Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sundays in October

October is a month of conflict. My birthday lands smack in the middle, and my thanks to whanau and friends who celebrated with me at a variety of times and places this year. The problem is it falls in a busy time of the year and looming deadlines are ever present. Back in my Teachers' College and university days, October was exam time. Now, in teaching, it's all about report writing. We are already two weeks into what is shaping up to be a very busy term. Most of the records and testing updates are completed and now the writing of reports is underway. I devoted all of yesterday, but as my teaching colleagues know, it takes considerable time to craft each report into a document worthy of each child and their unique strengths and needs. At least another two Saturdays will be needed in addition to what I can fit in during the weeks. My blogging has taken a back seat, but this is just a hiatus and it will be back at full strength again soon, I hope. It really is an absorbing and satisfying interest.

But Sundays remain mine, all mine. The Sunday paper in bed morning ritual cannot be compromised. For the last two weeks I have also enjoyed a meal out and a movie. I can recommend both the movies.

Last week's was a documentary about the Jerusalem community up the Whanganui river. Although I grew up in Whanganui, I have never been to Jerusalem. As a child, I do remember my Father's anger and disgust as the local paper detailed the goings-on in James K. Baxter's commune - tales of depravity and drugs in the hippy haven. Reading about Baxter and enjoying his poetry a few years later, I think it would have been an interesting place to know more about and wish I had taken a bit more notice at the time, and had at some stage visited the area when it was so close. The movie was about the present day, centering on the lives of the local nuns, families and school. See it.

Today's movie was a preview screening of The Sessions, which opens in early November. This was closely based on the true story of a writer and poet, Mark O'Brien. It was brilliant - a great cast and an absorbing story. See it.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


What a pleasant break in Sydney. All goals were achieved, including the original purpose of the trip which involved a lovely day meeting my aunt and taking the ferry to Manley for a day together.

A high tea cruise on the harbour was a great way to slip into holiday mode on day one.

The daily stroll through the botanical gardens to the city afforded great views as the city woke up each day . . .

. . . followed by thick buttery fruit toast at Circular Quay while people watching as the ferries unloaded the workers and tourists.

The twilight bridge climb was absolutely brilliant. The sun set as we climbed until we were viewing the city at night from the top, with fireworks in the harbour as the final bonus. I took the photo below from the top of the  bridge pylon above, on another day. Each climbing group becomes a set of ants on the huge structure.

And like all good holidays there was a good smattering of eating, drinking and shopping.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Sapphires

A trip to the Lighthouse this afternoon. Great movie - storyline and music excellent. See it if you can. A perfect cultural segue into further posts with themes from the big country. This time tomorrow it should be drinkies by the harbour and shopping, shopping, shopping. And so to pack ...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Capital Times

I spent the day in this capital little town. It was bustling on the main street, which is in the process of being upgraded with the obligatory paving that New Zealand councils seem currently to favour. New shops have opened and travellers using the re-opened Manawatu Gorge will find it worthwhile to stop. My approach was from the Wairarapa side, so I viewed the full expanse of wind turbines covering the hilltops.

My hosts are big fans of this project. Personally, I find the sheer number and size of the wind turbines ugly and spookily Orwellian in appearance. But we didn't debate this topic. Instead we tucked into birthday cake and celebrated another lucky recipient receiving a Gold Card*.

 * Passport to the good life, between the hours of nine and three. Please, may it still be there for me. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Six Minutes in Wainuiomata

Just like a new car, well in smell at least because it was liberally sprayed with 'new car' fragrance.
That's how long you get with the super sucky vacuum cleaner for the remarkably reasonable price of $2 at the BP.  This is the location a friend recommended a few years back, and though I believe other petrol stations may have similar facilities I'm reluctant to test the theory. Apparently, as the advertising industry can attest, New Zealanders are remarkably brand loyal and hard to re-educate. So, if my car is getting a vacuum - approximately every one to two years - I head to Wainuiomata. And so it was on Saturday (only my second visit but a habit nonetheless) - the first day of the holidays. This happy event had obviously made me just a little more daringly light-headed, because I then threw caution to the wind and tried something I had never dreamed I would be brave enough to attempt - the car wash. 

The scene from within.
I'm proud to say I managed the whole process all by myself. It was an interesting experience - very similar to that funny feeling when your train is next to another and you can't tell which is the one moving. A couple of times I hit the brakes thinking my car was rolling away, but it was the car wash rolling over me. It's very disorienting.
Safely out the other side - why is there still bird shit on the window?
I'm a convert. It's as close to a perfect clean as my car is ever likely to get, even in the unlikely event I actually got out a bucket and hose at home. I look forward to my next visit, vacuum and wash, probably sometime in 2014.