Monthly Archives: July 2012

A trip to the other side

The suburb in which I live is located close to the Pauatahanui Inlet. The last weekend of July was warm, sunny and calm and we headed around to the other side of the Inlet to explore a new section of a walkway, Te Ara Piko ( The meandering path). This path allows walkers to view the Inlet in all its moods and some of its wildlife without disturbing the latter.

Here are a couple of photos that I took while out and about on the “other side.”


A shaft of light

This shaft of light stretched into the kitchen last week in the late afternoon. The kitchen here is normally only filled with sunlight in the morning but here it is as the day came towards its end.

Out in the garden are another couple of hints that the light is on the move in positive ways.

On a cold and frosty morning

We had a heavy frost here this morning. However it also meant that the air was crisp and clear and the light was good for taking some photos at my favourite beach at Plimmerton.

Another frost is promised for tomorrow.


I have two quotes about strength to offer to you today.

This one came from Karen in a comment she left on this blog. It spoke to me on many levels.
“Sometimes the bravery and strength is in how we deal with what is put before us, not in what we seek out”

The other quote about strength comes written on this piece of South Island granite or is it schist?

The quote was given to me by a friend some years ago and sits with me daily now on this piece of rock. “One of the greatest gifts I have is giving and receiving strength.”

The layers in this rock are testament to the forces that have been applied to it in nature but it remains; visible proof of endurance.

I hope you find strength today.

Margaret Mahy, R.I.P

Sad news greeted me on the radio news this morning. New Zealand’s most prolific and celebrated children’s and young people’s author had passed away aged 76 years.

My children grew up reading and enjoying many of Margaret Mahy’s 100 plus picture books. And as a passionate reader of books to my children I enjoyed her writing immensely.

Her linguistic skills, rhymes, rhythms, fantasies, adventures and magical stories were juicy and rich for humans of every age.

This is a hallmark for me in terms of children’s authors. If the adult reading loves the books and stories as much as the child the author is a real winner.

If you want to learn more about this stunning woman, who was a kind, generous and very giving person as well as a very funny and clever performer, then read this piece on the NZ Book Council website.

Here are two books off my bookshelf that are well-thumbed, attesting to how often they have been held and read.

I am very keen to seek out some of her newer picture books to read to my grandchildren. I particularly love “Bubble trouble” and “Down the back of the chair” but there are many more rich pickings awaiting me and the future generations.

While I had my lunch today I read her story “The Princess and the Clown”

It ends with zinging, colourful, dramatic language “ Let off all the fireworks, ring all the bells, blow all the trumpets, a princess is marrying a clown and they will have children half kings and queens, half tumble-down clowns, who will lead us through the twisted ways of the world with laughter”

Margaret Mahy leaves a giant legacy.

Who needs a soothing, soft walled pink room?

Normal transmission has resumed here with a cold southerly wind blowing rain across in drizzling drifts.

Jazz, our cat loves to keep warm and snug. He has always enjoyed climbing into a fitted sheet that has been draped over the clothes airer.

Once or twice he has misjudged his weight and angles and lines and the clothes airer has either fallen over or someone has grabbed it as it toppled.

Today however he arranged himself comfortably without mishap and while he looks a little worried in the first photo, the soothing pink and soft walls of his hide out were ultimately comforting and relaxing….

Cats remind us of simple messages – seek out a sanctuary in which to rest, seek comfort and relax……

Saturday stats

The most significant statistic for today is that it is Day 6 of fine, mild weather… enjoyable day after the next, which is stunning for July in my part of the winter world.

37 new garlic shoots are reaching skywards.

The pretty assortment of lettuces is enjoying this strange climate. I picked fresh leaves for our lunch.

The fruit and vegetable shopping has been done.

The roses are all pruned, bar a large white carpet rose. Nothing low growing or “carpety” with this giant.

The lawns have all been mowed and the scattered, dying leaves munched up by the mower.

Weeds have been pulled out.

I had a cup of tea sitting outdoors in the sun and snapped Mrs Blackbird.

An overdue thank you letter has been written and posted.

Two closets have been decluttered.

And I have posted to my blogs.

Now I am going to do the Anacross in today’s paper to give the word puzzle part of my brain a workout.

Rare, exceptional, beautiful

The work camera was grabbed this morning when a very rare Kotuku, White Heron, was seen in a car park in Porirua.

This website: gives you a lot more detail about this very special visitor.

Perhaps it was en route to Okarito, the only place in New Zealand where these birds breed. The breeding season begins in August.

Maori (New Zealand’s indigenous people) have this saying:

He Kotuku rerenga tahi.
A Kotuku’s flight is seen but once.

And this paragraph off the above website describes beautifully how exceptional this lovely, lovely bird is to us.

“In Maori oratory, the most telling compliment is to liken someone to Kotuku. It symbolizes everything rare and beautiful. It was said that Kotuku is an inhabitant of the nether world, the spirit land of Reinga, and that an old funeral chant ends with these words to the departed: “Ko to kotuku to tapui, e Tama e – Kotuku is now thy sole companion, O my son!”
So seldom does Kotuku appear in any locality that “rare as the Kotuku” has passed into a proverb among Maori.”

And this sunset completed a lovely day, which had offered a significant event.

What is there to like about Lichens?

Winter strips the branches bare, alters the light and provides a view into things easily missed in the growth and abundance of the other seasons.

Lichens have caught my “winter eye” this past week as the sun has shone warmly, drawing me outdoors.

Here are a few facts that I have learnt about these amazing life forms, which if left undisturbed can live for centuries.

15,000 lichens have been described and all are formed by, at least, 2 or 3 organisms – fungus, algae and sometimes blue/green algae.

These organisms ensure each survives thanks to a symbiotic relationship. Algae provide nutrients through photosynthesis which nourishes the fungi while fungi provide shelter to the algae.

Lichens can exist in all environments from hot, dry, wet, frozen but are not aquatic. They can grow on many surfaces. My photos show lichens on trees, terracotta pots and concrete. But do look out for them on soil, leaves, animal bones, desert sand, woody debris and on other lichens.

Most grow less than a millimeter in a year and can shut down metabolically when conditions become very unfavourable.

They come in a wide range of colour, shape and size (from 1 mm to 3 metres). They are non-poisonous and considered edible. Have I tried eating any? Well, no…

But the fact about Lichens that really struck me is their ability to produce more than 500 unique biochemical compounds that can control light exposure, kill attacking microbes and discourage competition from other plants.

What more could be learnt from these unique compounds that might be of sustainable use to us on the planet I wonder?

And what do the photos of lichen remind you of? Coral formations? Space stations on far away planets? I’d be interested to know.

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