Sunday, December 31, 2017

Best Books of 2017

Last year I read 108 books. Of these, there were 7 which merited 5 stars in my personal scoring system. One was a so-called Young Adult book, by the brilliant Patrick Ness; two were non-fiction: a kind of memoir by John Le CarrĂ©, and a wonderful book about the art and literature of this country in the middle of the 20th Century. 
If I was forced to pick one of these as my absolute best of the year, it would be Reservoir 13, which is quiet and beautiful, and unlike any other book I have ever read.
The titles and authors are:


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.