Monday, January 31, 2011

A couple more curves...

Couldn't resist some "travel photo" curves

As I have posted before, I love the works of the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. A highlight of last year was visiting Barcelona, where many of his beautiful buildings can be seen. Above is the exterior of the Casa Battlio, and left and below are 2 shots from inside the main entertainment room.

The man had a thing about curves - there are very few straight lines in his buildings. On the roof there are all sorts of little chimney and ventilation shaft coverings - all of them rounded.

Two more shots of the exterior.

And finally, another ventilation cover, from the roof of the house 
called La Pedrera:

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Thematic Photographic 132: Curves

This week's idea to play with is curves (check Carmi's site for more info).


This was taken on the same outing as last week's blue leaning 
man, and marks the marina/yacht club premises. I've always
liked the shapes of propellor blades.

I've posted this before - it's a wind wand by kinetic artist
Len Lye, on the foreshore in New Plymouth. It bends and 
moves in the wind - of which there is plenty in
this small city on the west coast of New Zealand.

The curving banks of the Whanganui River, taken from the 
old steamer which carries visitors on this waterway. 

In Māori legend, the Whanganui River was formed when Mt Taranaki who had lived peacefully in the centre of New Zealand's North Island with three other volcanoes, Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu, courted the gorgeous Mt Pihanga.
A mighty battle broke out between him and Tongariro. The earth shook and the sky became dark as the mountains belched forth their anger. When the battle ended, Pihanga stood close by Tongariro's side. Taranaki, wild with grief and jealousy, wrenched himself from the ground and plunged towards the setting sun, gouging out a deep wide trench.The next day a stream of clear water sprang from the side of Tongariro, flowing down the deep scar Taranaki had left on his journey to the coast, and formed the Whanganui River.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


It's been a terrible week, as our community has struggled with trying to come to terms with a horror crash which caused the deaths of 3 people, and extremely serious injuries to 2 others. Two of the dead were teenagers, 17 and 16, and the driver of the other car, a 44 year-old father of 3, also died.

Such pointless and meaningless deaths. Why is it that in spite of all of the "driver education" programs in schools and in public forums such as magazines and television, some youg people still think they are bullet-proof?

Coincidentally, a new report was released this week about the people who cause crashes - but it didn't tell us anything new or surprising. 

I strongly believe that the driving age here in New Zealand is too low - at 15 they can get their Learner's License, then there are 2 further stages before they get a full license. On checking the net I found that there are a few countries where the minimum age is 16, and a couple of US states where it is 15.  Most countries have a far more sensible 18 or 17. Ours should be raised.

"Boy, when you're dead, they really fix you up.  I hope 
to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to 
just dump me in the river or something.  Anything except 
sticking me in a goddam cemetery.  People coming and 
putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, 
and all that crap.  Who wants flowers 
when you're dead?  Nobody."
~J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thematic Photographic 131: Blue

Yay! This week's theme is blue, my favourite colour - except when it's green. Or purple, or yellow....

So many pictures to choose from. I promise that they're not all sea ones ;)
I posted a sepia version of this photo last year, but here's the original version, which I like much better. This is in the Uyuni salt desert in Bolivia. Isn't that the bluest sky you've ever seen?

The decorative 'flower' pods on a Nikau palm, against a beautiful blue sky.

I love tennis. When I went to Melbourne last year it was great to visit the Rod Laver Arena where the Australian open is being held as we speak! This is the Margaret Court court :)

A waterfront scene in our capital city, Wellington

This chap struck me as having a rather wistful air, in spite of his hat almost matching the bin he's leaning on. What was he gazing at? This:

Thematic Photographic happens every week here. Check it out!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The amazing Sand Man

I found this totally awesome - Peter Donnelly, a sand artist from my birthplace of Christchurch, New Zealand. I played on this beach many times as a child, and nearly drowned under the pier....

Monday, January 17, 2011

My first award!!

Today I received my first blogging award - from 2 of my blogging friends at once!!! And they came from 2 of my favourite people to visit, Karen at 21 wits  and Galen at 10 steps to finding your happy place

Thank you both so very very much - it's a good feeling to get one of these little presents, especially on a rainy humid morning.

As part of accepting this award, I need to share 7 things about myself:
  1. If I was only allowed one food for the rest of my life, it would be avocado.
  2. I love driving, especially on long road trips, especially by myself.
  3. I couldn't live without music, art and books - and the greatest of these is books ;)
  4. I was born here in New Zealand, of Scottish descent - 1st generation on my father's side, 4th generation on my mother's.
  5. I love travelling, and would travel most of the year if I could.
  6. My greatest desire is to go into space - if I win the lottery, I shall book a ticket on Virgin Galactic and take a trip off this planet.
  7. I'm an English teacher... and I love it - but when I retire I plan to go back to University to do another degree, this time in Art History. Or Geology. :)
I also get to pass this award on, to 5 special bloggers, so here we go. These are all blogs that I love:

Life 101
Doves today
Living the Rural Life
A Paperback Writer
It's the Journey

Thank you again, Karen and Galen.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Thematic Photographic 130: Far from Home

I'm a Taurean (not that I take any notice of that stuff....). We bulls are supposed to be homebodies, preferring to stay ensconced in our little cocoons. I do love my home, but the last little while I've rediscovered the joys of travelling, and I plan to do a LOT more.

Because I can.
While I can.

From a trip in 2004 when I took some 16 and 17 year old students to Shanghai:

 Our usual breakfast in the dormitory we were staying at. In the bowl is a very runny rice porridge. The dumplings were yummy!
 An English classroom - a little different from my one. There were about 40 kids in the class - 14 year-olds. It was all rote learning - repeating words, as a group, over and over. My kids couldn't believe how dull and boring it was. I threatened to teach them like that when we got home...
 School assembly. Complete with bands and marchpasts.

 A visit to a park. A reasonable request, I feel.


It was a great experience - and looking out these photos brought back some great memories. Thanks, Carmi! 
Join in our Thematic Photographic fun here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Friday Photo

A boy and his dog....

Today on the way back from a retail therapy trip to our nearest city, I stopped at a river-side area to eat my lunch.  This fellow was having enormous fun fetching the stick which his young owner was throwing waaaay out into the river.

 I was really impressed with the dog's obedience, too; (Juniper's Django would have approved).

The dog, of course, would have carried on retrieving for ever, but when told to, he sat down quietly to have his collar buckled back on and they headed off up the road towards home.

It was good to see them having such healthy fun and enjoying each other's company - it put a smile on my face, and made my sushi taste even more delicious!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Thematic Photographic 129: Wet

Today has been pretty much the perfect sumer's day. It's lovely and warm, but not too hot - about 27 C, I would guess. There's not an ill-intentioned cloud in the sky, and just a light zephyr of a breeze.

Manuel LeGrand and I have just come back from a wonderful walk around the estuary (no dogs allowed on the surf beach during the day in the summertime - at this time of the year our little resort town is crowded with holiday makers, and the beach is heavily populated). 

The tide was about halfway out, and the shores and the water of the estuary were pretty much deserted, apart from a few kayakers, a number of blue herons, and lots of tiny mud crabs which kept popping in and out of their holes.

Manu had a great time - he ran, he splashed, he chased herons and gulls, he conversed briefly with a couple of other dogs, he rolled in something disgusting.

I didn't have my camera with me today, and these shots were taken on our last walk out there, but believe me it would have been déjà vu if I had!

Don't you love summer? 

Join in Carmi's Thematic Photographic fun here.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Friday Photo

I don't eat chicken.

That's not because I don't like it - it's my paltry (ha!) protest at the way chickens are farmed for meat in this country, and in a great many other countries - pumped full of hormones and other chemicals, kept in tiny boxes... just thinking about it can bring me to tears.

Luckily we have an organic free-range egg farm 10 minutes' drive from town. This morning I stopped by to get the weekly supply of eggs. The hens live in large fenced grassy paddocks, and are keen to come up to the fence to chat:

Ok, they're still not free - but their life-style is several million times better than that of their caged counterparts.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Favourite Shots of the Year #4

Happy New year to everyone.  I hope you and your loved ones will enjoy a healthy and satisfying 2011.

I wasn't going to put up any more best shots of 2010 (see Carmi's Thematic Photographic here), but whilst sorting folders I found these ones, and couldn't resist.
These were taken on the same road trip as the previous group, but this beach is on the Tasman Coast of New Zealand (not the Pacific east coast), and it's further north, at a little settlement called Ahipara.

They were taken on July 8, so our mid-winter. It was bitterly cold and there were occasional showers scudding across from the west.  But these kids were making the most of their school holidays, and were determined to enjoy the beach.