Saturday, December 08, 2012

Highland Pipers in the Square

Early in December each year there is a gathering of Highland pipers in the Square here in Palmy, and I took a wander down there this morning. They must have been relieved that 'summer' weather had finally arrived as it was a lovely day for it. And since I have recently posted quite a few photos from Auckland, and Christchurch, far from home, I thought it was time to post 'local'.

 The sculptures around the 'marae' always intrigue me.

 The butterfly lakelets are one of my favourite spots in the Square, 
and at present the roses near it look magnificent.

 This sculpture by Paul Dibble, of the extinct Huia, is another of his precious works in the city.

 There is a 'pall' hanging over this landmark on the edge of the Square, All Saints church.
It has been discovered to have very low strength for a major earthquake and will be closed soon- 
until it can be decided if strengthening is affordable. 

 I love wandering through the Square on Highland Pipes Day- 
you get to hear and see groups from all round the country practising and performing.

And on the way home I saw a Tui ad I agreed with. Often I find their billboards sexist, and sometimes offensive- obviously I am not their target demographic. But a Jetstar ad, I could identify with...

TP 224 Mellow yellow

This week Carmi has set "Mellow Yellow" as the photo theme for the week. I found I had several 'softer' yellow shots amongst ones I had recently taken.

This is probably my favourite of the bunch. There were candles burning in front of an icon at St Pat's Cathedral in Auckland when I was there a fortnight ago.

These little bees were also spied in Auckland- in a shop window in Victoria Market. Cute!

The last four photos were all taken from a recent weekend in Christchurch. (Yes I have been a bit of a gadabout lately.) These mellow yellow mugs have newly appeared in my friends' house- they had a lot of kitchenware broken in the earthquakes.

 There were quite a few out-of-towners for tea- and a plate of eggs was one of the choices for dinner.

 I am always surprised to see these lemons this far south. 

And despite the fact it was only early November, even a mellow yellow rose was in bloom. Somehow the desolation around because of the earthquakes has made the garden seem even more glorious.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Auckland Walk

Last weekend I was in Auckland, and luckily the weather was good for a walk downtown on Saturday afternoon.  Here's a pretty random collection of photos from my brief time up there.

From many spots downtown you get a view of the Sky Tower, a feature of its cityscape that Aucklanders appear to be inordinately proud of. But this always puzzles me somewhat- why would you want to give such homage to a symbol of gambling?

I headed down towards the waterfront. At first I didn't like it too much, and I kept comparing it adversely with the Wellington waterfront area which I love, and which is so people-friendly for walking along. Here in Auckland the waterfront seemed dominated by lots of expensive boats in marinas, toys for the wealthy, and another homage to money.

 However, as I got closer to the Wynyard Quarter I came to love what I was seeing. It was all so random, and unexpected, with surprising little details at every turn. For instance, there was this striped walkway, dramatic underfoot.

 And although yachting isn't my thing, I found I still felt very excited when I saw this Team New Zealand inflatable coming into dock.

 And there were all sorts of odd places where people could sit. The sight of these two sets of legs made me laugh.

 I'd seen these towers on TV not long before I headed north- and was glad to stumble upon them as I walked. Interesting to look at, and the snippets of poetry on them were great to contemplate.

 I loved the 'roof' over this little pool. I put this photo on Facebook, and some friends didn't like it at all. But it seemed to suit the 'industrial' nature of this whole quarter, and I found it quite intriguing.

 Another random 'seat' down by the waterfront. 

As I headed away from the waterfront, I passed a huge number of marine stores, something you would only see in Auckland here in NZ. Goods seemed to range from these basic kayaks, right up to high-end marine electronics for the bigger yachts. 

I was keen to reach Victoria Park on my rambles, as I had good memories of the Victoria Market when I was younger, (much younger!) I knew they had been changed by motorway developments in the area, but I was surprised by how much. They looked really attractive from the outside, but the old 'hippy' heart and soul of the place had nearly disappeared. Instead of this being a place for local people to poke around in, it seemed like now it was much more up-market and aimed at tourists.

By now I was ready for a late-lunch break, and for check-in at my basic hotel on Wyndham St, on the same street as St Pat's Cathedral. This was an oasis of peace, with a very attractive little park behind it. I fell in love with the sculpture with running water that had a quote from Julian of Norwich on it- and returned to see this in the morning before I left for the airport.

I rested my feet a little, and enjoyed the view from my small 13th floor balcony, then headed up the hill to the Civic Theatre for the evening. This ornate building has been beautifully restored, and had surprises at every turn- one of relatively few treasures from a bygone era that still sits gracefully on Queen St. 

Font- in St Patrick's Square.

I always have ambivalent feelings about Auckland, but I enjoyed my weekend 'taster'. I noticed a board describing a walking route from one harbour to the other.... I'll be back one day before long to do it....