This vibrant lily in Keirunga Gardens, Havelock North, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, symbolises summer in that part of my country so accurately. Hot colours for the intense heat (33C) and the dynamic light of summer there.
We stayed with relatives in Hawkes Bay and in a welcome space of time away from the hospital I wandered about their lovely garden with the camera.
The climate in Hawkes Bay is so very different to our one here in Porirua and gardens grow luxuriantly there. Different plants thrive in the dry, scorching heat of summer and the frosty cold winters.
So here are some of the plants I photographed during my time out in nature. The intense heat and light of mid morning was not the best time for photography but I wanted to capture those extremes.
On Sunday 29th December we got word that the elder of my extended family had been taken by ambulance to hospital with a very low heart rate. A healthy heart usually beats at least 60 beats per minute at rest.
His had plummeted to below 30 and he was feeling most unwell.
We live 4 hours’ drive away from his home in Hawkes Bay so it was with great relief that we learnt that the medical folk had stabilised him and his heart beats were looking more normal again very quickly. He was discharged after further tests and monitoring had been done and his medication altered.
However a few days later a slow heart beat episode began again and this time, while he finally became more stable it was deemed necessary that he remain in hospital. It was time for us to pack our bags and head along a very familiar route to Hawkes Bay.
We found him in a reasonable condition, resting comfortably with a lot of monitoring machinery and nursing care surrounding him. The Cardiologist had decided, while we were on the road, that a pace-maker would be the best treatment but inserting a pace-maker is only done in tertiary level hospitals in New Zealand. Wellington is the closest one to Hawkes Bay.
The application to Wellington was accepted but no date had been given with that news. Time and hearts ticked along until late on Monday afternoon when news arrived that he would travel by fixed wing air ambulance to Wellington the next morning. A cardiac nurse would travel with him.
Our return to Wellington on Tuesday tracked to the hospital which is reasonably familiar to us and into the Cardiac ward to find our elder looking far more like his old self. The procedure had not been straight forward and much lengthier than the norm so we had had some skipped heart beats as text messages kept us informed of his progress along our journey.
The skills and abilities of the pace maker team and the kind care and attention of his cardiac nurse we met on Tuesday night are gratefully acknowledged. He was transferred back to HB Hospital in the air ambulance on Wednesday morning feeling a lot more like his old self.
He is now back at home adjusting to the restrictions of one arm out of use for some weeks, no car driving at least in the short term and extra personal help but with digital technology now regulating his heart.
This season has seen a profusion of flowering amongst our native trees and plants. The cabbage trees were luxuriant, the kowhais dripped their gold, the Pohutukawas are prolific and the various flaxes are producing bounteous nectar and pollen.
One variety of flax that is found in several gardens near my home has glowed with “ Christmassy” reds and oranges. The flowers remind me of traditional Christmas candles that appeared on Christmas cards when I was a child and a Northern Hemisphere Christmas was the predominant visual theme. I always wondered how candles could be lit and be safe on a tree indoors….
It is no wonder that the Tuis, who adore and feast on flax flower nectar are appearing at the sugar water feeder with pollen coating their heads when you look at this macro photo of a flax flower. The shape of each part of the flower is the perfect curve for the nectar feeding birds beaks.
It is heavy with pollen and only one of a myriad of such flowers on each stalk.
Christmas candles…… perhaps not but a Christmas feast for the birds.