Auckland Anniversary Day

As promised, photos from the Auckland Anniversary Day celebrations, which was Monday 29 January.

Auckland Anniversary Day is a public holiday in Auckland, New Zealand.  The whole long weekend (because the holiday is Mondayised) is a celebration of Auckland, and that usually means a pretty heavy focus on the harbour.  After all, Auckland is ‘the city of sails’.  The Auckland Anniversary Regatta is the largest single-day boat regatta in the world (according to Wikipedia).

We started at the port, which was partially open to the public.  They had helicopter rides (which were a little beyond our budget), boat rides, etc.  They had water cannons spraying the crowd with water, which was very refreshing.  It was damn hot!  They also had free sunscreen and drinking water available, which was much appreciated and we made liberal use of.  I even ended up tipping water over my head just to cool down. Despite all the sunscreen I did a little burnt, but thankfully not too bad.

There were food stalls everywhere, with everything from seafood to hot dogs, to traditional Maori or Pacific Island food.  The kids got frozen ice treats with the little bit of spending money I gave them.

There were buskers everywhere, playing music, frozen still like statues or performing magic or acrobatic tricks to entertain the public.  My daughter and her friend liked the acrobatic ones best.

There were, of course, plenty of boats out on the harbour, including traditional Maori and Pacific Island canoes and boats.

 

So there you go.  Happy anniversary, Auckland!

Auckland City Walk

I did the Auckland City Walk today, with my mum, my daughter and my daughter’s friend.  It’s on the edge of the Waitakere Ranges, and is part of a bird sanctuary called Ark in the Park.  You don’t see many birds on the walk, as they’re spread out and tend to stay away from the public paths, but there is an abundance of native plants and trees.

It’s not a difficult walk.  The path is well maintained and it takes about an hour to walk the loop (if you don’t keep stopping to take photographs).  We took a detour and went uphill (and upstairs) for a better view, so we took a bit longer.  There are a few tracks that branch off the Auckland City Walk, and I’ve done some of them previously.  The Montana Heritage Trail takes about four hours, and I’ve done that before.  The detour we took was a small portion of that track.

It was so good to be out and about with my camera.  I’ve missed taking photos.  Been too long.

 

 

It was really too hot to be bush walking today (it’s New Zealand’s hottest January on record), but it was nice to be out and about, and good to be taking photographs.  It’s Auckland Anniversary Day tomorrow (yay, no work!) so we’re hoping to head into town to capture some of the festivities.

Cyclone Bola

Prompt: Winter is here and you are now trapped.

The paddocks were sodden,
each hoof print a puddle that
rippled and overflowed with every
driblet of water that fell from stony skies.

The excess swept over the grass,
blades bent beneath the heavy weight,
and slowly the water forged a path
down the hill.

A deluge the colour of clay,
with the unmistakeable fragrance of
cow shit and mud,
poured across the gravel road
just below Prior’s farm
in a rush to reach the swollen creek
which had long breached its banks.

Avid eyes and bright smiles watched
from the safety of the farmhouse windows,
because we knew the school bus
would never get through.

And Mum worried about practical things
as Dad shifted stock to higher grounds,
but at least the water tank was full.

Tiritiri Matangi dawn chorus

Before a sleepy, disheveled sun even thinks about poking her nose over the horizon, the first calls go out. A cheery wake up song to start a day of industrious productivity. As the sky lightens, first to a dull charcoal, then slowly, persistently, to a stunning, vivid blue, the chorus of melody grows stronger and louder. Sweethearts are courted with flirtatious serenades, and materials are meticulously gathered for the construction of homes in anticipation of future families.

Distraction

My feet ached in blue suede heels
I’d bought on sale at Westgate,
but I was distracted by the way
the evening sun caught the Auckland skyline
as I drove over the causeway.

 

Yep, this is another poem recorded while driving home.  See, I told you I am more inspired when driving than any other time!  Ha ha!

I wish I could have taken a photo for you, as the Auckland skyline really did look amazing in the evening sunlight.  There’s a spot when you’re driving along the Northwestern Motorway, just as you go over the causeway, where the Auckland Harbour Bridge lines up perfectly with the Auckland city skyline.  Unfortunately, there’s nowhere safe to stop and take photos, so instead, you just have to take my word for it.  🙂

THE LIEBSTER AWARD

Thank you so much to Rachel Peck for nominating me for the Liebster Award.  This is my very first such nomination, so I’m pretty happy with her.  Ha ha!  You should check out Rachel’s blog, she’s an amazing writer.  I actually interviewed her a while back – An interview with author Rachel Peck.  I met Rachel on Writing.com and she is an amazing poet.  She writes with such passion and emotion, it’s no surprise she’s been published. She’s pretty new to WordPress, so go and check out her blog and give her some love.

Random Facts About Me . . . 

    • I grew up on a farm in rural New Zealand.  It was a beef farm, about 330 acres.  Apart from 18 months when my parents did a working holiday in UK, I’ve lived my whole life in New Zealand.
    • I grew up with a lot of British humour in my life, partly because New Zealand as a country has a very strong British heritage, and partly because my parents are both English.  As a result, I tend more toward the British sense of humour than the American.  And yes, I think there’s a difference.  😉
    • I love making homemade gifts.
    • I love rollercoasters.  Am hoping to go on at least one REALLY big one when we go to the UK next year.  There are no really big rollercoasters in New Zealand.
    • I don’t drink alcohol very often, but I have a pretty decent alcohol collection.  The whisky belongs to my husband, and the vodka and port are mine.  At the moment, I have toffee vodka, feijoa vodka and the very cool Royal Dragon vodka, both the Elite and Imperial.  I’ve just found out there’s also an Emperor version of the Royal Dragon vodka.  #want!  My favourite port is Taylor’s tawny port, but I also like Sea Red, a red dessert wine from Clearview Estate Winery in New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay.  I like to try/collect weird and unusual alcohols too, so I always have a bottle of Purple Death in the cupboard. It’s delicious over vanilla ice cream.
    • I’m not afraid of public speaking.  I was a precocious child, and did debating in high school and joined a public speaking group in my teens.  I wouldn’t say I enjoy public speaking, but I’m comfortable enough with it.
    • My oldest online friend is Kris.  We met online in 1997, and have never met.  He lives in Belgium.  I’m also still in contact with friends I met on Livejournal in 2001 when I first started blogging.  Haven’t met them either since they live in America.
    • I get more enjoyment out of starting a project than completing one.  Which explains why I have so many unfinished one, right?
    • I read on an iphone (nope, not a Kindle, just the Kindle app) and write on a Gigabyte laptop.  I did have a Mac laptop previously but I grew up with Windows and would get frustrated with the differences between Macs and Windows.
    • I use a lot of Kiwi slang when I talk.  Some of it comes through in my writing, but it’s more prolific when I talk.

I would like to nominate the following wonderful blogs:
Mtnbeachmama’s Blog. This blog is full of beautifully worded observations, of both nature and people. Rivers is a good example post to check out, I think. I love the photos as well as the descriptions.

The Feisty Pauper. You gotta love it just from the name, right? 😛 Another good example of her humour can be found in this post. I’ve never read anyone else saying that they need glucosamine and good sneakers to survive the zombie apocalypse! Ha ha!

Stories for Strength. Observations from a real woman facing real life and encouraging us all to laugh at ourselves, empathise and unite. I love this post – Dinner: Why must they eat it every night?. As a mother, this was the one that won me over. If you have any life hacks to offer Rachael, please do share them with her!

Enchanted by Books. If you like books, you have to check out this blog. Book reviews, book tags, everything book-related you could ask for. Everything from The Art of War to Harry Potter. 🙂

made things. Poetry, musings, gratitude, and insight. I love this poem – castle of my imagination.  There is loads more to love too, go and check it out.

My answers to Rachel’s questions:

  • Most importantly. What type of chocolate do you prefer? Dark, milk, or white?
    Milk.  Definitely milk.  I’m not a fan of dark or white chocolate.  I have recently discovered caramelised white chocolate though, specifically Cadbury Caramilk, and I think I’m in love.  Ha ha!
  • Is there a time of day you are most creative?
    No, I don’t think so.  But I do find I get more ideas when I’m driving than at any other time.
  • Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what kind?
    I like to listen to classical music when I’m writing stories, and rock or classic rock when I’m writing poetry.  Nothing in particular when I’m blogging.
  • When did you know you were a writer? Have you always known?
    I started keeping a journal when I was 14, and I probably started writing poetry then too.  I remember writing and sharing  poems while on Scout camps, and that was between ages 14-16 I think.  I suppose I considered myself a writer from then on.  I knew that most people my age weren’t writing poetry at that time, so I was different – a writer.
  • Who has had the most influence on your writing?
    The people at Writing.com.  Through their feedback, examples and inspiration, they’ve helped me grow more as a writer than anyone.   I could name names, and there are two in particular that come to mind (one for poetry and one for stories) but it’s a cumulative thing, you know?  A combination of a variety of feedback and inspiration and then taking what works for me, and leaving what doesn’t.
  • How do you promote your own work?
    Hmm…   Posting it on social media (here, G+, Twitter, Tumblr) is the extent of my promotion.  And it’s kind of a ‘take it or leave it’ kind of promotion.  I don’t put a lot of thought into convincing people to read or like.  If they do, they do.  If they don’t, they don’t.
  • What is your all-time favourite film?
    Hmm, that’s a hard one.  I’m more of a reader than a watcher.  Before I had kids, I never watched cartoons or animated movies, but now I find some of them quite brilliant.  Ice Age was just hilarious.  I liked the X-Men series and the Die Hard series.  Despite that, I do tend towards chick flicks.  Honestly I don’t know about a favourite though.  Tough question!
  • What authors did you love to read as a child?
    Ooh, another tough question.  I went to a very small primary (elementary) school.  There were only 60 kids there, and it was a little country school, with a library to match.  I read every book in that library.  We always had books at home, but it was a relatively small, static collection.  I didn’t belong to a public library because we lived in the middle of nowhere and the nearest public library wasn’t convenient to our house.  My mother teases me that I was so desperate for reading material that I would read cereal boxes, or the newspaper used to insulate the house walls.  I didn’t really develop a ‘favourite author’ as a child because I didn’t have the luxury of that I guess. The first author I can remember considering a ”favourite’ was Anne McCaffrey, and that was in high school.  High school came with a whole new library of books to read!  Ha ha!  So yeah, Anne McCaffrey was my first favourite author, probably followed by Jean M Auel and her Earth’s Children series.
  • Do you belong to any writing or critiquing groups? How important do you think that is?
    Only Writing.com.  None in real life.  But Writing.com has been vitally important in my development as a writer, and also in my perseverance as a writer.  I had a break from Writing.com for a few years when my children were very small (and money was very tight) and I wrote very little (apart from blogging/journaling, no poems or short stories) and my writing didn’t develop or grow.  So yeah, I think that feedback, inspiration and encouragement is very important.  It is to me, anyway.
  • Who is your favourite author? Do you write in the same genre as them?
    Um…  Right now, my favourite author is probably Jaime Reese, followed by Maya Banks.  They both write romance.  I write…whatever I’m inspired to write.  I think I probably write more children’s fantasy than anything, but some romance.  I think I’m slowly starting to veer more towards romance, as I gain confidence in writing in that genre.

My questions for my nominees

  • What’s the first indulgence you’d buy yourself if you won the lottery?
  • What’s your favourite comfort food?
  • Aside from writing, what are your hobbies?
  • What kind(s) of music do you like to listen to?
  • What’s the most important thing on your bucket list?
  • What’s one thing about blogging or blogs that annoys you?
  • In your personal opinion, what is the most annoying sound in the world?
  • What time is bedtime for you?
  • Do you have a ‘signature dish’ that you make for dinner guests or when it’s your turn to cook?  Tell us about it!  (Bonus points if you share the recipe! Ha ha!)
  • Have you ever fallen in love with a place through a book or photo?  Have you been there in real life, and if so, how did it compare?  If not, do you plan to go?
  • Which of your personality traits would make you hard to live with?

Rules Rules Rules. Here is what to do, once you’ve been nominated.

      1. Thank the person who nominated you, and put a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you. They will thank you for it and those who you nominate will also help you out as well.
      2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)
      3. For the 2017 Liebster Award, I will be shaking things up! Write a 150-300 word post about your favourite blog that is not your own. Explain why you like the blog, provide links.
      4. Provide 10 random facts about yourself. (This year I’m making this optional. If you wish to engage with your readers it’s a great idea to include random facts about you.)
      5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 200 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)
      6. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here or simply link to this post). Once you have written and published it, you then have to inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post or the original one if you don’t have all the information so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!).

I found it interesting that the posts don’t seem to actually be following the rules.  The questions and answers aren’t noted in the rules, but are mentioned on the original page.  Possibly a leftover from previous years, but clearly people enjoy learning about others through the questions.  I did, so I’ve included them. 🙂  And I’m not sure I have one favourite blog to babble about, but I’ve tried to share why I’ve nominated the blogs that I have, and you should definitely check them out.  They deserve to have more than 200 followers!

Halfway ‘cross the Kaimais

We watched the steam rise from our socks,
wet from streams and puddles that crossed our path,
and behind that, sparks from the ti tree wood
as it burned in a temporary hearth.

When the creek water boiled in the enamel billy,
someone made Milo to share around.
We settled our backs against our sleeping bags,
and stretched our legs out on the ground.

When the chatter quieted, as we all grew tired,
and morepork calls echoed over the hills,
a man started reciting a Barry Crump poem,
in a voice that gave me chills.

He spoke of the bush, and of being alone,
and of living off the land.
He spoke of New Zealand and the sights he’d seen,
and of working as a shearing hand.

As his voice carried low in the night time air,
and we listened intent and rapt,
he spoke of hunting deer and pigs,
and of possums that he’d trapped.

It was a life that seemed a legend,
and we were caught up in his words.
Around us the bush rustled and chittered,
and we heard the cry of kiwi birds.

It was magic that night, in front of the fire,
listening to a poem that seemed old as time,
eyes closed, and muscles weary
from a long and hard day’s climb.