Saturday, December 31, 2011

365: looking ahead to 2012

Well, I had hoped to end the year and this 365 blog with a beautiful sunny landscape- but rain seems to be our lot today, so you are getting an indoor shot to finish. But though you may not be looking at a sunny landscape, this is a 'looking forward' shot to the Chemins I plan to walk in France in 2012. Eventually, on the Festina Lente blog that I will compile, mainly after I get home again, you will see some of the sunny and not-so-sunny landscapes that I walk through. (And if it seems too long to wait for the blog from the new Chemins, here is the retrospective blog about my first Chemin/Camino in 2008.)

Last night I had two friends staying the night, who plan to walk the Camino Frances in a few months time, so we were comparing equipment for 'packing'. New adventures call us into 2012...

Well, it's been a great adventure, but this blog is now 'ended'. I will leave it here -as is where is- for another month or so, then will merge it with my 'occasional' Kiwinomad blog. See you over there sometime perhaps. One blog may have ended, but it seems I am an inveterate blogger, in one place or another, and you won't get rid of me just because 365/365 has arrived!

Friday, December 30, 2011

364: on holiday

The year is nearly at an end, and I am very much in holiday mode at present- as are my little toys- resting at home after a busy time in the reading corner at school, at the beck and call of five year olds. They all look very relaxed too, so life is at it should be just prior to New Year...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

363: Esplanade

Only three days to go now to show you photos in my 365- and this might be the last outdoor photo, as rain is forecast to end the year. The blue skies of previous days have already been replaced by grey cloud cover, though it is still warm enough at 24C. This photo was taken at the Esplanade, with bright summer annuals in the foreground, and the avenue of phoenix palms behind. It's a great place to relax and enjoy a short walk anytime of the year, as there are always different things in bloom.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

362: homegrown salad

I have a friend who is not only a superb cook, she is also a wonderful gardener. Most of the veges in this salad have come from her own garden. Fresh and delicious!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

361: wind turbines

Whenever I do the Manawatu Gorge walk, I always feel like I am walking in forest that is quite wide, and I feel a long way away from the everyday world. But such is not quite the case. There's an extra lookout since I was last at the Woodville end of the Manawatu Gorge walk- that gives you a view over these wind turbines. And there is a very short walk off the track to reach the viewpoint. Things are not always what they seem!

Monday, December 26, 2011

360: swimming time!

Another lovely summer's day. I've already been to the Lido for some lane swimming. Now my togs are drying off outside in the sunshine, and maybe there will be another swim later...

Out and About

In just over three months time I am heading off to France for some more walking, some of which will be quite 'hilly', so I have been 'out and about' walking, trying to get fitter. Here are just a few views from along some of the ways I have walked...

 This old fencepost on the Turitea Walkway sits amidst some of the lush grass growth 
we have had after the rains we had in November.

 On Himatangi Beach I saw many lined up along the short stretch of river, 
hoping to catch a few whitebait.

 Climbing up Turitea-Green's Rd gives me lots of up-and-down hills practice.

 Signs of summer- there were lots of spider nests on the long grass.

 Blechnum capense was the name I learned back in high school for this fern 
whose orange-edged fronds I love. It has a new botanical name now, but I can never remember it!
 From a high point on Green's Rd, I can see where I am about to descend down the road- 
only to climb up again just around the next bend. Truly, good practice for the Cluny route!

 This is the highest point along Green's Rd before I descend again to Kahuterawa Rd. 
The sign is showing that this is part of the Te Araroa Walkway down the length of New Zealand. 

 Back down on Kahuterawa Rd, a sign that summer is advancing:
the hay has been cut and baled from this paddock.
 Finally I got back onto the Gorge Walkway, which gives me more practice up hills and down...

The Gorge road is closed at present by this huge, unstable slip, which is taking months to clear.
But you can still walk the walking track- it's just not quite so easy to leave a car at each end
if a group want to walk the whole track in one direction.

Te Mata Peak

Yesterday I was up in Havelock North for Christmas, and took the opportunity to drive up Te Mata Peak. It was quite a revelation: I had no idea what wonderful views awaited me- a 360 degree wonderland.

In the distance here, if you look carefully amongst the clouds, Mt Ruapehu is poking through, with a bit of snow still on the top.

 I loved the view over these cliffs, with the ribbon of the river below, and the blue, blue sea beyond.

 These cattle around the waterholes just looked like tiny ants below...

 Another view showing some of the coastline north towards Mahia.

 It was mainly overseas tourists getting a quick view yesterday. (I overheard some of them talking about whether something might be 'open later'- oops, did nobody warn them about Christmas Day...)

 Some more tourists posing with a hill view behind.

I really did love the view of the river below, with the ocean beyond.

And a 360 view from the top...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

359: Summer Christmas

For all my northern hemisphere friends, here is a little taste of a summertime Christmas :-)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

358: Christmas Eve

Waiting for the arrival of the Christ Child at Midnight Mass
St Pat's, Palmerston North

Friday, December 23, 2011

357: Gorge Walk

It's definitely time to ramp up the amount of 'training' I am doing for the Chemin that I will start in April. And the Manawatu Gorge is a great place to do it, with lots of hill climbing and a few steep descents... This photo is the view over to Ashhurst from the Te Apiti viewpoint.

I have more Gorge photos I should make a Nomad post with- but in case it isn't 'soonish', here is a second photo, of a tree fern.
 I always think the fronds look glorious against a blue sky.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

356: Santa & Rudolph

While out driving in rural Manawatu this morning I spied Santa out gallivanting with Rudolph. I suppose they were checking out which houses had chimneys or not, ready for the Great Delivery in a couple of nights time.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

355: blackberry beginnings

Out clearing the jungle that is my 'back garden' this morning, I came across these blackberries- with their promise of treats to come in the late summer/ autumn. I cleared away the convolulus that was climbing all over it- and hopefully there will be a feast for the picking in March...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

354: Joseph St Kitchen

I had another trip to the dump this morning with some more green waste... and stopped off on my way home for a hot chocolate at Mike's Joseph St Kitchen. Oh, and an afghan too :-)

Monday, December 19, 2011

353: Mt Cleese & Anzac Park

You don't always get what I 'plan' on this #365 jaunt. I was heading to the dump to take some green waste- don't panic- it gets turned into compost. It wasn't supposed to be my 'photo opportunity', but then I was reminded of the Mt Cleese sign, which has quite a story attached to it.

Actually, you do get quite a good view back down the river from this 'mountain' as well...

Next I planned to drive up the hill to Anzac Park, to check out exactly how hilly and strenuous the track looked from a walker's point of view. (Quite steep was my verdict.) And you were going to get a landscape view here on #365 from the viewpoint over the city. But there was some unforeseen action up there: several policeman were using the spot to train their dogs. So of course, you have to get a couple of pics of that instead!

The dog's aim was clearly to 'disrobe' his assailant's arm of the protective sleeve- and he did that with gusto, quite successfully.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

352: sheep resting

Holidays have arrived and  I am glad to 'officially' start my training regime for Cluny next April. While I was sweating up and down a few hills, it was nice to see these sheep still had time to relax and be peaceful under this tree.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

350: Holiday Flowers

Yesterday was the last day of the school year and I am now on holiday! This beautiful bunch of carnations was given to me. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

349: tui on flax

It is that happy time of year again, when I can watch the tui feeding on flax in my back garden. I am giving you three photos: none of them is a perfect shot, but the different angles show you more about the bird, in this case a juvenile.

Monday, December 12, 2011

346: weeds & seeds

Gardening is not my forte..... weeds have become seeds to become weeds..... I will be busy in the garden these hols, but it's too little too late...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

345: roadside rest

In just four months time I will be starting some long walks in France, so the summer needs to be full of walks to improve my fitness. Today I took one of my 'circuits' around some quiet country roads. I started earlyish, just after 7am, and after three and a half hours, I decided it was time to stop for a morning tea break. And ahhhh how I love taking my shoes off!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

344: Pipe bands

Each year in December there is a Pipe Band contest in the Square. I always like wandering through when it's on, and listening to all the goings-on. This is a local group of mainly young ones, getting ready for their performance.

And just because I am getting to the end of Project365- a bonus shot- this time of an older band preparing their way...

Thursday, December 08, 2011

342: peace in the courtyard

At the end of the school day, when the sun is shining, the courtyard outside some of our classrooms is a lovely peaceful spot to walk through...

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

340: Art Expo

There's a wonderful event at school this week: the Art Expo. All our parents, grandparents, locals and anyone at all who is interested can come along to see it in the Hall. Floor to ceiling art. Magnificent. Here's a peak at our little New Entrant corner.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

337: Christmas in the Square

It's Christmas in the Square here in Palmy today. The Red Cross Fair was on this morning, and later on will be the Santa Parade and Carols. Then they will light up the tree for the season.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

335: Night time in the Square

This is now the last month of my 365 project, so a 'reflection' seems appropriate. On my way home this evening, I saw these reflections in one side of the 'butterfly' lakes in the Square.

And in case anyone is wondering, December 31st will indeed bring the end of this blog. Next year I will be walking in France, probably without too much e-mail access. But there will be a different blog for recounting it all...

Monday, November 28, 2011

332: for paper chains

Even when you have been teaching as long as I have, you still get ideas from all over the place. Another teacher's four year old daughter at day care brought home a poem with 25 paper chains attached, made out of Christmas gift wrap paper, to count down the December days until Christmas. Soooo, today we have been learning all kinds of things about 25, to help us count the 25 paper chains we will make tomorrow. And here is the Christmas gift wrap paper we will make them with...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

331: Himatangi Beach

This was the first really fine day we have had for ages and the beach was calling. The tide was really high, and I ended up with really wet trousers, but the water was surprisingly warm. Loved the walk. And it was especially good to have a day that provided an inkling that summer might truly be just around the corner- because most of November the weather has not been so good...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

330: peaceful spot

A peaceful spot beside the stream, along the Turitea Walkway. 
I'd been walking just over two hours before I arrived here, and this was a great spot to have a drink of water and an orange, before climbing back up the hill to where my car was parked.