Monthly Archives: January 2010

Simple thoughts

Beauty at our feet

Sometimes I struggle with what I’m going to write about, especially when I have a photo that I really love and want to share and whatever thought it evokes.

I thought I was going to write about the weather, with the punchline being something along the lines of preferring water at my feet not over my head, except for in the shower of course! Today has been such a let down hasn’t it, fellow Wellingtonians?

But then I thought about why the image of running water appeals to me and why I had to try to capture it’s movement.

I’ve always loved clear clean lines and reflections. I remember when I saw my first Grahame Sydney painting and how captivated I was by it. I’ve always felt drawn toward his work – for me, his paintings are everything. They give the appearance of being photographic but are not. His lines are distinct, colours are clear and precise and his subjects ooze New Zealand.

I was incredibly privileged 28 years ago to work on a documentary that was being made about his work and his life. At the time he lived in Cromwell, Central Otago. I’d never been there before. It was November and it was breathtaking … golden rolling hills in every direction, as far as your eye could see. I was was three months pregnant at the time and wore  ghastly (I didn’t think so at the time of course) bright purple thick corduroy dungarees and a jade top.

What a absolute blot on the landscape…the man must have thought I was mad. The effect would have been jarring at the very least.

Anyway, he was very lovely, very humble, intensely private but seemed genuinely interested in my pregnant state. Perhaps because of my young age and my name being the same as his wife (at the time). The visit has left a huge impression, even after all these years.

So it was when I walked over to the stream at Eastbourne Beach yesterday. Clear running water, with the reflection of sun on the stones and the beautiful shapes lying at my feet. Pure and simple.

Summer in Wellington

Taking the plunge

At last – we can finally say we’ve had our first real day of summer. Twenty-seven degrees Celsius! What bliss…

After such a very long wait where we’ve had to to endure nightly weather reports listing most other NZ cities basking in glorious summer temperatures. And knowing we haven’t had a weekend of good weather since November…today has been so ridiculously exciting.

I should have know it would be today. The very day scheduled of our annual Orpheus Choir workshop – indoors! We are in rehearsal  for our part in the performance in Mahler’s 8th Symphony at the NZ International Festival of the Arts in late Feb, so I can’t complain.

We have a workshop day in January every year – it’s always on a stunning day and it’s always out at Wellesley College in Eastbourne. The day is always one very well spent, but it was hard seeing everyone enjoying the sun and the sea. In my typical early morning rush, I did not have the presence of mind to take my bathers along with me. We finished at 3pm and it was still amazingly hot with the beach more crowded than it had been at midday. A swim would have been so welcome.

Thank you weather gods – keep it up.

AC/DC comes to town

Get a load of the beard on the left - a goatee gone bush!

The thing that’s so exciting when big events come to town is seeing the multitude of different people the event brings to our ‘public service’ city. Tonight our beloved Westpac Stadium hosts the AC/DC Black Ice Tour. (Sorry I can’t find a lightening bolt to use instead of a slash.)

The city streets are crawling with people (predominantly male when I went out) dressed in rock gear. They look different – lots of black (nothing new there), lots of tattoo’s (more than usual), a variety of AC/DC t-shirts and some very interesting, but not necessary good-interesting,  hair and beard styles.

There are also heaps of ‘cars with attitude’ cruising the block – big, throaty ones!

Hey – but everyone’s smiling. All are looking forward to good times tonight.

I’ve been out and bought my earplugs. Oh yes, I’m not one to miss out on all this fun. But I did learn from my past experience at ‘Rock2Wellington’ that filtering out a bit of the volume could help me in the days following the concert… I do have to work.

Next week is the annual two-day international Rugby Seven’s tournament at the Stadium. The streets will be literally awash with punters dressed in all manner of gear – from Borat to ballerinas to beer barrels. This is just a warm-up to it.

I suggest that if you want to read a concert review tomorrow, you should check out  the When in Rome bro site. No doubt they’ll have a lot to say …

Lost and found

The errant bracelet

I can’t believe it! Seriously, I just can’t believe my luck.

Yet again, I’ve lost a precious piece of jewellery – a gift from my son – only to have it turn up again. This is not the first time.

There was the time many years, when after taking my son to rugby practice Kilbirnie, I realised I’d lost my mother’s string of pearls. I’d dropped him at the field and gone back in to town to shop for a sewing pattern. I was only in the shop a matter of minutes before heading back to my car and rugby practice.

When I realised my pearls were no longer around my neck I was devastated. There’s no other word for it. Losing possessions that I’ve bought is bad enough, but to lose something of my mother’s was upsetting beyond belief.

I did all the usual things – filed a report at the police station, retraced my steps again and again and again. Rang the store first thing in the morning and then when that was unsuccessful, placed a ‘lost’ ad in the ‘Evening Post’ even though I was convinced I’d never see them again.

Two days later I received a phone call from an elderly gent who’d noticed the necklace on the footpath by the bus stop outside Kirkcaldies. He picked them up and took them home with the thought the owner would be sure to advertise. He’d seen my notice in the newspaper. The sense of relief was immense and I was unbelievably grateful. I cried and cried.

Even though I offered a reward – he’d have none of it.

There was also the time, at the Tauherenikau Races, when I lost a gold link bracelet my partner had given me. I felt sick to the pit of my stomach the whole day, and spent most of it scouring the long grass between the car park and our picnic area to no avail.

When we finally arrived back in Karori after 9.00pm that night I suggested we have one final look at the money machine where I’d withdrawn some cash about 12 hours earlier.

There, lying on the edge of the footpath hanging over the gutter was my bracelet! I could go on….

Today, at lunchtime I noticed my silver and onyx bracelet was no longer on my wrist. I’d gone for a long lunchtime walk and was at the other end of town. Feeling sick yet again – as you do – I back-tracked following my exact route.

When I arrived back at work, I decided to have one last look in the café where I’d sat with my long black at 8.15am. As soon as I walked in, they knew the reason for my visit and placed the bracelet carefully in my hands. They’d been waiting. It had been found on the floor underneath the chair on which I’d been sitting.

Funnily enough, this morning I received one of those tiresome emails you have to read and pass on to ‘X’ number of people. If you don’t something dreadful will happen to you. This one said, you just HAD to read the poem after the preamble. So I did – phew! Maybe if I hadn’t ????

Now to pass it on….

Lesson on passion from Patrick Swayze

Patrick Swayze and wife Lisa Niemi

I was given a book for Christmas that I probably wouldn’t have bought myself. I would have picked it up and glanced at the photographs within for sure. It was Patrick Swayze’s autobiography The Time of my Life’.

Don’t get me wrong, I really admired the guy and particularly loved watching him dance. He had a beautiful physique and undoubted charisma. He was gorgeous…and I was so sad when news broke about his battle with pancreatic cancer, and then his untimely death.

Dirty Dancing was one of those movies I consider one of my all time favourites, along with Flashdance. The PianistMoonstruck, Gloomy Sunday and several others. OK – out of those he only featured in one, but I think you get the drift. I love dance, music, struggles against adversity and schmaltz

I’ve just finished reading Time of my Life. It is an amazing story of Swayze and his wife Lisa’s quest to take their passion for dance and for acting as far as they possibly could. In his case, he endured incredible pain from a number of serious injuries dating back to high school days. Injuries he never really recovered from, but persevered on nonetheless. There appears no doubt that had he been free from injury his career might have been different for his first passion was in ballet.

Whatever challenge he undertook, he gave it his absolute all. He wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and there were times he and Lisa really struggled financially. Throughout all their very real struggles they never gave up on each other or their passions.

Time of my Life was a great reminder of the importance of never giving up – on anything! If we have a passion we should let the flame burn and nurture it – keep it alive.

Interpreting clouds

Puffy goodness

“Bows and flows of angel hair, and ice-cream castles in the air, and feathered canyons everywhere – I’ve looked at clouds that way.
But now they only block the sun, they rain and snow on everyone, so many things I could have done, but clouds got in my way…” [from Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell]

So it is for January 2010.

These ones weren’t so bad with their backdrop of blue sky. The ones hovering over Wellington have been less welcome. Enough said.

Summer fruit

Nikau Cafe's tantalising pears - too beautiful to eat

I love the care people take in displaying fruit. Particularly in summer when the colours of apricots, peaches, nectarines and all the various berries are so gorgeous and so varied in their intensity.

I try to place the fruit in colour groups in our beautiful blue and white fruit bowl sitting on the bench – each piece of fruit is like a mini work of art and in the warmer temperatures, they don’t last. But by the time the rest of the family have picked their way through the delights, any attempts at colour and shape grouping are gone.

Our favourite Wellington coffee stop, the Nikau Cafe in Civic Square who always take special care in their table and countertop displays. They have a commitment to use only locally-grown produce (including that from the Wairarapa) and have a preference for organic. The pears in the photograph above were on display there this week – I’m sure you’ll agree that they look incredible.

I do so love summer fruit even though we’ve seen precious little of an actual summer in Wellington. We’re reaping benefits from other parts of the country and should be thankful for that.