Happy Place


In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Happy Place.”

Queenstown aerobatics Jan 98

In a most happy place over Queenstown 1998

One of my all time favourite ‘desert island’ books is Wilbur Smith’s Eagle in the Sky. “He’ll be in the sky” are Debra’s words when he disappears near the story’s end…well, the book’s end anyway: Eagle is one of those tales that you hope never ends, that David and Debra go on and on…

eagle int he sky cover

As much as I love aviation, I never got round to learning to fly but when I need to go, I go for height, up a hill, onto a mountain, some place high and quiet where I can look down and think.

Tongariro Apr 04 - 1

My other happy place is at a keyboard or holding a pen, using words to seek and maintain balance, to put my feelings some place where they become tangible and malleable. I can’t promise the words will always make sense or that later on I might not remember the emotion behind them but they lie as reminders of places I have been, journeys I have made, people I have been…words as much a sanctuary as a windy hilltop or craggy peak…

Happy place does not necessarily mean tidy place!!!

Silhouette | The Daily Post

Silhouette | The Daily Post. This week, share a photo with a silhouette.

DSCF8711Having a large dog that likes to watch TV is often like getting the last seat at the movies – right behind the guy with the big hair…

This is Kirk…his habit started with dogs shows like It’s Me Or The Dog and A Dog’s Show and we could always tell with shows used real dog sounds and which relied on canned noises by the level of interest he would show. His taste has slowly broadened over the years to include animal shows, especially Country Calendar; reality shows – possibly because of the uncanned emotion they display; and the lower end of ‘B’ science fiction movies – basically the cornier the monster costume, the more he likes it….

When we let the dogs inside, Lulu will smooch around for cuddles and attention but Kirk will race around to the TV. If it’s not on, he will sit up straight (because that’s how good dogs get what they want) in front of the screen if it’s not not and cry until it’s is either turned on for him or he’s gets the messages and slouches onto his mat to sulk. If the TV is already on, he will watch for a few seconds and pass judgement on the content by either going to sleep – with the standard of modern TV, he sleeps a lot – or arranging himself so it can watch from his mat…

There are three scratches on the screen. That’s from when he preemptively protected me from an on-screen polar bear. So he’s not allowed to watch TV on his own anymore…

The Story of O

OK, OK, minds out of the gutter…the WordPress Daily Prompt a couple of days ago was “You just inherited $1,000,000 from an aunt you didn’t even know existed. What’s the first thing you buy (or otherwise use the money for)?

Well, even though that sounds like a whole lot of money, these days it’s probably not as life-changing as it may sound…It would really help at the moment but for the most part, I’m thinking small for my top three…


This is my PC keyboard – the camera is a harsh mistress and (in theory) does not lie but it isn’t really as dusty as it would appear here – it has given long and trusty service and I have finally started to wear through the markings of some of the keys…N was the first to go, followed by O and then I; T and A will most likely be next…A clever cryptologist who cares about such things might be able to develop some stunning insights into my writing patterns from this wear pattern…or maybe these keys just weren’t as well-manufactured as the rest…who knows?

What this means though is that the number of unmarked keys is directly proportional to the number of typos in my work – if I am not careful. And as careful as I am – I still have that difficult transposition habit between ‘now’ and ‘not’ (just play around with that for s second and you’ll see the potential) – the occasional error still slips through and the one that has been slipping through the most is substituting O for I…so a million dollars would mean a new keyboard and the end of the subliminal recounting of the Story of ‘O’…



I would give these guys a full makeover and invest in a pallet of Purina One food for them. I won a year’s supply of this at the end of last year in the annual Purina contest; even though even Purina admit that it’s a year’s supply for a much smaller dog, this has been much appreciated while times have been a little tight, and has been, literally, a lifesaver for Kirk. At the end of last year, he was getting very sore and stiff around his hips, getting up off his mat was a real strain for him, and I was having to seriously consider that one-way trip to the vet’s.

In less than four week’s after going onto the Purina One food, all stiffness and pain had disappeared and now, almost six months later, he has only indicated pain in his hips once and that was after his older sister shoved him into a post when they were playing (older siblings…it’s so good to be one!!!). It don’t really get into 100% product endorsements but this has made a massive difference to Kirk’s quality of life and thus my own. It is not that much more expensive but in this rural area, the larger more economic bags are hard to find.



There wasn’t a door here on Friday morning…

I would get someone in to finish the bathroom. It probably would have been done already if this year had not presented its unique blend of cash flow challenges. The electrician came in on Friday to reposition the light switch that had been hanging down from the centre of the ceiling since we pulled out the partition that enclosed the second shower. That turned into removing the wall between the shower and the bathroom…progress of a sort. The ultimate plan is to replace the current windows with glass (double-glazed) down to the floor so that one can sit in the bath and gaze out at the scenic splendour outdoors…once there’s some minor relocation of the clothesline and some ugly scrubby stuff…

PS Just saw the trailer…I’d go and see this in 3D as well…

Gone with the Windfall | The Daily Post.

Daily Prompt: Mid-Season Replacement | The Daily Post

For many of us the seasons are changing, bouncing unpredictably between cold and warm. Are you glad to be moving into a new season, or wishing for one more week of the old?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us SEASONS.

via Daily Prompt: Mid-Season Replacement | The Daily Post.

Although autumn (fall to those than shunned the Empire) usually hits quite late in the year, we always has three or four months of winter where the garden is a bit of a wasteland…in nine years we still haven’t figured out what the trigger is, or even if there is one, but some time in October or November, there is an explosion of color across the ‘wasteland’, heralding the change of seasons…


The one sure sign that winter is over is when the ponga shoots start to extend into the light…usually we wouldn’t expect to see this until late November or even early December but this week they all lit off together.
This is our citrus triumph – a little kaffir lime that not only has survived nine winters on the Mountain but which also produces some fruit each year. It probably wouldn’t be bigger but it has had a few knock-backs over the years…unseasonal snow or frost, sometimes just not being good enough with the frost cloth.
IMG_20131015_164636 IMG_20131015_164740
The scorched earth area in the background is an area still under development that we’re still deciding what to do with. It will probably be a pathway up to the boundary fence through a developing ponga grove…
Mr Maple’s a bit slow off the mark this year but in a few weeks should be a blaze of crimson. You can see why the terra planter (it’s mate has gone the same way too) was such a good deal a few years back…the walls are simply too thin to take the internal weight of soil and tree. A summer project will be to build some more robust wooden planters to replace these ones….might have to get these guys in to give me a hand…

So that’s ‘seasons’…