Friday, 16 October 2015

Yesterday, we took the opportunity to take an old friend from Fiji on a day trip around Golden Bay, which is accessed via a winding road over the 'Marble Mountain' that separates Golden Bay from the Waimea plains. The the road summit's altitude is about 2,600' (792m) ASL with superb vistas to be seen from strategically placed parking spots.
Not far from the beginning of the Takaka Hill road we look (east) down on the Riwaka River in the foreground. Nelson City lies under the hills in the distant background.

Merilyn and Heather enjoying the view from near the summit looking west into Golden Bay. 
A rugby-infatuated cow makes no bones about demonstrating which World Cup team she's backing!

A few salmon at Anatoki Salmon Farm

Some of the purest water on the planet. Visibility is 63 metres. Te Waikoropupu - commonly referred to as "Pupu Springs".

Te Waikoropupu - the seething water emerging at 10 cubic metres per second.

Stacked stones as left by 19th century gold fossikers.

The source of Air New Zealand's corporate Koru design?  The endemic to New Zealand silver tree fern, Cynthea dealbata.

A visit to the Anatoki Salmon Farm, which was almost wrecked by a flash flood in 2013, followed by a 1 kilometer walk through second growth native trees and shrubs and a look at the pristine waters of Te Waikoropupu, or 'Pupu Springs'. The water is unbelievably pure - the bottom is seven metres deep but gives the impression that one would be barely above his knees if he stepped in.

From Pupu Springs we drove to a delightful little village called Collingwood where we had that quintessential Kiwi bit of food popular at this time of year - the Whitebait Fritter Sandwich. The capitilisation of the dish should impart some idea of just how highly esteemed it is in the minds of the average New Zealander.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

We have an old cemetery just over the fence from where we are living. It was, apparently, the original Motueka cemetery until the flood of 1877 when many graves were washed out and coffins were found even at sea. This flood caused the river to switch from flowing along the western side of the valley to flowing down the eastern side, cutting off access to the cemetery to the good citizens of Motueka town.

This is the time of year when the bluebells, the possible descendants of long-ago mourners' flower arrangements, show themselves and add some colour to an otherwise drab and unspectacular spot.

John Boyes 1810 ~ 1869

Selina Chapman 1830 ~ 1906. A descendant of Selina's is a neighbour of ours.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

It's a hard life, on the farm.

Time to get up and mow the boss's lawn.

Friday, 2 October 2015

A few of the boys must have thought they were going out for the day and got themselves all gussied up in readiness.

 Nothing like a bit of exposed earth to rub your face in to enhance your looks!

"I say, does anyone know when the bus is due?"

Thursday, 1 October 2015

It's a tough life for some.

We have half a dozen ewes and one ram. One of the ewes is barren, and (soto voce) will wind up in the pot sooner rather than later. (I like to keep this kind of information very low key, as I might have an ovine mutiny on my hands if word got out). Five of the ewes had lambs, and, inexplicably, one lamb managed to dislocate its back leg and was put down.

The ewes and 'Cecil' the ram, meanwhile, are growing wool which needs to be taken off, and it's falling to me to do the 'honour'. Hence the first sentence. One of the ewes was not so happy about being the first I chose. Given that it is at least 50 years since I'd had a shearer's hand-piece in my hand, she was justifiably anxious, and will probably sue me for what could possibly be judged as the worst haircut given to anyone (or thing) in the last hundred years.

I asked the poor old bleater to not feel too bad about her new #1½ as I had been assured that there was only 2 weeks separating a bad haircut from a good one, and to, in the meantime, be a good girl and go into the trees in the cemetery just over the fence where no one can see her.

A hint to anyone contemplating shearing a sheep after a fifty-year hiatus, you should ensure that there is a competent shearer on hand to take over when you realise that your back is in agony and that you still have three quarters of the wool to take off.

One can imagine the ignominy of explaining to the neighbours, who were likely to check in at any time to see how you were getting on, why the sheep was only half-shorn with bits of fluff hanging off it, because you've given in to the pain and released it before completion.

No photos were taken of the ewe's new style! 

Monday, 14 September 2015

Motueka and its environs provide some really nice scenery that we thoroughly enjoy on our keep-fit perambulations.

The first five photos were taken as we circumnavigated the inner estuary bounded on the eastern side by the causeway leading to Port Motueka. A nice four-kilometre ramble.

The last photo is very close to where the first settlers of the area came ashore in 1842.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

It's that time of year again.


Something we missed for the many years we spent in the tropics. The fruit trees are all in blossom and the pigeons are checking out whether the tender leaf buds are ready to eat.

 We haven't seen many honeybees yet. Hopefully they'll turn up to help turn these pretty blossoms into juicy plums.
 I've found that a low-altitude sun brings out the colours on many of our native birds, but, strangely, the tui's colours seem to be stronger in overcast conditions.

Friday, 11 September 2015

With the arrival of our new family member, Sam, we are reminded that dogs have owners and that cats have servants! Our daughter, Kathryn and her husband Daniel recently changed jobs, lifestyle and locale and it was thought that Sam, being the big softy that he is, would not make the move very easily, so he has come to live with us.

After an initial settling in period, kept inside for the first two weeks, hiding under beds and behind curtains, he has ventured out and checked out the woolshed and the wood pile.

 "My servants must have caught all the rats - can't smell any here."

 Some of the locals are not that impressed with the new immigrant, however, and are keeping a watchful eye out for any hostile moves.

 "Cripes, this catnip is driving me nuts!"

I rather suspect that the introspective look may indicate plotting how he can get is new servants to prepare a repast of bird pie.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

One second in the life of a tui.

If you've ever wondered why it is so difficult to take a photo of birds going about their everyday business, the photos below, which were taken within the same second using my old Canon EOS 350D, may go some way in explaining why. The speed at which they flit about boggles the mind, and frustrates the amateur photographer whose finger can never push the camera button in time to catch his subject as he would wish. By the time the brain frames the shot and sends the signal to the finger to push the button, the subject is ten feet away and all the hopeful photographer will see in his picture is empty space.

The temperature was 11.1° C. Perhaps that is why his ablutions were so brief?

 Timestamp. 3:13:47 p.m.

 Timestamp. 3:13:47 p.m.

Timestamp. 3:13:47 p.m.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

It's been a busy week. Asked by my previous-life working-time boss to go to a meeting in his stead, I was happy to help out. I did understand that quite a bit of travel would be involved and that I'd probably be happy to arrive back home again.

So, at 19:30 on 26th July I left NZ for Los Angeles on the first leg of my journey to Rome, Italy. (I put Italy there because I know that there is probably one in the States and I didn't want to confuse any American readers). :)

 Hi, Los Angeles. And after a couple of short hours, goodbye, too!

 This was the view from the top of the FAO building, my meeting venue  where we had our lunch. The long clear area is the Circus Maximus. The flat-topped trees surrounding it are Pinus pinea and produce the pine nuts used in your pasta. The ruins to the right are those of the Palatino,  some of the most ancient ruins of the city of Rome. Unfortunately, this was as close as I got to these examples of civilization's early history.

 This was the view for 31 hours of my 3-day stay in Rome.

Rome to Singapore to Auckland to Nelson. Sounds simple but mother nature decided to put me in my place and cloak the Nelson Airport with a narrow band of fog, necessitating a diversion to Woodbourne RNZAF Base in Marlborough and a two-hour bus ride back to Nelson.

Move over Phileas Fogg - around the world in 6 days, 3 hours and 50 minutes.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Mid-March 2015

Ahhh, it's that time of year again.

End of January 2015

The return trip back home after leaving Hayli at the Christchurch Airport presented an opportunity to make a diversion through Arthur's Pass to Hokitika and then to brother Marty and his partner Tricia's newly acquired patch of second-growth bush  near Lake Kanieri.

 He has acquired some small bits of machinery to assist with clearing some of the section.

He reports nearly 500 mm of rain in a recent week, and subsequently has managed to get the 'dozer stuck a couple of times. Those guys that live on the Coast would consider our annual rainfall here of about 1,250 mm merely as a light dew!

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Mid January 2015

Time for a farewell to her summer friends before returning to her Pacific Paradise.

 A final feed for her fowl friends.
Hayli with Comet, named not because he was fast, but for the fact that he was Hayli's!

So good bye to her farm friends and a 5-hour drive to Christchurch to catch the plane back to Fiji. First, though, a visit to Orana Park before going to the airport.

Our Fiji girl quickly made friends (with the appropriate vegetative bribes) with some fairly tall inhabitants.  Sorry, Hayli, no room on the plane for this one.

 To make a start on her wildlife photo collection, she borrowed my camera for these shots.

After we had farewelled Hayli into the care of Airport staff, we were obliged to wait until the plane had taken off before we too could leave for my brother Marty's place on the West Coast enroute for home. Imagine our consternation when the Customs Hall was cleared of all people and four aeroplanes flying internationally, and the Hall, were searched for an electrician's misplaced screwdriver. Flights were not allowed to resume until the errant screwdriver was tracked down. It was eventually found and flights were allowed to proceed and we were able to leave for the Coast. 

Things have changed somewhat. When my father owned and operated a small airline business in the 1950s, his lady employee checking off passengers into the company's Dominie at Haast, said to them, "Hang on a tic,"  picked up her .303 rifle and dropped a couple of deer on the other side of the airstrip where they had wandered from the adjacent bush.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

January 2015

Of such are childhood memories made. Hot sun. Cool water. Interesting rocks, and plenty of cousins to share it all with. Elephant Rock on the far right.
During the recent school holidays my wife and I were blessed with having four of our 10 grandchildren come and stay with us for a few days. One of them remarked that she was disappointed that Granddad wasn't keeping up with his blog, as she frequently referred to it  to see what we were up to.

So, with her gentle chiding ringing in my ears, I will endeavour over the next few days to catch up a bit.

January 2015

Our Fiji-domiciled granddaughter riding the back of Elephant Rock, in the Motueka River.

A German lady, sunning herself on the river bank whilst keeping an eye on her children, on observing her swimming technique, was astounded at her ability and broke into spontaneous applause. 

Indeed, she swims like a trout!