Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thematic Photographic: Vehicluar, Etc

I took a lot of photos in October, when I was attempting to post a photo a day, so I hunted through them for "extras" for this week's theme. The vintage Harley Davidson was on display in New Regent Street, a Spanish Mission style street of shops in the centre of Christchurch, during Heritage Week.

The tram does a regular tourist circuit around the centre of Christchurch. Seen here in front of the Old Government Buildings, now converted into the Heritage Hotel. Ironically, this wing, the old wing of the hotel, survived the earthquakes due to strengthening work in the 1990s, but the new wing is still closed due to earthquake damaged, and I believe is likely to be demolished.

Finally, this shot because in Christchurch you are never very far from heavy earth moving machinery. (One day, all the road and sewer repairs will be finished, but not just yet...)

For more vehicular photos, visit Carmi's blog here.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Tuesday Poem: The Will

The Will

My father left me a boat:
The old red dinghy, slab-sided,
paint peeling, barely afloat.

Summers in the harbour
we sat, three small children
across the stern, one in the bow.
Older, we swam from bay to bay
in deep water, knowing
ourselves to be safe, my father
alongside in the dinghy, rowing.

My father left me a boat.
Sometimes when I falter,
reach for solid ground,
I think I hear his voice -
"Nearly there. Keep going!"
My father nearby
in his coffin boat, rowing,

- Catherine Fitchett

In the early twentieth century, and before that, it was common in wills for specific objects to be listed and bequeathed - a famous example being Shakespeare's second best bed which he left to his wife, Anne Hathaway. This poem was written prompted by an exercise in which we were to imagine something that might have been left to us. In fact, the family dinghy had rotted away and been dumped long before my father died, but the prompt allowed me another (much more concise) way to explore material that I had long ago attempted, and failed, to explore poetically.

"The Will" is included in the 2014 New Zealand Poetry Society Anthology "Take Back Our Sky" which launched recently.

For more Tuesday Poems, visit the main hub site

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tuesday Poem: Birds' Nests, by John Clare

Birds' Nests

How fresh the air the birds how busy now
In every walk if I but peep I find
Nests newly made or finished all and lined
With hair and thistle down and in the bough
Of little awthorn huddled up in green
The leaves still thickening as the spring gets age
The Pinks quite round and snug and closely laid
And linnets of materials loose and rough
And still hedge sparrow moping in the shade
Near the hedge bottom weaves of homely stuff
Dead grass and mosses green an hermitage
For secresy and shelter rightly made
And beautiful it is to walk beside
The lanes and hedges where their homes abide.

John Clare (1793-1864)

I've been intrigued with John Clare since reading Adam Foulds' Booker nominated novel, The Quickening Maze which includes Clare, along with Alfred, Lord Tennyson, among its protagonists. John Clare was born in Northamptonshire and was an agricultural labourer, but also a very prolific nature poet. I have taken the above poem from a recently acquired volume, "The Poetry of Birds" edited by Simon Armitage and Tim Dee. They note in the foreword that Clare wrote about 147 different species of birds. Quite an accomplishment. Sadly, he ended his days in a lunatic asylum.

I copied the poem quite carefully, so the odd spellings "awthorn" and "secresy" as far as I can tell are the original spellings used by the poet.

I took the photo at the head of the post a month or two back, I loved the way that the elongated leaf hangs delicately by a thread from this nest that I found in our yard. So I decided that this poem was a great excuse to use the photo.

For more Tuesday Poems visit the main hub site

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

In the Round

I've been meaning to post these photos for a while. When we travel to the North Island, we like to stop at the Lava Glass Studio just north of Lake Taupo. On our most recent visit, we found they had added a glass sculpture garden (where photography is allowed, unlike the rules inside the actual gallery).

Carmi's Thematic Photographic theme, round and round this week gave me the excuse I needed to post some of the rounder pieces of sculpture.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tuesday Poem: The Wild Swans at Coole, by W B Yeats

The Wild Swans at Coole

The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.

The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All's changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.

Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake's edge or pool
Delight men's eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?

W B Yeats (1865-1939)

The image above is an installation for Festa - the Christchurch Festival of Transitional Architecture. A line from a Yeats poem floating on the Avon river by the water wheel near the Worcester Street bridge. There was also an event at the weekend, which I didn't attend, where participants could write their own "words on water" - I'm not sure what with, but apparently the words would evaporate eventually, whereas the Yeats installation looks a bit more permanent.

I had initially thought Yeats must be a misprint for Keats, given that it is Keats who has as his epitaph "here lies one whose name was writ in water". But I found when I googled the line that it was indeed Yeats, from this lovely poem "The Wilds Swans at Coole".

For more Tuesday Poems, visit the main hub site.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Quilt Progress

It was the last day of a long weekend today. Instead of getting out and about in pursuit of photos, I spent the day at home - kitchen, gardening, writing and putting together the blocks for the quilt I am making for our king sized bed. It's a bit big to get the whole thing in one photo, given that it is held together mainly with pins. Now that I have all the blocks laid out, I will be able to get all the rows joined together, making it a lot easier to handle. I couldn't do that until I had all the edge triangles in place, as if I joined the long strips of rows together, there would be awkward angles left at the ends. There are a couple of borders to go on yet, but those will be just long straight pieces.

The walls of our bedroom are painted a sort of pale, greyed minty green. The paua shell fabric that I am using for the borders has the green in it, also purple, browns and other colours, so I have taken the colours from that fabric.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


This was another Festa event, this time for children - the opportunity to build a city out of Jello. It was all rather small-scale and low-key, but very colourful. The children that were there when I looked in seemed to be having a good time.

Festa on Saturday Night

Festa is the Festival of Transitional Architecture, which is a yearly event in Christchurch since the earthquakes. This year's big drawcard was Cityups, in which architecture students transformed two blocks of the city with lit up structures, there was dancing, night markets, street volleyball, illuminated carts to race and various other entertainments. It probably couldn't happen anywhere else - where would you find so much empty space in the middle of a city?

When I saw that Carmi's Thematic Photographic theme for the week was night, I knew I wanted to wait for this event before posting my contribution.

The structures were built with all sorts of novel materials - this one is blue water-filled balloons, which kept moving. I have better focussed shots, but I quite liked the effect of this one.

The structure on the left is constructed of plastic bottles, and the one on the right of road cones.

A busker dancing with lit torches. (Long exposure, so she has disappeared!)

The Strange's building is one of the earliest new buildings built since the earthquakes, and has won several major architecture awards.

Even the half demolished buildings look better at night..

The posters are part of a mental health campaign that has been running here for the last couple of years : "All Right". They encourage us to focus on the simple things, such as "when was your last moment of wonder?"

Flowers on Cashmere

I always enjoy passing this florist shop, both the building and the buckets of flowers outside are a bright spot in the landscape, but what is it with the tattered flag?

It's Christchurch, so there are going to be road cones somewhere. There are road works all over the city, fixing sewer lines, water pipes, and other damaged infrastructure from the earthquakes of 2010 - 2012.

(Saturday's photos, posted on Sunday)