Friday, 26 October 2012


Continuing with the theme of paths and ways, on St Kilda beach, wooden steps lead up to the Surf Club.

Confinement of sand behind wire - as if that will ever stop the encroach of the dunes ... but a little reinforcement, an attempt at a bulwark, can't hurt.

Beach glass reflects the colour of a deep wave.

A hollowed-out stone gives the impression of a sun-warm nest.

On a  window-sill, an old medicine bottle dispenses light.

A plant on a table; potted sunlight.

Back to sea and sky, casting their own colours.

beach- glass

Found and carried
up wooden steps
that lead away
from formless sand
that in the end 
cannot be confined

behind wire or wind,
the sea-worn piece 
of glass is saved 
from wearing thinner
and wears it well, 
the light

it casts gives back 
the deeper colours 
of the sea as it turns  
and keeps behind glass
the shape of an ocean wave
held forever.

Kay McKenzie Cooke

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Ways Through

... with my son, December last year, Kyoto, Japan.

... stone path, Kyoto, Japan December, 2011

... silver birches, Kyoto, December, 2011

... churchyard gate, Clyde, New Zealand.

... sluice pipe, gold diggings, Blue Lake, St Bathans, New Zealand.

... McAllister's Corner, Orepuki, New Zealand (as a child, the road that took me to school, or to the shops).

... old door-handle from my childhood home.

Doorways, steps, paths, 
roads, gates; ways 
through, ways in.
Ways out. 

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Now and Before

Spent a few hours in the garden today. Gardening makes me feel connected to life.

My mother says flowers (or 'flahrs' as she calls them) are better than shrubs. .

I like the flowery foreground of our bank - still to decide what to plant in the background. 

In autumn I decided it was time to tackle the ground left after we took down the rickety old rabbit hutch.
(We'd been thinking of using the old run for chooks but decided against it).

What we were left with was some spare ground ... perhaps we could use it for a vege. garden?

The small space just below the glasshouse is perfect for a small garden. For a start, that's where the rhubarb plant will be shifted to (it wasn't doing so well where it was).

The blocks of concrete I un-earthed have made perfect stepping stones ...

These are photos taken when I did the work in autumn. You can see the grape vine going for broke in the glasshouse.

All cleared. Still not sure about whether to use the lower space for a vege. patch. Not sure I want to invest the time needed. We have a Farmers Market in Dunedin on Saturday mornings where we can buy fresh, locally grown and organically produced food.

Decision made. We will use the patch for a lawn and if later on I feel inclined to plant vegetables, it can always be dug up..

Autumn photo, the small garden plot dug over and ready. (Yet to lay compost).

This is where I will re-house the rhubarb plant. But what else can I put here?

Problem solved when we are given strawberry plants by some kind friends.

Rhubarb in the foreground, strawberry plants farther back. The climber is in place for beans or maybe tomatoes.

I read once that strawberry plants like pine-needle compost. Perfect. After we had a large cypress cut down two years ago, two piles of pine-needle compost have been languishing. (A hedgehog used one of the piles for a hibernation hidey-hole the first winter, but no sign of it this spring).

This is what I was faced with in autumn of this year.

After a tidy-up, a slight improvement this spring. Still work to do with plans for a garden seat and removal of the old timber and netting to the left of the photo.

Looking the other way, down towards the house. Remains of the pine-needle compost in left foreground.

I spent time today cutting down wattle from the neighbours to the right that had barged over the fence into our area. It's got a lovely perfume and pretty yellow flowers, but is very invasive and needed to be cut back.

A garden is a never-ending project but a perfect excuse to get my hands into the earth, to smell leaf mould, moss and clay. To connect with nature. To remain ... well ... grounded.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Old Posts

 I haven't had time to go out with the camera the last three days, so have decided to use old photographs. 

These photos go back to March 2011 when sis and I went on a bit of a roadie, after first visiting Larnach Castle. A misty morning (early autumn) perfect for viewing a castle.

Then we went through to Middlemarch. Keeping with the Scottish theme, here's a scots thistle in the mist of the Maniototo.

I love the way the farmers there use local stone as fence posts.

After lunch in Middlemarch, sis and I travelled through to Beaumont where our brother lives and where we stayed the night. That was where we first learned of the earthquake in Japan.

From Beaumont (I mentioned the Beaumont bridge over the Clutha River in yesterday's post) we headed to Gore, where our mother was staying with her sister (our aunty).

The old Gore library - a favourite with us when we were young. It is now a well-known Art Gallery.

My mother is back down with my aunty again and in a couple of days I'm travelling through to see her there.

Watch this space for more Gore pictures after I get back  New ones this time.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012


Yesterday on the way home from our stay in Queenstown, we followed the Clutha River part of the way - as we always do. However, yesterday the river seemed to announce its presence more forcefully than at other times.

The Clutha is a leviathan of a river, powerful.

 "The river has the largest catchment in New Zealand (8,480 sq. miles), and is reputed to have the greatest volume of water. It is the largest river in the South Island, being 150 miles from the lakes to the sea and 210 miles from its headwaters to the sea". (Te Ara Encyclpedia of New Zealand).

Part of its raw force has been channelled and compressed into weighty lakes and hydro dams built to provide electricity.

I am lucky enough to remember the picturesque, twisting Cromwell Gorge one had to travel as the old road (pre-Clyde Dam) followed alongside the youthful, fierce river in its tumultuous rush from the mountains to the coast.

Parts of the river today are an attractive green colour - the colour of greenstone (pounamu). Nowadays the young part of the Clutha pounds and rolls and smoothly curls its way to the sea. It no longer rushes and falls, or squeezes itself through narrow, rocky gaps, frothing and spraying with the effort. It has been tamed. Managed.

However, the old parts of the Clutha still retain something of its character. Yesterday, somewhere between Ettrick and Millers Flat it said, Hey! as under the flounce of bright, spring-lime willows, it danced and swirled in its heavy green, forcing me to pay attention.

Under Beaumont Bridge's grumbling, uncertain boards that always seem to be under repair, the Clutha left us. Or we left it. I watched the river picking its way through the rocks there as it travelled on without a backward glance.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012


One of the nicest parts of Queenstown is away from all the tourist fuss and in a quiet area behind and between the cafes and shops, where a creek has been allowed to continue winding through. It is where the Hakitekura Balustrade can be found. Go to this site to find out how Kai Tahu have thoughtfully and creatively preserved and embellished this area of Queenstown.

The creek has been lined with a wall made from local stone and a path takes you along where 32 sculptures have been positioned . (See below the story / Maori legend the sculptures depict).

The photo above shows the walls of the Old Court House, now a restaurant.


This morning was the scene that greeted us as we ate breakfast at 7.00. The sunrise can be seen behind the Remarkables range - mountains which have been formed by glacial moraine and one of the very few in the world that stretches north - south. Most mountain ranges are formed east-west.

Lake Wakatipu is a very cold lake - the temperature hardly alters from winter to summer. I certainly wouldn't want to be swimming across this icy lake.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Thyme Time

A misty, grey day such as we had today, isn't conducive to taking photos. I decided to look for inspiration in photos taken on other days.

Such as these photos taken last November.

November is when the wild thyme is blooming in Central Otago

As you walk the plants are crushed underfoot, releasing the aroma of thyme.

Bees like the thyme, making it possible for the local production of thyme honey. Thyme honey has health benefits which can be found listed here.

Lye Bow Lake, near Alexandra.

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...