Sunday, 6 October 2013

Where Breakers Roar

A shot of one of my favourite restaurants in Dunedin - 'Neptune' (formerly 'Swell') Have had many pleasant coffee and /or meals with friends and family here.

... New Plymouth walkway photo ... taken a year and a half ago when we visited our son & d-i-l there. 

The New Plymouth's wooden walkway that runs for miles alongside the sea, is a marvellous way of communing with an ocean that gently sways by your side as you walk along. It's very civilised. You don't get sand between your toes, or the legs of your jeans wet.

... St Kilda, Dunedin

Last night we went to hear New Zealand singers Don McGlashan (one of my absolute favourite singer-songwriters) and Dave Dobbyn (he's such a natural, unassuming guy - by now surely a NZ icon who writes fantastic, modern NZ anthems).
They were singing in Knox Church - an early settler, Victorian church here in Dunedin - that has amazing acoustics; it must be all that wood and blue-stone.
Last night was their final stop on a 'singing in churches' tour throughout the country. The two singers sang their compositions together (alternating each other's songs) and creating an attractive blend of their two voices. It was a harmonious collaboration and we were treated to a satisfying selection of many of their compositions. They received a standing ovation.
Many of their songs were about the sea. The sea-side is an inspirational place to find oneself. It is very easy to write songs and poetry about the sea.
The novel I am writing at the moment is set by the sea.

... Princess Range behind Te Waewae Bay, Orepuki, Western Southland 

Maybe the novel has been set 'somewhere round here'?  However, in the words of the British TV character, Francis Urquhart, " You might very well think that; I couldn't possibly comment".

... rocks at Cosy Nook, near Pahia, Western Southland

Cosy Nook is a place that is part of the fabric of my early years; a  magical place that existed as if in myth and legend, but was really just down the road.

... albatross, Taiaroa Head, Dunedin

Speaking of myths - this albatross seems like a myth to me now, five years on from when I worked as a tourist guide at the albatross colony.
The colony is located on the outskirts of our city and I spent a season working out there. My main memory is of long periods of boredom interspersed by the repetitive task of conducting groups of tourists up to the observation point to 'spot' albatrosses flying.
It was a mundane job, interrupted only occasionally by the cry 'Albatross!' when one of these stately birds was spotted swooping by the windows of the centre.
People said that I'd surely be inspired to write lots of albatross poems working there. But it didn't happen. I think because we only ever 'watched' without any engagement.
Seeing an albatross flying overhead at close range - close enough to see their smile - is something unforgettable and I feel privileged to have witnessed that sight many times that summer.
Of course, there is always the opportunity to visit whenever I so desire - it's not going anywhere and is only a twenty-minute car ride away.

... St Kilda beach, Dunedin

New Plymouth's ocean walkway is special, but there is something about a beach, such as the surf beach I live closest to, where breakers roar and whose incessant piling in and sucking back, perpetually manifest a breathtaking energy.

I don't go down to the sea nearly often enough. ('I must go down to the seas today, to the lonely sea and the sky' is the first line from the poem, 'Sea Fever', by John Masefield (who died one hundred years ago this year). It is a poem about sailing. I must say I have no desire to take to the water - I prefer to 'only stand and wait'. I'm more of a Milton than a Masefield.

... frozen winter kelp 

No this isn't a dead octopus.

Sometimes I think I prefer the beach in winter - I remember taking this photo one frosty morning on St Kilda beach, the sand dunes crisp with frost.

... wind patterns on sand dunes, St Kilda, Dunedin 

... storm damage; a seagull who didn't survive a storm; St Kilda beach, Dunedin

... fur seal, Otago Harbour 

However, this seal is very much alive; another memory from my time working out on Taiaroa Head - the sight of frolicking seals in the harbour.

 I am looking forward to re-visiting a favourite beach (or beaches) this coming week. Here's hoping there's poetry, songs, lines for a novel - and photos.

A little wine wouldn't go amiss, either. Will keep you posted!

PS All photos are from my personal stock of on-line photos - still no camera. Hope to get it back tomorrow.


Unknown said...

Nice shots..They tell a story in themselves :O)

Anne S said...

I'm currently reading a novel set in New Zealand during the gold rush. Called The Luminaries by Elizabeth Catton, it is shortlisted for the Booker Prize. As Dunedin is mentioned frequently, your photos bring the landscape of the novel to life.

BTW What did you think of Mood Indigo?

Anne S said...

whoops! That should be Eleanor Catton. Old age is catching up with me.

Kay Cooke said...

Will get around to reading that book one day! Yes we loved Mood Indigo. My granddaughter was blown away by it and said she felt inspired. Thanks for your synopsis by the way, it helped us both to go into the movie kind of prepared and gen-ed up so to speak, Really useful. :)

A said...

Oh Kay. You had me at the first picture... then it only got better -- beautiful photography!

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