Monthly Archives: July 2012

Tipping point

I see on my blog stats that over 1000 comments have been made on my blog.

Thank you to all the people who follow my blog and to those who have left comments over time.

I read this comment by another blogger recently and it really tickled my sense of humour.

It went something like this: “Thanks for reading my blog and leaving a comment. At least I know that I am not constantly talking to myself.”

I appreciate hearing from you. Take care out there.

Sopping wet

We have had two and a half days of continual rain. Our local weather website tells me that 51.7mm of rain has fallen in July to date. 20.2 mm fell yesterday.

The rain has been heavy at times but in the main it has been thick, heavy drizzle. The drizzle drops are as fine as pin pricks but soak things thoroughly and quickly. Around here we call it “very wetting rain”. It is impossible to run between the drops…:-))

Everything feels damp and the grass is sodden and best avoided. Paths have little streams draining over them or large puddles sitting on them.

When the rain eased a little this morning I went outdoors for some welcome fresh air and took some photos of drips which glistened everywhere in the calm conditions.

I also rescued the first daffodil from drowning. The daffodils are early this year but very welcome as we hope for some drying conditions very soon.

“Love at the end of the road” by Rae Roadley

The interesting play on words in this book’s title and the name of the author drew my attention recently in the library.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I found it hard to put down at times.

I love peoples’ stories, how they grow in life, what makes people tick and this all forms a good deal of this book as Rae documents her evolving relationship with Rex.

But there is so much more in this book that held my attention. Rae cleverly intertwines the history of the area in which she lives. The Kaipara is steeped in history both pre- European and since European settlement. Family history abounds and again Rae cleverly links the people she meets and is surrounded by in her life, back to past generations and their lives. The family trees in Appendix one are very useful reference points to assist the reader with the detail and intricate connections Rae writes about.

I’m a “townie”, just as Rae once was, so I found her stories and experiences learning about rural life entertaining, informative and amusing. I think she adapted to the life remarkably well and in ways I would not have done.

But the house she comes to live in with Rex, at the end of the road, is not just a very old, now historic house, which is in a rural location. It also sits on the edge of the Kaipara harbour and alongside the Otamatea River. Naturally there is a wealth of history and activity to be mined from these important waterways, all of which enriched my understanding of an environment very different from anything within my experience.

The book is packed with colourful characters, both human and animal. In typical rural New Zealand fashion there are endless anecdotes around food and a sprinkling of never fail recipes included in the book.

The photography and illustrations provide visual impact and information.

It is a rich, well researched and well referenced read. I came away having learnt a lot about people and how they tick and how lives and ways of living can be so very, very different. Rae’s book has piqued my interest in, one day, visiting this beautiful part of my lovely country.

You can visit Rae’s website here and she blogs as well.

I’ve got the macro on

I’m exploring the macro on my point and shoot digital camera. I went about the garden this morning and snapped a few shots in the low, grey light of the day.

Pretty polyanthus

Delicate nemisia

White azalea

The pink berries of the fuchsia procumbens

Veriya “Saxon Glow”

The thick, glossy leaf of the Chatham Island Forget-me-not

While it feels like deep winter both in temperature and light levels today , two photos speak strongly of spring…..I’ve left those two until the end because we must be patient and wait.

Fuzzy buds swelling on the deciduous Magnolia

And a daffodil head……not long to wait for this flower

Crunching the numbers

I’ve completed my annual bird survey today. The instructions were to record the largest number of each type of bird that was seen or heard at any one time – not the total number of each bird over the hour. That was a bit complicated but bird numbers were low in the garden today so it was not as arduous as I thought it might be.

The common sparrow headed the list, followed by wax eyes, blackbirds, chaffinches, starlings, and goldfinches. I could hear a Tui over the road feasting on the red flowering gum trees so that was included too.

Male chaffinch

I blogged about the 2011 bird survey here.

I received an email late this afternoon telling me that a new website is being set up so that I can record any observations relating to nature but it will also be where future annual bird survey results will be loaded. I’m really pleased about that as there are times when I see a new bird in the garden and wish I could tell someone “official” about it.

The other numbers I crunched today were on my blog. WordPress provides a raft of statistical data and I do check my stats regularly. This post will be number 308. My readers have posted 966 comments and I now have 70 blog followers.

Thank you to all my readers. It is very gratifying to know that you enjoy my postings and continue to turn the pages on my blog.

There is an interesting statistic amongst the people who regularly comment on my blog and that is that 4 of them have names beginning with the letter “J”.

I also have a regular group of “likers” and it is always a pleasure to find your “Like” appearing in my notifications.

11 of my blog posts have been “shared” and that seems an extra honour and potentially widens my audience.

Spam wins the day with 1,356 items that have been successfully thwarted at the cyber boundary of my blog and I am very grateful about that.

I began blogging with so much trepidation but now it is almost a habit and I miss the days when I don’t post something. I began writing to satisfy an inner voice but having gathered followers I feel spurred on to provide something that I hope will interest you in some way. My photography interest is proving to be very satisfying to me and that has been a surprise too.

Thank you again for reading, lurking, liking and commenting. You all enrich my days.

The map is not the territory

On Monday I visited a photographic exhibition “All Woman – a modern Portrait of New Zealand Women” by photographer Bev Short.

Tanja and Te Kaahurangi Maioha

The portraits are of New Zealand women ranging in age from teen to 90 years old and who have achieved in disparate activities and often against the odds.

I loved this exhibition. Alongside each portrait was a “story” or short biography about the woman pictured. I adore people’s stories. So I read eagerly.

Within many of the stories were little connections that matched my experiences as a female born in the 1950’s being buffeted by gender discrimination; growing in awareness in the 60’s and 70’s; volunteering in both Parents Centre and Playcentre where empowerment underpinned the work; working in community education; facilitating women’s self awareness and personal growth and development; observing others compassion and strong sense of social justice.

So as I read my feelings swung from sad recognition, to feelings of affirmation and strength, to acknowledgement and wisdom, to bewilderment over how much work is still required to gain equity and to wonder over so many startling achievements by women despite the odds and the tug of biology.

And, of course, there were photos to soak up. Some were vivid and colourful, others darker featuring light in a different way. Some were active shots, others with a stillness. All reflecting, in some way, the woman portrayed.

Several struck me deeply: the powerfully warm, deep connection between a woman and her horse; the serene, confident stillness of a teenage mother who has blossomed in her academic studies; the soft beauty and colour of a nurse who had worked in war ravaged countries; the deeply powerful image of a woman who had escaped a violent relationship, but who had behind her all the women who had died in a domestic violence situation since she had escaped.

I could go on……The exhibition has been extended until 22nd July 2012 and it is free. If you read along in Wellington, make time to go.

If you live elsewhere the links to the Gallery and to Bev Short’s website will offer you more information and a glimpse of the richness.

And since viewing the exhibition I have thought a lot about judgement and how “the map is not the territory”……Alfred Korzybski