Monday, December 29, 2014

A change is gonna come

School is out for the summer - and for me, it's out, over, kaput, terminated. Teaching is finished for 2014, and when our academic year ends officially on January 27th, I am putting myself out of a job. Hoorah!

I have been a teacher for over 36 years. Enough, already!

This year I haven't really been present - in the blogging sense, I mean.
Just before Christmas of 2013, one of our deputy principals walked out on us, with almost no notice. This turned 2014 into one of the busiest years of my career. I picked up a number of her jobs including timetabling, looking after the computer systems, being responsible for all of the senior students' results being collated and sent off to the Ministry, and quite a few other bits and pieces, until a new DP was appointed.

That finally happened: 6 months later, at the beginning of Term 3! 

As well, I had my normal responsibilities of head of department and looking after relief (supply) teachers - at least they took my junior class away from me, which helped a bit. It was really crazy and pretty stressful, but I had already decided at the beginning of last year that I 2014 would be my last year of teaching, so that gave me something to look forward to.

So now I'm out of the tunnel, and looking forward to a new  lifestyle.

I don't like the word retirement - there are too many negative connotations for my liking.
I'm not retiring, I'm just changing what I'm doing. I have the T-shirt:

I'm going to miss some things, of course. Not the long days, the meetings, the interminable marking (grading) of exams, essays, assessments...  Not the politics, the negativity, the bandwagons.

In fact, the only things I will miss are the kids - all those lovely young people with whom I have had the privilege of working.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Season's Greetings

Merry Christmas to everyone, whether you're having a white Christmas or a summer one.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

When Night Falls

Early evening - my favourite time of day. Here are some dusky shots - for Carmi's Thematic Photographic #313:

Lake Rotorua, with swans

Seacliff Beach, Adelaide

Kerikeri, New Zealand

Sta Margharita, Italy

Of late, I have been remiss with my blog, which I'm planning to do something about.

If I was compiling a Busiest Years of My Life list, 2014 would be near the top.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Step by Step: Away

I got the idea for this post from that wonderful photographer, Steve McCurry. 

Of course, his work far outclasses any of my holiday shots, but I looked through and found a number of walking photos that I wanted to post. So many that I've divided them into this post - the overseas ones - and the New Zealand ones, which I shall save for another time.

"Walking . . . is how the body measures itself against the earth."
~ Rebecca Solnit

Santa Margharita, Italy

Taormina, Sicily

"Architecture limits where one can walk,
but the walker invents other ways to go."

~ Rebecca Solnit

Syracuse, Sicily

Parma, Italy

"All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking."
  ~ Friedrich Nietzsche



"Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction"
 ~ Antoine De Saint-Exupery


"The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms."
~ Thích Nhất Hạnh

Cinque Terre, Italy

"Anywhere is walking distance, if you've got the time."
~ Stephen Wright



"There is nothing like walking to get the feel of a country.
A fine landscape is like a piece of music;
it must be taken at the right tempo."

  ~ Paul Scott Mowrer


"Step with care and great tact, and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act."
~ Dr. Seuss


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Sunday Snapshot

See, it really is spring!

Today the rain stopped, and the sun came out :)

This post also fits into Thematic Photographic  #308 : Vegetation  (sorry it's late!)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Spring, Day One

In this part of the world, our seasons officially start on the first day of the relevant month, 
not on the 21st, which seems to be the case in the northern hemisphere.
Don't take any notice of the date on this post -  Sunday August 31st.  Blogger is American.  

Therefore today, September the 1st, is the first day of spring. 
Of course it's not spring-y weather; it's quite cold and very wet. 
So here's a shot from last spring:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Birds of a Feather

An assemblage of swans, gulls, etc:

Tagged swan, Melbourne

Red-billed Gull (Larus novaehollandiae)

Hope is the thing with feathers 
That perches in the soul, 
And sings the tune without the words, 
And never stops at all

~ Emily Dickinson

Black Shag (Phalacrocorax carbo)

Shag + Gulls

Swans + Gull, Lake Rotorua

Peacock, Tuscan vineyard

Southern Black-backed Gulls (Larus dominicanus)

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
   When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,--
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
   But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings--
I know why the caged bird sings!

~ Paul Laurence Dunbar

For Thematic Photographic # 307

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Strangers from afar - TP 306

Carmi's topic this week is Shooting Strangers from Afar

I'm going to post a shot I've posted before, because I really love it:

A beautiful autumn day in Otago, New Zealand. He sits on a rock reading, while she fishes from a rocky "island". They were so peacefully apart together that I wanted to catch the feeling.

Later the same day, on the shores of Lake Wanaka:

Monday, August 11, 2014

Look Straight Down - TP 305

I hardly ever look down to take photos, it seems - at least that's what I discovered 
when I went looking for something to post for this theme.

Here's a baby Manu at about 6 weeks, with a bit of grass stuck in his collar. 

When we got him he was so small that he would fit in my son's hand (it's quite a big hand, admittedly).

Here he is with his friend D'Arcy the Golden Lab, who was trying to pick Manu up in his mouth:

And this is my grandaughter at 18 months - I'm looking down at her looking down...


Thematic Photographic 305 is over here, at Carmi's

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Winter. It's Temporary.

It's nearing the end of July. 

Then, there will only be one more month of winter!

On Carmi's Written.Inc this week, we're posting photos for the "Temporary" theme.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A mote in your eye - Dirty?

As some of the pictures that people have posted for Thematic Photographic 301: "Dirty" have already shown, "dirty" is in the eye of the beholder - or the person behind the camera.

A couple of years ago an old friend of Mr A's and his lady friend came to stay with us for a while. He is Austrian and lives in Klagenfurt, she is Chinese and lives in Shanghai. They borrowed Mr A's car and set off on a road trip to see New Zealand.

Some of you will know that the majority of our small country consists of two narrow islands which run north to south (ish). Generally speaking, the beaches on the east coasts of both islands are calm, smooth, sweeping, with light, often golden, sands. Those on the west coasts have black sands, wild surf, rugged cliffs and lots of driftwood.

When our visitors returned, all Ms Shanghai could talk about were the 'dirty beaches' - how nasty and unpleasant they were, and how they needed 'cleaning up'.  Needless to say, they had spent most of their trip driving along the west coasts.

These are examples of what Ms S was criticising:

Friday, July 11, 2014

Your Favourite Photos: TP 300!

Crikey, I nearly missed this auspicious occasion.

What to pick? This is on my list of my favourite photos - I've posted it before, and it's an old shot - from my visit to Turkey in 2010. It was a wonderful holiday, and the visit to Gallipoli was an absolute highlight, as it is for nearly every New Zealander and Australian who goes there.

I took this shot of Ataturk's tribute to the troops who fought and died in that battle:

For other posts for this theme, go here.