Thursday, 30 April 2020

It's the law

I was able to get out again yesterday for a longer walk - makes such a difference breathing fresh air instead of being inside all the time. We have some Autumn colours starting to come out here too and the building next to this tree is our local Police station which opened in 2010 hence the modern look.

There was originally another Police station here from 1957 which didn't meet the growing populations needs but this one is 1000 m2 and 2 storied.  There is over 60 staff members and there are interview rooms, holding cells, a community room and training facilities.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Fairy Pool Fungi

I pushed myself to get out of the house yesterday for some fresh air and walked down by the Kerikeri Fairy Pools. There are different nature walks there, the one I completed was about 45 minutes worth. On the way I took these shots of some spectacular looking Fungi. I think this one, above is a Yellow-brown Woodtuft.

I think these may be Split Gills (Schizophyllum Commune) - it's found from Autumn to Spring on dead wood.

Another rather beaten up Yellow brown Woodtuft, this one growing out of the soil.

This little toadstool, Cortinarius Genus was growing amongst the leaves. They are found around the world and come out in Autumn.

After much researching online all I can come up with is that this is some type of Puffball Mushroom but not sure of the exact name.

These babies are known as Fairy Bonnets (Coprinellus Disseminatus). They sprout after heavy rains and last for a few days. They grow in clusters and groups on wet wood.

More tiny Yellow-brown woodtufts growing on this stick.  Yesterday our country stepped back to Alert Level 3 that means we are allowed to meet up with small amounts of other people in our friends or family groups, businesses that can operate with online deliveries or drive throughs can open and we are down to a number of under 5 infected people each day so pretty positive really.

Linking up with My Corner of the World and Wordless Wednesday.

Monday, 27 April 2020


I've been going through some of my old photo folders and found quite a few  from 2017 of murals when we lived in Tauranga.

This one named "Wings" on The Strand has been painted on a modern toilet block and was created by 2 artists Tara Fowler and Millie Newitt. It was meant to be a "love note" to the people of Tauranga in 2018 and the 2 girls worked throughout horrendous weather (I took that to mean rain or storms) taking 24 hours to complete it.

Many people stop and take selfies in front of it so it looks like they have wings too.

Linking up with Monday Murals and Our World Tuesday.

Saturday, 25 April 2020

Anzac Day 2020

Today April 25th every day is our country's national ANZAC day - meaning Australia New Zealand Army Corps.  The date specifically marks the anniversary of the landing of Australian and New Zealand soldiers on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915 but now it covers all of our loved ones who have fought and still fight in the military.

This photo, above was taken at Auckland Museum about 3 years ago and that's my daughter standing beside this particular exhibition (because she's horse mad). This one tells the story of the horses that were sent into both the 1st and 2nd World Wars. Approx 10,000 horses were sent into World War 1 to places such as German Samoa, the Middle East,  Gallipoli and the Western Front - just 4 made it home.

As we are all in lockdown here no one is able to get out this morning to their local ANZAC ceremonies so people and families have been showing decorations on their houses and in their front yards in some very creative ways. You can see some of their ideas here.

Just about every family here in NZ has their own ancestor who fought in a war and kiwis are extremely patriotic - this is one of our family heroes. This is my dad's uncle Neville Franks my dad is named the same after him - he fought in the 2nd World War and us buried in Monte Cassino Cemetery in Italy - I'd like to go there one day.

Who is your family hero?

Thursday, 23 April 2020

First things first

We visited this spot early last year across the shore from Rawene which involved a ferry ride taking us to Motukaraka.  There is a Marae nearby and a historic church but apparently there are also pig hunting blocks of land for hunters but you need a permit from DOC.  The Hokianga region covers a mixture of coastal forests, with Kauri, Manuka, Totara with sand dunes and mud flats - these are wildlife habitats that are home to native bats, kiwi, dotterils and kauri snails. It's good to know that any hunting dogs are required to have completed Kiwi aversion training which means they aren't interested in birds.

So next week we are due to drop down to Alert level 3 which is kind of similar to Alert level 4 except business can open for online deliveries and drive through. When we are down to Alert level 2 first thing I'm itching to do is to visit the nearest beach, Opito Bay and take the boat out onto the water for a fish. What's the first thing you're going to do?

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Monday, 20 April 2020

Organic Murals

When we lived in Mount Maunganui I use to go for a run most mornings before work and in amongst the various shops/cafes/restaurants/boutique shops is this stand alone little organic cafe.

I never got a chance to order one of their meals but I would've been interested to see what their coffees tasted like compared to my shop bought coffee sachets.

The shop owned by Vitality Organics also sells products such as hemp seeds, essential greens and other proteins. Not my cup of tea but I guess you don't know until you try.

Edited to add: Our PM has decided to move us into alert level 3 next week. We seem to be down to a low rate of 9 people with covid 19 as of yesterday - it feels like we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

Linking up with Monday Murals and Our World Tuesday.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Back to Alert Level 3

Up until yesterday our week had been pretty non-eventful - it's beginning to seem like every other day and once or twice I've really had to think about what day it was.

As of today we have just under 1500 cases, 9 deaths which were elderly people mostly with health issues but over 700 have recovered.  The prime minister is talking about entering Alert level 3 next week which means this:

  • You can go out but stay within your bubble and 2 metres apart from others.
  • Businesses which supply deliveries and those who can work with drive through can open - my 2 worked for McDonalds previously and they are hopefully starting work next week.
  • Mass gatherings remained banned and a limit of 100 people indoors with outdoor events have a limit of 500 people.
  • Non emergency treatment through dentists and doctors due to be explained more.
  • If you can work from home keep that up.
  • Stay local and try not to travel outside your area unless its essential.
  • Some schools will reopen to some but not all students.
  • Low risk activities are fine like surfing or fishing within your local area.

More info here.

One of my friends works from home doing boat repairs and servicing so the other half has booked our boat in for a service. I do think as a country we've done pretty well to come out of this at the level we have but I do think we are going to be in for a tough recession no doubt to come. All we can do is just live day to day and try out best to bounce back.

I hope you're staying safe wherever you are.

Thursday, 16 April 2020

MOTAT Trams and Spam

Auckland's MOTAT (Museum of transport and technology) has these lovely trams which have been rescued, renovated and re-used.  Here in NZ they first appeared in Auckland City travelling out through other suburbs through the countryside. The system in the 1930s and 1940s was about 70kms in length and the electric tramway was first privately managed by the British Electric Traction Company in London with the Auckland Borough Councils.  It was lastly taken over by the Auckland City Corporation in 1919 and continued operating until 1956.

After WW2 they were replaced by diesel and trolley buses which saw the trams fall out of favour. The Western Springs Tramway is operated by MOTAT and carries over 200,000 people a year between their 2 museums. They have 23 trams, 12 which are restored and operational which include a steam tram and a double decker from Wellington.  When the other half and I were there last year we took a ride on this one which was actually a thrilling experience and bought back memories of when I was little and my nana taking me here for rides.

The attendants and drivers on these trams are elderly men that look over 60 years old which we thought was a great idea as it would've given helped them feel useful as well as earning a wage. You can read more information about all of the trams here.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Monday, 13 April 2020

Vulcan Lane - then and now

In the heart of Auckland city lies this Vulcan Lane which you can enter into from Queen Street as it snakes up to High Street and beyond. This is what it normally looks like with people wandering through looking at the speciality shops and sitting outside cafes with their coffee. We watch the news most nights and a few days ago we saw footage of how quiet and silent the city is, not one bit of the usual hustle and bustle you would expect to see. I took this photo in 2019.

Photo taken by Auckland City Council - Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 580-16046 - 1 March 1968

Back in the 1880s this is what it use to look like and according to this blog I found it says that it was originally called "Victoria Lane" but was nicknamed "Vulcan Lane" which stuck.  Photo from Sir George Grey Special Collections.

 Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 7-A4199, 22nd January 1968

After a fire destroyed much of the area in the 1850s then two hotels which are still open today were built namely the Queen's Ferry Hotel in the 1860s and the Occidental hotel in the 1870s. By the 1890s the land was becoming overcrowded so in 1923 it was changed to be a one way street then in 1964 it became a pedestrian walk through lane which is much better and more suited.

Can you see the car on the right? My grandad had one of those. Many of the buildings I can see in this photo are still there today.

In other news, I was saddened to read this morning that one of my favourite actors/comedians Tim Brooke Taylor had passed away. I remember him well in The Goodies, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory plus Me and my girl. Our rate of new cases as of yesterday was down to 28 which is positive but I think our lockdown should be increased to an extra 2 weeks just in case.

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

Saturday, 11 April 2020

Staying safe for Easter

While I look out our lounge window at our street I see how quiet it is out there. We have a park across the road and once in a while someone takes their dog over there for a play.

I heard today we have had our 2nd death and sad to hear it was an elderly lady - sad because her family weren't able to be with her at the end but apparently she had very caring hospital staff who were at her side.

Numbers here are up to 1283 as of yesterday, 40 up on the previous day, still not as much as other countries but we really need to knock it on the head here.

Some of the supermarkets made the decision to close yesterday to give their workers a much needed rest. I spoke to an old work colleague Thursday night and he advised me that everyone had been working 200% to keep everything well stocked.

This weekend being Easter people have been told to still stay home in lockdown but hundreds are trying to travel out of the cities into holiday towns and police have set up roadblocks to turn them around.

I can't believe there are some out there who are so selfish and use such excuses as "they are taking their dogs an hour away to another beach for a walk" or someone else saying "they are going to pick up something they bought online". I really question if people understand how serious this whole pandemic is.

We are pretty fortunate here as we don't need to do our food shopping until next week I won't have to line up and wait, hopefully after the Easter craziness I'll be able to walk in again like I did last time with no queues.

We have been watching Jamie Oliver cooking episodes lately, one series in particular is where he makes yummy food using only 5 ingredients.

I have already made the other half a sticky onion tart which virtually had very little preparation time and was so easy to put together.

Please leave me a comment to say how you have been doing where you are. Stay safe.

Thursday, 9 April 2020

Supermoon for 2020

The last 2 nights I have been outside with my camera and the big close up lens trying to get some decent shots of the super moon. l managed to narrow them all down to these 2 photos but I think I did quite well - even the cat was out there with me staring at the sky. I find it interesting being able to see the craters and patterns.

I don't know about you but I feel a bit energized by the moon's energy - it seems quite mysterious. In other news our Covid 19 daily rate of infected people seems to be slowly going down. We've gone from over 80 each day to 70 then 60 and now 50 - hopefully we are turning a corner.

I do have to wonder at some of the reporters intellect though, some of the questions they ask our prime minister and chief health executive leave me shaking my head. Yesterday one of them asked something like "people believe 5g has caused corona virus, what do you say to that". If I could describe the look on their faces I would say they were wide eyed and probably thinking "are you serious".  Now that we are into our 2nd week of lockdown we are halfway there and I am looking forward to this being all over.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

All's quiet in Auckland City

About 7 years ago I took this photo of the
Sky Tower in Auckland City. Up until a week or so ago it has always been a hive of activity - now it is closed until further notice.

This building has been standing high for the last 20 years at 328 metres. It has panoramic views up to 80ks in all directions, 3 restaurants, cafes, gift shop and people can even skydive from the top.

So many businesses are feeling huge financial losses since the country has been in lockdown. Unless you're an essential service like a supermarket, doctor's, chemist etc then you can't open and thankfully the govt has been giving help to those who still have workers to pay.

I read this morning that one of our supermarkets has banned reusable bags being bought in, in the hope that people will be in and out of there more quickly. When I did our shopping 2 days ago I was allowed to repack everything into a new trolley after it all being scanned through. It doesn't bother me because bags I guess can be quite dirty anyway. I managed to buy some butternut, butterkin and pumpkin so yesterday I put a big pot of vegetable soup in our slower cooker which we enjoyed last night for dinner - so good as we are going into Autumn here with cooler temperates.

 I also read that our health minister was spotted out and about not just travelling a distance to go biking but on a separate occasion was found out to have driven over 20ks to a beach with his children. Considering the rest of us are doing our utmost to stay in our homes I feel these were not well thought out decisions - he should be setting an example.

After watching an update on the telly yesterday I learned we are now over 1000 affected people but the rate of infected people daily seems to have dropped slightly. I can only feel grateful that it isn't any higher and that our prime minister and chief health executive have been thorough and quite onto it.

Stay safe out there. Linking up with Our World Tuesday and My Corner of the World.

Monday, 6 April 2020

Algies Bay Artwork

Last Spring we visited Algies Bay, a beach about 45 minutes south east of Mangawhai just to have a look around. On the toilet block building (which looked like it needed a bit of a do-up) I spotted these murals.

This one on one side shows a couple in their swimming gear watching a fisherman with seagulls next to them.

And this one on the front shows a pied shag, 2 oyster catchers, people fishing and some whales out at sea. After some internet digging I've managed to find out the artist is a local by the name of Leigh McIntyre Lomas. I've been unable to find much information on this person however i did find an article from 2015 which explains that Leigh helped an organization we have here in NZ called IDEA Services (who help people with intellectual disabilities).

Linking up with Monday Murals.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Back home and bored

We are still under lockdown and at the end of the 1st of 4 weeks we now are up to 797 as of today with the number climbing daily. But the important thing for us is that we are back home and settled in - we have done all of the unpacking. I was expecting to have my old job back but they are mucking me around so I have been applying other places instead and up here I have more of a chance in finding work. It has been boring being at home every day so we are looking forward to getting out for a fish again.

I did read something cool this morning. On one of our local Facebook pages I saw some local high school students crocheted some blankets which were donated to a womens refuge centre, hopefully they will be well used and appreciated. 

Our clocks are changing this weekend as we go into Autumn and I am excited about cooking some soup in my crock pot and making some fresh bread to go with it. I have also heard that alot of supermarkets seem to have run out of flour so I read today that apparently you can substitute it with things like breadcrumbs, oats or chickpeas - all of which are staples in my pantry. Hope your week has been good.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Stock car racing

We spotted this stock car in Murchison last time we were there about a year and a half ago. Looks a bit beat up and well used but I do enjoy...