Friday, May 29, 2009

I got a Nikon camera, I love to take a photograph so mama don't take my kodachrome away

I'm not sure if you've ever bothered to dip into the link I have to the Guardian's '24 hours in pictures' yet but these two from yesterday are stunning. First - Sultanwas, Pakistan: Sarmil Khan and his daughter Faryal sit next to the rubble of their house destroyed in an air strike

And - South Korean school children practising for a nuclear attack from North Korea

Sobering images!

So I'm packing my bags for the Misty Mountains where the spirits go now, over the hills where the spirits fly

A quick post to welcome back Jesse to Aotearoa (seen here in his favourite kiwifruit shirt)...

...and share another evening shot of the misty mountain - over the hills where the spirits fly...

Love and peace - W

Friday, May 22, 2009

Born a poor young country boy, mother nature's son

I have returned home from this morning's football (1-0 loss to New Plymouth Boys' High School's Under 15s) and leap into the tractor saddle for some harrowing. It's a beautiful crisp morning. A southerly is pushing clouds up against the mountain. They push past and head up the coast towards Mokau. The southerly brings the frigid air straight from Antarctica. It dumps snow on the Remarkables in the South Island before heading our way. I wear a beanie, scarf and old clothes to harrow. I have my camera with me. The tractor is out of petrol so I need to return to the house. Along the way I am distracted by the leaves that have fallen from a tree near the garage. I take pictures, thinking about the journey of the maple leaf from the Buddhist poet, thinking about the film Jacky and I saw last night - Defiance. It's about four brothers who lead a growing group of Jews to safety during World War 2. It has haunted me since last night. Jacky is out with the horses trying out saddles and the leaves are still falling. I try to get a picture of a fantail that plops onto a branch above my head - maybe the photo will come out. I return to the tractor and enjoy my session of cleaning horse paddocks. I finish just as the cold grey southerlies bunch up and threaten snow. It is cold. The southerly is beginning to bite. I load up some wood for the fire and head inside. A hot cup of tea and a plan to read more of my latest Guardian Weekly is interrupted by the need to write. I put on the second side (yes vinyl) of Pink Floyd's album 'More'. It is the perfect soundtrack. When the side finishes I repeat it. I sit down at the computer and download my photos from this morning. I start writing...

Time for another cuppa. Love and peace - W
P.S Try for a companion Nature piece.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

And then a hero comes along

Found a groovy superhero site where you can create your own idealised superhero. Here I am as Wozza-Won Veridi the mighty (jedi) gifted knight. Note the grey hair and handsome chiselled features, those rugged good looks and bulging biceps! The likeness is uncanny!!! If you want to have a play go to it was wet and freezing and I had to 10 minutes in the library to kill while on duty...really)

Love and peace - W-W V

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Oh the weather outside is frightful but the fire is so delightful, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

The little weather pixie for today is saying it's sunny, and he's right, but it's brrrrrrr cold. Last night we had snow down to Stratford (312m above sea level according to Wikipedia) so we definitely got snow too (we're about another 50m up). Of course Jacky and Jade had to go out and dance around in the flurries. Yes - that's them in their pjs and dressing gowns. The white speck bits are the snowflakes and as you can see - a fair amount had fallen to accumulate on the ground.

This morning I took a few snaps of the mountain (Opie is rugged up warmly in the foreground) - yes it's that time of the year when you get snow on the mountain scenes. We never get sick of seeing the mountain in all of its various moods so I hope that holds for you too. I loved the cloud that hovered and shaded some of the snow fields in these pictures.

Apart from that not much has been happening - Samantha had her 20th birthday a weekend ago (16 May), Jacky has begun work at Hawera hospital on a casual basis, and a new horse (aforementioned Opie) has arrived and one gone (Midas) - are you keeping up? Apart from that it's been fairly quiet.

Dad sent us a care package recently with a DVD of cartoons and the kiwi movie "Second Hand Wedding'. I must admit I wouldn't have seen this unless dad had sent it. I'm always a bit wary of the wedding movie. Let's see - off the top of my head/no goggling involved I can think of The Wedding Singer, The Wedding Planner, the Father of the Bride franchise, Greek weddings, Aussie weddings, Samoan weddings and now NZ weddings. The format is fine I guess, but it's a bit of a cliche - the trials and tribulations of the bride, family tensions etc etc etc. But Second Hand Wedding is good. It rang try in a real kiwiana way (as much as 'The Castle' rings true for Australiana). It's certainly no masterpiece but the ending (of course it's the actual wedding that climaxes the film) blindsided me and I felt myself getting involved emotionally with the characters. Quite a neat feat that for a filmmaker. Worth a peek, especially if you want a looksee at what makes us kiwis kiwis.

Monday, May 11, 2009

From Rochdale to Ocho Rios, from Ocho Rios to Dorking, from Dorking it's back to Rochdale

This is a special appreciation post for Rochdale, Lancashire. I love Rochdale.

I love the drive to it from Ramsbottom/Bury (see right) - up some twisty roads and undulating country and then down, down into Rochdale and its terraced houses, neighbourhood pubs and on into the city centre. The photo below shows that descent into the outskirts.

Here are some images of the town - some sundry views, the town hall, an aerial view of the city centre with some horrible high rise apartments blocks that I don't love, and some of those terraces:

I love the personal history associated with Rochdale - it's where my grandfather (Harry Purdy) was born, where my great grandfather (William Nugent Purdy) was born, where he married his first wife (Emma) and had three children (James died in infancy, my grandfather and Edward who is Suzanne's grandfather). It's the place they left for a new life in the southern hemisphere (William married his second wife in NSW, Australia and even she was from Rochdale!).

I love the mystery of Rochdale. I have no idea why William and Emma decided to leave Rochdale and travel to the other side of the world. He left all of his family behind to do this - generations of Purdys had lived and worked in Rochdale as master plasterers/labourers:

His father - James Purdy
and his father - Joseph Purdy
and his father - Jacob Purdy - and no one knows why they left.

The picture on the right is of some Rochdale pioneers . It's an image from the Rochdale museum that has stayed with me after I saw it in 2003 and I often wonder about the people behind the image and how they figure in the branches of their own family trees. Similar photos I have of my Rochdale family look very similar in appearance.

The Rochdale football team is obviously close to my heart as well. As soon as I was old enough to learn about how Rochdale fitted into my DNA I began to follow the fortunes of Rochdale AFC. For what seems like the last 300 years the team has been at the bottom of the football league. In the old days there were four divisions. Rochdale AFC were always anchored a few places about bottom of the 4th Division. These days we have the premier league/the championship and Division 1 and Division 2. And we've been largely in the same location. Until....about two years ago when somehow we made the playoffs last year at Wembley. Inconceivable! We lost at Wembley...but then this year we finished high enough to try for the playoffs - those are the Gillingham games I mentioned a few posts ago. Sadly we didn't quite make it but there is always next season. These photos come from Spotland during the first leg. Many thanks to Christine who was there!! This is the view Christine has, from her possie in the stand, looking to her left,

and then looking up the pitch to the right.

Back to the mystery of Rochdale - this is a picture of assistant Manager Dave Flitcroft. He was brought on as substitute, and as Christine tells me "came on as sub in last match of season - no one knows why - never has before".

And finally - here is the aforementioned Christine.

Love and peace - W

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Snowflakes are falling, I'll catch them in my hands...

I wasn't intending on two posts in one day but we've just come back from a drive up the mountain. The weather was stunning and it was snowing so, of course, Jacky has to dance around in the snow and drag me out of a nice warm car. The first photos are just before we got in the car - as you can see, it was quite sunny. The snowline is just above the carpark.

On the way out of the driveway I took this one of the autumn leaves in the sunshine.

By the time we got to the carpark on the mountain the cloud rolled over the peak and the sleet was just starting and then the snow began to fall and just like in the David Gray song I've quoted from in the title - the snowflakes were caught in our hands. That's Jacky disappearing into the snowy murk and just before she came back and dragged me out of the car.

Love and peace and snowflakes - W

Like the north wind whistling down the sky, I've got a song

It's the weekend and I found some time to take some more photos of the animals and things - will get to them in a sec. The photo left is of our front door. Shock horror probe I know but it's taken from where the pine trees were that I chopped down a few posts ago.

The eagle eyed amongst you will have seen the weather pixie with his brollie out all week - some torrential downpours (about half an hour ago) have been mixed in with lovely sun drenched weather (right now). Yesterday my boys' football team had their second game. Last week we got hammered!! Much closer yesterday - a three all draw. I ref'd the first half - crisp beautiful sunny morning when I started, then after 10 minutes a terrific cold blast of wind and blizzard conditions!! Weird.

This morning's photos followed the same pattern - when I started nice and sunny but I could see a huge black raincloud envelop the mountain and then head towards us.

While I was taking this photo I noticed two desire paths, one that the sheep had made down to the pond (in complete contrast to the track I take around the trees - they'd made a desire path through them). The other path was originally made by us going down to the chook house and the sheep have adopted it. Fascinating stuff eh. Where else would you get this kind of gold? Here they are (sheep one first)
I decided to try and showcase a different clutch of animals today. First - the horses. We have a guest - Midas is a very cute little pony - cheeky and extremely inquisitive. First photo is Kash (note the correct spelling please Jacky), then Kash and Midas sniffing around a feed bin and then Midas close up.
Last week I had Bazil featured and Finn got upset so here he is with his smart new haircut, inside and outside (including his 'say please' cutsey act.

...and here's Jacky's horse Charlie being ridden by Aimee (she also happens to be in my sixth form English class). He won lots of ribbons as you can all see.

In case you haven't caught up with the news - Rochdale and Gillingham drew 0 - 0 in the first leg. Come on the Dale! Second game is in the coming week. Look out for a special Rochdale themed post next week to celebrate (whateva happens).

Love and peace (and understanding) - W