Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Happy New Year for 2020

Tomorrow brings a new year and a new decade for us down under tomorrow - I am working like many others are. Our town has been swamped with out of towners - the roads are chaotic, the shops are jam packed and there are traffic blockages. 

In the morning a few events are happening in local towns around us. In Warkworth there is the annual rodeo and in Waipu they have the Highland Games, which I haven't been to in about 10 years.  The sound of the bagpipes just melts my heart so I'll have to make do with some of my Scottish records.

Tonight we no doubt won't be staying up to see in the new year so a Happy New Year for 2020 for you :-)

Linking up with Our World Tuesday.

Sunday, 29 December 2019

Follow the signs...

It's now time for these guys to come out of hibernation in many parts of the country. These are our volunteer surf lifeguards - they do a fabulous job. While myself and many others are working they'll be patrolling our beaches and looking after swimmers. 

I read a news story last night about how there had been 71 preventable drownings in our country for 2019, not so much of people not knowing how to swim but more being caught in rips and swimming outside of the surf lifesaving flags. It includes those who go out in their boats without life jackets or working communication devices. It makes me wonder if those who ignore the signs are the ones who think they are above anything happening to them. Quite sad really...

Friday, 27 December 2019

Back to Ruby Bay

Aren't you glad Christmas is over and done with? We had a relaxing Summer's day with my family around for lunch. As it's Summer here at this time of year the last thing we eat is hot food so usually we have a mixture of salads, cold meat, cold desserts and drinks. I hope yours went well.

Anyway during our travels in Nelson last week one place we stopped at was Ruby Bay about half an hour out of town. When I was growing up I was very very close to my nana and at the age of about 10 she and my grandad flew me down here to visit my aunt. While we were there they took me for a visit to this beach and I vaguely remembered picking up a white sparkly rock while I was there. Over the years somehow it got lost so 35 years later the other half re-visited there and although it was an overcast day I found another rock to replace the last one.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Monday, 23 December 2019

It's Christmas at Bennett's

While driving around our small town at night last week trying to find decorated homes and buildings we stopped at our local chocolatier's. It was closed but it was nice to see they have 2 trees out the front entrance that have been decorated in lights. Upon checking their website I see they have a Christmas range of chocolates - might have to pop in there.

Linking up with Our World Tuesday.

Saturday, 21 December 2019

Oh Christmas tree

At Nelson Airport earlier this week it was nice to see they had a good sized Christmas tree up in their waiting area filled with decorations.

So after our trip to Nelson last week we have decided it's not for us. It's a nice place but rapidly growing and the other half's sister thinks it will become as overpopulated as Auckland and Tauranga in the next few years.

Here in our small town the Summer crowds have arrived - there are loads of holiday houses starting to be used and lots of people visiting. 2 of my children work at one of the local shops, they have told me they get all sorts of strange questions and assumptions by out of towners who assume we have supermarkets and malls here like the bigger places. It's that time of year where you just try not to drive anywhere unless it's to work, because of the increase in traffic is best to walk.

Thursday, 19 December 2019

The last full moon of 2019

Last week saw our last full moon for 2019. For us it was the brightest and most vibrant I've seen in a long time as it crept up above our neighbour's roof into the sky. For something different I drove down to our local estuary and parked near the boat ramp.  The water was so still and quiet as the tide slowly lapped the sand.

Here's to next year's moons of 2020.

up with Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Te Waikoropupu Springs

The other half and I got back from our trip to Nelson yesterday and while we were there we visited Te Waikoropupu Springs in Takaka. The sign above (I think) translates to: "You are welcome, come on in, come up, come on up, you are welcome to this holy place, the source of well being of the fresh water".

We had to drive quite a way to see this about 45 mins to an hour out of the city but so totally worth it. The water was crystal clear - as far as I know there is only trout and ducks that live here.

Neat to see pots of bubbles where the springs are located in various spots. These springs are culturally significant to the Maori people and there is approximately 14,000 litres of water produced per second.

The floor of the lake is covered in white sand, waters that come out from the smaller vents carry the sand upwards.

Apparently the springs have been registered as Wahi Tapu (meaning sacred place) with the Maori Heritage Council of Heritage NZ, and in Maori myth legends is the home of the female Taniwha Huriawa (beings that live in dark pools) .

The short loop is good for walkers and lasts about 30-45 minutes. Because of the purity of the water there has been a ban on swimming, boating, diving, fishing, wading and the filling of water containers.

The other half has said to me he remembers many years ago diving into some of the caves under the water before the ban came in. The waters now are known for their healing properties and were a place of ceremonial blessings at times of birth and death plus the leaving and returning of travellers.

Linking up with My Corner of the World.

Monday, 16 December 2019

The eruption of White Island

I don't know how many of you heard the news from last week that Whakatane's White Island or Whakaari as it's known in Maori erupted - apparently it was the result of a blocked vent which exploded with no warning. People who were visiting with tour operators, many of them tourists were burned or killed and there was a rescue mission afterwards to pick up the bodies that were left on there.

My other half grew up in Whakatane's Ohope Beach so he knows the area well and when we lived in Tauranga for 3 years we visited this area a few times - his parents and sister are buried at the local cemetery. It's such a lovely spot with good fishing.

For us it seems like our plan to move to the west coast has fallen through. The company that the other half wanted to work for have been mucking him around so we have switched our focus to either Whakatane or Nelson - either one would work for us so we are waiting to hear what happens.

btw the island in the background of this photo is Whale Island not White Island which is 30 km off the coast.

Linking up with Our World Tuesday.

Friday, 13 December 2019

The house of lights

Since we live in a very small town with a population of around 2500 there aren't many houses around with Christmas lights as decorations.  Last night we had a very very bright full moon so I drove out around 9.30 to get a photo the reflections over the estuary harbour and on the way back I noticed this house down a side street was completely full of lights all over - so nice to get into the Christmas spirit don't you think?

Now I just have to collect more myself...

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

The Mount Albert Signal Box

Back in the day when railway travel was popular here in NZ buildings like this baby were positioned at most stations. This one originally from Mount Albert use to house the signalman during his working day. Using levers that ran along the side of the building he could control the rail signals as well as as well as movable parts of the tracks called points. By shifting the points the signalman could send trains onto different tracks avoiding collisions.

In 1966 the control of the signals and points was centralized at Auckland Railway Station but signal boxes still remain at some railways around the country.

The building above apparently was built from Rimu, made in 1914 and later on was moved to MOTAT in 1966.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday

Monday, 9 December 2019

No more Tramcar Bay

For many years this little tramcar in Whangateau in Leigh, north of Auckland has sat on this unused section. I'm not sure who the owner is but according to this news article he tried to sell or give it away and the local museum has said they enquired but never heard anything back. Now after being taken apart the roof has been purchased by an art gallery for display but the rest of it will probably be destroyed - very sad.

Trams first operated in Auckland in 1902 but were removed from the city streets in 1956 along with the tracks they rode on. This was 1 of 3 that were barged to the bay as holiday baches in the late 1950s.

A bit tragic that someone didn't take this on and restore it...

Linking up with Our World Tuesday and My Corner of the World.

Saturday, 7 December 2019

We actually got rain!

Well about 20 minutes worth but it's better than nothing. Everything is so dry here -  the grass is brown and dying. Looking out over the other houses around us we could see the mountains in the distance. It's the first time ever I have seen any mist like that creeping over - quite eerie really.

I feel for the people down in Queenstown and on the west coast - they've had so much rain that it's amounted to severe flooding. If only we could spread it evenly over Australia to help put out the fires I'm sure it would be appreciated.

No doubt we'll be back to nearly drought conditions tomorrow, but at the expense of moaning which I hate to do I'm definitely not a Summer person. Give me Autumn or Spring any day - it's difficult at night not being able to sleep with any sheets or blankets with the humidity, know what I mean?

Friday, 6 December 2019

Under a blood red sky

Last night the other half and I rushed outside to see for the first time a very red sun setting in our sky. Rather strange and we wondered if it was anything to do with the fires in Australia - anyone else see it?

We are in the beginning of drought mode here - we were suppose to have rain this week but after 15 minutes that was it. People have been pre-ordering water and luckily we managed to book a delivery for next Monday. But in the South Island apparently in Queenstown they have had flooding from too much rain - go figure.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Time for a heat wave

Last year at this time we were exploring the far north of NZ. One place named "Long Beach" is about 10 minutes out of Russell and it was a scorching hot day.

This year we're facing a heatwave and the prospect of a drought - everything is so dry and it need of at least 2 days of rain. We have had to pre-order a water delivery for next week as sometimes there can be a 2 week wait. We were meant to have a large storm hit us yesterday but in the end all we got was 5 minutes of moisture and that was it.

Other than that we have made plans to visit the West Coast of the South Island in 2 weekends time to check it out and see what we think. We will fly down to Nelson and the other half's sister who lives down that way has kindly offered us the use of her car so we don't have to hire one.  And I started work last week, at the moment it's very part time like as in 2-3 days a week but it's better than nothing.

Monday, 2 December 2019

Waikino Memorial and Bridge

Deep in the heart of Waikino in the Hauraki District of Karangahake Gorge off the main highway lies this wall of Memorial Artwork.  The year was 1981 and at 5pm one night shocking news came through that the small town had been washed away by a huge torrent of water into the gorge. Three local men rowed a boat to the local Waikino Hotel to help those who were stranded by the tide but those in the premises didn't want to leave. In the 2nd mosaic on the art wall is a design of the rowboat in question.

The bridge and the art wall were opened in 2016 and the panels were designed by artists Michael Cole, Trevor Heighway, Irene Wilcocks, Christine Burne, Michael O'Donnell, Shona Laing (the NZ singer) and Con Kiernan - all of whom had ties to the area.

Apparently the panels incorporate six mixed media showing aspects of the area such as early flora and fauna, Maori history, Victorian battery mining days, art of another era, the flood and the after affects plus future vision for the town.

Interestingly the only 2 buildings which survived the flood are the Waikino Hotel and the local town hall - both of which are still in use today.

Linking up with Our World Tuesday and My Corner of the World.

Saturday, 30 November 2019

The glory of Rainbow Falls

This is one spot in the far north of NZ that I miss. Rainbow Falls or Waianiwaniwa as it's named in Maori means means "waters of the rainbow is located on the Kerikeri River. Standing at 27 metres it's a very popular spot for tourists - we first visited here when we were on holiday in 2018 just before we moved there.

Most waterfalls are made when the soft rock erodes but this one is made of hard basalt layer of rock beside softer mudstone. There is a walking track next to the carpark which is about 3.5km long and leads to the Stone Store and Mission House. It also passes through a kiwi zone which means you can't take dogs for obvious reasons.

When I re-visited here last Summer it was with my daughter and it was a scorching hot day. A year later we are living in a completely different town and still pondering where to next. I think I mentioned in another post that we may be moving to the South Island - at this point we are still negotiating the pros and cons but if it goes ahead I think we will be saying goodbye to renting and buying a house there as properties are very very cheap. Moving such a long distance however will take alot of planning I think.

Yesterday however NZ seemed to be chocker-block full of tv commercials advertising Black Friday sales. For one thing it wasn't actually Black Friday for us which usually falls on the 13th of any month but I do wonder whether our retailers were riding on the coat-tails of our American friends. There were lots of sales on and the other half managed to buy on special an air-fryer which from what I understand is a more healthier option and will probably replace a couple of other appliances we have in our cupboards. Did you end up buying anything?

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Moving the Ports of Auckland

I'm not sure if this story has made the overseas news or not but there was talk recently about the NZ government thinking about moving one of our main ports in Auckland up north to Marsden Point.

It seems that Auckland City has become a bit too overcrowded since it's beginning so the potential move could be a good thing.  Currently the port sits on 140 acres of land most in Commercial Bay, Official Bay, Princess Wharf and Mechanics Bay full of storage areas and wharves.

Marsden Point however lies 30 km south of Whangarei (which has it's own port too) on the same coast and 140 km north of Auckland.  At the moment the proposal is in study mode but they are hoping to start the shift within 15 years. Auckland will remain being the port for cruise ships, ferries etc.

Linking up with My Corner of the World and Skywatch Friday.

Monday, 25 November 2019

Vexta - Miya Tsukazaki

On our recently trip to MOTAT (Museum of Transport and Technology) in Auckland we saw so much but one thing that caught my eye was the artwork painted on alot of the buildings. This one named "Vexta" was painted by Mia Tsukazaki in 2016 and was done to symbolize the world's love of plastics.

According to their website it explains the artwork as this:
"Plastic was invented in 1907 and in the short since since it's birth we have firmly embedded it into our lives, our environment and now inside our bodies. Ever single piece of plastic ever made still exists on earth and now it is breaking down into tiny particles in our seas and being consumed by us...the world is choking on it's plastic consumption. Now is our time to find ways to create a world without plastic. This artwork is a meditation on the consumption of ideas, dreams, plastic particles and the inter-connectedness of life. A woman is being fed plastics representing these themes from an outstretched hand, below a snake representing wisdom wraps around a QR code which can be scanned by the viewer device leading to a blog dedicated to sharing knowledge and discovering a world without plastic".

I don't know if you are aware but our government banned plastic bags with handles and of a certain thickness and when it first came into law some people were supportive of this others didn't handle it quite so well. It was quite sad to see how many loved plastic and hated to see them go despite them not being good for our earth but on the flip side since the ban last year it's also been positive seeing how many people take their re-usable bags with them when they go shopping. There is however still a long way to go in getting rid of plastic and bringing in biodegradable products.

Linking up with Mural Monday and Our World Tuesday.

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Return to Alberton House

In Auckland City's Mount Albert stands this grand old lady. Alberton House was built in 1863. This entrance is from the side where the driveway is, I will show the front of it later on...altogether the house has 18 rooms.

Inside is the parlour room, this was used to welcome visitors for tea and cakes etc. Quite useful when people were calling on a member of the family.

The dining room, doesn't quite look like a huge table, probably just enough for only the members of the family. Apparently all the furniture etc in the house was used and left by the family. I just love the coloured glasses though.

The kitchen, coal range and scullery etc - again quite modest. There have been rumours over the years that apparitions have been seen in this part of the house, perhaps the servants are still keeping busy here.

Now when I was growing up my parents didn't have alot of money so mum use to take us to places that were either cheap or free, this is one place I remember visiting and from memory I think this room at that point in time was a bedroom now a sewing room.


The entrance way and a set of stairs - one light and airy and one dark. I have a thing for vintage glass so I admired the colours above the front door.

The bathroom right next to the master bedroom - I like how they've kept an old bathtub in there, I imagine running water through the taps would've been a very new thing back then.

The master bedroom with it's iron bed frame. The property itself was originally owned by a man named Allan Kerr Taylor of Scottish descent born in India in 1832 one of several brothers who purchased property in early Auckland.

The library full of old books, I would be quite interested to read through and see what he was interested in.

The nursery for the little ones. Allan Kerr Taylor married for the 2nd time a suffragette named Sophia.  Together they had 10 children.

Several of the doors in the house still have the original glass within the frames - they have been well looked after.

I did read in an article online that one of his daughter's Violet was pretty much disowned by her parents after marrying a working class shipping clerk. Sophia, being an advocate for women's rights apparently didn't want any of her daughters marrying.

Another of the many bedrooms, now this is the one that interested me the most. On the first visit to this place I was only little and I vividly remember coming in here and feeling like a very eerie atmosphere but it was the sewing room I use to call it the blue room from the colour of the wallpaper.

Perhaps a study area. I liked around the house how they still had photographs of each family member here and there.

Near the front entrance. All the original wallpaper and wooden floorboards have been meticulously looked after. Apparently Mr Kerr Taylor's first wife Martha who had already lost their first child, died after giving birth to their second hence him meeting Sophia.

My mum's mother use to live just around the corner from here and two of her best friends were caretakers back in the 1970s. After Mr Kerr Taylor became involved in several business ventures that failed he suddenly died of a cerebral haemorrhage most likely caused by stressed.

His financial situation was found to be less than satisfactory. The home was mortgaged by the loan company but is now owned by Heritage NZ and is open to the public.  As for Mr Kerr Taylor, he was laid to rest in St Luke's Church Cemetery.

Sunday, 17 November 2019

The Tomarata Fireworks Display

Every year one of the local primary schools holds a Fireworks Display in one of the empty domains. This particular area is a farming community so fundraising is a huge part of their efforts to maintain and look after their students. Usually November 5th is Guy Fawkes day here in NZ but this was held the week after.

Since we've had B's daughter here from Perth for the last 2 weeks she decided to go with 2 or my 3 children (the 21 year old and the 19 year old). I figure they probably wouldn't appreciate us oldies going along with them so we thought they would appreciate the freedom.

I think the fireworks are usually donated and it's nice to have a display like this that many many local people can turn up and have a safe enjoyable night. The fireworks are huge and run for a couple of hours, I do think that private sales should be banned and displays like this should be encouraged, far too many idiots out there, don't you think?

Linking up with Our World Tuesday.

More Spring flowers

  Linking up with  Through my lens ,  Ruby Tuesday ,  Tuesday Treasures ,  My corner of the world  and  Wordless Wednesday .