Saturday, October 27, 2012

Spring, continued...

In the garden today:

a lovely pink rhododendron

 a pretty pink-and-white weigela

old roses on an old fence


 and an iris of a delicate apricot shade

Have a sunny Sunday, everyone!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Travel, travel

Over at Carmi's blog, Written.Inc, people are posting fantastic travel pics for this week's Thematic Photographic theme.

Travelling is one of my very favourite things, so I found this topic rather daunting. I have so many photos - where should I go with this? 

I spend my working days with teenagers, and so eventually I decided to go with travel shots in which I've taken children and teenagers. Some I've posted before, some I haven't...

In 2005 I was lucky enough to take a group of students  to Shanghai. 
The Chinese exchange group came to New Zealand for 2 weeks, 
then about a month later we went there for 2 weeks. 

School was very different -

But McD's tastes the same wherever you go:

By the time we left to come home, the kids and their billets had become  good friends, 
and there were some very tearful farewell huddles:

In 2010 I was in Greece.
I was delighted by this beautiful bronze boy in 
the National Archaeological Museum in Athens

My favourite kid shots from my trip to Turkey are this one in Istanbul  
of a little boy celebrating his circumcision day:

and this group of children at the Mausoleum of Ataturk, in Ankara:

Italy, 2011. This is the Fontana del Panthon, in Rome

and I love the expressions in this school group photo in the Naples Museum

A little girl on Capri

and a less fortunate child, in a shed of other relics, at Pompeii

One of my all-time top 10 kid photos - two cherubs, in St Peter's Basilica in Rome

Lastly, two more school groups, one waiting to enter the Duomo, in Milan:

and the other in Vernazza on the Cinque Terre:

Hope you enjoyed some of my kids-around-the-world photos. 
Bon voyage!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sunday Snapshots

For this week's "hitherto-neglected-shots" post, I have some more photos from the marina 

What stopped me as I drove past that day were the grey threatening sky, and how calm the water was, which produced lots of lovely reflections.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Drink up - TP 217

In the face of this week's theme, lacking ideas and inspiration, I opened the door of my refrigerator and took a photo:

Inside the fridge door: yoghurt, beer, milk, water, lemonade, and wine. Something for every taste! 
(No juice, though - too much sugar)

For more suggestions on what to drink, go to Carmi's Written.Inc

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Back to school

Tomorrow is the first day of the last term of our school year. 

10 GOOD things about going back to school tomorrow:

  1. it is the last term of our school year!
  2. it is spring (although someone in the weather-dispatch department doesn't seem to have got his/her head around that yet)
  3. at the end of the term comes Christmas
  4. and our long summer vacation
  5. sometime in the next few weeks our new house will be handed over to us and we shall move in (theoretically, November 3rd. Watch this space)
  6. it will be great to leave the rented house we have been in since we sold our old house in March
  7. for Christmas, my daughter, her husband and their 2 children will be home from Adelaide, Australia
  8. and my son and his lovely Italian partner will be here from Barcelona
  9. once the seniors go on exam leave (on November 7th) I shall have time to do all of the Head of Department stuff which has been piling up, and piling up....
  10. it is the shortest term of the four

  10 BAD things about going back to school tomorrow:
  1. it's Monday
  2. AND I'll have to get up at 5.50 am
  3. these holidays have only been two weeks long - not long enough
  4. I feel as if I haven't done enough preparation
  5. the weather has been rubbish for most of the two weeks
  6. I haven't done all of the things on my "to-do" list
  7. I haven't even done half of them!
  8. until the seniors leave (see above) it will be full-on, hard-core revision, revision, revision. Hard work and generally unexciting for the teacher :(
  9. moving house, again. Stress, marital dissension, exhaustion, expense...
  10. my most senior class (18-yr-olds) will be leaving school to start their adult lives. This particular class contains a number of students whom I have taught in an extension group for 4 or 5 years. They are lovely kids, very bright and focussed. I shall miss them greatly.

Pictures from a visit to The Sculpture Park about this time last year

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

TP 216: Colours of Autumn

Okay so Carmi is demonstrating hitherto unsuspected ingrained  hemisphereism 
and has designated the theme for this week as "fall colours". 
What to do? Go back six months to autumn?? 

Nooooo; that would mean living through that horrible winter all over again. 
No. Not gonna do it.

Autumn colours - red, yellow, orange... right? 
So today I stopped at the marina at Tauranga and looked for some autumn colours. 

I found yellow, and orange:

Must admit that I was a bit worried they were going to fall (*snicker*)

Looked around for some red:

More red here (nice blue, too)...

More autumnal tones:

Mine. Mine. Mine.

Love the trees until their leaves fall off, then encourage them to try again next year. 
~ Chad Sugg

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly 
about the earth seeking the successive autumns.
~ George Eliot

Not me, George baby.

You might think that the lowering grey sky in these pictures indeed meant cold, autumnal temperatures - not so; it was humid and warm, without a breath of wind.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Like it is

There are some writers of whom I can say that I have read every book they have ever written. 
Of these, one of my all-time favourites is the American novelist James Lee Burke. I admire the astonishing richness of his fabricated worlds, the way he transports the reader effortlessly (or so it seems) into his characters' complexities, and the sheer beauty of his writing.

I have just finished reading his latest book, Creole Belle, which is the newest in a series set in New Orleans around his protagonist, Dave Robicheaux. Here is an extract which may demonstrate why I so enjoy the richness of these works:

"The boughs of the cypress trees were as brittle and delicate as gold leaf in the late sun. An alligator gar was swimming along the edge of the lily pads, its needle-nosed head and lacquered spine and dorsal fin parting the surface with a fluidity that was more serpent than fish. The great cogged wheels on the drawbridge were lifting its huge weight into the air, sihouetting its black outline against a molten sun. Then the wind gusted and a long shaft of amber sunlight seemed to race down the center of the bayou, like a paean to the close of day and the coming of night and the cooling of the earth, as though vespers and the acceptance of the season were a seamless and inseparable part of life that only the most vain and intransigent among us would deny."


Often in the books I will come across passages which I stop to re-read, because in some way they are so thought-provoking or meaningful. I have heard interviews with Mr Burke, and it seems to me that some of the comments made by the narrator in this book possibly voice opinions which the writer holds himself.

This paragraph brought me up short:

(Robicheaux speaking)
"I've acquired little wisdom with age. For me, the answers to the great mysteries seem more remote than ever. Emotionally, I cannot accept that a handful of evil men, none of whom ever fought in a war, some of whom never served in the military, can send thousands of their fellow countrymen to their deaths or bring about the deaths or maiming of hundreds of thousands of civilians and be lauded for their deeds. I don't know why the innocent suffer."

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Shimmer and shine....

I trawled through my photo folders for shiny things and places 
Here's what I surfaced with:

My daughter's and son-in-law's wedding rings, reflecting from a silver tray:

Shiny Changi airport at Singapore, one of the best airports in the world:

Old Ferraris, at the Ferrari museum in Modena, Italy:

I guess these shiny street objects in Auckland are part of the 
ventilation system for the railway station below:

I've been inside some beautiful churches and cathedrals, full of shimmering gilt and golden objects. 
This one is the Palatine Chapel in the Royal Palace in Palermo, Italy:

One could argue that this simple chapel in Nelson, New Zealand, houses the same light:

"People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within."
~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross