Friday, 30 November 2012

Much of a Morning

... flowering rata, Andersons Bay inlet.

Sometimes you just click the shutter at exactly the right moment. A cute little straddling bumblebee out visitng the flowers this morning. The bumblebee was introduced to Aotearoa / New Zealand to pollinate clover for the agricultural industry. There are four types of bumblebee - one type, bombus subterraneus, only exists in Central Otago and MacKenzie Country. Images of the four different types (fascinating how differently striped a yellow and black bumblebee can be -ee)! can be found HERE at the wonderful Te Ara (encyclopedia of NZ) site

A bumblebee doesn't make honey - the sole reason for its existence is to pollinate.

Because the rata (my guess is that this is a small southern rata) is out around Christmas time, both it and the larger pohutakawa (which has similar red flowers) is known as New Zealand's Christmas tree. 

As I set out on my walk this morning, the neighbour said to me, "Not much of a day, is it?"
He was referring to the fact that it was bitterly cold. The last day of Spring here in Dunedin, was tinged with a wintery chill factor. I was clad in scarf, jacket, gloves and hat and glad of the extra warmth and protection.

 ... the lime of low-tide lichen

The neighbour's comment was completely justified - 'not much of a day'. Even so, I did manage to find some 'much' in my walk around the inlet.

... Mr and Mrs Paradise Duck out foraging for their breakfast.

... a non-balmy Outdoor Education lesson for some high school pupils.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Happy Gonk

Gonk is happy in a new possie I found for her the other day.  I took her out of the dim corner she's been in and placed her on the back of Nana McLeod's old armchair, in the sun.

Gonk was made by me (in 1974?) Maybe earlier.  I made her for my sister Jill, who would have been about 11 years old at the time.

She's made from  a scrap of navy-blue crimplene - a very popular material in the 60's & 70's.  [From Wikipedia:  Britain's defunct ICI Fibres Laboratory developed the fibre in the early 1950s and named it after the Crimple Valley in which the company was situated. Crimplene was used in garments that required a permanently pressed look, such as skirts and trousers.]

Crimplene is no longer popular - it has gone the way of knitting machines and preserving.  It wasn't a very nice fabric anyway - kind of scratchy and a bit smelly as it didn't 'breathe'.

I do remember a crimplene dress I had though that I loved. It was made by my penfriend's aunty and sent over from Britain. It was light-green with a white lace peter-pan collar. Very Mary Quant.

 I notice Gonk's legs are facing the wrong way and I also see that I didn't match the cottonto the material, so it is possible to see my very rough hand-sewing.

 Also from Wikipedia: 'A gonk is an egg-shaped furry novelty toy with googly eyes and small arms and legs that was popular in the 1960s. They were created by Robert Benson and Sheila Stanton. They were associated with Op art, hep and mod culture.  Gund sold Gonks in the US, including inflatable vinyl versions.  Gonks are also homemade.'
 Up until about a year ago, Gonk has been with Mum (left behind there by Jill when she left home).  As Jill's partner will not have it in the house, Gonk has now found a home with me.

Which we're both happy about. I think - although as she doesn't speak, I can only really go by her expression.


Friday, 16 November 2012

'Only Connect' (E.M. Forster)

One of my favourite quotes is 'Only Connect' which is the epigraph E.M. Forster wrote for his novel, 'Howards End'.

A couple of posts back I posted my granddaughter and the playground cat.

This week in our local, community newspaper, The Star, there was an article featuring the artist of the mural I photographed with V.

The artist is Felipa Fairy - Children's Entertainer. The photo shows her holding the cat people call Dinosaur Park Cat - a cat that lives in the neighbourhood and regularly visits the playground..

Now, you are thinking, why on earth is Kay posting a picture of a hedge?! (It's not even my picture).

It's Marcus Lush 's photo. He's on Twitter and posts quirky photos of things he sees around Dunedin.

It's fun trying to guess where the photo is from - or at times, even what the photo is of.

Yesterday he posted the photo above and I instantly recognised it as a favourite hedge of mine. Eight years ago, I was nanny for a family and this remarkable hedge formed the boundary between them and their neighbour. The neighbour looked after and manicured the hedge a treat.

The family moved to another part of the country, but still keep in touch.

That amazingly well-manicured hedge ('Yellowhammers surf the lone wave of a shorn hedge' ) was certainly a feature of my memories of the two happy years I spent working with this family.

When they left, they gave me a framed photo of the poem I wrote about their neighbourhood.. It's a treasured keepsake.

Seeing the article about the mural artist and the playground cat and the familiar local-landmark hedge in a random Tweet, is for me just another example of the amazing interconnectedness of life.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Mountains, Daisies, Birds and Crumbs

I always feel rather pleased with myself when I time a walk along the inlet right and arrive when the tide is out, because then I know I'm likely to catch a glimpse of any wading birds out feeding from the sludge and mud.

I'm always especially pleased if I manage to see the spoonbills.

Today was a grey day - perfect for photos as you don't have to fight the harsh light and cast of shadows.

These soft, pastel-pink ice plants are a pleasant change from the more usual bright yellow.

We had the wee ones to stay over the weekend. As always they kept us running.

The weather continues to be changeable and overcast, and cold. But we'd promised a picnic so a picnic (of sorts) we had.

What you don't see are the bottle-tops and cigarette butts on the grass - left there by a Saturday night gathering.

There was a guy cleaning up the barbecue ovens and broken glass under the playground equipment. He said that the mess had been made by teenagers / young people partying and that it happens every Saturday night.

The clean-up guys working for the Council are there early every Sunday morning and have it all cleaned up by 10.00 a.m. (Most of the public don't even know anything about it. I certainly didn't, until now).

Ripples of cloud overhead earlier this week. The sun did come out for a time later.

Our son Chris and his partner Jenny are wandering (trudging, tramping, climbing, rambling ...) in the Himalayas at the moment and will be there for another two weeks yet.

I was thinking about them being there in the mountains and imagining the wonder and awe-inspiring grandeur that they are seeing there at the top of the world.

At the time I was sitting outside drinking a cup of coffee and looked down to see the lawn covered in daisies. The contrast of the lowly lawn daisy compared to the majesty of mountains made me smile.  

I've always loved daisies.

I threw out the end of an old loaf on to the grass and immediately the resident blackbird (I've named him Billy Britches) landed on the lawn-runway and started to hoe in.

As I watched I noticed he uses his beak like a pair of scissors to cut small chunks out of the bread, flinging out the crumbs and pieces. Then he struts about (or hops about - the starlings are the ones that strut) and gobbles up the small bits where they have fallen.

Other birds came to join the party. Billy Brithches didn't seem to mind. He seems a very affable sort.

When our old cat Grommy wandered by, I was ready to shoo the birds away from danger, but he couldn't care a less about them.  Didn't even give them a glance. Another sign that he has reached the status of geriatric cat.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Art Exhibition & Poetry Competition & What The Water's Doing

I had an enjoyable visit out at Bellamy's Gallery, MacAndrew Bay this afternoon. The road out to Mac Bay follows the line of the harbour and is very pretty.

 I was thinking as I drove back - it's  good for my well-being to be near water. It's good to check up on what the water's doing.

As beneficial as a daily check of the sky.

Looking across to the city over the Andy Bay inlet.

If you get a chance and are in the locality - do call into Bellamy's Art Gallery in MacAndrew Bay to take a look at the exhibition, 'North meets South'. It runs all month. You will see some marvellous creations - ceramics, jewellery, prints, paintings ... works by South Island artists that have been inspired by North Island haiku.

It is a 'Poems in the Waiting Room' enterprise conceived, instigated, organised and powered by the amazing Ruth Arnison. The Bellamy's Gallery is a perfect location for the works.

Read more about the show at the North Meets South blog - found HERE.

Go check it out. While you're there, you can also visit The Bay Cafe for a coffee and savour the view from their windows.

Rock covered with bright green lichen. Andersons Bay inlet.

Also - 'Poems in the Waiting Room'  have just announced their annual Poetry Competition. Do enter. Details HERE.  (Scroll odwn to see details of the competition).

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Fit For A Princess

 When I saw her dress, I asked, "Are you a fairy today, or a princess?"
"A princess".

A favourite playground (in fact I'd go so far as to say THE favourite playground) for children in Dunedin is the Marlow Park Playground.

Well, that is its official name anyway - there's even a brass plaque to say so. Named after a Mr Marlow.

However to the kids of Dunedin, it is better known as the Dinosaur Park because of its large dinosaur-shaped slide (you can see it as a distant, pale-green shape in the background of the top photo).

Because of an Ark-shaped restaurant that used to be here in the '80's, '90's and into the first decade of the 2000's, our sons tended to call it Noah's Ark Park - which had a nice poetic ring to it.

The cafe has since gone and hasn't been replaced. There is definitely potential there for an entrepreneur to do something - even to be able to buy a take-away coffee and an ice-cream at the playground would be wonderful. Maybe someone will do something there once the recession stops biting ...

Of course there are other features, such as ...

... the playground's calico cat. (Naturally, the cat is not as old as the Park, but it is a regular enough visitor these days to have featured on the newly-painted wall). 

The Princess is on top of the mountain.

"He's got sharp teeth," the Princess said.
"No, this whale hasn't got teeth," I said, "only smooth, pink gums".

I have visited this playground with children since 1972.

The famous dinosaur slide. Pure art deco.

Back to my place where the Princess takes my photo for a change

and where we make a block castle (fit for a princess, needless to say).

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...