Weekly Photo Challenge: Layers | The Daily Post

Weekly Photo Challenge: Layers | The Daily Post. Layers. Layers can reveal, conceal, and make something more complex. They can vary in size, texture, color, or functionality. Each layer can have its own story, meaning, or purpose. They can overlap, blend, or be distinctly separate. A layer doesn’t have to be a part of a single object but can even be a slice of a multifaceted image or scene. In a new post specifically for this challenge, share a photo which means LAYERS to you!

I don’t know if anyone else uses the term but I use ‘Shrek’s Onion‘ frequently as an analogy for the necessary process in a lessons learned or continuous improvement system to peel away the layers of opinion, policy, agenda, fog of war, inadequate training, etc etc to reveal the core issue that needs to mitigated to address the original OIL (observation, issue, lesson). It’s been so long since I actually watched the original Shrek movie before it got all franchised up that I can not actually remember the context in which the onion appears in the movie, or even if it actually does or whether it is just something that I extrapolated from something in the movie…

I felt though that I could do something a bit more than an onion for this challenge and kept an eye out when I had to drive over to Whakapapa on Saturday to look into a possible part-time position at the Department of Conservation Visitor Centre at the base of the Mountain.

DSCF7361 It was an overcast day and my first thought was of a sequence depicting below, through and above the cloud layer…


I set off up the road from Whakapapa Village hoping that the cloud would be low enough for the desired effect…

DSCF7365 DSCF7366…unfortunately it was not to be and I probably would have climb (on foot) another thousand odd feet to get above the cloud…


…but I did not the significant layering that is a result of the numerous volcanic eruptions over the last couple of thousand years…DSCF7368 DSCF7370…and on the drive back…

DSCF7372…I was able to get a more micro look at this geographic layering in the big cutting just up the road…
DSCF7374 …not being a geologist, I’m assuming that the rockier layers align with some of the bigger eruptions…DSCF7373


…with more recent accumulation along the top layer…DSCF7376


…and looking back north down the hill towards the village…

Daily Prompt: Life Line | The Daily Post

You’re on a long flight, and a palm reader sitting next to you insists she reads your palm. You hesitate, but agree. What does she tell you? 

Photographers, artists, poets: show us HANDS.

I went to see a palm reader once – cost me about $30 and at the time I thought she was pretty on to it but as I learned more about such things, I came to the conclusion that she was just a good artist and the truths she came up with were not much more than a game of probabilities and reading ‘tells’ – she was probably a pretty damn good poker player too…

To follow the cue I took from Caron’s post  I, Robot or, “Danger, Will Robinson! “Exterminate! EXTERMINATE!) in my post “…the scariest things ever…”, I needed some hand pictures…

DSCF7197 DSCF7196 DSCF7195

I also found….DSCF0892

…no hands…


…helping hands…and that…

Le Spiral 016

…many hands make light work…

via Daily Prompt: Life Line | The Daily Post.

Daily Prompt: Toy Story | The Daily Post

What was your favorite plaything as a child? Do you see any connection between your life now, and your favorite childhood toy?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us MEMENTO.

The prompt above was quite timely as I was already thinking on a post along these lines after reading Caron’s post last month Odd Things I Own #1

This is the study…


…it lives at the top of the stairs…IMG_20131022_191001

…it’s full of books so you can guess I like books…many of these books are old friends that I either read or had as a child (some were lost along the journey so I have replaced them)…


The big ship on the top shelf has a chequered history…it started life in a  model shop opposite Far East Plaza and a mate of mine brought as he was going through a phase of wanting to own the biggest of each sort of plastic model e.g. biggest tank, biggest ship, etc. I’m not sure if he got as far as the biggest aircraft but he had the biggest tank, a 1/16 King Tiger. I remember we all sat around the barracks courtyard for a morning helping him link up the steel tracks and once it was running, he could spin it up and the tracks would chip the tiles on the floor…

The ship was only acquired as we packed to come home in 1989 and he paid some guy in Palmerston North $600 to make an (at best) average job of building it (I would have done it for the cost of materials!). This guy was also into sports cars and bought a  Corvette when we got back to New Zealand – the ’73 shape – but it needed so much maintenance so that there was no vibration that might crack the fibreglass body that he had to sell the Yamato on. One of our company commanders bought it for some hundreds of $ for his son but when his wife commented “He’s only 2, idiot!“, it feel into my hands for a lot less than either of its previous owners paid for it…

It was remote controlled – it used to terrorise the sailing boats in the Esplanade before I acquired it – but I ripped all that gear out and sold it when we moved here and my intention is still to restore it as a static model – one day – but in the meantime, it remains up high away from little fingers and performing a valuable function keeping dust off the shelf…

IMG_20131022_190919…it is also home to my funny hat collection (you can only see some of them here) – over to you whether they are funny hats or it is a funny collection…IMG_20131022_183847…and many of the figurines and models I have collected…most are not worth much except to me…I remember this Renwal Skysweeper from advertisements in magazines when I was really little but it has never been rereleased so tracking it down was a mission: I now have this built one that I found in Foxton of all places and another unbuilt in the my stash…the Batman figure was with the inaugural (and thus enticingly less expensive) issue of a super-heroes magazine…where possible and where the subject matter grabs me, I like to buy just the first issue, just for the figure or model…

IMG_20131022_183922 …in the case of these guys, I so liked the inaugural Hawker Hurricane, I subscribed to the series …I quite liked the excitement of waiting each fortnight to see what the next one would be but after a year I went off them because there were too many missed issues, the scales varied between 1/72 and 1/100, and there was consistent damage to the models at the packing end…IMG_20131022_183913

This is a Dinky USS Enterprise…I never even knew that Dinky made an Enterprise – I thought I would have as the rich kid up the road from us had most of the Dinky models – until I saw this sitting in a gaming shop in Vancouver for the princely sum of $10: the shuttle is missing (it would normally live in the at the bottom of the nacelle where you can see one of the open bay doors) and the disk missile launcher needs work (and disks) but I think it’s pretty cool. Alongside is a special piece, a Micro Machines X-Wing…it is special because my wife (who is not that into such things) bought it for me on a whim one day…IMG_20131022_183745Up here is a Hasbro Star Wars ship…what Google tells me is Dash Rendar’s Outrider…I found this in a great junk shop in Florida just down the road from Eglin AFB and barely managed to squeeze it into my bag for the long unwind home…it has lots of moving parts but no pilot – certainly no Dash Rendar whomever he might be? – but it strike as I type that I very well may have a suitable figure in one of the actions toys I bought while living in Singapore. The book that the Outrider is sitting on is a 1947 New Zealand telephone book – one country, one book! – that the kids got me for Father’s Day in 2007 or 2008…it is treasured not only for its age and rarity (who keeps old phone books?) but also because it has a listing for my grandfather’s farm at Ngapara in North Otago…sadly this book was stolen when the house was broken into during one of my periods working overseas…DSCF7198

…and, courtesy of my Mum, who has kept and stored so much of our childhood books and toys, this collection which still languishes in a wardrobe…mainly Matchbox, with a  smattering of Dinky, Britains, Tonka, and Corgi toys, all eagerly awaiting the day that they will be dusted off, repaired where necessary, and displayed in the light of day once more…

Until such time though, I think that I can offer them more dignified accommodation than this box and will rummage around to see what I can come up with…

via Daily Prompt: Toy Story | The Daily Post.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Habit | The Daily Post

This week, show us something that’s a HABIT. We look forward to the glimpses into your everyday.

That don’t call these challenges challenges for nothing and I had to think into this one for a week or so about my habits (as opposed to quirks and eccentricities which are, of course, totally different!)

I did identify that, although it is well into summery weather here, I am still in the habit of putting the ‘lectric blanket on an hour or so before bedtime – not because it is particularly cold here at night but because I just love the feel of a the hot mattress on my back as I slip between the sheets…

We had a drought earlier this year – three months with no rain – and we only got by at home because we put an extra water tank in a couple of years ago. Even so, we were glad when we finally got some decently rain in April and heard the steady gurgle of tanks refilling. Once it became clear that this drought thing might last for a while, we started to be a lot more aware of our water consumption and I reverted back into old jungle habits of re-using water as much as possible, especially that water normally wasted running a tap waiting for hot water to come through, and when rinsing pots and other containers after use.


Rather than buy ready-to-eat yoghurt, we make our own from packets that have a much better shelf life and which also provide more yoghurt per $. Even the hot water used to activate the process doesn’t go to waste…it’s about a litre…


…than can be poured onto one of the developing plants (L-R: chestnuts, raspberry, kaffir lime and pohutakawa)on the deck outside the front door…


…or, with a slightly longer trek, irrigate the box garden opposite the garage which seems to be self-planting as seeds left from last summer start to germinate around the broad beans and others planted this year…DSCF7349

The twenty metre journey each way to the box garden all adds up over a day, a week, a month, into regular exercise, even with only a couple of litres per trip…so in addition to the water conservation, this is probably a good habit to stick with…?

via Weekly Photo Challenge: Habit | The Daily Post.

Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusual POV | The Daily Post

“Unusual. In this week’s Photography 101 post on point of view, Lynn Wohlers offers great advice on how to show your own unique way of looking at the world…”

Hmmm….my own unique way of looking the world…presumably without scaring small children…contrary to my normal rule of only using my own photos in these challenges, this week I am using a photo that a friend (you know who you are and I’m happy to credit the pic if you want) posted on her Facebook page which enjoying a coffee in an Auckland cafe…


I guess that I didn’t look too closely at it when she posted it and I commented something along the lines of “interesting wall decor” which, of course, she found a little odd (I get a bit of that!) as she thought that she had photographed what was sitting on her table…

Maybe it was the shadows, or the angle, or the fact that I had too much/not enough coffee that morning, but my immediate perception of this image is (current tense!) that it is a wall display of an enlarged magazine, sugar cellar (salt cellar therefore sugar too?) and a cup of coffee (obviously not a real one or all the coffee would run out!), with the late morning sun creating the shadows…

So, yup, my perception of an unusual point of view that wasn’t…

Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusual POV | The Daily Post.

PS. Any of you cafes out there that steal this idea for a wall display…finders fee!!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea | The Daily Post


I was brought up in Oamaru, on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island so I guess that the sea has always been a part of my life in one way or another…this is what Oamaru Harbour looked like around the end of the 80s. In the 60s and early 70s, it had been a busy little coastal port with (small) ships regularly coming in for loads of wool and other produce – my uncle was a truckie at the time and I remember how cool it was that he could park alongside the ship and dump his load of grain directly into its hold…


This is the feature known as Matanaka at the northern end of Waikouaiiti (keep up with the place name pronunciation, you foreigners!!) Beach – we had a bach about a mile inland on the main access road to this end of the beach and used to come here every summer in the 70s and would as often ride horses along it as play in the surf…

Matanaka as seen from Beach St in Waikouaiiti.

Cutting forward to the late 80s – I think that this is the beach at Kuantan on Malaysia’s east coast – we stopped over here for a night during the Great Thailand-Singapore Bike Ride…we arrived in Kuantan mid-afternoon and had a ball body surfing – right up to the point that we got back to out hotel and Dan Flan pointed out the big rip…uh-oh…
Thailand-Singapore Bike Ride 1988 032

I spent some time in Vietnam in the late 90s – this is the famous China Beach. At the time it was still many miles of unspoiled white beach and I have been afraid to go back in case it has been spoiled by commercialisation or industry. I used to sit here all day and read my one English book (on its 6th or 7th go round by this stage) and watch the MiGs and Hips fly in and out from the airbase by Da Nang…every couple of hours, I count count on a couple of local kids dragging a bucket of ice and Coke along the sand to keep me refreshed…Vietnam 22

Swimming with dolphins off Akaroa…sometimes it’s a bit or miss as to whether the dolphins will come out to play but that did this day – this is a must-do if you are in Akaroa…

Swimming with Dolphins - Akaroa Harbour 012

Crossing from Stewart Island back to the South Island – don’t know why I even bothered to invest in breakfast…

Crossing Foveaux Strait - not calm!! 011

Muri Beach in the Cook Islands, during our honeymoon…quite happy to spend the day just paddling around the lagoon…
Cook Islands Holiday 042

Taken from the Manhattan Beach Pier in LA on one of my stopover days on a business trip to the US…I catch the tram-bus to Manhattan beach for a donut breakfast and then spend the rest of the day shopping at the malls around El Segundo, my mission being to only have enough US cash left for a chili dinner at LAX before my flight home…I love these piers that let you stand behind but above the surf line and watch the waves roll by…
Day Out in LA 006

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea | The Daily Post.





Daily Prompt: The Full Moon | The Daily Post


A random selection of night times
Washington DC 009

Key Bridge, Washington DC

Raurimu snow 027

Raurimu snow

Summit Road Christmas Tree 064


Flanders Museum in Ieper, Belgium

Raurimu rain

Mark and Ricki's Wedding - Fiji 20

A Fijian lagoon

Moonlight Over Raurimu 018

Moonlight Over Raurimu

Oamaru Christmas Light House 001

Oamaru Christmas Light House

A random selection of night times Daily Prompt: The Full Moon | The Daily Post.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreshadow | The Daily Post

This challenge offers some fun opportunities to play — not only with the subject of your photo, but with light, color, and contrast to evoke foreshadow. Perhaps foreshadow is an open bottle of red wine and two wine glasses. Maybe it’s a diamond ring in small velvet box. Maybe it’s a flower bud about to burst into bloom, or the first leaf that turns color on your oak tree. What does foreshadow mean to you?


I’m on top of the world…!

Moeraki Boulders 006


Late snow 001

What’s the harm in a little snow..?

Late snow 003


via Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreshadow | The Daily Post.

Roast Baby Armadillo

DSCF7097I’m sorry but that’s what it looks like when it comes out of the oven…

A few months back, at home on a wet weekend, we were aimlessly channel surfing – which is kinda hard to do here since we’ve only got about 14 channels to surf – when we stumbled across The Pioneer Woman show. I think it may have been on Choice TV. Normally I might have lifted my eyes from what I was doing for about two whole milliseconds but my ears pricked up at the mention of The Pioneer Woman because I have heard so much about her on Five Crooked Halos and I paid attention – so did Carmen who is normally not a meat loaf person (I think meat loaf – the food and the singer – rocks and don’t understand why it has such a ‘down’ rep other than some people seem to think that it is poor people’s food). And this is no normal meat loaf…

We tried it immediately and have done several times since – this is the Rolls Royce of meat loaf but no more difficult nor complex to make than normal boring meatloaf…you can see The Pioneer Woman’s way on her blog but here’s our take on it:


  •  Meatloaf:
    • 1 cup Whole Milk
    • 6 slices White any kind of Bread – we just use our normal wholemeal homemade loaf and none of that nonsense about shuicking the crusts!
    • 2 pounds 1 kg Ground Beef mince for Kiwis
    • 1 cup (heaped) freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
    • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned Salt – we use garlic salt but you need to add at least a teaspoon to have any appreciable effect
    • 3/4 teaspoons Salt
    •  Freshly Ground Black Pepper
    • 1/3 cup Minced Flat-leaf Parsley – we have both sorts in the garden – either will do
    • 4 whole Eggs, Beaten
    • 10 slices thin/regular Bacon – maybe a little more as we like to wrap a strip around the base to help hold it all together.
  •  Sauce:
    • 1-1/2 cup Ketchup tomato sauce – we actually got some hickory ketchup specially for this dish but you don’t need to do this – good old Watties tomato sauce does the trick nicely
    • 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
    • 1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
    •  Tabasco To Taste (keep adding this til the sauce is tangy)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees 180 degrees in NZ.

Pour milk over the bread slices. Allow it to soak in for several minutes.

Place the ground beef, milk-soaked bread, Parmesan, seasoned salt, salt, black pepper, and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Pour in beaten eggs.

With clean hands (getting into it with your hands is by far the best way to mix a mince dish), mix the ingredients until well combined. Form the mixture into a loaf shape on a broiler pan (not too sure what a broiler pan is but the idea is to elevate the loaf so that all the fat drains away). Line the bottom of the pan with foil to avoid a big mess – this is optional as I find that there is more mess of the tray from the sauce than what drains into the base of the dish.

Lay bacon slices over the top, tucking them underneath the meatloaf. We wrap a strip right around the base too the help hold it together – you can never have too much bacon.

Make the sauce: add ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, and hot sauce in a mixing bowl. Stir together. Pour 1/3 of the mixture over the top of the bacon. Spread with a spoon.

Bake for 45 minutes, then pour another 1/3 of the sauce over the top. Bake for another 15 minutes.

Slice and serve with remaining sauce and lashings of mashed potatoes.

I made this on Thursday night as we had some defrosted mince and bacon in the fridge that had to be used or it would have been canine gourmet time. It was a bit spur of the moment and I suppose I could have found something else to make that used both but once I had my heart (or stomach?) set on this, it was going to happen…

I only had 500 grams of mince (for the third world that has yet to convert to metricalism that’s just over a pound) and no milk ( it was after 7 in the evening and the garage in National Park was closed – the next closest dairy was 30-40 km away) so I halved most of the ingredients above but replaced the fluid of the milk by keeping the eggs at four and replaced the bread (it was about now I realised that I hadn’t put on another loaf of bread since finishing the last one) with a couple of cups of breadcrumbs (made from our homemade bread so close enough!) I keep most of the spices at the same level as the original as I think that the Pioneer Woman tends to under-spice this dish…


Here’s how it looks once sliced – cooked properly, the sauce will caramelise all over the outside and become a delicious chewy crust with the bacon. It was absolutely delissimo served with mashed kumara, carrot and potato (all combined together in about equal quantities – once again, making the best use of what was in the fridge before it time-expired)…and leaving plenty for sammies and snacks over the next few days…

I thought of submitting this as my entry in this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge ‘Masterpiece’ but I might think some more about my approach to that…it is a pretty damn fine meatloaf though but ‘masterpiece’? I’m not too sure yet…