Bloganuary 2023 4th week selection: 

Day 21: Who is your favorite author and why?

Without doubt my favorite author is Diana Gabaldon. Her Outlander books have been a huge part of my reading since 1992 when I first read Crosstitch, and they still entertain me. Whether it’s the tv adaptations, the compendiums, the novellas, or the audiobooks, I love them all. 

It is difficult to describe the genre. There are so many covered in her books. 

Diana herself has described it thus:

Day 22: What was your dream job as a child?

Photographer. Getting  my first camera as a ten year old  ensured I was instantly hooked

My first real job entailed hand- coloring aerial photos. That was such fun. Alas,  that skill set was made redundant with the advent of colour photography. 

Another favorite photographic job was creating large aerial photo mosaics of rural properties. Also superseded by modern technology in mapping. 

Learning to develop and print my own photos was immensely satisfying to me. A camera upgrade from a point and shoot to a Pentax SlR required a steep learning curve. I loved it all. 

The move from film to digital cameras brought yet more learning challenges and much enjoyment.  

Over my teaching career, I used cameras to record and illustrate children’s learning stories, to  document teaching practice, and to plan and improve  early childhood learning environments. 

Whilst not employed as a ‘photographer’ I managed to include my passion into my work career. 

Now in retirement I have even more time to pursue my photographic passion. And I do. 

Day 23: What’s a lie you tell yourself?

One day I’ll get fit!

Day 24: How do you show love?

Kindness, caring, compassion and passion. Shouldn’t everyone? 

Day 25: What is a song or poem that speaks to you and why? 

Not one but two songs speak to me. ABBA’s new album Voyage instantly appealed to me.

DON’T SHUT ME DOWN – ABBA

A while ago, I heard the sound of children's laughter
Now it's quiet, so I guess they left the park
This wooden bench is gettin' harder by the hour
The sun is goin' down, it's gettin’ dark

I realise I'm cold, the rain begins to pour
As I watch the windows on the second floor
The lights are on, it's time to go (ooh
It's time at last, to let him know

I believe it would be fair to say
"You look bewildered"
And you wonder why I'm here today
And so you should, I would

When I left I felt, I've had enough
But, in the shape and form I appear now
I have learned to cope, and love and hope is why I am here now

And now you see another me, I've been reloaded, yeah
I'm fired up, don't shut me down

I'm like a dream within a dream that's been decoded
I'm fired up, I'm hot, don't shut me down
I'm not the one you knew
I'm now, and then combined
And I'm askin' you to have an open mind

(And I won't be the same)
I'm not the same this time around (ooh)
I'm fired up, don't shut me down

Will you leave me standin' in the hall?
Or let me enter?
The apartment hasn't changed at all
I've got to say, "I'm glad"
Once these rooms were witness to our love
My tantrums and increasing frustration
But I go from mad, to not so bad
In my transformation  

And now you see another me, I've been reloaded, yeah
I'm fired up, don't shut me down
(Don't shut me down)

I'm like a dream, within a dream, that's been decoded
I'm fired up, I'm hot, don't shut me down
I am not the one you knew (I'm not the one you knew)
I'm now, and then combined
And I'm askin' you to have an open mind

(Now, I'll not be the same)
I'm not the same this time around (ooh)
I'm fired up, don't shut me down
You ask me not to leave
Well, here I am again
And I love you still and so I won't pretend
I have learnt to cope, and love and hope is why I am here now

AND;

I STILL HAVE FAITH IN YOU - ABBA

I still have faith in you
I see it now
Through all these years that faith lives on, somehow

There was a union
Of heart and mind
The likes of which are rare and oh so hard to find

Do I have it in me?
I believe it is in there
For I know I hear a bittersweet song
In the memories we share

I still have faith in you
And I will say
I never really thought I'd feel this way
But I remind myself of who we are
How inconceivable it is to reach this far

Do I have it in me?
I believe it is in there
For I know I hear a bittersweet song
In the memories we share

We do have it in us
New spirit has arrived
The joy and the sorrow
We have a story
And it survived 

And we need one another
Like fighters in a ring
We're in this together
Passion and courage
Is everything

I still have faith in you
It stands above 
the crazy things we did
It all comes down to love

Do I have it in me?
I believe it is in there
For I know I hear a bittersweet song
In the memories we share
Do I have it in me?

We do have it in us
New spirit has arrived
The joy and the sorrow
We have a story
And it survived

And we know that we need one another
Like fighters in a ring
We're in this together
Passion and courage
Is everything

(I still have faith in you)

And we still have it in us
We've only just arrived

(Do I have it in me?)

We stand on a summit
Humble and grateful
To have survived

I still have faith in you
It stands above 
the crazy things we did
It all comes down to love

Do I have it in me? 
 

Yes, I do have it in me to survive, especially if I am not shut down! These powerful lyrics speak to me. 

I play these constantly whilst creating my art, it is relaxing and affirming.

Day 26: What language do you wish you could speak?

Te Reo Maori- it is one of the three official languages of Aotearoa/New Zealand. Alongside English and the NZ sign language.

I do understand more Te Reo Maori than I speak and love listening to waiata/songs.

Day 27:   What are the pros and cons of procrastination?

Pros:

“Giving you more time to think, allowing you to gather and process more relevant information before making a decision. It helps conserve your energy when procrastination leads you to postpone a task that ends up being canceled.” 

Bonus point!

Cons:

“Over-thinkers are some of the best procrastinators out there. Why? Because they let their thoughts eat up their momentum. While brainstorming and preparing yourself mentally for work is a good idea, overthinking takes what could be a proactive thought and turns it into a worried, impenetrable wall of inaction.” 

Yes that’s me too! 

But wait, there’s more – if I can only just get around to it. Well maybe ‘a round tuit’ is just what I need.

Sunday Stills – Silence at sunset

Patiently I wait 
for the sunset glow to bring
Silence at sunset

The birds stop their cries
As the last rays touch the skies
Silence is golden

At last the sun sets 
Glowing it’s light to the clouds 
Farewell to the sun

Until the very next morn
Sunrise shines pink and golden
And birds chirp again


Bloganuary – 3rd week selection

Day 13: If you had a billion US dollars, how would you spend it?

Firstly, I would check the exchange rate.  Currently, that would give me half as much again in NZ currency. That is $157,000,000NZD. Hmm-probably this would be  enough to splash out on a few trips around the world, donate to a few worthy causes, clear the extended family’s mortgages, etcetera, etcetera……..

Seriously though, I don’t give too much thought to having  this huge amount of money . It’s either a pipe dream, or a nightmare in the making. 

Money isn’t likely to buy happiness   And that is my WOTY focus this year. 

Day 14: What is your preferred mode of travel?

Shanks pony “One’s feet or legs, regarded as a means of transport” – yeah nah,  not really  just give me a car or ute these days.  It carries my rubbish and my groceries though not at the same time.  The Ute also tows the caravan which offers a slower mode of travel to explore the beautiful country views. And that makes me happy. 

I used to enjoy horse riding but found it to be a bit too hazardous to my health after my horse bolted with me on too many occasions.  

I did some cycling  over my early years.  I got a brand-new bike when I was 11 years old and I was so proud of it. I cycled everywhere  – to school, and to the horse paddock each weekend. It was my only mode of travel until I got my driver’s licence in my early twenties. Then I drove everywhere instead.

I did a pro-drive course when I started a job that required extensive travel over rural roads.  I remember driving home from the course practicing all that I had learnt. Then  a few weeks later, I collided with a runaway cow on a dark night. My newly acquired skills kicked in and I almost avoided a head-on collision.  I hit the cow but I survived -alas the cow did not.

I fell off an e-bike and tore a  few rotator cuff tendons. Surgery followed by 6 weeks in a sling over summer cured me of that mode of travel.

Armchair travel is now my preferred mode of travel.

Day 15: What fear have you conquered?

My fear of falling from a great height. For much of my life, I had a fear of falling downstairs.  At one stage, it got so bad I would just freeze at the top of the stairs. Taking that first step was just too hard. I envisaged myself falling and landing in a crumpled heap at the bottom for days, waiting for someone to find me.

Until I did actually fall.  In the middle of winter, one morning when I was running to catch the bus, I slipped off that icy top step of our outside stairs. My life flashed before my eyes. That didn’t take long as I was only 18.  I landed in a crumpled heap, but I picked myself up, brushed off my embarrassment, and made it to the bus on time.

Since then I have even mastered escalators!

Day 17: Describe the happiest day of your life.

This should be easier than I am finding it so far. 

Happiness is my WOTY so why am I finding it hard to describe the happiest day of my life? 

I have had a long and fortunate life (so far) and I have had so many happy days to be grateful for. I guess there are  too many to count to specify any particular day. 

The day we got married nearly 52 years ago, the birth of each of my three sons, the challenges of study and a new career, my many memorable travel experiences over the last 20 years, the birth of each of our seven grandchildren, and now having more time in retirement to pursue new creative activities. These  have all brought me joy and happiness. 

I’m forever grateful that the happy days have far outnumbered the sad, stressful days. I am thankful for them too as without sadness how can happiness be known or appreciated?

Day 18. What’s your favorite meal to cook and/or eat?

Smoked salmon, asparagus and creamy mushrooms. It’s delicious, its easy to prepare, it’s healthy (mostly). And asparagus is a springtime seasonal treat and that is my favorite time of the year. 

Day 19: What color describes your personality and why?

Purple. I love purple although I can never quite explain why so I went searching for meanings. 

Some definitions:

The color purple has a variety of effects on the mind and body, including uplifting spirits, calming the mind and nerves, increasing nurturing tendencies and sensitivity, and encouraging imagination and creativity.“

And; 

Purple as a favorite color is said to represent an artistic and unique individual, who is often very intuitive and deeply interested in spirituality. Lovers of purple are said to be a good judge of character, and a visionary with a great need to participate in humanitarian issues.”

Well I’m not sure about the “deep interest in spirituality’ but I do try  to be creative and artistic in many different ways.  And perhaps, just maybe, I’m a good judge of character??  I’m definitely a unique individual. And I’m okay with that. 

Day 20: What irritates you about the home you live in?

Nothing much irritates me about my current home except perhaps our recent road closures,  and the ongoing  isolation.

We have had 30+ years living our lives here at the beach. We have a warm and comfortable home. The birds flit through the native bush and along the seashore. The spectacular sunsets are often followed by dark skies which display a multitudes of stars to sparkle and intrigue me.   Plenty of photo opportunities abound here. 

That’s why it has been such a hard decision to sell up and move into town. 

To be continued……….

#bloganuary #goals

Sunday Stills – Plunge into 2023- Wherever that leads.

Plunge  – Wherever that leads, let’s just do this. 

The first time I distinctly  remember taking a plunge is when after many attempts when my dad had tried to  teach me to dive without bellyflopping, the camera was at the ready even if I was not.  At the last minute I held my nose and jumped into the pool instead. OK, I was only 10 years old. 

A few years later, I plunged headlong into a gorse bush when the horse I was riding refused to jump and I flew over his head and landed in the prickly gorse. “Enough”  I said as I pulled the gorse prickles out of my tender bottom. No more plunges for me! 

Except there are many times since then I have taken the plunge. 

Marriage – was definitely a plunge into the unknown. 52 years later and that plunge was indeed a worthwhile endeavour. 

Motherhood – another plunge, a lifelong commitment  and now it continues into the delights of grand-parenting. 

I plunged into a new career direction. Now that was an amazing  experience that took me on so many adventures. 

Whilst I have tried to make positive decisions about where I would take the next plunge into the great unknown, I have since discovered that sometimes the best thing to do is just hold your nose and jump into that pool.  

I wonder what plunges I will take in 2023. Whatever happens,  I will just do this again and again. 

Life is like that. Life is for living. Every single day.

Bloganuary 2023 – Weeks 1 & 2 – a selection

Last year I started yet did not complete Bloganuary -maybe this time I will.  

Day 1: What is something you want to achieve this year?

I have rather a big item list. 

Finish my memoir

Sell  our property and build a new house. 

Undertake a road trip  in our caravan. It may be that we will be living in it while the house is being built?

Revisit my photography:  I have been lacking my phojo for the last few months of 2022 so this year it’s time to revisit and hone my techniques. And I have a new lens to play with.

If I achieve all these I will meet my WOTY ‘happiness’ goal. 

Day 2:  How are you brave?

Just being on here and sharing my thoughts and photos is a brave action. But also facing my fears and doing it anyway is something I continue to work on. Last year I toyed with the idea of having a WOTY. It was going to be courage but I chickened out due to all sorts of challenging circumstances. 

I recently got a health concern checked out and facing that fear bravely was courageous enough. 

Maybe I will commit to a WOTY this year?  That would be brave.

Day 3: What is the earliest memory you have?

Getting chased by a jumping jack firecracker when I was about three.  I was wearing a red coat at the time. I still hate the colour red!

Day 5: What brings you joy in life?

I lift my Kaleidoscope towards the light 

What do I seek?

Twisting patterns and tumbling shapes

Behold the joyous colours  of my life.

Day 6: Why do you write?

Writing to me is a way to record my inner thoughts and to make sense of the feelings and thoughts that wander through my mind. The more I write the better I think and the more the creative juices flow. 

Day 7: Write a short story or poem about rain.

The first raindrops pattered gently onto the parched soil. An earthy aroma arose to assault her senses. She inhaled deeply. There it was. That illusive scent of musky dust  yet there was something else lingering in the air.

The rain sparked a memory of long ago when life was bountiful. a time when  leaves gleamed a soft light green.

The fat raindrops became heavier and more persistent. Rivulets of water grew to become streams. Flowing faster now, the streams began to fill the cracked earth. The earth took on a richer hue. Green shoots suddenly appeared where once there was dust. 

The drought was over. Life could begin anew. And with it came her sense of relief and renewal.

Day 9: What is the most memorable gift you have received?

A surprise visit from my Swedish son for the big 70th birthday.  He was back in New Zealand for just 6 days before departing  just before the country went into lockdown. It was the best kept secret and memorable gift I have ever had.

Day 10: Has a book changed your life?

All of the very many books I have read have changed my life. No way could I pick just one book. I am just addicted to reading.

Day 12: What chore do you find the most challenging to do?

That would be those repetitive housework chores. It’s not that challenging just really frustrating and repetitive. Other more pleasurable activities are way more challenging but they are not chores. Still I much prefer spending time and energy on something much more creative.

Maybe I can manage these prompts a daily basis from this day forward. That is not a chore but is still a challenge

WQ #1 Resolutions, Goals and Word of the Year

“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, “It will be happier.” The best way to predict the future is to create it. There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth…not going all the way, and not starting.” 

– Unknown

I used this quote for Sunday Stills Year in Review, and then it just came to me in a flash of inspiration.

Happiness just has to be my WOTY in 2023. 

It’s not that I am unhappy. It’s just that I wish to be more intentional in recognizing and showing gratitude for the gift of happiness in my life.

Being aware of one’s values helps people live authentically, which ultimately leads to sustainable happiness.—

Colleen Reilly, Forbes, 20 Dec. 2022

At Christmas time, the song I kept humming along with was “all I want for Christmas…… is for people everywhere to seek joy and happiness in their lives. 

Forget about the conspiracy theories. Stop scrolling through and down those social media rabbit holes – and find something positive and creative  to do with the time and energy you save yourself.

Some definitions…….

Happiness

aa state of well-being and contentment 

ba pleasurable or satisfying experience

Capturing these Fairy Terns was both pleasurable and satisfying

3 things that make people most happy are:

1.PLEASURE -doing things that you enjoy

2 ENGAGEMENT – feeling interested in your activities and connected to others

3 MEANING – feeling like what you do matters

And so I will take much pleasure in engaging and finding meaning in everything I do this year.

And…..

10 Keys that tend to make life happier and more fulfilling:

Giving           Do kind things for others

Relating        Connect with people

Exercising    Take care of your body

Awareness    Live life mindfully

Trying Out     Keep learning new things

Direction       Have goals to look forward to

Resilience     Find ways to bounce back

Emotions       Look for what’s good

Acceptance   Be comfortable with who you are

Meaning        Be part of something bigger

Together they spell GREAT DREAM

Courtesy of https://actionforhappiness.org

What are some other words for happy?

  • pleased.
  • delighted.
  • satisfied.
  • glad.
  • thankful.
  • thrilled.
  • joyful.
  • joyous

I think I will have plenty of choice for future goals and actions going forward.  

And just to leave you with an ear worm -have a listen to these lyrics.

Don’t Worry Be Happy

Song by Bobby McFerrin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWXUWepSak4

Some of the lyrics….

“Here’s a little song I wrote

You might want to sing it note for note

Don’t worry, be happy

In every life we have some trouble

But when you worry, you make it double

Don’t worry, be happy

Don’t worry, be happy now

Don’t worry (Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh) Be happy (Ooh-ooh-ooh) 

Don’t worry, be happy (Ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh) 

Don’t worry (Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh) Be happy (Ooh-ooh-ooh)

Don’t worry, be happy”

We can always find something to worry about. Don’t worry. Be happy.

And here they are- My goals, my WOTY, and my resolution – all wrapped up together.

2022 – What a Year that was!

“Instead of finishing the year strong, why don’t we finish the year soft? why don’t we finish the year restful and grateful for making it through yet another crazy cycle on earth?”

Unknown

So 2022 was a hard year. To ease the stresses of storms, road closures and health issues, I decided to create a space for art in my life. 

Photography 

I struggled with my phojo most of the year – well after our 7 weeks caravanning around the South Island.  We travelled from January to early March and ticked off some bucket list items. 

From a visit to Rakiura/Stewart Island to exploring amazing seascapes in the Caitlins, and the majestic waterfalls of the Milford Sound ,we loved it all. Here is a sample of the places I photographed.

Visiting family and friends as we road- tripped around was so good. 

There is always a great selection of birdlife in the bush or on the beach.

April and May were calm and  the weather was relatively settled. I managed to photograph the alignment of the planets in May.  And I was very excited to capture the total lunar eclipse photos in November.

Then winter set in.  June, July, August were wet, wet, wet, and cold, cold, cold.

Little did we realize that the winter months were going to be such a challenge. A very wet winter culminated in a particularly ferocious ‘atmospheric river’ in August. 

“Atmospheric rivers are massive plumes of moisture that move from the tropics to the mid-latitudes. Weather experts describe this week’s atmospheric river as an exceptional winter event, long lasting, with a very anomalously large moisture content.”

“The weather event has involved more than 300mm of rain falling across the top of the South Island in 24 hours.”

Our roads were closed, there was no public access  and very little communication from the local council. 

We did receive some urgent medications from the emergency services although some urgent dental appointments required a scary trip out over  the ravaged roads which were still being repaired after the 2021 storm event. This was much, much worse.

When we had an urgent trip to Nelson for emergency dentist appointments,  I found a different beach to photograph  Even this beach also shows the erosion caused by the recent stormy  weather.  Building driftwood huts is an ongoing activity around here.

There was severe damage to many properties but the roads had born the brunt of the damage.  We had no power, internet or phone access for five days.  We could only get our water from one garden tap that didn’t rely on power to run the pump.  Thankfully, we could also still flush the toilet!

Our food was rapidly thawing in our powerless freezers so we cooked either on our little gas canister cooker or on the bbq. Romantic candlelight dinners for two became our daily routine. 

In hindsight, this was to be life-changing for us.

Creative activities:

June/July – ICAD 61/61 (index card a day artwork)

Participated in and completed Inktober 2022

December doodling got off to a colourful start but my mojo fizzled. 

Instead, I took some time out to create a costume for the Sci Fi quiz theme at the local Tavern. What to wear??  I decided the answer had to be 42:  Life, the universe and everything. I made a lighted galaxy skirt, a universe headband, and a DON’T PANIC aka The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It was a fun night  although our team didn’t win. The Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster was strong yet delicious.

I am not sure why I love dressing up as various characters but once every month or two our local tavern hosts a themed quiz night. Over this year I have been the Scarlet Witch, a Mexican dancer and the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything – #42

Also in December, we loved attending our granddaughters’ dance show The Wizard of Oz. They both performed brilliantly. They were dancing jazz and hip hop. The whole academy of dance was full of variety and all were  such a joy to watch. The tap dancing, the Irish jigs, the hip hop and the jazz all told the classic story of Dorothy and friends. 

Our eldest granddaughter finished primary school. It was wonderful to attend her Leavers Assembly and watch her so confidently perform the actions to  the school Pride song.  We are very proud of her. She is such a great all- round achiever. Hard to imagine she is off to college next year.

Books read: Total books year to date – 83.

Reviewing my book reading lists, I have realised that I have had a particular leaning towards scifi, fantasy, crime thrillers and time travel. Some books I have read this year have included many of these themes in the storylines. . A great form of escapism for me. 

Life Events:

November and December 2022 were busy and anxious months.  

Preoccupied with a concerning health issue – X-rays, ultrasound and punch biopsy. a nervous waiting time for results…..  At last came the good news – no cancer cells detected. Now just a bit more waiting for that surgical review. At least my stress levels have lessened (for now).

At last I felt that I could plan and prepare for Christmas.  

Our road is still closed to public use and for ’residents and essesntial services only’ but we were expecting our ‘non- resident’ families to arrive en masse anyway. They are ‘essential services’ to us as they arrived to spend a Christmas summer here. 

We are practicing just a little bit of civil disobedience as we are so frustrated by the council’s uncommunicative attitude to supporting those of us still in limbo since the August storm.  

After months of waiting for safe access, it only took three weeks for the trucks and bulldozers to clear the muddy slips and do a little bit of patching up. The road is at least driveable now.

In true bureaucratic form, next year….  they will do a ‘scoping’ strategic review BEFORE they do any real planning or scheduling to actually fix the roads. This could take years even though they have prioritized and fixed most of the rest of the 600+ kilometers of damaged roads in other areas.

It’s been depressing and frustrating. We want to enjoy our lives again without worrying every time it rains. We don’t have that many years left and our mental health is already suffering, so… 

We have made the hard decision to sell up and move into town.

The signs are up. It’s official – the house is on the market. Now to see how quickly it sells. Falling house prices and rising interest rates do not bode well but we have to hope the sunshine weather will bring out the interested buyers. 

In the meantime, we are enjoying a hot summer – and our visiting families. 2 awesome sons, 2 great daughter -in- laws and 5 amazing grandchildren – oh and the 3 grand-dogs.  It’s such a pity that our third son is unable to visit from Sweden. 

We have  been  swimming, boating, fishing, making a driftwood reindeer, moon photography, gardening and games – lots of games. Cards, corn hole, board games, bbqs, and maybe some wine times. And  we partied the rest of the year away with a bonfire, fireworks  and roasted marshmallows.

And so we say farewell to a challenging  2022.

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves. 

Bill Vaughan

Me? I just wanted to party with my family with a beach bonfire (did I already mention the marshmallows? It was indeed a ‘soft’ ending to a fraught and heavy year. 

“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, “It will be happier.” The best way to predict the future is to create it. There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth…not going all the way, and not starting”

Let us hope that 2023 brings exciting adventures, peace, happiness, love and laughter to ever

Sunday Stills – Paths and Trails of the Earth, the Sun and the Moon

TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE 8/9 November 2022 

What an amazing evening out watching the full moon blaze a red trail across the night sky. 

I was a little late getting set up after arriving home from quiz night. It was the first time since the August storm, that I had been brave enough to drive on our broken road at night time. It was wonderful to see my team mates again. We didn’t win the quiz but we had such a grand catch up, that it didn’t really matter. 

After 12 weeks, at last the road crews have arrived to clear some mud and lay some gravel over the ditches and cracks. It felt safer to drive. The muddy trail out is slowly becoming a road again.

And so it begins:

The moon peeked above the tree line and shine brightly in the night. 

9.45pm: I had set up the camera tripod within a metre of the beach front where the high tide was gently lapping the seashore. The only sound was the occasional call of the morepork owl, and the sudden splash of little fish. 

For once, the clouds, wind and rain had stayed away. 

As the Earth’s penumbra started touching the moon’s face, it started to darken almost imperceptibly.   Over the next  half hour as the moon traversed its path across the night sky, the effects became more obvious. 

I put together this composite of the Penumbral eclipse phase. (That took me longer to do than watching the whole eclipse.)

By 10.09pm, the Partial Eclipse  phase began as the shadow crept over the bright moon. 

I set my intervalometer to shoot every 3 minutes as the moon moves it’s own diameter across the sky every two minutes. 

A bonus were the meteors I spotted although they were either streaking in the wrong direction or appeared when the shutter was closed! It gave me something else to look for whilst I waited patiently for totality though. 

As the moon continued traversing its pathway across the sky, I had to recompose every 15 minutes to keep it in the camera frame. I layered some of the phases to show the progression.

A quick change of battery  before the main event – then…. Totality.

Total Lunar Eclipse

11.16Totality begins

And right on time the moon disappeared into the blackness of the night sky. Just a faint rim of light remained.

11.21.  I adjusted my settings and I was so excited to see the red glowing moon appear on the back of the camera, and above me. 

Then the stars started to pop out to frame the blood moon.

11.24 Totality yet with so many stars popping out of the dark  as they trailed across the sky.

I took my time and played around with exposure settings again.  When I wasn’t busy readjusting my composition, I had time to marvel at the magical sight of the total lunar eclipse. 

Jupiter, Venus,Saturn,Orion and Matariki were glittering all-around the inky black sky.  Later Mars arose low to the horizon too. It was a galaxy  of planets on their individual pathways around the world. le, that red moon kept glowing.

12.41am: Total Lunar Eclipse ends

12.43. Partial eclipse #2

The rim of light started to reappear quite quickly.  And with it came a sudden change in the chill factor. I noticed it had become very cold.  Still I was determined to wait out the all phases of the  eclipse. BUT…. 

The next set of images looked a little strange. I fiddled again with my settings. What was happening here? 

I checked the back of the camera. Oops. There was a foggy circle of colour surrounding the partially

eclipsed moon.  ( in hindsight maybe I should have checked my lens  hadn’t fogged up.) 

I totally  thought I must have ‘mist’ it.

It looked kind of spooky in an abstract kind of way. I tried once more. It was getting much colder. I liked this abstract but it wasn’t part of my plan. 

Could I hold out another hour? Yeah nah. I gave up! 

I  carried my gear across the lawn, nearly tripping over a little hedgehog out for its nocturnal stroll. 

I tiptoed quietly into the house, turned on my electric blanket and crawled into bed. 

My lunar eclipse adventure was over but that partially eclipsed moon was still up there taunting me through the window as I lay awake wishing on a star.

WQW #39 Air: Wind, Storms – the winds of change

It’s useful to have storms in our lives every so often as a reminder to start something new

– Unknown

Over the last two winters,  we have endured floods and storms which have resulted in long term road closures. Not only were we locked down with the COVID pandemic, but the damaged roads locked us in as well. 

Just as the July 2021 roadworks were almost completed, then came the August 2022 storm.

Marlborough Sounds has suffered huge damage across much of the rural roading network. 

Our road is once again closed to all traffic except essential services. Whilst we have an acknowledgment from the insurance company that our car will be covered should we have a mishap, it is still a hazardous trip out each week as we drive through for medical appointments, essential groceries and gas bottle refills.

Priority is being given to major transit links like the state highways and their alternative routes, and the three Fs (fishing, farming and forestry). Apparently the residents are less important than industry.  

There is no respite in sight as the local council have not yet decided how much of our road will actually been fixed and reopened. This is frustrating and disappointing to say the least. 

There is water access to some parts of the Sounds and there are some subsidies available for water taxis and barges but this is still a huge financial cost, and for us it is impractical. Our beach is too shallow for landing supplies via barge and it is very difficult if not impossible to wade ashore carrying 18kg gas bottles and groceries. So, we risk the broken closed roads instead.

No longer am I willing to negotiate driving this road at night so I am missing my fortnightly quiz nights at the local tavern, and any social occasions with friends and family. Life is a bit grim. 

We feel very isolated so it is time for a change. My motivation is sadly lacking just now but it is something I seriously need to grasp onto as we begin to make some life changing decisions. It has been a time for reflection and lots of introspection. Taking time to listen to the winds of change blowing insistently in our heads and hearts.

When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.

Chinese proverbs 
Bremen windmill

After 30 years we are reluctantly planning to sell our beautiful beachfront property and move into town whilst we are still fit and healthy enough to cope with all that entails. This has been, and still is a heart-wrenching decision for us. 


Life is too short to do anything that doesn’t light a fire inside of you. 

I’m just not yet sure if moving into urban life is going to light the fire? And yet, staying here is no longer lighting my fire either!

The first steps have begun. We have told the family. Our house is on the market.. It might take time to sell so hopefully we may get to enjoy our last summer of beach life.  And, we are looking at house plans with a view to building our new home. Individual preferences are already proving to be a challenge so there will be some stormy discussions ahead. 

 Life is about to get more interesting.  Watch this space!

Never lose hope. Storms make people stronger and never last forever. 

Roy T. Bennett

WQW #36 September Equinox- at last it is Springtime!

‘Is the spring coming?’ he said. “What is it like?…”

 ‘It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…’” — 

Frances Hodgson Burnett

“The astronomical spring equinox is a precise moment in time and this year it was at 1:03pm NZST, Friday September 23. So, according to astronomy, this is a naturally occurring event during which the centre of the sun appears to cross over the celestial equatorial line of the earth. In layman terms, one can say that an equinox occurs when the sun switches sides from one hemisphere of the earth to the other.”

To mark the occasion, Mother Nature choose to remind us of her forceful personality. A 5.8 earthquake rumbled and shook central New Zealand, centred in the northeast of Marlborough Sounds, about 51 km deep in the  Cook Strait, .  Fortuitously, there appears to be no further damage to the cracked roads. 

Enough is enough, I say!  Over August and into September, we have had more than our share of rain resulting in floods, slips and slumps which resulted in further road damage even more significantly damaging than last year’s July weather event. 

Road closures are still a major issue as we struggle to access medical care and essential supplies by risking the drive through the fractured roads.  Whilst there is no light at the end of this particular road ’tunnel’,  thankfully, there are spring flowers blooming amidst the raindrops.

At last it is our turn to enjoy the warmth of the spring weather.  Let’s hope it’s a good one and that the damaged roads will be repaired as the earth dries out. 

The raspberry canes are growing leaves,  the freesias are flowering. 

The fruit trees are blossoming. The Tui are sipping the nectar from the kowhai flowers.

Spring has sprung at last. Hope springs eternal.