Monday, August 29, 2011

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The journey to Cluny

The journey to Cluny has begun! During the week I contacted the travel agent to check when the Earlybird fares would be here for Europe in 2012- and this morning I took my first 'training' walk- up along Kahuterawa Rd, with my 'proper' walking shoes and socks on...

Almost as soon as I stepped back onto that rural road, memories came back of the many steps I took along here as I trained in 2007-8 for my Camino from Le Puy. Back then, I didn't know how very appropriate this kind of walking was- but the hills and the tarmac were indeed what I needed practice on. This time as I stepped out I was reminded of how I had watched the seasons advance and change during my training months- and this morning I could already see signs of spring. But the 'new' factor in the walk this time was that I found myself recognising how very similar these landscapes were to the hills of the French Basque country.

Kahuterawa Rd reminded me of the French Basque country

There were soon plenty of reminders though that despite my idle daydreams, I was definitely on New Zealand soil.
The sight of many pukekos was one of those reminders, especially near swampy ground.

And soon I saw some native clematis in flower, announcing a kiwi spring.

Grey skies kept me company for most of my walk, with a hint of drizzle in the air- again not so dissimilar from Basque country weather. And I found I didn't care at all if it rained. I was enjoying slight wildness in the wind with just a merino jersey to counter its bite. I sat on my raincoat at the intersection with Green's Rd, and it seemed like I was born to be here in the outdoors with the wind whistling around my ears.

My thoughts turned to walking the Camino. But at the same time, I was reminded that one of the lessons I learned walking the Camino was to live in the present moment. So rather than dream about the old pilgrim churches I might walk past in the French countryside, I made sure I listened for the sounds of the local birds, and looked for any signs of the season turning into spring...

239: Hungry Lamb

 Called into a friend's place after a walk in the countryside this morning- and they had a hungry lamb to feed. It was one of twins whose mother died.

Friday, August 26, 2011

238: Square Sunset

The sun was setting when I arrived at the Square, camera-in-hand, to look for today's 365 shot. It was a lucky coincidence that, for a few minutes, the colours of the clocktower lights matched the sunset colours in the sky. A few minutes to enjoy an unexpected bit of beauty.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

235: magnolia

The temperature has warmed up again, and I love arriving home to see the new buds on the magnolia tree in my front garden. This fresh bud has brown bits behind it from a flower that was probably touched by last week's snow...

Monday, August 22, 2011

234: bike shed shadows

This pattern of shadows in the bike shed at school caught my eye late afternoon.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Himatangi Beach

Today it was hard to believe that snow had been such a dramatic sight for us earlier in the week in Palmerston North. It was glorious and I decided to head off down to Himatangi Beach for a walk. You could see the higher parts of the Tararua Ranges from there, and could see that snow still lingered quite thickly on the higher peaks.

 Himatangi Beach is one that I think we Kiwis tend to underestimate as a trifle 'boring', but I have grown to love it: such a long uninterrupted stretch of sand to walk along next to the waves. So many ways the waves can come into shore- and so much they can bring with them. Today I bring you a few photos of some of the shoreline gifts left by the waves.

 Small bits of driftwood were being moved around at the edge of waves today. And each time the gentle front end of the waves rolled in, the various bits of wood were jumbled together in different ways.

And though most of the shells at this beach are of one kind- boring to us, but apparently 'endemic' and special to this region- there were other shells tossed on the sand to amuse my eyes. 

 I walked quite far, as did others. But when it came time to go, I couldn't quite leave the place, and sat on some driftwood, watching others wander by. Near me a small boy was playing with his parents. He was so happy just being at the beach. He rolled his little body along the flat sand for a good ten metres, then he stood up and ran to his mother, then ran back to his father, then climbed a 'mountain' of sand and driftwood, an Everest explorer in the making. The beach was today a place of calmness and relaxation, and sheer fun for all-comers.

233: Himatangi Beach

After the snow at the beginning of the week, today brought glorious sunshine, and I headed off down to Himatangi Beach for a walk. People of all ages were out enjoying being there. It was calm and warmish, and before long I had removed my shoes, hiding them behind a large piece of driftwood for my return walk; and put my jacket in my bag. It was another day for paddling along the edge by some very gentle waves.... although I am not quite certain this seagull welcomed my intrusion...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Snowy Monday

I am not sure how I missed posting these photos of our snowy Monday! I think I got so busy sending photos by e-mail to friends and family that I knew would find it hard to believe we had snow, that I quite forget to put any here! Anyhow, here you go- snow at my place- something I am unlikely to see again!~

And this last photo shows you the ranges the next morning...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

229: snow remnants

There was some light snowfall yesterday evening- not much settled- but there still were a few signs of it around this morning.  And maybe that is its swansong....

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

228: snow on ranges

There was still some snow lying on the ground this morning after yesterday evening's most surprising amount of snowfall- and the ranges were draped in snow to low levels. The sunshine made it all look very pretty, even though it was -2 degrees...

Monday, August 15, 2011


227: Snow at Home!!!

I have lived here in Palmerston North since 1984, and have never seen snow here ever before. But this afternoon it snowed steadily for at least an hour and it settled!

PS: Some more snow photos and video are on my Nomad Blog.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

226: raindrops on daisies

It is supposed to turn very cold later today, but for today it is just showering rain, and the daisies look quite beautiful with raindrops on their petals. The tui is also singing in the rain- and just alighted in the camellia tree near the house. A feast for the ears and eyes- thank you tui!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

225: signs of spring

I took a short walk in the Esplanade again today, and there are more and more signs that spring is about to arrive. There are bulbs, many more lilies, magnolia and azalea flowers galore. In fact I have decided I can't just leave you with one photo- besides the lily buds you also get to see a magnolia flower ready to burst forth.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Official Manawatu Flash Mob Video - Let It Be

How remiss of me.... I forgot to post this here :-) It was a fun start to the holidays!

Monday, August 08, 2011

220: cosy bedroom

It's taken a wee while for all the current advertising about keeping homes warmer to sink into my brain- but finally my bedroom has lost its winter 'fridge' feeling. A friend helped me install this econo-heater on the weekend. So cosy now, it's a wonder I got to work on time this morning....

Friday, August 05, 2011

217: surely not?!

While I am away from home the neighbourhood cats have worked out a 'roster' for sitting on my back deck, and sometimes a couple even co-exist peacefully together there. This afternoon there had been some patchy rain/hail, and I came home to find this cat in possession of the prime piece of shelter. As I opened the deck doors, you could read the cat-language quite easily: no quick slinking away for this feline- instead it was almost saying- oh no, you don't expect me to go do you- surely not?!