Sunday, 28 April 2013

Returning to Scotland

In 14 hours and 24 minutes I shall fly away from here for the eighth time.  Not only does life now seem to go so fast in six-monthly chunks but it seems to go even faster in decades.  I first came to New Zealand in 2005.  I seems like yesterday.  Yet I seem to have lived in New Zealand for ever.  It's a funny old world.  Talking of world Kay asked which way I was going back to Scotland.  I'm going this way:

Naoier to Auckland on an Air New Zealand 50-seat Bombadier Q300
Auckland to Melbourne on an Emirates A380
Melbourne to Dubai on an Emirate A380
Dubai to Glasgow on something with wings and engines
Glasgow to Stornoway on a Dash 7
It's a long way whichever way one looks at it.

One More Sleep

It's 0730 on Sunday morning.  I have one more sleep before I leave for Scotland.  I have just been standing on the deck contemplating with my cup of hot water and lemon as the sun shines over the rim of the geological bowl in which The Cottage is situated and makes its way right into the living room.  In fact it's shining right to far wall of The Study in which I am sitting writing this post.  In the summer it hardly touches the deck it is so high in the sky.  This and the fallen leaves and thinning trees are a stark reminder that autumn has truly set in.

I should have known that it would be a beautiful day today after last night's sunset and the words red sky at night is a shepherd's delight.

Standing on the deck at 0730 I was listening to the myriad of birds all having their say: the Tuis calling to each other and chattering away ten to the dozen; the occasional Blackbird (one was singing away last night more than I can ever recall here before); the little Silvereyes and Sparrows twittering as they flit between the trees in their little flocks; the Fantails chasing flies and each other in astonishing aerial acrobatics; and the occasional screech of the Pukeko.  The countryside may be very peaceful but it is rarely quiet.

What really caught my eye though was a lone Monarch Butterfly.  I thought that it was a bit chilly for a butterfly but at 0730 it was 15℃ on the deck.  It could be another warm day. 

Saturday, 27 April 2013


In a comment on a post recently Monica mentioned clouds.  I can't actually recall which post it was on.  However it did start me thinking. about clouds so I thought I'd do a post on them given that the last few days have seen wonderful cloud formations and light here as high winds and fronts have moved through. 

New Zealand is known in Maori as Aotearoa. This is now accepted in both languages and appears in the official title of many organisations.  The usual translation of Aotearoa is The Land of the Long White Cloud (from Ao (cloud), tea (white) and roa (long)). However as with many place names the origin cannot be certain and is bound up with Maori mythology.   New Zealand is made up of two long relatively narrow islands with a spine of mountain ranges.  Those ranges are often topped with cloud: a long white cloud.

A front moves across.  Over the far ranges a long white cloud can just be seen right along the tops.
Not quite lenticular clouds I don't think.  Next year I must get myself a book on clouds.
Do you see what I see?
It really was like this!  Sunset behinds me reflected in front of me.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Thankful Thursday

I have 3 days and 15 hours and 44 minutes until my departure back to Scotland.  

That is a very long time if one has toothache.  If one has a life to pack up into The Cupboard as well as live each day to the full then it is ein Augenblick. 

Today I was thankful for the moments spent just relaxing at Ninety Mile Beach in Northland with Pauline.  It set me up for the rest of my stay here.  I have saved two of my (and, I think, Pauline's) favourites from amongst the photos I took when we were there.

 For the peace and tranquility of those moments I am truly thankful.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013


When I was a youngster (a very youngster!) our next door neighbour's son had a black Triumph Renown (Razor Edge).  It's registration plate was JVO 10.  Adrian Howard's Dad drove a Vauxhall 10.  It's registration plate was FXY 333.  That was 60 years ago.  Don't, however, ask me what the registration number of my MX5: I've only had it since 2006!  This must tell you something about me but I'm not sure what.

I was reminded of this when I saw a 1949 Triumph Renown parked at the repair garage I use in Napier. 

I included the last photo despite not being able to get one without the reflections to show the beauty of the dashboard.  Bench front seats were common then too.  The gear lever was a 3-speed column shift and the shift mechanism and engine were the same as in the Standard Vanguard Phase II that I learned in ten years later.

The car driving along which can be seen through the windscreen is a fairly common sight in Napier.  New Zealand must have the highest per capita ration of veteran and vintage cars in the world.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The Faraday Centre, Napier

Yet another of the things I had never done whilst living here was to visit The Faraday Centre in Napier.  In 1979 The Hawke’s Bay Museum of Technology was formed to foster the preservation of regional technology of significance.  In 1995 it amalgamated the Hawke’s Bay Cultural Trust and the centre was renamed The Faraday Centre.  It is now part of the Hawkes Bay Museum and Art Gallery.  It is fascinating and yet another place I will re-visit.

Perhaps the most impressive, or perhaps the most spectacular would be a better description, of the many exhibits is a Tesla Coil shown being demonstrated (very noisily) in the last three photos.  

This will not be the last you will hear about the Centre although you might have to wait a while for the next installment.

Monday, 22 April 2013

A Few Memories of Northland

The crossroads of two forest logging roads.  A solution by someone with a sense of humour methinks.

Many Northland roads are still metalled (gravel) and the MX5 couldn't negotiate a lot of the potholes and ruts and large stones.
and some are quite hairy
A last view of the Uppity Downity Mountains my last and very gloomy morning
The occasional (then) much needed shower rushing by in the distance
I just loved this house near Langs Beach past Waipu.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

The Last Beaches of Northland (For Now)

All within a stone's throw from where Pauline and I were staying on the East Coast of Northland.

Houhora Heads looking into the Houhora Harbour
Houhora Heads looking out from the Houhora Harbour
Houhora Heads looking into the Houhora Harbour
Matai Bay
Waikato Bay
Waikato Bay