Thursday, April 30, 2009

Is it cold up there?

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Last Monday I posted a photo of two boys' fascination with an ostrich (see the ostriches in the foreground). Today I am posting a photo from the same trip to the Hamilton Zoo. This time it is people's amazement at the antics of three giraffes. See the visitors' hats? The New Zealand sun is obviously not to be taken lightly!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pavlova

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I love desserts. It is without a doubt my favourite part of a nice meal. I have just returned from dinner at a friend's house, and we were served a Greek Lemon Cake - with a drizzle of yoghurt - for dessert. It was utterly delicious. In honour of that nice dessert, I post this photo of what is considered New Zealand's national dessert: the pavlova. The pavlova is a meringue and fruit dessert named after the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova. The dessert is believed to have been created to honour the dancer during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand. The exact location of its first creation and the nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two nations for many years, however research into the matter indicates New Zealand as the source of today's pavlova.
The strawberry pavlova in the photo was the highlight of a meal that I recently had on the steamboat that cruises the Waikato River, the Waipa Delta. It was the perfect way to end a lovely sunset cruise.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A misty morning

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The Waikato river on a misty morning.
The photo is taken from a small wooden jetty, sponsored by the Ambassador Motor Inn, a local motel. What I fail to understand is the desire of some people to make their mark, quite literally, as shown in the photo. I have substantially more appreciation for tagging - especially if it has some artistic merit - than this kind of mindless vandalism.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mayday Mayday!

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The duck on the left is about to make an emergency landing, but the one that has just landed and the two others appear totally unperturbed by the kerfuffle!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Scenic Sunday: Lake Karapiro

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Lake Karapiro is the home of rowing in the New Zealand. Later this year, it will host the World Rowing Championships.

The lake is located 35 km to the southeast of Hamilton. It is a lovely spot for watersport or just a picnic.

Please take the time to visit Scenic Sunday for photos of other participants.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Eeling

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On my afternoon walk, I spotted two boys fishing down by the river. I approached them, asking what they were after. "Eels," the one answered, "but we catch and release." He was obviously the experienced one, as he was the one holding the line. "This is my first time eeling," said his friend, "so I'm just watching my friend."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Skywatch Friday

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This photo was taken from my garden a couple of days ago. The day had started off with beautifully sunny weather, but then it turned all dark and cloudy. The sight of the dark clouds, the patch of blue skies and the rainbow made for quite an eerie sight!
This is my first time participating in Skywatch Friday. Please visit Skywatch for other photos!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

If you go down to the lake today ...

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The Hamilton Gardens is always a good place to go for a picnic or a walk. The grounds are always immaculately maintained. One of my favourite spots is next to the main lake. It is really peaceful, except when the ducks make a commotion during feeding time!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Postbox series: no 9

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The second instalment in the postbox series. This one perhaps lacks the character of the first in the series - it is after all only a hole in the boundary wall - but at least it is very functional and practical. There's no doubt about where the letters should go!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

DANGER: Brandy & Santanya woz here!

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Not only are they vandals, but their English is atrocious too!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Look at the size of that bird!

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I recently visited the Hamilton Zoo. I did not expect much, but was pleasantly surprised by the size of the grounds, and the range of animals on display. It really is an asset to Hamilton.
The zoo has many African animals, including rhinos, giraffes, various buck and of course, lots of ostriches. In the part of South Africa where I am from, ostriches abound, but they appear to be rather scarcer here in New Zealand!
These boys were fascinated by this bird and spent quite some time admiring it.
Compared to the size of the little bird on yesterday's photo, the ostrich on today's photo is huge!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Here birdy birdy!

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This little bird joined us for cake and coffee the other day. It was one of a whole flock perching on the outside tables of the cafe pecking away at crumbs.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Blooming buds

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The flower garden at the entrance to Gate 2 of the Hamilton Gardens is a magnificent display of colour. This photo was taken in February.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Postbox series: no 3

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I adore postboxes, especially old ones. I suspect that this one creaks when it's opened. Lovely! This is the first in a series on postboxes in and around Hamilton.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kicking up some sand

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A snapshot taken at a local soccer match. Part of the ball can be seen on the extreme right of the photo. The goalie's team - Hamilton North Football Club - won the game.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Braai/BBQ

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Every now and again, a proper braai (the South African equivalent of a BBQ) is just the ticket! No gas in sight; just wood and fire, that eventually turn into glowing charcoal! My favourite braai meat is lamb shoulder chops; none of the pork sausage that the New Zealanders seem to love so much, for me!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lily of the garden

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This is a lily from my garden. The photograph was taken shortly after a brief downpour of rain.

I love lilies, because of their look, smell and feel. In South Africa, they are known as varkore - literally, "pig ears".

Monday, April 13, 2009

Feline imperiousness

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The Cat of Cats

I am the cat of cats. I am
The everlasting cat!
Cunning, and old, and sleek as jam,
The everlasting cat!
I hunt vermin in the night-
The everlasting cat!
For I see best without the light-
The everlasting cat!


William Brighty Rands

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Walkies!

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This lady and her dog have different ideas about where to go; Ma'am wants to go one way, pooch wants to go the other way!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Speedboating on the Waikato river

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I was lucky enough to have my point and shoot camera on hand when this speedboat came whizzing past on the Waikato river. The pilot was kind enough to wave hi, and one of his passengers gave an obliging smile!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Student Centre building project

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These photos show workers currently constructing the new east wing of the library as part of the new student hub of Waikato University. It is a major construction project that will take approximately 3 years to complete. More information can be obtained here. Ultimately, this is what the new east wing of the library will look like.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Trains, planes & automobiles - oh, and a steamer

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Recently, there has been a lot of controversy about transport in and around Hamilton. Air New Zealand has significantly reduced the international Trans-Tasman services to and from Hamilton International Airport to the point of near decimation; the condition of the railway track that connects Auckland and Wellington with Hamilton has been the source of ongoing complaint; and now the only vessel to operate on the Waikato River, the Waipa Delta, has threatened to up and leave for 'greener' waters, so to speak - Auckland's Waitemata Harbour - unless the Hamilton City Council comes to its rescue.

Well, it appears that the council is offering a $300 000 lifeline, but subject to certain conditions, including that the owners agree to keep the steamer operating as a tourist attraction on the Waikato river for five years. Read the full story in today's Waikato Times here.

I have been on the Waipa Delta and it is a lovely steamboat that is a real asset to Hamilton. It would be a pity to lose it, but in these tough economic times, can the Council really afford to keep it in Hamilton?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The life blood of the Waikato

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The Waikato river essentially defines the Waikato region. Waikato is a Maori word that means flowing river. At 425 kilometres long, it is the longest river in New Zealand. Its source is the eastern slopes of Mount Ruapehu, and it empties into the Tasman Sea at Port Waikato, near Raglan on the west coast.

The river has a series of eight hydroelectric power stations that generate electricity for the national grid. The river also provides cooling water for the coal/natural gas fired thermal power station at Huntly, just north of Hamilton.

The Waikato River has spiritual meaning for various local Māori tribes including the large Tainui, who regard it as a source of their mana or pride. The widely-respected marae of Turangawaewae is close to its banks at Ngaruawahia. In 2008, the Crown and Tainui reached a settlement for historical claims over the Waikato River, resulting in shared control and management of the river by Tainui and other local bodies. Here is a newspaper report of the settlement deal.
The river splits Hamilton into two parts: the west side and the east side. However, most inhabitants refer to the two parts as either "this side" or "that side", depending on which side of the river they happen to find themselves at the time! I live on the east side, and rarely go across to the west side, except for the occasional swim at the public pool.
This photo was taken from the Flagstaff pedestrian bridge, looking back towards the Pukete bridge and the city centre.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Who's been a naughty boy?

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Alas, it is not a rhetorical question. I am guilty. Mea culpa.

Today, on a whim, I bought a brand new SLR camera kit. It was a very good price, and unfortunately I am not the type to refuse a bargain!

This does not mean that my reliable point and shoot camera will be retired! Certainly not, as I will forever carry it with me wherever I go on the off chance of a photo opportunity. The Nikon camera, with lenses and stuff, can be a drag to carry along all the time and will therefore be used for specific 'assignments' only.

Here is a snap photo of some of the new gear. Now to read the manual and learn how to properly use it ...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Ode to espresso

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I am without doubt addicted to my morning espresso. I cannot face the day without it.

The first thing I do in the morning after waking up, is stumble to the kitchen to switch on the espresso machine. While the water heats up, I grind the coffee beans. The whizz of the coffee grinder - and the intoxicating aroma of the ground beans - wakes me from any remaining slumber. I delicately put a scoop of the ground coffee into the filter holder, attach it to the machine and switch the dial to espresso. The sound of the water being pressured through the ground beans is magical; the aroma of the delicate liquid that trickles into the cup is intoxicating. And then, the first taste of the crema on top: pure, sublime bliss.

Ode to espresso

nothing smells better
than beans crushed so fine
hot water extracting
flavour sublime

part science part art
join man and machine
creating golden ritual
from black roasted bean

with pungent aroma
wafting boldly from cup
I could go without
addicted, I’m not

elixir so dark
my senses make bright
first thing each morning
in you I delight

Ode to espresso taken from Tishenko's blog: http://blog.tishenko.com/2008/04/12/ode-to-espresso/

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The End of Daylight Saving

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Today is a significant day on the New Zealand calendar. It is the first Sunday in April, which is by law the end of Daylight Saving for the previous year. This means that Daylight Saving commenced on the last Sunday in September of last year, when 2.00am became 3.00am, and ended today on the first Sunday in April of this year, when 3.00am became 2.00am. Later this year, Daylight Saving will recommence on 27 September 2009, which is the last Sunday in September.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Upon reflection ...

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My last post on this blog was on 28 September 2008. At that time, I decided that I had had enough of photography and blogging. Upon reflection, I realise that all I needed was a bit of a break. I have now had my break and have therefore decided to resume photo blogging. I hope that you are just as excited as I am about my getting back out there capturing beautiful images of Hamilton life, particularly now that it is autumn!

Today's photo ties in with the reflection theme.