag. bol. sauce for dinner. After paying for my purchases, I thought I had lost her. I couldn't see her anywhere. That was a scary moment; how was I going to explain this to her mother? But she had decided to wait for me just a little to the side of where I was expecting her to be. She was playing on a miniature hand-held game. "I carry this everywhere with me so that when I have to wait for someone, I've got something to do," she said nonchalantly, completely oblivious to my panic and terror'.

(It was interesting to read this knowing that my granddaughter is now seventeen. I remember the day well, but even so, much had disappeared from my memory. Just like a photo, what I had written brought a lot of it back).

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Background of Sky and Rain


The birds are happy. Every morning the little moss-green wax-eyes appear, peep-peep-peep-ing for their sugar-water treat.
In our new abode, a bird table was easy to achieve by simply placing a heavy chopping board in the middle of an obliging tree with an accommodating spread of flat branches.




Puffed-up feathers; a sure sign of winter.


This old kettle (that once belonged to Robert's great-aunt Phyllis) has a spout that looks remarkably like a mouth mid-sentence; perhaps 'spouting' some witticism.
Maybe it's the past talking to the present.
(Do you sense an approaching theme?)


 A memorable visit back to childhood haunts (namely the township of Orepuki, Western Southland) in early May, provided me with the opportunity to show- and-tell the family stories of my childhood.


This stone wall used to run along a path leading away from the township shops. 

The wall (surely about one hundred years old by now) is made up of Orepuki beach stones and on sunny days, provided a sun-warmed spot for me to sit down with my adored Enid Blyton children's magazine, 'Sunny Stories'.

It was always an exciting day when I went to McDonald's Drapers after school (was it on a Wednesday?) to collect 'the books' (Mum's English Woman's Day and the 'Sunny Stories'). I could never wait until I got home to open up the 'Sunny Stories' If it wasn't raining, I'd perch myself on the stone wall and begin to read.


A familiar, yet very changed, stone wall, its stones melting into grass.


Seeing my son attending to his baby daughter outside what was once the very shop where I would go to get my favourite childhood magazines, was surreal. (Time swallowing its own tail).


The old stone wall edges a paddock where in the distance we could see the boarding house (now a church) that my Irish great-great-grandparents' (Bernard and Mary Reid) built after they'd emigrated from Derry, eventually settling in Orepuki. 
The old building also appeared to be fading into a background of sky and rain. 

Some people prefer not to dwell on / in the past. Maybe it gives them a headache. Maybe to them it's uninteresting, pointless and boring. Maybe it's too painful.
Perhaps, in fact, the best place is standing firm in the middle - sometimes looking back, yet with an awareness of how the past only exists because of the present moment, and how the past (and the future) protects the present moment.


The photo above of my son and baby granddaughter on the empty streets of my old hometown, is for me a symbol of standing fully present in the moment, between the past and the future.

Inside the front cover of my poetry book, 'Born To A Red-Headed Woman', is a quote from my daughter-in-law. It's something she said to me one day, out of the blue. "The future is in the past', she said.
And so it is.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Pushing Through


As I write this, Autumn with all its whims and vagaries, is bowing out and leaving the stage to winter.


Winter is impatient to take the spotlight and today we awoke to sleet and hail.


I'm hoping that the mild days (like the one when I took this photo) haven't completely fled the scene.


This little cornflower is a late arrival in our garden. I didn't get the seeds planted until the end of summer, so as a result the flowers are small. But hardy, I trust. I'm going to have to check on its condition after today's onslaught of hail. Cornflowers aren't designed to flourish in wintry conditions. They are happier growing among a field of wheat. I remember seeing clouds of them (along with red poppies) in the wheatfields of Germany when we were there two summers ago.


Speaking of red poppies ... this is a display of knitted and crocheted poppies in Toitu Otago Settlers Museum. Each poppy represents a life of a soldier lost in the First World War. Otago and Southland lost a heck of a lot of young men at Gallipoli , Turkey one hundred years ago. Among them, my great-uncle Joe Butler. They are not forgotten.


Part of the Toitu museum was once a draughty bus depot where often on Friday nights, I'd catch the bus to Gore. What a cold place it was to wait for a bus. I remember these heavy doors well. You'd push them open to enter a space with a beautiful mosaic floor. Ahead of you were the small ticket booths.


There has been a lot of change in my life lately. I have been pushing through some heavy doors and gateways in order to enter this new phase. It is still my life, but not as I knew it. Change is good. At least that is what I am telling myself.




Harbour

Harbour
'how this all harbours light'