Thursday, 30 October 2008


Time to unashamedly boast about the upcoming exhibition of Mike Cooke's art at the Blue Oyster gallery here in Dunedin. Mike is our son and a STUNNING artist.
Check out his work HERE

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

State Highway One

Over your right shoulder as you travel south from Christchurch, across the Canterbury Plains, are the Southern Alps. They kept me company all the way to Ashburton and then to Timaru ... it was a splendid day and the viewing was easy!

Maybe when I reached Timaru and dropped in to spend a bit of time there at Caroline Bay, I had been influenced by having recently seen on TV the comedian Rhys Darby , famous for his part as the manager in 'Flight of the Conchords.' He was pointing out how NZ is a land of Adventure and Fun! Yeah; such such as mini-golf, mini-train rides, bumper boats and the like. He was affectionately poking the borax; but it is so true.
Yesterday while wandering pleasant Caroline Bay, everywhere I looked there seemed to be evidence of his claim ... oh dear.

You could say however that these guys are a bit of a step up from trivial rides. They are floundering. Now I know what that sounds like ... but in fact they are setting a flounder net.

And as always, there's a dog joining in.

And you thought mermaids weren't real? I found this one on the sand, just lying there minding her own business; sunbathing .

Timaru is an established seaside town with a port - these old houses on the skyline above the Port look down upon the doings like the dowagers they are.

Numbered concrete seats at the Sound Shell where Open Air Concerts and Talent Quests and such-like Summer Fair Fun are held.

A ferris wheel waiting for its turn ...

Sound Shell - the stage for the Open Air Concerts. This photo is for McD - she knows why!

On the road again heading for Oamaru ... this bright yellow paddock catching my eye.

I stopped at a cute little Berry Farm and bought some jams and chutneys.

Farther down the road, another stop. The day was gloriously warm and I was finding it hot driving, so a lot of stops were the order of the day. I was now away from the Plains and travelling along the coast.

I took a small detour to have a bit of a look around the small coastal township of Karitane.

And then before I knew it, I was home again.

Monday, 27 October 2008

'On we sweep with threshing oar' ... from Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin

Snow-covered bikes in Japan - taken by Steve Cooke

I have also added a link to the Dr Sam Bowser's blog (you'll also find it under Things Conservational in my sidebar.) He is also working down there at the moment and it is through him that Claire has been able to go down and wonderfully 'create'.


Friday, 3 October 2008

Buried in the Past

While over at Haast, South Westland, we were taken by C to a pioneer cemetery at Jackson Bay that he was responsible for tidying up and making accessible for people to visit. He was helped by local volunteers and some of his work colleagues, who armed with wheelbarows and chainsaws cleared away bush that had overgrown the graves. A neat gravel path was formed between the grave sites. As well as the advice and guidance of an archaeologist, C had also done some research of his own on the history of the cemetery. They were able to clear about ten grave-sites, but apparently there are more set back in what is now second-growth rainforest. Most of the graves are un-named.
Late in the nineteenth century people from countries like Poland, Russia and Germany paid for what they were informed was arable land at Jackson Bay, New Zealand, only to discover once they had made the long journey, that they had bought land in an isolated, rugged piece of area thick with rainforest right down to the ocean, and impossible to farm.
C told us that the graves of this cemetery seem to be mostly those of young men killed by drowning or from trees falling on them while trying to clear the forest. Unsurprisingly most of the disillusioned immigrants ended up leaving, although some remained to establish the town of Jackson Bay. There was some hope that the very sheltered harbour would become a thriving port, but that has never eventuated. Jackson Bay is a pretty harbour and village, but to me there seems to linger still some sense of disappointment; or maybe it's just that plain old resentment towards visitors that seems to pervade certain small towns.

This grave had a tree growing out of it. The archaeologist said it would have to be cut down, but we agreed that it somehow seems symbolic and that the person (or persons) buried there must now be part of the tree.

We travelled up to Okarito on the Sunday. It is possible to see white herons (kotuku) here, but only by kayak, it seems. It is also the home of the writer Keri Hume. We didn't see any herons, which I was disappointed about. However, we did see Keri Hume walking down the road.
I posted a picture yesterday that was taken from the top of the Haast Pass. In this photo, I am almost at the top.

This is the Haast Pass again, showing the river valley between the mountains. The Maori word for the pass means 'the way becomes clear' or 'path of light'. They traversed the pass many times (with flax sandals for footwear) to get food, to trade pounamu (greenstone or jade) and to catch up on relatives.

This was taken on our way back home to Dunedin again; Lake Hawea, looking very blue and pleased with itself.

We interrupted our journey home with a stop at the town of Cromwell. While R played a game of golf there, I explored the old part of the town . This is a part of the old town that wasn't drowned when the Clyde Dam was constructed in the mid-1980s.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Ma and Pa Go Wild

A waterfall just as we got through the Haast Pass. It was raining hard, in true West Coast style, so there were lots of waterfalls to be seen. One tourist taking photos by the side of the road under a large umbrella, with rain pouring down in sheets off the umbrella's rim, was taking a huge risk with his expensive camera I thought!
A piece of Coast furniture.
West-Coast-sized fern.
Ma & Pa in the wild.
On the homeward journey. When we got to the top of the Pass, it was to find a snow-dusted silver beech forest - a little magic.

We just got back on Tuesday night from four days over on the West Coast catching up with our youngest son. It has been a case of - back home, unpack, catch up on emails, back to work ... download & upload photos ... and no time for much else. (I'm hanging out for the weekend now  so I can catch my breath and catch up a little with my stuff &generally get my act together.)
We have managed a couple of Skypes with our son and family in Kyoto tho'. Great excitement about our granddaughter's new trick. She can roll over! I swear she was looking straight at us as she showed off her new way of looking at the world. Only four months old and already in command of her locale. (Granma K is very impressed.) Only 3 months to go now and we will finally get to meet her and our new daughter in law in the flesh. Web cams are amazing, but the real deal can't be beat.

At the top of the Pass - I was proud of myself chugging up to the top of the walk!
After all the West Coast rainforest, it was an amazing contrast to hit the Central Otago lakes and more open country.
Some lambs on my brother's farm at Beaumont.  Well ... it is Spring after all.

Clocking Out

 I have been neglecting this blog for some months. I think perhaps I should face facts and accept that it is indeed time to retire this blog...