January 21, 2014 … starting one place, ending somewhere else

Another grey day, another narrow time window.

St James cemetery, Lower Hutt

Many of these markers have lost their inscriptions to erosion and weathering, so it is difficult to find who is buried where

I decided to put on the wide-angle lens, to leave the long lens at home and see what eventuated.  I confined myself to the area around the library, the Riddiford Gardens, and St James’ Anglican church. This is one block of Lower Hutt City and an unusually narrow field for me.  My opening shot is in the cemetery behind St James and the Library. I have taken pictures there before, but the viewpoint with the wide lens was a little different.

The golden elm

The church is a celebrated piece of architecture. I think the tree is the greater work of art

In the other direction, across the carpark is one of my favourite trees. This golden elm is absolutely magical in its spring colours, and now at the height of summer (ha!), it offers the most beautiful spreading sunshade. All we need is the sun.

Hutt War Memorial Library and Little theatre

It’s a clean design

Around the front of the Memorial Library complex, the wonderful civic gardens have been reduced to mere lawns. Nevertheless there is a good view of part of the library and the Little Theatre. These buildings and the neighbouring St James church were the early poster children for a 1950s reinforced-concrete architectural fad of clean spare design. They have aged reasonably well.

Children's playground

That tractor seems to have been there forever. Our own kids played on it. I think their kids have played on it

Behind the library are the Riddiford gardens and  a children’s playground. It was deserted when I passed through so I took the opportunity to grab a shot. In comparison with my own childhood, the children of today are cushioned against bumps and knocks as witness the rubberized squares on the ground. We climbed and fell, and learned to avoid things the hard way. Only the old Fordson tractor can still administer a solid knock. After that, I went home thinking my photographic day to be over.

Smoke from Hutt Memorial College

That’s a lot of smoke

We were watching the Australian Open Tennis on TV and were about to switch to a detective show when Mary looked out the window. Billowing smoke was rising from the site of the old Hutt Memorial College (formerly Petone Technical College). It has been empty for almost 15 years and its decay has been hastened by vandalism, graffiti, squatters and a series of arson attacks. There is not a single pane of unbroken glass anywhere in the once busy school. I hung my camera from an upstairs window with the strap round my neck and caught this shot of the early stages.

The fire is in control

Spectacular view from Maungaraki

Then Anthony called and said there was a spectacular view of events from his house, so I abandoned the detective show and went round to Maungaraki. He was right, and by now the fire had really taken hold. Sirens were coming from all directions and police, ambulance and fire appliances were converging on the site. Already the local aerial appliance was in action, and the larger one from Wellington city was arriving and getting ready to join the battle. There is a lot of asbestos in those buildings so the firefighters were mindful of the need for protective equipment.

Cheap grandstand

It’s as well that the trains were out of service after earthquake.

My last shot (I took dozens) zooms in on the “spectator gallery” … people used the pedestrian overbridge at Ava railway station as a grandstand. Others wandered up the railway line to get a view. Normally this would be very dangerous, but since we had experienced a very solid earthquake (6.3) earlier in the day, the trains were all cancelled pending track inspection. I have the suspicion that the miserable specimen of humanity who set the fire was in the crowd watching. The fire was eventually suppressed though the smoke persisted for a long time.

And so the day came to an unexpected end.


About wysiwygpurple

Retirement suits me well. I spend much of my time out making pictures, or at home organizing and refining my pictures. This blog provides me with a platform from which I can indulge my passion for improving my photography and at the same time analyze my thoughts about what I have seen, where I have been and what is happening in my life. My images set out to be honest, but that does not mean I have not adjusted them. I use software to display what I saw though the viewfinder to best advantage. My preference is for landscape and nature, and is mostly centred around my hometown of Wellington, New Zealand.
This entry was posted in adversity, Architecture, Children, Lower Hutt, Machinery, Petone. Bookmark the permalink.

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