Sunday, May 27, 2012


With all my travelling about
my garden has been rather neglected.

Somehow though
the season of Autumn
is forgiving.

Leaves fall and cover the grass
and little miracles

Ever mysterious,
the fungi hidden beneath the earth 

finds the elements just perfect
and blooms 

in the most extraordinary way.

was a perfect Autumn day
with a soft rain 

the lake at the gardens

and transforming the carpark
 into a fantasy land of mirrors.

I went there to see my friend Joan's
beautiful quilts. 

Joan works magic too
with colour and fabric
reflecting the colours and shapes of the earth.

So mysterious to me
is this creativity..

of artists,
of the earth and its seasons,
of the universe about us.

"The greatest surprise is that there is anything at all.. that we are here."  David Steindl Rast.

More awesome than we can understand,
and Autumn is the season
that says
take time,
and wonder.

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hang a curtain
against the light of the sun

the might of the star
we circle endlessly

hang a curtain for  beauty

a soft lace of femininity

and gracefulness 

hang a curtain
for a private life

no prying eyes 

 hang a curtain
for mystery

and dreams
and fantasy

hang a curtain across 
the past
the gone and forgotten days...

I took these photos this morning at the house of a friend while a cup of tea was being made for sharing.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

A few more pics from my journey in the South Island. NZ.

The memorial to Mackenzie and his dog.  Fairlie.

This is Sam Mahon's art work.
Mackenzie was a sheep rustler who became a folk hero.
The sculpture captures him and his faithful dog stealthily shifting sheep
in the dead of night.
The wonderful Mackenzie country bears his name.

I recall too Sam Mahon's book
The Water Thieves
that tells of the effects of dairy farming in the south
causing rivers and water tables to suffer.
Sam loves and cares for this country.

At the beautiful Lake Tekapo there is another monument dedicated to
the faithful sheep dogs of the south. 

The Southern Alps are snow covered in the distance
and this autumn day is sunny  and clear.

It is a wonderful thing to travel through one's own land
immediately after visiting some other.
My traveller's eyes are still wide open and alert from travelling in Japan.

Our country is of comparible size
but less than 5 million people live here
unlike the 170 million in Japan;
and most New Zealanders live in the North.

It is the open space and wide skies I love down here.
It is so beautiful I feel an ache in my heart with looking.

The stony beach of Tekapo is covered in rock cairns built by passing travellers
and I add my contribution. 
See the small stone Church in the distance. 

The Church of The Good Shepherd. 

The view from inside. 

A charming little church.
A service for Mother's Day had just ended.

 T he older I become the more I love
the wide open spaces and the big sky.
A land of tussock 

and big hills 

and mighty mountains. 

Beautiful Lake Pukaki
with Aorangi / Mt Cook, NZ's biggest mountain,
in the background.
It always feels a blessing when clouds shift
and a mighty mountain shows itself.

I feel such emotion when I travel through this place. 

That a small land of islands can  mile after mile
reveal such diversity and beauty amazes me.

"This is my own,
my native land"
wrote Scott.
When the early Scottish settlers arrived in this land
it must have felt a homecoming,
so like Scotland it is. 

We stop and add stones to a roadside cairn
to say thank you
for being alive,
for breathing this air,
for the vastness of the sky,
for the absence of human intrusion..
and pray that it stays this way.
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Monday, May 21, 2012

I enjoyed our stay in Dunedin.
Here I am outside Larnach Castle,
NZ's only castle.

This was my first visit.

A beautiful home and a wonderful garden,
overlooking the Dunedin harbour. 

This house has a remarkable history 

with scandals 

and murder. 

Owen Marshall
has written a fascinating novel about Larnach Castle
that I've been listening to
on Radio NZ. 

My 80 year old sister and her lovely grandaughter Rachel.
Rachel is a first year student at Otago University, Dunedin.
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I've been visiting the South Island, New Zealand.

Lunch at Fleur's Place.

When the English celebrity chef Rick Stein came to New Zealand,
there were two things he wanted to do most.
One was to eat Bluff oysters
and the other was to
visit Fleur's Place.

Fleur's Place is at Moeraki,
a sleepy fishing village on the east coast of the South Island of NZ.

Moeraki (maori)  means 'sleepy sky' or 'a place to sleep by day'.
One hour north of Dunedin and a few minutes from the main highway..

it is a place of mellow peacefulness. 

"Every time I visit Moeraki I'm surprised I don't have to take a boat or a plane
to get there. .... (it)  is like visiting an island, a place remote from the cares of city life,
where the pace slows down,  

people stop to chat
and you can feel the tension of (busy) life draining away"

... Paul Sorrell  (in ' Fleur's Place' the book. Penguin.)

The story of how Fleur Sullivan came to Moeraki after beating cancer,
and how she came to build her restaurant from an old building on the jetty
is an inspiring one. 

During those early days
Fleur felt truly blessed when a huge right whale swam up and down
within metres of the shoreline by her new venture. 

This visitor was lolling on the front lawn when we arrived for lunch.

We sat upstairs on a quiet Thursday. 

and were served by a charming young man called Guillaume
from the south of France, on a working holiday in NZ. 

Here I am with my lunch.
Perfectly cooked blue cod, fresh local vege and a delicious lime dressing.
Fleur's secret is fish caught daily in her own boat.
The food was delicious.

I think it is Fleur herself who works the magic
by her simplicity and love of the earth. 
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