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....

Friday, November 30, 2012

TP 223: Fly!

Carmi's latest photographic theme is "Fly", which is rather timely for me as I flew up to Auckland last weekend. I had a window seat on the way home, and I indulged in a little photo-taking with the camera.
 Soon after we had climbed out of Auckland airport it was all cloud below- and I didn't think I was going to see very much of interest from my window seat.

 However, by the time we had reached the central North Island, much of the cloud had cleared, and Lake Taupo was clearly visible down below. I was mindful of friends who were in Taupo for the exertions of the round-the-lake cycle ride.

 At the southern end of the lake, a small part of Ngauruhoe poked its head out from cloud, but nearby Tongariro was largely swathed in white. Tongariro had put the wind up me just a few days before with a smallish unexpected eruption, and I hadn't been sure I would get to/from Auckland. However, all was well in the end. Apparently there were some gas emissions in all that cloud as we flew nearby, but no ash.

Ruapehu was unmistakeable. Scientists have warned that they are expecting a possible eruption from this volcano in the coming weeks.

 The crater lake is looking 'pristine' at present, and the snow is all very white looking. An eruption could change all this...

Once south of the volcanoes, we were flying over the Rangitikei region, and were soon landing down at Palmy airport. I love the view of the cliffs on the Rangitikei River from above.

PS Later in the weekend I might indulge in another Auckland post, with some more photos from the big city.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

TP 222: rectangular

This week Carmi has set 'rectangular' as the theme for Thematic Photographic 222. And I've just spent a weekend up in central Auckland where there was a feast of rectangular sights to see.

I arrived in the city late morning and had time for a 'walkabout' before check-in at my hotel. I headed towards the waterfront area, then from there headed towards Victoria Park, before settling into my bedroom for the night on the 13th floor. Along the way these were a few of the rectangles I spied.

 Window frames maybe a standard shape, but the reflections they hold can vary in unexpected ways.

Down in the Wynyard Quarter was this walkway. You could climb up, climb down, walk along under.... I don't know if it ever had any other purpose, but the Wynyard area was like that- industrial but being made over to human-friendly.

With rectangles on my mind, I spied these 'seats'. At least I think they are meant to be used as seats.... industrial fragments meet the imagination down this part of the waterfront.

 As I headed back away from the water I passed many marine shops- and some 'wasteland'. Not sure what these were here for, but someone will know.

 One of the buildings was painted in stripes...

 What I love about looking up at city windows, is that so often 'straight' rectangles hold the most bizarrely disorganised reflections.

 This was the view from the tiny balcony on my abode for the night. I liked the variety of buildings- so many sizes and shapes of rectangles.

And this morning when I woke, there was a different quality in the light reflected on nearby buildings. This shot included reflected parts of St Patrick's Cathedral just up the hill. Again, the straight rectangular windows held reflections in such fragmented ways.

I've more Auckland photos I want to share. I'll be back later in the week...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Spider Web

I was working at home yesterday, and enjoyed seeing the sun shining on the deck. Then I noticed this spiderweb- which I am posting just cos I like it!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

TP 221: Windows

Carmi's theme at Thematic Photographic this week is Windows. I've chosen two photos I took this past weekend on a trip down to Christchurch for a 21st birthday party. (Some of you will remember that Christchurch has had a series of devastating earthquakes.)

The 21st birthday party took place outside in a large courtyard at the back of the family home. One of the windows overlooking the party had been decorated with these lava lamps- inviting and quirky at the same time.

The second photo shows some of the damage to the catholic cathedral. The broken window here was part of one of the towers at the front of this building- which used to have a small dome on its top.

The combination of these two photos speaks to me of the way friends and family in Christchurch are seeking to support each other with warmth as they live with the devastation wrought on their city.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Birds at the Lagoon

Down at the Lagoon here in Palmy, there are still quite a lot of signs of spring. Even on a gloomy, slightly drizzly day, there was plenty to see...

 The lawns near the lagoon were thick with lush growth and many daisies, 
and the ducks of various kinds were mostly choosing land over water while I was there.

 And though the skies were grey, exquisite little feathers by the water's edge were like jewels.

 I was hoping I wasn't too late to see some very young coots with their very cute head colouring.

 I discovered there was even a coot still on a nest, so I will have to come back to see the chicks soon...

 And this family of swans with their cygnets was actively feeding. The parent swans dived deep into the water, and the young ones were able to feed on what was brought closer to the surface.