Bloganuary Catch-up – first week!

#2 Road trips – Wherever the road leads is where we will go.

Any road trip that does not depend on negotiating our own rural road (currently closed to the public)  is totally welcome these days.

The very best road trip I would love to take is around my own country which is probably well overdue.  I have been on a lot of road trips in other countries and some of these I would love to repeat. However there are many roads in my own country I have yet to explore. 

The North Island of New Zealand has so many choices! Should we travel the most direct route to Auckland, through the central North Island on State Highway One, enjoying the mountain views of Tongariro, Ruapehu, and Ngauruhoe, past Lake Taupo  and into the geyser land of Rotorua, or should we meander slowly along the West coast past Mt Taranaki, then head on the Forgotten Highway into the inland countryside.

The Coromandel on the East Coast is another long and winding road I have yet to travel so plenty of options.  Once past Auckland city there is Northland to explore.

From Cape Reinga in the top of the North Island to Bluff at the bottom of the South Island, not only would I love to take this road trip, it is very definitely on the plan.  

For now, we will complete a full circuit of the South Island this summer. From the top of the south we will go on our road trip to the East and West coasts, traversing the inland routes to the mountains and lakes, from the coastline to the Canterbury Plains, and hopefully reach the bottom of the South Island before returning as the summer days cool into Autumn evenings. We will go wherever the weather is kind and the road leads us. 

#3 Write about the last (first) time you left your comfort zone.

When the heart starts beating rapidly it is time. Don’t think about what others might think, just speak. Believe that the words will come. Sage advice given to this nervous first time public speaker many years ago. 

Standing up and speaking my mind was a scary thing to do. It’s not that I didn’t have words to say. It’s just that I felt too strongly about what my words meant to me. Where else would or could the words come from if not from my heart. And yet they resisted.

Where are the pages of my notes? What if my voice croaks? What if they laugh at me?My fears threatened to overcome me. Who else has felt that fear? 

Hidden deep within the hidden  tunnels and crevices of my beating heart, I felt them start to stir. With each surge they got stronger. The words were on their way. 
It’s true that we speak when our heart is in our mouth. I hummed to myself…,

“Drums keep pounding rhythm to my brain.  And the beat goes on! “

Then I thought; What  is the worst that can happen?  I set aside those notes. Just breathe. Just do it. And I did.   My heartfelt words found their way. And it was good. 

4 What is something you wish you knew how to do?

If only I could keep on task and actually respond to these daily prompts and write every day!  

#5 What was your favorite toy as a child?

Is it sad that I can’t remember what my favourite toy was?

 Reading books is how I spent much of my childhood time. I did have the obligatory doll or two however  I have fonder memories of the great outdoors building huts and swimming at the beach than playing with an actual toy.

My first camera at the tender age of 10 became my favourite ‘toy’ instead.  Not much has changed for me, except my age, the camera (and book)technology of course.  These days it is a digital camera or iPhone instead of that Brownie Starlet – and the Kindle for the reading might just be my favourite toy!

The starlet that started it all

First Camera

The starlet that started it all

A stroke of luck, a winning ticket and my first camera was purchased with the winnings.  Nine pound to a nine year old was a substantial amount of money in 1959.  I knew exactly what I wanted to buy – a camera. 

And just like that,  I was on my way to a lifelong passion for photography. Little did I know it then, but this was the start of my journey in photography.

That little Brownie Starlet film camera was my pride and joy. My first subjects were the family pets – a black and white cat called Kiwi, and a German shepherd pup named Scamp.  

I remember taking a photo of my sister who had been tricked into standing alongside a tree where someone had draped a dead snake, and just as I pressed the shutter, I had someone say – oh no there’s a snake!  She screamed and I snapped her reaction. 
I had such fun with my camera. Everywhere I went, the camera came too. Thus started the habit of a lifetime. 

Black Beauty
My first riding lesson on Chunkette

Yes even to the riding stables where my other passion lived. A black mare, Chunkette was her name. My friend and I had our first riding lessons on a pair of racehorses. Adjutant was the big chestnut gelding, but the little black mare was my favourite. Probably she reminded me of Black Beauty. She was quite small so it was much easier to clamber on her back and learn how to walk, trot and then canter.  She had a gentle nature and I loved spending time with her.  She was very photogenic too. 

Chunkette in her stable
My first favourite racehorse

Riding racehorses
Racehorse riding lessons

I quickly expanded my subjects to include family members, school friends, horses and crocodiles. As a child I lived in Malaya for two years so I had a wide variety of new experiences and sights to record. 

I developed my love for photography as I strolled around. Once the film roll was finished, I had to endure a lengthy wait  before I could see  the developed and printed pictures . This was made even more difficult as I had to wait till my next week’s pocket money was in my pocket too. My pocket money was spent on developing and printing those first humble attempts.

Many years later, I was wandering in a camera store in Singapore, and there was the exact same camera model. Wonderful childhood memories flooded back and once again, I was that young girl with her very first camera capturing the wonders of the world around her. 
I wonder whatever did happen to that first camera. I hope that whoever used it next had as many fun-filled adventures with it as I had.