December 31, 2017 … closing the curtains on another year

I hope the year has been kind to you, as it mostly has for Mary and me.

Lagoon

From the lagoon – Wellington offers interesting views even n grey days

Since I last wrote, photographic opportunities have been variable, and there have been times when I have had to make my own luck. I prefer it if any water in the picture is not too ruffled. On this occasion the day was a bit drab so I went under the edge of the walkway bridge at the edge of the lagoon at Frank Kitts Park.

Demolition

Defense HQ Demolition

Later in the day I had a coffee with our younger daughter Lena (long time readers will remember her as Helen) . Across the road from her place of work, the headquarters building for the Ministry of Defence is being demolished. It was supposedly strong enough to withstand a hit from a cruise missile. A Wellington earthquake was stronger so now, a year later, it is being reduced to rubble.

Dry

On Dry Creek Road – near Martinborough

Then there were days of such perfection that a road trip was needed. Over the Rimutaka Hill near Martinborough, conditions were very dry.

Spoonbills

Royal spoonbills in mating plumage – Wairio Wetlands

A little further down the road from there, are the Wairio wetlands on the Eastern shore of Lake Wairarapa. There were a lot of Royal spoonbills browsing the ponds and they were wearing their breeding plumage.

Pohutukawa

Feliz navidad – the national flower of Christmas – the pohutukawa

Early in December, someone threw the switch that initiated the pohutukawa flowering season. Almost overnight, there were crimson blooms everywhere. I tried for a different take.

ferries

Ferries crossing – mid-strait

Another lovely evening with a golden sunset prompted me to go to Moa Point above the airport. The ferries Aratere and Kaitaki passed each other in the middle of the Cook Strait, and the Kaikoura ranges can be seen in the haze at the rear.

Grass

Hare’s Tail grass

Sometimes the simple things appeal. Backlit hare’s tail grass always catches my eye.

Christmas

Unto us a child is born

Then it was Christmas. Mary and I like to attend the children’s Mass on Christmas eve, and this image is of our parish priest, Fr Michael carrying the statue of the Christ child to be installed in the crib. The sculptor was obviously unfamiliar with the actual dimensions and character of a newborn.

memorial

Memorial

Passing through the city I caught a glimpse of the newly revealed  sculpture in the Pukeahu National War memorial. It is a gift from the people of Britain to the people of New Zealand, and is intended to represent the shelter formed as the royal oak and pohutukawa intertwine. It has had a mixed reception from the artistic community, but I quite like it.

River

Hutt River

And then another fine day in that lost period between Christmas and New Year. The Hutt River has a few interesting spots. This one is just on the corner near Totara Park in Upper Hutt.

slow and easy

Gladstone rush-hour

From there I went back over the hill to Gladstone, to begin with, where I encountered rush-hour traffic. This image is taken through the windscreen of my car which needed a clean.

Grain

Ripe Grain

I went from Gladstone via the back road to Masterton and was again attracted to a dry-looking field of ripe grain.

Sir Peter

BE-2C taking care not to run over the boss, Sir Peter Jackson – Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit … love the bare feet

As I was setting up my tripod for the grain, I saw some biplanes overhead and instantly knew that there was activity at the Vintage Aviator Limited, on Hood Aerodrome, Masterton. I drove there in all cautious haste and managed to wheedle my way onto the apron outside their hangar. It was apparently a private event for “friends of friends” so I was fortunate to be allowed inside the barriers. I got some shots I liked. This one captured the spirit of the event. A BE-2c taxiing slowly behind the boss, Sir Peter Jackson. He is the ultimate aviation nut and those of us who live near enough are grateful for the opportunities to see the magnificent work done by the Vintage Aviator Limited (TVAL).

Wairarapa

Lake Wairarapa in a rare calm moment

From there I drove south via Boggy Pond and across the East-West link and then back up the Western Lake road where I caught this panorama of Te Moana Wairarapa (Lake Wairarapa). It was a stunning day.

bee

Everything here has a sharp point … bee and thistle both

My last image for 2017 was captured at the Catchpool Valley in the Rimutaka Forest Park. We had to vacate the house while our real estate agent showed a potential buyer through. We think an offer may follow. Meanwhile, I saw a honey bee enjoying a Scotch Thistle.

And so the year is ended. Thanks to all who follow my somewhat self-indulgent rambling. Thanks to everyone who has offered supportive comments. Thanks for your company. Warmest wishes for a safe and happy new year in 2018. May it be your best year yet.

 

 

December 17, 2017 … another year runs its course

Even though I have been retired for six years now, the end of the year still brings with it that sense of a burden lifting. Of course, a few weeks after that and the circus begins again. Mary and I are in housing Limbo, with no offers on our present place as yet. On the other hand, we have no external impetus to move, so we need not look for a replacement until we have a sale. In the meantime, we live in a somewhat Spartan state of semi-preparedness to move.

Tansy

Purple Tansy

Photography has had to step back a little despite the stunning burst of early Summer. Now and then I take the camera for a walk on a short leash, and found these little flowers in the rockery. I think they are Phacelia tanacetifolia commonly known as purple tansy. The whole cluster is just 25mm or one inch across. We think they have propagated from the wild bird seed Mary likes to have for the local birds.

Sunset

South Wellington looking across the airport

 

It seems only a short time ago that I was complaining week after week about wet and windy weather. Astonishingly we have now had a string of warm sunny days with the temperature reaching 30 degrees C on occasion. We have had no significant rain for almost two months and there are restrictions on water usage. Still a bit of wind , but some beautiful days.

Lights

Christmas lights on Oriental Bay

Some of the nights were warm and clear too. This shot was on Oriental Bay with the ornamental Christmas lights reflecting on the parked cars.

Mt Vic

Wellington from Mt Victoria

Last week I went to the summit of Mt Victoria and looked down on our picture-postcard city. It’s hard to be original up here, but worth doing anyway.

Architecture

CBD variety

There are those who dislike cityscapes, but I always love the contrasting colours and textures of an unregimented architectural environment.

 

 

December 8, 2017 …

Just a few short months ago, I was complaining about our weather and its constant wind and rain. Over the last week or so, we have enjoyed some genuine summer, warm, calm, and yesterday the temperature in Lower Hutt reached 31 deg C. Unheard of. And now we are hearing concerns about drought on the farms, normally expected in February.

Harbour

A still but misty day on Wellington Harbour from Petone beach.

Since I last wrote, things started slowly, but at least the sea was calm.

Dawn

Hutt River Estuary at Dawn

Gradually as the days passed, things got better and better. Something woke me early one morning and this view from my bedroom catches the morning light on the Hutt River estuary.

Aotea

Standard class railcar RM30 Aotea

Last weekend, the Silverstream Railway Museum had an open day with trains offering rides. When Mary and I were first engaged, she was a theatre nurse in New Plymouth and I was a computer geek in Wellington. Since I didn’t own a car, the only way to see her was to catch the train. In those days (1969) NZR used their Standard or “Canoe” class railcars for the Wellington to New Plymouth service. Each bore the name of one of the canoes of the great Maori migration. Last weekend, the museum was running RM 30 “Aotea”. Nostalgia required that I take the ride.

Steam locomotive

Getting along nicely after 140 years of service

They also had a train hauled by the 140 year old steam locomotive. How could I resist?

Supermoon

Supermoon on 4 December from my bedroom window looking in the direction of the Rimutaka summit

Then there was the so-called “super moon”¬† which I caught rising over the Tararuas¬† from my bedroom window.

Estuary

Hutt River Estuary looking South to the harbour mouth

And still the weather kept getting better.

Wainuiomata Hill

Wainuiomata Hill Panorama

The evenings have been fine, warm and still, and I have been tempted to wander far and wide at night. This panorama is a three-image stitch from the top of the Wainuiomata hill taking in the view from the city on the left to Lower Hutt CBD on the right. If you click for the larger version, you will see the high peaks of the Kaikoura ranges in the red glow of the setting sun.

No significant movement on the house as yet. We are lucky that we have no external imperative to move, so we are quite relaxed and can wait for a suitable offer. There is just the mild inconvenience of living with many of life’s comforts packed away. On the positive side, we did get rid of another three tonnes of hoarded rubbish in a hired 7.5 cubic metre skip.