Saturday, June 17, 2017

Their Name Liveth...

I was very sad to read in this morning's paper that under the new regime in Turkey, these words, attributed to Ataturk, have been "roughly chiselled off" the memorial to New Zealand and Australian soldiers at Anzac Cove, at Gallipoli.

The words read:
'Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives ... You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours ... You, the mothers who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.'

It doesn't matter whether Mustafa Kemal Ataturk actually said the words or not; what matters is that the Memorial paid official tribute to, and showed genuine appreciation of, the roughly 11,500 soldiers from our two countries who died there in that terrible campaign in 1915.

I was lucky enough to be there in April 2015, a few days before the annual Anzac Day Commemoration ceremonies. Every year, thousands of New Zealanders visit the area, and pay tribute to our fallen heroes, those young men who never returned home. I found it an incredibly moving experience to be in that peaceful, beautiful place.

Lest we forget

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Winter Walks 2

Yesterday I had to stop my car and walk back to where I could get a shot of this glorious Liquidamber. I'm glad I did; there was a lot of wind last night, and today it has far fewer leaves on it.

Early this morning, from my house. The sun is just getting up, and its light is gleaming in the west, behind an almost-full moon and a street light. If it looks cold, that's because it was!

This morning we walked along a beautiful inlet called Tuapiro Point. The sea had almost no ripples - these guys were getting an early start.

Manu enjoyed a paddle, of course:

There were lots of dead trees in the plantation at the end of the beach - they've been thinned out, I suppose.

Please click on the photos to enlarge them.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Winter Walks

Our winter officially begins on June 1st, not on the shortest day. We had some really wintry weather in May, cold enough to make the town's deciduous trees put on a proper show.

I try to get out for a walk every day if I can - Manu gets grumpy if he doesn't get his walk (and so do I).

Here's some shots from a few days ago - a walk at the beach:

 Tuhua (Mayor Island) from Waihi Beach

Looking south. The beach is just the way 
I like it - deserted!

And yesterday we had a lovely walk along the river bank:

Please click on the photos to enlarge them.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Gardens Galore (southern hemisphere style)

While everyone else will be posting springtime photos for this week's Thematic Photographic theme, here's the brightest thing in my autumn garden at the moment, the lovely purple flowers of Tibouchina (also sometimes called Lasiandra):

The sun shines through the flowers, lighting them up:

There are still a few flowers on some of the fuchsias

and the camellias have lots of buds. 

While the lemons are beginning to ripen, the grape vines 
are losing their leaves

and those of the dogwood and the young forest pansy are colouring up

Finally, the leucodendrons out near the road can always be relied on to brighten
up the cooler days.

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. - Cicero
If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. Marcus Tullius Cicero
Read more at:
If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. Marcus Tullius Cicero
Read more at:

Thursday, April 27, 2017


Thematic Photographic 410: Reflections

Carmi's prompt this week is one I can't resist! 

Reflections in the almost-dark:

And reflections at the beach at dawn:

Latin reflectere = to bend back

Saturday, April 8, 2017


In the supermarket this morning:

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Wheels and Tyres

Puff puff - I'm late for TP again, but I couldn't resist posting this pic:

When we first got Manu, he was so little he could fit on my son's hand!

Here he is, sitting in a neighbour's tractor tyre.

Other Thematic Photographic postings for this theme are here.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Taking a Walk

Thematic Photographic 403

This post is a bit late, but I've been waiting through
three days of heavy rain for a chance to "take" a walk
 - or as we say in this part of the world, to go for a walk.

If I wait any longer I'll miss out on this theme 
completely, so here are some walking photos, 
mostly of family, from my archives. 

For other posts on this theme, go to Carmi's blog here.

First, one of my favourite shots of our son, taken in Bolivia. 
Sadly, I wasn't there to take it!

Here, he was briefly back home in New Zealand:

Our daughter and her husband, walking into their future 
after their beach wedding in Rarotonga. 

Can't believe it was 10 years ago!

Grandchildren are the dots that connect the lines from 
generation to generation. ~ Lois Wyse

Stepping out:

Maybe Grandad knows the way...

And of course, a walk's never a proper walk 
without Manu along!

I look my best when I'm totally free, on holiday, 
and I'm walking on the beach. ~ Rosamund Pike

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A hat helps...

Thematic Photographic #399 - 'Hat Trick' See more here.

Hats are great (although I can never find one which I feel  
suits me).

Hats can help you concentrate

And sometimes they are absolutely necessary

The Duke of Wellington always wears his pointy hat in Glasgow

And some family history. 

My half-sister was one of the first 'stewardesses' to fly on the TEAL (the ancestor of Air New Zealand) flying boat service between New Zealand and Australia. 

Here, she is second from the back, in a very jaunty hat indeed.

Thursday, January 12, 2017


We are having the worst summer I can remember for a long time. Quite often December isn't great, but usually by now it's lovely and hot, to the extent that everyone complains about the heat and the dry conditions, lots of swimming happens, and I have to walk Manu at 6 am or else it's too hot for us both.

This year the main problem has been cold winds - weeks and weeks of strong blustery winds, sometimes gale force, from the south-west. Very little rain, though.

So to cheer myself up, here's some photos from my last big trip, of a lovely hot place I went to on my last big trip to Europe, 18 months ago.

This is a beach called Nazaré, in Portugal. 
We drove up to the top of a huge bluff to see this amazing view. 
Later, down in the town, we walked along the beachfront 
until we found a good place to have lunch and a cold drink. 

This was the view looking the other way, 
out to the Atlantic ocean.

Even up this high, there are pigeons...

I wouldn't mind being back there now, even though the average daily temperature in January is only about 13°C (55°F).

Hope the weather's good where you are!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Five-star reading

In 2016 I started awarding stars as I finished books, to remind myself more readily how I had reacted to them. I was surprised when I went through the list to find that I had given 5 stars to 10 books - in thinking back over the year's reading, I would have expected fewer.

I'm going to write a few comments about some of them, but I'm not going to try to rank them. These were the books which got 5 stars:

This moving and compassionate novel is set in a real place (Winter, Saskatchewan), and based on the life of Patrick Gale's great-grandfather, who emigrated to Canada in the early 1900s. In the author's words: “The mystery was around why he abandoned his wife and child to go and lead this incredibly harsh existence. He’d never worked. He was a man of leisure. My grandmother told me lots of stories when I was growing up but she never talked about Harry.”

This made me laugh and cry in almost equal measure. Described as "a darker, sadder version of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time", it's a totally credible picture of living with an autistic child, and the effects on the family members of struggling with bureaucracy to get the help all of them need.

Exposure is a spy novel, but it is not what that phrase might lead you to expect. It is set in 1960s London, and the dark cloud of the Cold War has a very real presence in people's lives. The story takes place in the homes and gardens of suburban England; the main characters are a seemingly conventional married couple and their 10 year-old son; and "Fear permeates every page with a leaking, lethal insistency" (New York Times). Brilliant.

I have read several of O'Farrell's books, and have enjoyed them all, but this latest one is so clever and intriguing that I kept going back and reading parts again, just so that I could relish them fully. It's another 'jumping timelines' book - but so brilliantly managed. The Guardian review says "Stylistically, narratively and emotionally, This Must Be the Place is a tour de force, a complex and nuanced story leaping effortlessly across multiple characters, continents and time frames."  Astonishing.

If you've read Kate Atkinson's hugely successful Life After Life,  you will enjoy this book. It is described as a 'companion' rather than a 'sequel', as Ursula's younger brother, Teddy lives through his only life. I liked it better - there are fewer fireworks, but I found him to be a far more interesting, sympathetic and likeable protaganist than his sister was in the first book.

A strange, beautiful and haunting book, set in Alaska in 1885.

If I had to choose one of this year's books above all of the others, this would be the one. If you like speculative fiction, I recommend it wholeheartedly.
Here's Wikipedia: 'The Bone Clocks was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2014, and called one of the best novels of 2014 by Stephen King. It won the 2015 World Fantasy Award.
(It) is divided into six sections with five ... first-person narrators. They are loosely connected by the character of Holly Sykes, a young woman who is gifted with an "invisible eye" and semi-psychic abilities; and (by) a war between two immortal factions, the Anchorites, who derive their immortality from murdering others, and the Horologists, who are naturally able to reincarnate.
The title refers to a pejorative term that the immortal characters of the book use to refer to regular humans who are doomed to mortality because of their aging bodies.'

I've been a John le Carré fan since my teens, and found this collection of stories and reminiscences fascinating. And beautifully, masterfully written.

I haven't read all of this American author's books, but I loved Bel Canto and enjoyed State of Wonder. This new one is great - a story so deftly manipulated and shaped that that it gives the term "family saga" a totally new meaning. It's not a long Franzenesque chronicle of events and relationships spread over many years - there are decades missing, and they're also out of order. But it's totally absorbing, and deserves all the acclaim it's been getting.

Another new publication in 2016, this speculative novel takes the importance of perfection and appearance in society, and pushes it as far as you can possibly imagine. Scarily possible.