Monthly Archives: December 2012

Trees of my teens

I lived in Hawkes Bay for 5 of my teenage years. Summers there can be relentlessly dry and relentlessly hot. Grass becomes brown and dry very quickly.

It almost looks dusty it is so dry. You are left wondering how animals can find enough to eat. But they do (often with the help of supplementary feed) and this land provides high quality animals and food.


Poplar trees stand in straight lines everywhere, planted as shelter belts and shade. They represent Hawkes Bay to me. These two had broken ranks and marched off to stand alone as an icon for me.


I love the way their leaves shimmer and shake in the breeze that sometimes only seems to reach them and them alone. As the ground bakes you can hear these leaves rustle and shift, showing green and silver as they turn, but there is no air movement down where you are yearning for something cooling to waft along.


It was warming up to be very hot as we farewelled Hawkes Bay last Monday and watched the number of poplars lessen as we traveled south to home and cooler conditions.

Finding summer in Hawkes Bay

We made a visit to Hawkes Bay last weekend to visit my father in law before Xmas. Not only did we enjoy time with him and other family members we also found summer.

Spring here has been long, cloudy, cool, grey and windy. We know that Hawkes Bay experiences vastly different conditions thanks to a large mountain range that shelters it from the prevailing damp, howling winds and rain that come in off the Tasman Sea. It enjoys and thrives in the rain-shadow effect.
We rented a small, self contained cottage just outside the village we were visiting.

It is on a life-style block where the owners are growing and farming organically and also operating this commercial kitchen. Check out a great initiative here.

Look at who lived here:

Plymouth Rock Rooster

Plymouth Rock Rooster

Look at the bounty of goodness that is so abundant in this part of my homeland.



Bounty awaiting in these Feijoa flowers.


The birds were doing their bit to pollinate these beauties that speak of heat and flavour and the traditional colours of the approaching Christmas day.

Beauty in tall, fragrant rose bushes.


You can see how dry it becomes here. Drought is common.


We had hot weather, intense blue skies which faded out to a hazy, pale blue as we left for home in the glare and brightness of the sunshine. But while there we had sat outdoors in the shade in calm conditions, we had strolled in the evening warmth and soaked up Vitamin D admiring gardens.


Middle Earth

The world premiere of the film The Hobbit happened in Wellington last week amid much excitement and hype. The vast film studios are located in Wellington and the film maker Sir Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) lives nearby and has made films based from Wellington all his life. He is easy to claim as “ours” and to feel very proud of his successes and creativity.

A quick pick-up at Wellington airport this week saw us enter a different world.


Gandalf, the dwarves, the Hobbit and other characters are found portrayed in different images around the terminal.





Gollum is an immense 13 metre long replica suspended from the ceiling catching “juicy sweet fishes”. He weighs in at 1.2 tonnes and is made from polystyrene, coated with epoxy resin. It had to be created as 9 separate pieces in order to fit through the airport doors.
He is easy to walk around and under and offers an impressive installation to appreciate.




The bag collection area resembles the shire and features hobbit holes and various characters. A local Porirua sign writing firm (Henshaw signs) was responsible for this impressive piece.





People arriving at our airport are under no illusion about the part of earth they are entering as part of the launch of this film. It opens next week in cinemas. It promises to be a fantastic journey with two more parts to come.

In the dark of the night

Some time earlier this week, in the dark of the night my 10,000 visitor turned a page on my blog.


While WordPress offers a range of statistics it is impossible for me to know who the visitor was.

So thank you all for visiting and reading my blog. Here is a bouquet of roses for you all as a small token of my gratitude.