There are many things New Zealanders love. If I had to name a few I would say walking and running on things, swimming in things and jumping off things. I would also add summer, trying to cook almost anything on a BBQ, the beach, Dave Dobbyn and Neil Finn, Pies, Ice Cream and Rugby. To be fair, not everyone likes rugby however you’ll generally find that people either talk about rugby, about how there’s too much rugby or about how they know nothing about rugby.
So, when you take a hot summer day and add it to rugby, thrown in a BBQ with a wee bit of music you’ll generally get a day that pleases a lot of people. This just so happens to be how I spent the day at the recent Spartan X’s, annual charity rugby tournament.
Why is it that I always seem to end up walking up hills? It could be that I enjoy the challenge and satisfaction of reaching the top. Or, it could be that as Dunedin is surrounded by hills there’s always a better than average chance that I’ll end up walking uphill at some point.
So it was that on a reasonably fine Saturday I decided to head up Dunedin’s 41 peg track from Tomahawk lagoon to the Soldiers Memorial on the Otago Peninsula. This seemed a simple enough plan, however it wasn’t till I was halfway up the first paddock that I realised it was all up hill! In hindsight this seems obvious however it really didn’t occur to me when I started out.
I’m not entirely sure what the Octagonal contest is. I know it involves bagpipes but details beyond that I’m a tiny bit lite on. Having stumbled upon the contest in Dunedin’s Octagon, I thought I’d have a go at summing the whole thing up. Here’s what I know, and I must apologize as even in these details I’m making a few assumptions.
In Dunedin each year there’s a Pipe Band contest which is called the Octagonal contest. This involves Pipe Bands from around the South Island. From what I could gather, the bands spend a lot of time standing in a circle warming up by playing a tune and pulling strange faces. Each group then takes it in turns to walk down the street, stand in a circle and play the same tune as everybody else. While doing this, people (who I assume are judges) watch their feet and make lots of marks on paper before everybody claps and cheers. Once finished, the group moves off to discuss their performance while a few of the older gentlemen calm their nerves with a cigarette. This is then repeated by the next group.
On a side note, I would like to mention how mind boggling it is that people who smoke can play the bagpipes. Just how a smoker would have the lung capacity to play the bagpipes for an entire afternoon is quite beyond me. Another mind boggling fact is that the bagpipes are the only known musical instrument to have been used as a weapon of war.
I spotted this little one happy resting on the window of an old shed between Tunnel Beach and Blackhead on Saturday. I wouldn’t have even knew to keep a lookout for it if it wasn’t for the Otago Daily Times. I loved the texture and age of the shed with the grass so much I just had to included them. Plus, I didn’t want to create a copy of the ODT’s image. I had planned to shoot this shed like this anyway so the Owl is a nice wee addition.
I found this awesome light hitting First Church here in Dunedin the other week just after 7am. I had loads of fun playing with the shadows and all the different ways the light was silhouetting the gothic structures of steeples and spires. The foundation stone for First Church was laid on 15 May 1868 but even before construction began, in 1862, the Otago authorities decided to lop 12 m from Bell Hill for the project.
I found myself walking through the gates of Chingford Park looking forward to a nice relaxing stroll. I put the thoughts of the campervan I had been following along a busy North Road at a frustrating slow pace to the back of my mind and headed for the tranquil surroundings of the park.
Leaving the charm and beauty of Port Chalmers and the Hotere Garden Oputae behind, I now headed for the stables at Chingford Park. It had been some time since I’d seen the stables and the park itself and while I had the time, and the weather was nice, it seemed an ideal way to pass an hour or two.
To make my journey to Chingford Park (and the stables) more interesting, I decided to divert through the student quarter of the city. There really is no better way to make you appreciate your own home than to drive through large areas of student accommodation. I drove along streets with names like Forth, St David, Harbour Terrace and Dundas. Past flats with names like 8 Mile, TAB, The Asylum, The Bird Cage and The Playground. I navigated my way through an obstacle course of microwaves, tv ’s, washing baskets and mattresses until I found myself stuck behind a campervan. Now I don’t mean to be rude, but I hate having to follow campervans.
I had been home from my trip to the Bay of Islands for nearly a week and already my feet were getting itchy. My newly purchased water blaster had proven to be a most useful investment and now that I had almost destroyed everything in sight, my wife was threatening to take the ‘damn thing off me’. I think the turning point had come when in an attempt to remove a flaking piece of paint from a garden wall, I had inadvertently taken out almost an entire garden bed. With my toy taken off me and my list of ‘I’ll do that job during summer’ not being very appealing, I decided a walk was in order. With that, I headed for the delightful harbour village of Port Chalmers.
I’ve recently discovered the joys of morning photography again. When I say recently, I mean the last seven days. I would like to put forward the argument that until now I never really had time in the mornings to think about taking photos however that would be a straight out lie. The fact is, I like sleeping in and being a creature of habit it’s too much effort to change my routines. So, having not so long ago changed jobs, I found myself with an extra few minutes in the morning last week and naturally I decided to fill that time chasing the morning light.
I had spent the earlier part of the week exploring the way old buildings in the central city as the first rays of light hit the old gothic structures that are a part of the Dunedin CBD. A few days later as the dawn broke on Thursday, I felt a yearning to see what the beach was like.
Having arrived at St Kilda Beach and parked my car a suitable distance from anyone else to avoid getting drawn into time wasting chit-chat, I changed lenses, adjusted camera settings and I happily stepped out of the car. I would like to be able to say it was a warm, still morning, but I can’t. That would be another lie! The sea looked a tiny bit angry, the wind a tiny bit annoyed and the temperature on the chilly side. If the morning weather was a person, you might say they seemed a bit miffed!
On a side note, and if you will indulge me for a moment, I do so like the words chit-chat and miffed. Oddly, these are words that for some reason make me smile. Try and use the words chit-chat in a sentence without smiling. I bet you can’t!
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