Children Landscapes Maritime Stokes Valley Weather Wellington

August 15, 2015 … day after day

I am determined that I shall take some planned shots today.

Hogwarts school trip? Either way, they were an impressive group of young people.

Check back tomorrow to see if I followed through. Meanwhile yesterday’s images are as random as ever. I was in Frank Kitts park when a school group walked by. I am convinced they were from overseas. They were quiet, orderly, polite, and took obvious pride in their appearance. Clean shoes, ties done up properly, no untucked shirts. I am more than a little of the belief that they were from Hogwarts. I think I even saw two members of the Weasley family in the group.

Pledges of eternal devotion

The bridge over the lagoon entrance has fallen victim to  engraved padlocks. Most of them seem to be pledges of eternal love, but I am told that some use them to memorialize a loved one who has died.*  I am not sure if it is electrolysis, but where the lock contacts the bridge it seems to start rust.

From Holborn above Stokes Valley. For orientation, the grey tower block in the centre foreground is the old Nurses’ Home at Hutt Hospital’

My wandering concluded with an unsuccessful search for a clear view of the Southern Wall of the snow-capped Tararuas. I was up on the ridge above Stokes Valley and got just tiny fragments of the view I wanted. Looking n the other direction was more rewarding.  Beneath Mt Victoria, the Straitsman and the Aratere crossed over o their way to and from Picton.

Now for some predetermined photographs.

  • the italicised sentences have been changed to acknowledge varying significance attached to the padlocks. 
flowers Seasons Stokes Valley

August 15, 2012 … seasonal shift

When we left San Francisco on August 8th, it was still mid-summer.

On the other hand, arriving home, I see definite signs of spring. Sorry you folks in the Northern hemisphere, but we require you to surrender that summer weather so we can have our turn.

Here in the Hutt Valley, I am seeing apples, plums and all manner of spring blossoms, and it is beginning to look like spring, though it does not yet feel like it.

I made the mistake of going out with my camera without any warm clothes to insulate me from the chilly breeze. After five weeks of mostly hot weather, and going out into hot weather, the lingering coolness of the Southern winter is something of a shock to the system. I am very hopeful that we have warm weather on the way, especially since it didn’t happen at all, last summer.

Daffodils in the evening sunMeanwhile, I enjoyed these Jonquils (or are they daffodils?) on a traffic island near Stokes Valley.


Lower Hutt mountains Stokes Valley Wellington

April 9, 2012 … old view with new eyes

No matter how big the bin I hired, I suspect we could still have filled it.

In fact we got the largest one available, seven and a half cubic metres, and sure enough, it is full to the brim. Thirty two years of memories, rubbish, and stuff we had forgotten about now sits waiting for the truck to come and cart it away.  I have been up and down the stairs so often my legs and backside hurt. Truth to tell, Mary was the project director and the one who did most work. She is amazing.

Nevertheless, by the time she decided we had done enough for the day, I was ready to grab my camera and seek more restful places.  My first target was the bird sanctuary at Pauatahanui. Though it was a calm golden evening, and very picturesque, it seems the birds were also having a day off.  I saw nothing but a pair of ducks. I enjoyed the tranquillity for a while, then came back over the Haywards Hill to the Hutt Valley.

By now the sun was low in the sky, and the long shadows of evening were creeping purposefully up the Eastern Hills. By some random thought process I followed my nose North, to Silverstream bridge, and then back South on the Eastern side of the river to Stokes Valley. Up on the heights of Holborn, I found a view that follows a succession from the valley to the harbour, to Matiu/Somes Island, Miramar, Hataitai and thence to the  serried ranks of the Seaward Kaikouras. City and Mountains from Stokes Valley

I have included Tapuae-o-Uenuku in my earlier narratives so often that it needs no introduction. But there she was, from a different viewpoint.  In the foreground, the Hutt Valley looks very “suburban” and domesticated. It really is a dormitory city, but you have to love the trees that characterise the place.

Three large buildings are lit up by the sun in this shot. On the left is the Hutt Railway Workshop, now a thin shadow of its former self. In the centre in mid-valley, is the Waterloo rail and bus interchange,  and on the right, at the Eastern end of Petone is the Unilever factory. Matiu/Somes island sits in the middle of the harbour with the Mokopuna island out to the right. Beyond the islands you can see (if you click for the enlarged version) the hillside suburbs of Hataitai and Roseneath, and behind them, higher up the hill, is Brooklyn. And shimmering in the haze from the Cook Strait and the Pacific Ocean,  far in the distance, above the Miramar Peninsula, are those lofty mountains, high enough to be still in full sunlight.

Four consecutive days of stunningly fine weather over Easter  is unnatural. It will have to be paid for, mark my words.

Unless it is recompense for that summer we never had.

Forest Maori Social Stokes Valley

March 19, 2012 … walking the bounds

Community events and political speeches are not my natural habitat.

Normally, I would rather re-arrange my sock drawer. I was prepared to make an exception in this case because it involved my grandchildren Maggie and Cooper.

Stokes Valley has just acquired a new public bush reserve, complete with walking tracks. My youngest son, as the police coordinator  for land based search and rescue in Wellington, had connections with the event’s organizers, so he and our daughter-in-law were taking the youngsters to participate in the opening ceremonies. Afterwards they would join the walk around the shorter of  the two walking loops in the yet-to-be-named reserve. We were invited to join in.

A warm afternoon, and several hundred local citizens gathered in the open field at the entrance to the reserve. A barbecue was set up and sausages on bread were being given away.  The local school  (Tawhai) was selling packed fruit juice to raise funds. Sun screen was being dispensed. The parks department and various conservation groups had displays of possum traps, and plant life. There was a lively buzz and it was a genuine happy community occasion.

An inflatable “bouncy castle” was keeping the smaller children amused. Various dignitaries were arriving including the mayor of Lower Hutt, Ray Wallace.  Kaumatua,   Sam Jackson was greeted by the mayor with a hongi (pressing of noses), and soon the ceremonies began. Kuia June Jackson sang a waiata of welcome and calling, and I imagine many  expatriate readers will remember exactly how that sounds.

Kuamatua Sam, complete with his elaborately carved tokotoko or ceremonial walking stick, gave a mihi and then spoke in te reo Maori about the history of the land, and summarised it in English. He then led the assembled crowd on a symbolic ritual walking of the boundary (of the inner field, anyway), gesticulating with his tokotoko and chanting a karakia of blessing all the way around. The crowd joined in with dignity and respect. A ceremoial walk around the grounds of the new reserve Then there were a few speeches from the local politicians, those with the founding vision, and the mayor. Then we all set off to walk the lesser of the new trails.  I guess four hundred pairs of feet helped to settle in the new track which finds its way through a lovely remnant of beech forest and other native bush.

Maggie and Cooper seemed to enjoy the occasion and we certainly enjoyed the opportunity to walk the track with them.

On our return I succumbed to the temptation of one of those free sausages, but karma reared its head when the tomato sauce bottle belched half of its contents down my jacket.

* mindful that several readers of these columns are not New Zealanders, I have adopted the practice of putting Maori words in italics at least for the first time of use in any article, just so that they are recognised as being from our other national language.