Sunday, August 02, 2015

Christchurch Trip

Ooops, have only just realised I never posted here at all during my trip to Christchurch in the July school holidays. Making up for lost time then, here is a link to my album of photos on Flickr from this trip.

And here are two panoramic views from a friend's new house in Redcliffs, looking over the Avon-Heathcoate Estuary, and a view just before sunrise.

 There is a huge amount of rebuilding going on in the city, which is positive, but at the same time, I still found it so incredibly sad. It brought home to me how much damage the February quake wrought when it struck the CBD itself. So many buildings have had to be demolished, and others have to wait years for repair, so the city's heart has really been crushed. There are still few workers or shops in the CBD- mainly it was construction workers I saw there, plus a few tourists. (Mind you, it was winter and most tourists would have gone straight to the ski fields.)

People are gradually getting their lives sorted though, and friends of mine are now living in a beautiful house with stunning views over the Avon-Heathcote Estuary- I could easily sit in their lounge for days watching the weather and tides change, and sun rise and set.

There are plans being drawn up now for rebuilding the Catholic Cathedral, on the same site, and using some of the original materials- though nobody is sure yet how much of the original structure can be retained. Although I am not much of a church-goer at all, my great-grandfather was amongst those who contributed to the original building, so I am following progress with interest.

One thing I did while in Christchurch was go on a Rebuild Tour- on a red bus- bookable through the iSite next to the museum- with commentary by one of the museum staff- well worth doing.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Weekend's Flooding

We had some 30mm of rain here in Palmerston North on Friday, then on Saturday the rains simply didn't stop. Though not torrential, it just kept on raining... People were becoming afraid we might have a repeat of the 2004 floods, but thankfully for us in the city, the stopbanks gave us ample protection. We had about 132mm of rain on Saturday, but fortunately, hardly any on Sunday, and the sun even poked through a little.

The same cannot be said for those in some other areas though- and our thoughts are with people in flooded parts of Whanganui- and in Waitotara and Whangaehu. And some in the rural areas not far from our city have suffered too, and it seems that the marae at Rangiotu, te Rangimarie, has been badly flooded.

Here are some photos taken near the river on Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday the river peaked around lunchtime, before falling again.

This first photo was taken on Saturday at the end of Ruahine St when the waters were ponding in an area where people can usually run their dogs. And the second photo was taken on Sunday when the waters had become a raging torrent- same spot.

These next two photos were taken from the 'lookout' over the river, near the bridge, just below the Esplanade. On Saturday I ventured out onto it, though you could hear/feel the water flowing through underneath. On Sunday, you could barely even see the lookout.

There were many sightseers on Sunday, taking a look at how our popular riverside walking track was no longer accessible.

 I'll go back another day to see how high on our flood marker these waters came.

And for now, all due credit to the engineers who designed our stopbanks. Though it may have been 'annoying' to lose access to the river when they were being constructed, when the rains come like this, we are very much glad to have them.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Esplanade- early winter

I really do love the Esplanade in Palmy, especially for a quiet, calm, weekend walk- and the glory of the park is that it holds beautiful surprises, whatever the season. Today the sun 'hid' most of the time I was there, but autumn colours were still poking through, giving joy in early winter. Here are a selection of photos from this morning.

 This track is from the Esplanade mini-train line, and it reminds me of childhood, when Dad was a guard on the Railways who had to switch over the lines...

 There were still rose blooms in the Rose Garden, though on their 'last legs', and no doubt due for the pruning shears soon.

 In summertime brides will grace this pagoda, now looking a bit sad and wintry.

 The floral gardens have been replanted, to give colour over winter and in early spring.

 By the children's paddling pool- umm yes, will try and remember this in my panic.

 A rare pateke duck- being bred for release into the wild I think. Seemed awfully solitary for it in there today.

 Despite the grey. overcast skies, the leaf colours on this ginkgo shone forth into the Esplanade- one of several magnificent specimens.

 These leaves really do tell a tale of early winter.

 Crunch... snap....

 Fungi on the remnants of a rotting tree stump.

The sun came out just as my walk was ending- to highlight these autumn berries.

So, next time I go walking in the Esplanade, I wonder what new things I will see....

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Esplanade in Autumn

I've been home for two weeks, and have to confess I have been quite 'lazy' after my exertions in Umbria! Today I had a short walk in the Esplanade here in Palmy to acquaint myself with the fullness of autumn, after my brief foray into the northern spring!

Here are a few photos.
 Walking along the Fitzherbert Ave boundary on the footpath is quite a riot of autumn colour at present.
 The colours of maple leaves lie discarded on the footpath...

 As in any season at the Esplanade, there are surprising plants lurking in the undergrowth.

 I'd not ever noticed this very healthy pair of chooks wandering in the Esplanade before, but they seemed quite at home amongst the ducks at the duck pond.

 I love the Conservatory, with its tropical colours and shapes... and the fish seemed to swimming in ample profusion under this wee fountain today.

 The playground is quite 'muddy' as they are renewing and adding various pieces of equipment, but the trees change colour regardless...
 ...and it was warm enough for lunchtime picnics.

 The glory of autumn- makes the transition into winter seem not quite so severe.

On the trails of St Francis

I have been 'away' briefly, walking for ten days along trails of St Francis, in Umbria, Italy and blogged about it over here! It was a magnificent walk, with lots of spectacular views (largely because of the many hill climbs and descents involved!

I have also put up a Flickr album of photos from my time away here: Umbria 2015.

Sunday, March 29, 2015


I had a short afternoon wander in the Esplanade today- my last before I leave on Thursday for Rome and Assisi. Here is a fuschia in the autumn light.

For anyone interested in that trip, I will be blogging if I find wifi at Festina Lente- Hurry Slowly- always my motto when walking! It will be a little strange to jump from home to have a brief interlude in early spring.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Windmills pre-cyclone

The windmills from the lookout on the Manawatu Gorge walkway viewing point- my lunchtime spot.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Esplanade Wander

This morning I was 'packing' for my upcoming walking trip in Umbria- washing the clothes I might take, buying a few new items... And though the lawns need doing this afternoon, it is too warm at present, so I had a brief walk in the Esplanade. It's a 'rejuvenating' place that always has new bits of beauty lurking.

 I started at the playground end, near the bridge. The old bridge has a part 'left behind' in commemoration, and today it stood out clearly against the sky.

 The weather here is beautiful today- warm and fairly calm, but all sorts of clouds are starting to build up, and we know Cyclone Pam is causing a great deal of havoc in Vanuatu to the north of us.

 Despite a couple of days of recent rain, the river level is still very low, with many beds of shingle where usually you see only water.

 The clouds look ominous above the terrace out Massey way.

 It was warm and pleasant, but the sight of these clouds behind the palms made me think of the people in the Pacific suffering this cyclone.

 On a warm day I enjoyed the 'cooling' effect of walking in the native bush, near these pungas.

 Every season has its flowers in the Esplanade, even in the dead of winter if you look...

Some of the dahlias in the 'butterfly' garden are starting to have an end-of-season look about them, but the monarchs are still feeding there.

 Outside the conservatory, there is almost a feeling that you might be in Mexico...

 Inside the Peter Black Conservatory, all kinds of flowers are in bloom at present. Here are just two.

 The gardeners at the Esplanade do such a fantastic job. I love the colourful beds they plant that speak so loudly of summer.

And new playground equipment is appearing. This climbing frame makes me think of pirates, so I am sure it must be making the children imagine similar things.

Tomorrow it's the Manawatu Gorge again. This is the third to last weekend before I leave. Now, off to do those lawns I have procrastinated about...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Exploring in Wellington Pt2

Back from a drive around some bays, I took a wander down Lyall Bay again, plus a little further south along the road, and just as the sun was losing its hold on the bay, I walked back. I won't elaborate- but here are some Lyall Bay photos...