Sunday, August 20, 2017

A magic day

Mid afternoon yesterday I thought the day couldn't get any better. 

There was a heavy fog this morning and it was still lifting from the mountain around 10 am when I went to open the gate to the Lodge.  I'd arranged to meet visitors at the gate and had taken a book to read while I waited for them.  But I was happy to just watch the mist as it swirled around the hills.  

The two school teachers who I was showing around the lodge couldn't have picked a better morning.  The bush looked all sparkly and clean, noise seemed to carry more clearly than usual.  Either that or there were more birds at play.  Walking through the bush seemed like the best possible thing to be doing on a Friday morning.   

I was in the most mellow of moods.  Just loving my world and my life.  I even had poetic thoughts imagining a gentle hand at work when these softly moulded hills were created. 

It was easy to remember that spring is nearly here.  Soon the poplars will be turning green but this is the time of year when I like them most.  The lovely silver colour in this line of trees was highlighted by the dark clouds gathering behind them.

In the mellow-ness of my mood everything looked beautiful.  I stopped the car to admire these cattle enjoying the sun as if they knew it wasn't going to last for long.

Only a few miles closer to home the dark clouds were already starting to drop their load over the mountain.  That's my road home running along the bottom of the photo.

By the time I reached home it was bucketing down and I had to wait in the car for a while before making a dash for the front door.  

The weather cleared to produce an "Ahh, what a lovely day" sort of evening.   But, the day was not yet over.  Later that night while I was talking to my daughter on the phone I was first of all distracted by hearing cattle bellowing.  I wonder if they could sense what was to come because shortly after, it was the sound of thunder.  As it got louder she could hear it over the phone.  Our chat was ended when the power went out.   

When I was a child in Australia my grandmother taught us to appreciate a good storm.   At the first sign of an approaching storm she would gather us on the verandah, pillows and blankets on the floor, kerosene lamps at the ready in case the power went out and join us in oooos and aaaas as the thunder crashed and lightning flashed.  Then after the storm we would watch as our grandfather saddled up the horse and rode off to check that the lightning had not started any grass fires in the hills.  My grandmother always comes to sit on my shoulder when there is a storm and I'm ashamed to confess that she would have been rather taken aback at what escaped my lips as I stood in the open doorway and the thunder clapped directly overhead as the lightning blinded me it was so close.  I heard a zzzt as something nearby took a hit.  To my surprise all my electrics are working today.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Back road home

A little Tomtit was fluttering around my car when I went to leave the lodge yesterday.  It's not the first time I've seen this pretty little bird, nor the first time I've tried for a photo.  There is a resident pair that nest around the lodge somewhere.  I got the camera out and sat there but it didn't return.

However, as I drove away another fluttering caught my eye.  I think it was another Tomtit but it was too quick for me.  There had been a shower of rain not long before but the sun had returned and was filtering so prettily through the bush I just had to try to capture it.

You won't often hear people say Ruawai was calling to them.  And I don't know where the idea came from but when I reached home I had a crazy idea that I felt like going to Ruawai.  I had planned on going to the supermarket in Whangarei later in the day.  The supermarket in Dargaville could be on my way to Ruawai, depending on which route I took, so I headed there first.

It was a windy, blustery day, the Northern Wairoa River had its dirty brown churned up look.  You can see my hills of home in the distance.

Ruawai means 'two waters', referring to the Northern Wairoa River and the Kaipara Harbour.  One meets the other around here.  Yesterday, the meeting produced extremely muddy looking water.

Ruawai is a small country town, population around 400, with a surprisingly good local cafe.  Maybe it was the thought of their food that lured me there.  I chose Thai pumpkin soup for lunch and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Thank you, The Well Cafe.

From Ruawai I took a cross country, back road home, stopping a few times to take in the view.

Monday, August 14, 2017

People watching

The cows have been in the paddock around the house.  Some are avid people watchers.  Or maybe it's just me with whom they are fascinated. If they were human people watchers they would have a few lessons to learn about discretion.

Mind you, I think she did try not to be obvious about it but her body language gave her away. 

A good people watcher learns how to do it without staring.  That is just rude.

People watching is sometimes about details.  I enjoy people watching but am not a details person.  It took me a while to notice that there were two cows who were observing me every time I step outside. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017


Whenever I drive to Auckland I always think about the traffic in the city before I leave and plan my trip to avoid traffic congestion.  Even if I don't have to worry about getting somewhere on time, I still resent any time spent sitting in traffic in the city.  When it happens I try to tell myself not to be like my father whose hatred for traffic (and traffic lights) was often a source of amusement to his offspring.  

On the other hand it doesn't matter one iota has long I have sit behind a flock or sheep or heard of cows on a rural road.  It is always a pleasant experience for me.  Of course, it helps if my camera is handy and I have time to fire off a quick shot out the car window. 

These sheep know the drill and mainly stick to the road as they are moved from paddock to paddock.  The roadside fences are there but don't seem necessary.

They are pretty important when the flock reach their destination.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Late Fences

I've become accustomed to composing my photos to include fences because I've been taking part in Gosia's weekly roundup of Fences Around the World. Although I rarely remember to post on the right day.

Anyway, here's my collection of fences from the past week or two.  The first few are from Taranaki where my eyes are always drawn towards the mountain.

This shot  is here purely because I drove up a particular road with this shot in mind, only to find the clouds had moved across in front of it while I was getting there.  I was not amused.

A few minutes later the same day he was a little more visible.  Yes, according to legend, he's a man mountain.

I got up closer but luck was still not with me.  There's always next time.

The next few are taken out the car window when I drove to Mahurangi Regional Park on my way home on Saturday.

And these are the fences on either side of the road that I travel frequently to visit my son and his family on the 'other' farm.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Long way home

Saturday was a glorious day.  Cold but bright and sunny, too good a day to spend simply driving home from Auckland after flying from Taranaki the night before.  A day where places I haven't seen for a while beckoned me off the well beaten track.

Wenderholm is one of Auckland's Regional Parks.  On the east coast, it's about a 35 minute drive from the city, but a whole world apart.  In summer it's long sandy beach is extremely popular with lots of folk picnicing on the large grassed area, under the shade of the huge, old pohutukawa trees.  On Saturday there was a scattering of people enjoying the winter sun.  Mainly older folk.  I guess younger people have other things to do on a Saturday.


Any time of year is selfie time.

 Around the corner, on the Puhoi River side of the park it was equally tranquil. 

I decided that I'd call in at another east coast regional park, a little further north.  I don't think I've been to the end of the road in the Mahurangi Regional Park at Sullivan's Bay since the 70s.   There are more houses along the road, of course, but still a lot of farmland and the views haven't changed.

All was quiet down at the beach.  There was a young tourist couple with a little child enjoying a walk on the beach, all smiles and friendly nods although we couldn't understand each other. And this older couple sitting beside their campervan having a cuppa. 

Before I reached home after dark I'd made another three little detours to visit family and friends.  And I felt like I'd enjoyed the absolutely perfect day.  Oh, and I'd taken one more photo - looking down the Kaipara Harbour on the west coast, from a friend's bedroom.  Yes, it's that easy to visit both coasts in a day. 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Taranaki again

I've just returned from my third visit to Taranaki this year.  I think I'll have a little "Home" time for a while.  Snuggle up in my own bed for the rest of winter. 

I experienced a variety of weather while I was away.  One night there was a storm which ensured the ewes in the paddock next to my daughter's house produced a lovely crop of lambs.  It's always a joy to watch lambs playing.

These four were great mates.  They ignored all the other lambs and only played with each other.

My duty while I was there was to get this little man off to school each morning.  I had to turn him around so he was facing in the right direction to get to school in the heavy fog.  Not really, but he thought it was funny.  Gotta love little ones who smile at their grandparent's daft jokes.

And then there was the little flood.  Blocked drains sent the runoff from heavy rain down the road and into my daughter's yard. 

I thought it was jolly cold when I was down there but it was here at home that the heavy frost came.   That was yesterday morning but I wasn't up early enough to get photos.  I was enjoying one of those snuggles I mentioned before.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Taupo fences

On our way down to the Wairarapa a couple of weeks ago, Chris and I broke the journey and stayed a night in Taupo.  It's about 430 kms south of here, in the centre of the North Island.   The following morning we took a stroll along the waterfront and visited the Saturday morning market before heading west to Napier.

At the time the British and Irish Lions rugby team was touring the country and in one place, the fence was being used to fly the flags of New Zealand and our British and Irish visitors.

Monday, July 10, 2017

A wet weather drive

Yesterday the rain bucketed down.  Not all day, just in intermittent downpours. The day started with a rainbow.  Change that to my day because it was well under way when, as I was making my bed, a rainbow caught my eye.  I guessed from the dark cloud behind it that a bit of rain might be on its way. 

Rather than sit inside all day and probably feel cold and miserable I decided to take a drive to see how much water was pouring down the side of the mountain and check out the roadside waterfall just up the road a bit.

Every crease in the hills was streaming.

 Between downpours it was drizzling, so all these photos were taken through the car window. 

Further from home, closer to Tangiteroria, the upper reaches of the Northern Wairoa River was just keeping within its banks and not by much. 

And here's my shot of the day.  Nothing at all to do with what I set out to see.  Isn't he beautiful?  Both of them are but I found the big fella closest to the road to be the most impressive.  He didn't move an inch when I stopped opposite him, just placidly gazed at me with what I fancifully thought to be a soulful expression.