Pauatahanui Plant life

February 29, 2012 … painful consequences

I took a gamble yesterday. I deferred taking my picture for the day until the camera club field trip to Pauatahanui in the evening.

I nearly blew it on two counts. A serious road smash in Upper Hutt backed traffic up so far that I was having trouble getting there before sunset. And then, a Royal Spoonbill that I was watching was spooked by someone else’s approach, but I was confident I had caught a good in-flight sequence. It looked fine on the camera. Then I got it home and loaded it into the computer. Oh! Oh! Oh!

If you are ever in a plane where the pilot has not followed a detailed preflight checklist, get out before it leaves the ground. If you don’t, it could kill you.  And that’s pretty much the mistake I made. I forgot the basic checklist.

Unchecked digital cameras have less severe consequences than unchecked aircraft, but a lot of electrons died in vain last night. I had left my  ISO setting locked down to ensure maximum detail in full daylight.

My camera has one of the world’s best sensors and I was using a superb lens, but it struggled in the low evening  light with the sensitivity locked at ISO 100. My spoonbill shots proved  unusable. Nobody to blame but me.  And I did realise and correct my error later in the session (after the Spoonbill had flown).

Earlier posts reveal that Pauatahanui is one of my favourite places. However, the Forest and Bird Society’s building near the base car park is also used by the local scout troop.

Almost sixty years ago, I was a scout, and I have a lot of time for the organization, despite the alleged oddities of its founder. But, with the best will in the world, a troop of happily chattering  scouts is not a great addition to a sanctuary, while you are  trying to sneak up on the birds. Fortunately, the kids were mainly back near the car park, so no serious conflict of interest arose.

Back to the field trip. It was a calm, golden evening, and the surface of the harbour was almost unruffled.  Visiting it in the company of an expert bird photographer and twenty or so fellow club members was, in one sense, a great pleasure. I enjoyed their company very much.  On the other hand, photographically, it was a bit counter-productive for me.  Birds were there, but I think I do better solo. I know that some of my club mates will produce some stunning shots , and thereby prove that this is entirely my problem.Setting sun illuminates lichen and webs on wetland scrub, Pauatahanui

My image for today attempts to catch the last light of the day as it illuminated lichens and spider webs on the wetland scrub.

I shall be keeping an eagle-eye on all pilots, and printing out my own checklist.


Forest Kaitoke

February 28, 2012 … accessible wilderness

Public parks with genuine wilderness within their boundaries are wonderful.

Twelve km to the North of Upper Hutt, is Kaitoke Regional Park. This park can be viewed as a pleasant set of tree-lined picnic areas connected by a good set of roads, situated at the edges of about 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) of native bush. Its recreational value is enhanced by two attractive rivers, the Hutt and the Pakuratahi. It is adjacent to the even larger wilderness of the Wellington Water Catchment area and bigger still, the 116,000 hectares of the Tararua Forest Park . What’s not to like?

There were two van-loads of people enjoying a picnic lunch in the main information centre car park as I arrived yesterday morning. They were passengers from the cruise liner “Sea Princess” who had signed up for a tour of the “Lord of the Rings” sites in Wellington. Kaitoke regional park had been the location of the Rivendell sets.

In my opinion, there has been magic in this place since long before anyone thought to use it for the filming of the Tolkien trilogy. All credit, though, to those who recognised the magic and used it in the films.

Wilderness? Yes, I admit that there are some well-formed gravel walkways to take you through the fringes of it in a civilised non-wilderness walking style. You could almost take a push-chair on some of the easier ones. In fact I strolled round one track yesterday with my already solid camera, mounted on its heavy (3.5kg) tripod.

But don’t be fooled by the accessibility of these “close to home” tracks. A few steps off the path and it’s as if you were in an undiscovered land. And if you are fit and more adventurous, there are some altogether less developed tracks.

I chose the so-called “Swingbridge Path” because the walking time estimate on the signs was one hour.  I usually interpret that as 50 minutes. Even with the tripod and camera, and frequent stops for considered photographs, I was back at the carpark in 35 minutes. Be aware, if you visit, that the posted walking time estimates are just a little conservative.

So “why is it called the Swingbridge Path?” I hear you ask. Well I’m glad you asked that question.

Pretty much the first steps off the carpark bring you to the young Hutt River. It’s not very wide here, but it is a respectable and solid flowing river nevertheless. The way to cross this river is … you guessed it … a swingbridge.

It looks sturdy. It is well anchored (at least on the side that I can see), with multiple steel guide wires, and lots of lateral stabilising wires and safety mesh. It has a solid wooden deck with an antislip wire mesh. Nothing to fear here. It looks perfectly safe. The drop isn’t even all that great. So why are you still talking about it instead of crossing it?

Eventually, I did cross it. It wobbled and jiggled. Despite that, I paused part way across and set up my tripod (there was no one else waiting to cross). When the oscillations and my pulse rate subsided, I took my shots. Then, with gritted teeth, and a white knuckled death-grip on the wires, I made it to the other side. On firm ground again, the path was instantly beneath the green canopy of some of the most beautiful bush you could wish for.

It’s very hard to characterise this park because each twist in the track tends to show another wildly different aspect. Beech, Rata, Rimu, Ponga, all have their own place and each area creates its own feeling. The image I chose as representative of  my walk is of a cathedral-like grove of Ponga (Tree ferns, Cyathea dealbata).A grove of  tree ferns in the Kaitoke Regional Park

There was very little wind, but the fern fronds in the canopy were rising and falling, slowly and gently, as if the forest were inhaling and exhaling.

Tolkien would have recognised the magic here.

Landscapes Porirua

February 27, 2012 … it may not be moral but it’s definitely the high ground

Hills are wonderful. Though there are many flat parts of the world I would like to visit, I feel privileged to live on a hill, and within clear sight of other hills.

As long as there are no sudden drops over which I might fall, I enjoy looking at the world from high places.

Perhaps the attraction is the ability to expand the horizon. Did you know that the horizon is  4.5 km away from a viewer  at sea level, but if you can get up another hundred metres it goes out to 36 km? Or maybe it’s just the different angle from which to see the place beneath.

Yesterday I went looking for somewhere different to be, and ended up in Titahi Bay. My first stopping place was in the open grasslands between the two big AM radio transmission towers at the top of Whitireia Park.

There has been a mast on that hill since 1937. The taller of the two masts there now (at 212 metres), was built in 1979. They are both well fenced for the protection of both the innocent, and the criminally stupid. The solidly anchored guy wires are insulated to prevent passers-by from being zapped.

At present, the hill is covered in a good crop of long mature grass, and I suspect hay making is overdue.  A few years ago, the  dry grass caught fire during a Northerly, and it took huge and expensive efforts over several days to prevent it racing across the hills to the Titahi Bay housing area.

It was interesting to get down low in the golden grass and to peer through it, across the inlet to Plimmerton. A view of Plimmerton from Whitireia ParkDissatisfied with the image, I moved on, to Onepoto Rd, and up Gloaming Hill.

This was a part of Titahi Bay where I had never previously been. Clearly more affluent than the areas down on the flat, it also enjoyed better views.A lay by in a reserve on a street called “Morning View” gave a very pleasant viewing point.

From there to the North East I looked across Te Onepoto Bay below,  to the Paremata rail and road bridges and the Marina to the North.  On the far side of the road, the great expanse of the Pauatahanui inlet is foreshortened by the viewpoint, and beyond them the Akatarawas serve as foothills to the Tararuas in the North. Despite their modest altitude, this is wild and rugged country.The Akatarawas and Pautahanui Inlet from high on Titahi Bay

Neither of today’s images are satisfying, so I may change course entirely tomorrow.  You have been warned.

Maritime Weather Wellington

February 26, 2012 … walking with memories

Sometimes I just don’t read things with enough care.

Yesterday, for example, I drove into the city to participate in an event that is actually scheduled for next Saturday. When I found the venue deserted, I thought rude things about the others who had indicated that they were going to be there. Not until I got home did I realise the fault was all mine. I apologise to my co-conspirators, and I hope that your bathroom is NOT full of alligators.

But some good comes out of most events. It was a very nice warm afternoon, and the city had a pleasant buzz going, and it wasn’t just the cicadas.

Down on the waterfront, there was dragon boat racing, with crowds to cheer on teams from schools and corporations. The walkways were busy with strollers, skaters, cyclists, or those slightly ludicrous four-seat quadricycles with canopies.  There were families, couples, athletes (and the odd person on his own, with cameras).

Coffee shops and gelato vendors were doing well, as were bars and restaurants, especially those with tables in the open air (yes, I am talking about Wellington).

Out on the water, well clear of the dragon boat lanes, there were people in kayaks, on standup paddle boards, or in those rental pedal boats.  A flotilla of yachts further out was ghosting along in light airs. The city was alive.

Walking through the crowds, beside the harbour, past the old floating crane, the Hikitea, into the quieter areas behind Te Papa, I emerged into the edges of Waitangi Park. Here, an artificial wetland area has been created in the place where the old Wellington City Transport bus depot, and the City Council works department yards used to be. The smartly painted apartment block on the seaward side of this popular space used to be the Herd Street Post office engineering building.

On the Western edge of the wetland area, among the reeds and grasses, I encountered a very large five-bladed bronze propeller. If you come across five tonnes of phosphor-bronze in a city park, you can be fairly sure it is not there by accident. This is a remnant of the Leander class frigate , HMNZS Wellington (before that, she was HMS Bacchante – F69).

When she was scuttled to become a diving reef off the South coast in 2005, one of her propellers was salvaged and donated to the City by Wellington Rotary to serve, both as a sculptural work, and as a memorial to the ship and those who served in her.

One of the bronze propellers of HMNZS Wellington in Waitangi ParkYou need only look at it to see that these are not the fat rounded blades of a wallowing merchantman’s propeller. These are wickedly quick blades, 3.6 metres in diameter (12 feet, if you prefer), designed to push 2,900 tonnes of ship up to 30 kts (55 km/h). Very serious power.

I moved on across Cable Street and Wakefield streets, through the Restaurant Quarter, around Blair and Allen Streets where the city’s fruit and vegetable markets once thrived. Courtenay Place and Manners Street were busy with pedestrians from every age group and every demographic. I saw more tattoos and piercings in five minutes than I had in the previous month. Buskers and entertainers here for the International Festival of the Arts were entertaining appreciative crowds in Cuba Mall.

Willis Street was being dug up, as usual, but despite the safety barriers was looking very pleasant with its lovely trees arching over the trolley bus wires and adding a splash of green colour. I think the current works are to widen the footpaths on the Eastern side, and to make the bus stops safer. On Lambton Quay, the “Golden Mile”, a more affluent clientele with designer labels and platinum credit cards were exploring the many shops, and there was a long queue in Woodward Street for Wellington’s favourite sushi shop.

I went back down Stout Street, past the currently empty building that used to be Defence headquarters, past the Supreme court, and back to where I parked the car near the railway station.

With my organizational skills, I shall probably forget to go back next week, at the proper time. Or it will be raining.

Lower Hutt Uncategorized

February 25, 2012 … not how it was in my day

Mary and I are blessed with six beautiful grandchildren, three boys, three girls. Two of them, Maggie and Cooper,  live quite near us in Lower Hutt. This allows us to participate in various events with them. Yesterday seven year old Maggie was engaged in organised after-school team sport.

Being “at leisure”, and with no more urgent priority, I went down to the field (with camera, of course) to watch. This was an inter-school event  which seemed to include many of the schools from the lower valley, so literally hundreds of pint-sized athletes were racing about in the blustery breeze, looking very cute in their colourful uniforms.  It was total chaos with a very thin veneer of organization and control.

Maggie’s brother, Cooper (5), likes action figures and transformers and toy soldiers and fire engines and the other things that have traditionally appealed to boys.  For her part, Maggie is a traditional princess, the sort of girl who loves dolls, dancing and valentines, and pink things.  So what sport is she playing?

Rugby! What else does the modern girl play?

To be fair, this is a variant of “touch rugby” with mixed teams of both girls and boys. I have to say, it was an amazing spectacle. And the best thing about it was the grins on the faces. The kids were simply having unrestricted fun.

It all took place on the multi-purpose sports ground at the Eastern side of the valley where Hutt Park Raceway once was.

The former home of trotting, and of greyhound racing in Wellington  no longer has any tracks for horses or dogs. The old grandstand has gone, yet another of those landmarks that has quietly slipped away while you weren’t looking.  The big open space that remains, has been marked out as a venue for soccer, “Aussie Rules”, and touch rugby. No grandstands or spectator viewing facilities are needed. This is the kind of place where parents yell their encouragement and support,  literally from the sidelines.

Back to the game.

Though most other games were underway, Normandale School’s opposition failed to turn up. Not to worry, we had sufficient reserves that we could split the team in two and play one half against the other. The competitive spirit was there even if the opposition were not. So, Normandale played Normandale and in the best of all possible outcomes, I think Normandale won.  Everybody was happy.  In my shot today, Maggi (facing us) passes the ball to a team mate as the tacklers race in from the left. Maggie is passing the ball in a game of touch rugby.

The thing about this form of touch rugby is that when the ball carrier is tagged, the two teams face off and the person with the ball “heels” it to the player behind, and the game resumes.  No scrums or tackles as in the real hairy chested game. But lots of enjoyment and hopefully no injuries.

Lower Hutt Weather

February 24, 2012 … if we could predict weather accurately, we wouldn’t need to make forecasts

Summer ought to be characterised by sunlight and warmth, barbecues, flowers, fruit and beaches.

Ours has not been. An incautious meteorologist, who perhaps ought to have known better, promised us in October that we were in for the fabled and eagerly-awaited “long hot summer”. I believed him. Just as Charlie Brown still awaits the coming of “the Great Pumpkin”, I still retain the utmost faith in him. I know that if I wait long enough, my “long hot summer” will come. It may not be this year, or even this decade, but it will come.

Yesterday, was most definitely not it. All the previous night, the wind had howled and shrieked, and the rain battered at the windows. Nor did relief come with the morning.

Drifting rain and a blustery wind are not a great start to any day. To further raise the frustration level, our up-wind neighbour’s big green “wheely bin” had blown over and distributed its contents around the neighbourhood. Most of it was probably several kilometres downwind, so we had only to gather the heavier bits of rubbish, and restore the bin to an upright position in the lee of a shed.

Looking out over the valley, I could see headlights reflecting on wet roads just as I might reasonably expect if this were June, July, August, September or October. But it was February, traditionally the hottest driest time of year. Children are back at school and the rest of us are entitled to enjoy a real summer. Where do I apply for my refund?

To add insult to injury, there was another shipload of cruise line passengers in port yesterday (The Sun Princess, and her sister the Dawn Princess is here today with similarly unpleasant blustery weather).

A summer day in the Hutt Valley with strong wind and persistent rainAs you can see in today’s image (click to enlarge), there is a grey void to the left where normally, the suburb of Naenae would be visible. In the right foreground,  the upper deck of the Westfield Queensgate shopping mall is wet and empty. (This great grey iceberg occupies  the space where, as some recent correspondents recalled, the old NZR Road Services bus depot used to be) To the left of it, running back to the Eastern Hills, Waterloo road, the main East-West road across the valley, is reflecting headlights of incoming traffic. High Street out to the far left has a cluster of car headlights in the vicinity of the Hutt Hospital.

Seriously, does this look like summer to you? To whom should I complain?

Oh well, we plan to be in the US in July/August, so we do get another crack at it this year.

Maritime Wellington

February 23, 2012 … comings and goings in the rain

She came in the morning before I was fully awake.

She came quietly, all 90,900 Gross Registered Tonnes of her.  I had intended to be ready to catch her as she came through the heads into the harbour. Alas, what woke me was not the inner body clock of someone ready to spring into action for a dawn arrival, but rather the rattle of wind-driven rain on the windows.  Rats!

Not only had I missed her arrival, but her two thousand or so passengers were missing out on one of those perfect Wellington days to which their expensive tickets entitled them. And the shop keepers of the golden mile would not have their hopes and expectations met as passengers chose to remain warm and dry in the bars and facilities on board rather than wrap up and trudge along Aotea Quay to the shopping precincts.

In preparation for my forthcoming teaching stint, I had to go into town, so I caught the Airport Flyer bus which does  the Lower Hutt to the Airport run every 15 minutes. As we crossed the flyover near the ferry terminal, the Queen Elizabeth towered over the surrounding ships. From the topmost passenger decks it would have been possible to look down into the Westpac Stadium. She is quite enormous, and her traditionally conservative Cunard livery of black hull, white upperworks, and red and black funnel made her seem even more imposing. She is not the absolute biggest ship in the  last few months, but certainly the most impressive in my eyes.

On my way home again in the afternoon (isn’t retirement great), I heard that she was leaving at the unusually early hour of 4pm. Despite the fact that the rain was still with us, I determined to get to the beach at the Southern end of Eastbourne to see her as she passed by on her way to Port Chalmers.

The rain had softened to a misty drizzle and the wind had dropped right away, so interesting possibilities existed. As the Interisland ferry Kaitaki rounded  Point Halswell, inbound from Picton, the huge bulk of the Queen Elizabeth was being swung out from the berth on Aotea Quay.  Soon they were passing each other, and as the Kaitaki turned to regain position for her normal bows-in approach to the terminal, a third, much smaller vessel appeared. A tiny local trawler, the “Daniel” was hastening to be in the channel  and out to the fishing grounds, so as not to be impeded as the big ship paused to drop the pilot at the heads.

Today’s image has all three vessels clearly visible despite the drizzle.  Cunard Lines Queen Elizabeth leaves a drrizzly Wellington en route to Port ChalmersI am not sure what speed the ship was doing, but it was beginning to build a bow wave as she passed. It took quite while to pass the point where I had set up, and as the rain increased, I packed up and drove home. She was still a very large and imposing presence on the horizon as I reached Petone Esplanade.

If I ever do a sea voyage, however, it won’t be on a floating entertainment centre like this. I would prefer the quiet and comfort of a modern container ship.


February 22, 2012 … oh I do like to be beside the seaside

A very English phrase came to mind yesterday. It was “going to the seaside”.

As a very small boy, living in England in the early 1950s, “going to the seaside” was a really big event. It was an expedition scarcely eclipsed in my mind until 1953 when Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Everest.

In hindsight, and with the aid of Google Maps, I can see that our home in the army garrison town of Tidworth was a mere 60 km from Southampton and the sea.  My guess is that, back then, Britons were still in the shadow of that pre-war mindset of living and dying in the village or neighbourhood of their birth.

Of course many of them, wearing khaki or Air Force blue, or Navy blue, had recently come back from seeing more of the world than they wanted.  And now, having seen that there was a world beyond Causton or  “Midsomer Mallow” or Sheffield or the Yorkshire Dales, many of them began to contemplate emigration. My parents were among them, and like so many of their contemporaries they chose from among the former colonies. (I remember vividly being taught in primary school that the Empire, everything on the world map that was coloured red, that which we now refer to as the commonwealth, was “ours”. They had obviously never met Tame Iti)

My parents chose to come to New Zealand and with the aid of a £10  fare, subsidised by the government and people of New Zealand, and the sponsorship of an aged aunt and uncle who offered initial accommodation, we set sail from Glasgow on January 5, 1954 on the ancient steamship, “TSS Captain Cook”.

After passing through Curacao and Panama, and pausing briefly to deliver mail to Pitcairn, we sailed through the Wellington heads on February 14, 1954.   We were bound for Auckland, so I didn’t take too much notice of the harbour we were in, but it was on such a day as the archival photograph in the link above, and that photograph has every possibility of being taken at the end of our voyage.

And now, in the present day, I regard this very city and harbour as my home, my anchor point in the world, my turangawaewae (the place on which I stand).

The thought that sparked this somewhat wistful post and its accompanying image was the extent to which we take the sea, te moana, for granted. I don’t think there is an equivalent phrase in the New Zealand vernacular for “going to the seaside”. We just accept that if we want to go to the sea, it’s never more than an hour away. It’s just “there”, and its presence is part of our sense of what it is to be of New Zealand.

And so, I found myself down at the Petone wharf yesterday, looking to set up a seascape along the length of the pier. I got diverted by a bunch of young fellows who despite the cold, and perhaps to annoy the various people fishing further along, were jumping off the wharf into the chilly looking waters.Boys leap off Petone wharf to irritate the fishermen

I have never been good in the water, but I love it nonetheless. And I am so grateful to my parents for the choice they made.

Lower Hutt Plant life

February 21, 2012 … keeping a low profile

Photographers are funny people. They just don’t care. Well, up to a point, that’s true.

I am normally risk averse, preferring not to draw attention to myself. In the company of strangers, I am somewhat introverted, almost shy. Put a camera round my neck and things change. I like to find odd angles, and other ways of looking at things. You may think this is not showing up much in my photography yet. I concede the point, but I’m working on it.

For example, a few months back, I got the idea that I wanted a low angle image of a train receding as it departed from Wellington station. My intention was to include some deliberate blur as the departing train reduced in size. Alas, the rate at which a train accelerates from zero is so slow that I was unable to catch any blur at all, even at very low shutter speeds.

But there was another problem. All that the station staff saw was some old guy lying flat on his face at the edge of the platform. Two of them came galloping over (bless them) all prepared to get the defibrillator out, and send for the emergency services. Then they saw the camera and there was a snort of disgust, and they walked away.

I am willing to get into some awkward positions to achieve  the desired angle for a shot. Occasionally, this gets me into domestic difficulties over issues like grass stains or other marks on my clothes. I suppose if I were a professional, I would have an array of drop cloths or other protective gear, but my shots are often more impulse-driven than that.

On the other hand, though I am healthy and reasonably agile for my age and size, some of these impromptu positions are less comfortable than they used to be.

Yesterday I was laying down on a concrete path, using my elbows as part of an impromptu tripod, and I became aware of how uncomfortable it was on the rough concrete.  I know that my sons would advise me to “harden up”. And then of course I have to regain my feet with some semblance of dignity. Or at least, regain my feet.  There was a time when I could get into a vertical position very quickly. It’s less true than it used to be.

Yesterday I  spent most of the day  preparing for my upcoming teaching, and somewhere in the late afternoon  I had to make the time, and  a conscious effort to find an image.

At the bottom of the Normandale Hill there is an open area that for a long time had a sign board identifying it as “The Greenaway”. I have no idea why it is so named.  The sun was lighting it nicely as  I passed, and the blue flowers (Ajuga reptans, the bugle weed, I think Salvia farinacea I have since been informed.) were especially luminous. But there was so much unwanted background that I had to get low, and that was when my elbows were pressed into service.Garden at the Greenaway, Lower Hutt with Ajuga reptans.

They will heal eventually.


February 20, 2012 … a mystery to me

I have never understood malls. Maybe it’s a guy thing, or perhaps it’s just me. Maybe it’s that there are rarely any shops of interest to me in a mall. In my view, that’s why you see so many men parked, with their brains in neutral, on seats somewhere in the middle of the mall, waiting patiently for the shopper in their life to return.

Not often is there a good hardware shop, a decent computer store, a hobby shop, a serious electronics store or a good quality camera shop in a mall. There are rare exceptions.

Book stores in malls are usually part of a stationery chain, and more interested in selling “cute” stationery to kids than being knowledgeable about, and stocking, good books.

I simply don’t understand how the economy in general and malls in particular can sustain so many shops which all seem to sell the same things. They pretend to be different., but one label outlet seems to sell exactly the same things as their rival outlets, and the only thing different is the label itself (and the price according to the status of the label concerned). Of course the shoppers deny this and refer to mysterious abstract attributes such as fashion (that gene passed me by). The underlying products all look the same to me.

As far as I can see, typical malls are made up as follows*:

  • Women’s clothes             53.15%
  • Women’s shoes               18.75%
  • Cosmetics/manicures    12.92%
  • Food court                         5.00% (always a round number …. Wonder why)
  • Book stores                       3.15%
  • Banks                                 1.84%
  • Toy stores                          3.19% (You need something to divert kids while shopping)
  • Vacant shops                     2.00% (usually an “exciting” new fashion store is coming)

(* These statistics are derived from the same source that suggests that 79.415% of all statistics are made up on the spot. )

Anyway, for the first time in ages, I went to the North City Mall in Porirua yesterday, and there I saw another strange law of mall behaviour. People stop walking on mall travelatorsAs soon as a regular mall inhabitant steps on to an escalator or moving walkway, there is a mysterious disturbance in the force. This seems to disconnect the brain from the limbs.  It also ensures that they are distributed across the width of the device so that others may not pass. Those afflicted in this way don’t start moving again until they arrive at the top (or bottom). Those who visit malls rarely, are partially immune to this phenomenon, but if they try to walk up or down the device, they will find their way blocked by a doting couple hanging on to the handrail on each side with one hand, and holding hands in the middle. Cute but irritating!

(Of course all this is a bit tongue in cheek, and bears no resemblance to the behaviours or characteristics of any person who was actually caught in this image. I stand by my own attitudes to malls, though. I spend as little time in them as possible.)