Sunday, September 27, 2009

Alexandra Blossom Festival and our boys

It's been another busy week at work, but part way through my old friend Al. got in touch with me to say he was back in NZ and down the road in Alexandra with his family. It's been a challenging couple of years for him as while away from their home in Twizel his wife died. Ant. and I were very close, although I go back further with Al. and would be even closer by virtue of all the time we've spent together in our Sth. Alps. So it made sense to catch up in the context of the festival with him and his two boys and wider family.

I missed the parade, but had lots of time to take in the sights at Molyneux Park. This gentleman was part of a troupe with a stall selling [and playing] ethnic music of a Sth. American flavour...

Al's younger son. I enjoyed playing with him after he realised his dream of purchasing a Star Wars light sabre [it took awhile for him to sort of recall previous fun together as he was about 3 back then], but that's another story. However this time I was really struck how I felt the presence of his mum - it was uncanny not only as he played under our watchful gaze, but when we'd make eye contact. On reflection and looking at many photos later with Al. I think I have some grieving to catch up on! Here he is in his current favourite T shirt....

It was always a great thing our kids had the use of Jolly Jumpers, back when they were small - we'd hang them in a doorway and they'd have a great time exploring movement in the air and playing with gravity. At the festival there was a souped up model...

I'm always struck by the beauty of the festival - especially the time of year, when there are not only blossoms but snow still on the substantial Otago block mountains. Here behind the sinking ship we see the Dunstan Mountains...

School holidays have now started so speaking of boys... mine will be joining me soon for a week. At the catch-up with Al. we think we might join forces for a trip over to our remote and wild West Coast, as it'll be a good chance to further have some adventures before he heads to South Canterbury where his boys are enrolled for school. But we'll see... it will be coming into whitebait season over there [yummy!], but we also need a good weather forecast which maybe hard to achieve given our early onset of spring conditions.

And lastly on boys, blogging friend Robb has posted a great story and photos called Fathers and Sons

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

A busy week and a birthday party

Not much spare time this week to make any new photos, but it's sure been nice to feel the onset of spring.

Wanaka Station Park is one of my favourite places to visit over the next several weeks. There has been an ongoing planting programme of rhododendrons and the likes over the last few years, and although it's nowhere near the equal of the Dunedin Public Gardens, the setting is magical...

This redwood in the center of the Park never fails to elicit a response from myself when I have a camera about...

These little critters will soon be gamboling all about...

Beginning Thurs. and ending 2 am Sat. I did a very demanding Mac server disk rebuild this week [I'm an Apple IT person in my other life] for good friends here who have a large helicopter business. Such jobs on mission critical servers can be hugely stressful, and in this case a bit of an emergency, but near midnight the job was giving signals it'd turn out easier than I imagined in my darker moments [usually any morning I wake briefly at 4 am when the body chemistry must be at a low ebb - any other time I'm blessed with a problem free simple life].

I help these friends in other capacities though: here strop work [apparently I'm good with knots, ropes and angles] to remove a crashed aircraft, and parts, scattered all over a moderate angled slope in the mountains north of here a few years back. Here Simon guides Andy into a safe position for the strop to be placed on the hook, while Graeme hangs out the door giving Andy verbal cues..

On this hook-up [note rope coming towards me to some wing parts] I'd say Andy is watching the tips of his rotors don't connect with the ground!

A slow fly-away of this first load while we observe if the load will behave and not spin, or exhibit flying tendencies of it's own at speed...

Last night I attended the 60th of one of my good friends JT - it was a tough call as I had to forgo a trip to Preservation in Fiordland with another good friend, but at the end of the day the mountains will always be there, and for me people...well we're the more temporary and precious items on the landscape, and besides I'd committed.

JT with Lake Hawea behind...

Preservation Inlet...

Well from thinking I'd not the energy tonight or the material for a good blog, something has been cobbled together dear readers - 2405 visits this year with 3238 page views from you. Thanks, this goes a long ways towards my goal to share how I see my world, and draw attention to the richness of our lives and landscapes. And it all started as a work related experiment to find out just what a blog is about and how it hangs together - now it's a habit I look forward to each week

This week's link to some light hearted truth about so called progress: R. Crumb's "A Short History of America" Thanks Gregor

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Blossom blog

A very visual post this week as I've been out there sampling the delights of spring, and making landscape photos with my good friend Roger, and helping out again on the annual Mountain to Mountain multi sport race [ski down Treble Cone and then mt bike, kayak, run, and road bike to Wanaka and Cardrona before finishing with a mt bike up to the Snow Park]. Along the way a theme seems to have been some bird life happy to pose for me too.

From my deck...

Mountain to Mountain competitors line up their kayaks...

Mountain to Mountain competitors set off down the kayaking section on the Matukituki river...

South Island pied Oystercatcher / torea on the Matukituki river...

Wanaka Station Park blossom...

Roger trying out his new camera...

One of many magnificent redwoods at Wanaka Station Park...

Lake Wanaka...

The most photographed tree in Lake Wanaka hosting a bunch of shags - actually the Little Shag / koau, the smallest of New Zealand's cormorants, with a number of different colour forms. This one black body plumage with white feathers on the face and throat...

Mallard ducks [introduced into NZ during the 1860s] feeding nearby...


A local church...

Lastly good reading on a fascinating subject of The Last Megalithic Culture just spotted on Bob McKerrow's blog.

Thanks Bob :)

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

More Clutha River rambling

At last some good weather has visited us this week. It also bought me a visit by one of closest friends Ian, whom I first got to know doing Geo Physics field work. Now we both work together in the computer industry and technically he's one of my suppliers. However our inclinations in life are in the outdoors, so with sun abounding we did a few talking walks, and I decided to introduce him to my pet project of exploring the Clutha river some more.

In the vicinity of Reko's Point east and downstream of the Wanaka Airport. Note the first vibrant greens appearing on the willows...

From atop one of the many high cliffs bounding the river we enjoyed watching a fisherman while we had our slices of fruit cake that Robyn gave us for our little ramble...

I also made this shot of him to give scale to the sheer size of this amazing river, so top marks to anyone who can spot him in this shot! It's incomprehensible to me why many of us NZer's do not place the highest values on this water we have on our door-step, instead of conceptualising dams on it, thus flooding this amazing landscape as well as destroying a living waterway...

I've link here to a recent Otago Daily Times newspaper article as to how a local Council downstream has decided to, so far, do nothing. To me it's a bit of shocker that they elect to "reman neutral" even at the early stages, in the light of such an outstanding river, the banks of which can host many linked walkways and mountain bike ways, that could rival the Central Otago Rail Trail. As NZ'ers we have to value our landscape values, and one way to do this is to bring to the attention of world the threat of further dams on the Clutha - one of the world's mighty rivers!

The Central Otago Rail Trail... more >>

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