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Archive for the ‘Seasons’ Category

  • I’m writing this as rain is falling on the skylight just a couple of feet above my head, and there’s something lovely about that.
  • It is starting to get dark outside already, around 5 pm, and by the time it is 7.30 pm it feels like the middle of the night. Whilst I have been quite liking the cosy nature of this, I am quite pleased that it is almost the shortest day, and whilst the colder weather will hit, at least it won’t be dark so early!
  • Combine a lot of rainy or misty dull days, very short days and long nights, and the fact I’ve been sick (cold/cough) for the past two weeks, I’ve been getting cabin fever.
  • I have been binge-watching the final season of The Good Wife, when really during this gloomy period there was no excuse for not reading. I have only read 12 books this year, and I’m one behind schedule on my self-imposed Goodreads Reading Challenge.
  • The crappy weather has also put paid to any exciting photography options, and now there are no leaves left on our oak tree, photographic opportunities are more limited. Though I bought some tulips the other day, so played with my camera this afternoon when it was still light.

P1080869 tulips blk ed

 

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Yesterday we got up early (for a Saturday), filled the car with essentials, and headed off, out of the city and up the valley where the Hutt River skirts the highway, its willows rapidly losing all their leaves, into the countryside. It was a gloomy, dark morning, and the rain that was forecast later in the day seemed to have arrived early – it was light, almost misty, and we hoped it would be different at our destination.

We passed the tempting $10 Breakfast sign at the café at the bottom of the hill, tempted to stop for bacon and eggs and a decent coffee, thinking about texting our friends to say we might just be half an hour late. But we didn’t, and we drove up into the winding Rimutakas, up into the cloud, and then dropped back into the Wairarapa beyond, a bit perturbed to find that the weather was no better, and maybe even worse.

We arrived at Alders, site of previous adventures in better weather, where we were due to help our friends harvest their olives. The sight of Peony and her bedraggled sister, both soaked through, supported my decision to bring my bought-for-Iceland-and-previously-only-ever-worn-there rain pants, grateful for my bought-for-Iceland-but-perfect-in many-places fleece and rain jacket, and pleased that my husband had thought to bring our gumboots (and later even more pleased he unwittingly gave me the pair without the hole in the sole).

Our hosts/overseers had thoughtfully provided gloves and plenty of purpose-bought rakes that easily strip the olives from the branches, and we stuck into the work, getting wet not so much from the rain which eased off and just turned to mist, but from the very wet olive trees, and only slightly hampered by steamed-up glasses. With a very efficient crew of workers this year, and even though the trees are so much bigger than when we first went about seven or eight years ago, it was only a few quick hours later that we were told they had enough olives (8-900 kgs or a ton), and sodden, we retreated back to the house to dry off, grateful for the wine, hearty lunch of Indian dahls and curries, and cheerful conversation after a job well done.

Previous olive harvest posts here and here.

 

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It’s the last day of April today, and it feels like it. It is cooler, and I pulled out some winter clothes this morning to venture out. A cup of hot tea at breakfast is very welcome now, instead of the simple glass of water I’ve had for months.

Mist has hung about our hills all day, obscuring the view, hiding other parts of the city across the gorge, including even the streetlights I can normally see from my window. The streets are lined with fallen orange leaves, which surprised me given that our city is very green, dominated by the evergreen natives, with few flashes of autumn colour. Time to change my blog header.

It’s dark already, only just after 6 pm, and the idea of curling up in bed later under a warm duvet with a book or my iPad is appealing. Yes, the seasons have changed, and winter is almost here.

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For the first time ever, I think, I actually saw the clocks go back, waking at 2.30 am and wondering if it was the first 2-3 am hour or the second, then again 40 minutes later, to saw that it was 2.10 am. I could then sleep easily, as we all had our alarms set for 4 am, to get the BIL to the airport to catch his early flight home to Asia.

Later, after a good sleep-in, the extra hour in the day meant that we were still early enough to set off for a late-morning walk. I felt good – whether it was the long sleep I had enjoyed, or the freedom that comes from being left in peace, I don’t know – and we decided to head out to Makara, a tiny beach community at the southwest of the city, and take the coastal walkway.

The seashore here was rocky and stony, with lots of seaweed and piles and piles of driftwood, and the occasional boat frame rusting away. The path was uneven, sometimes flat on the side of the hills that rise up from the sea, and sometimes disappearing, requiring navigation over the driftwood and stony beach which wasn’t too unstable, although I was acutely aware that it was exactly this weekend two years ago when I fell and broke my ankle.

The sun shone, the sky was blue, the temperature mild, with only a gentle breeze cooling us, as the sea lapped against the stony beach, uncharacteristically calm, the windmills on the green hills opposite turned slowly, and in the distance, flat Mana Island and steep, hazy, Kapiti Island beyond pointed the way north.

Next time, I later resolved, I’d take my camera and tripod, but the phone camera didn’t do a bad job.

bty

bty

bty

 

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We noticed it first on our drive to the northeast of our country – I was shocked to suddenly see poplars turning yellow, even though everything else still felt summery.

By the time we got home, we’d seen lots of poplars and willow trees starting to turn, which is not something we see here, surrounded by largely native, evergreen trees. Then we noticed how much darker it is in the evenings, the sun suddenly setting around 7.30 pm, about half an hour earlier (it seemed) than when we had left, and it seems shocking that daylight saving will end in a couple of weeks.

The agapanthus have finished flowering, as have the hydrangeas and other flowers, though a few hardy blooms of other varieties still bring colour to our lives.

But it was still hot on my walk this morning, and at a spot a few hundred metres down the street, I was greeted again by a large monarch butterfly, a sign of summer still lingering. They’ve been prolific this summer – a friend even nurtured one to adulthood in her garden – and I’ve taken enormous pleasure at seeing them swoop and fly around our hills, and especially at the ones near our mailbox.

As much as I complained about the hot nights, I do feel sad that summer is drawing to an end. But then, I felt that way at the end of winter too.

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Last year, summer did not turn up here in Wellington, but it must have had a guilty conscience as a result, because this year it arrived about a month earlier than usual, and in November we were already having our first barbecue, and eating outside, which in itself is a bit of a novelty in Wellington, hitting the combination of warm enough temperatures and lack of wind to be able to eat outside in the evening.

I have already received mockery from various unsympathetic friends on Fb when I have complained that these high (for us) temperatures overheat our house and that sleeping becomes difficult, so I’m not going to give you the numbers, and I will point out that everything is relative. We don’t have air-conditioning, and our house is built to catch the sun, not to hide it (for most of the year this is a good thing), but right now, we spend all afternoon and early evening trying to find the perfect combination of ventilation, directed air-flow, and closed curtains to keep out the sun. Of course, my husband and I have endless arguments on how this should be done, and when the heat makes us (okay, me) cranky, we do not agree to disagree on this matter.

Last night was cool, and I slept well (after the Australian Open Final finished about 1 am), but today the cloud from yesterday has lifted, the sky is blue, the heat pumping into the house and bedroom, with the forecast remaining warm for the next few days, and so we have a zoo trip and a barbecue for visiting relatives planned on Wednesday. Whilst this ability to plan in summer may be normal for many of you, it isn’t for me, or for most Wellingtonians, as usually, the one thing we can rely on is that our weather is changeable, and that just when the heat seems to be unbearable and lasting way too long, the winds will change and we will get some much-needed respite. I see lower temperatures and rain is forecast for Friday – a good day for the museum, I think.

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January Projects

I seem to be collecting new projects this January, but not the ones I should be focusing on.

  1. I’m now a week into my year of blogging daily, using word limits each month, over here at x365 Take Two.
  2. I’ve just signed up for a photography course, as recommended by a friend. The first lesson has blown me away, and I hope the rest are as easy to understand.
  3. I’ve copied the lovely Indigo Bunting who did this last year, and I’ve started a project to declutter 2018 things from my house in 2018. So far, I’ve thrown away five things, which means I’m already 39 things behind schedule, but I figure there’s time. Do you think discarding a project would count towards the 2018 total, and would a x365 project count as 365 things?
  4. Theoretically, I’m also going to try to delete 2018 emails, but that seems futile, because they just keep coming.

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