This week’s photographic topic is Forgotten. It seemed made for me, not because I wrote this (I’ve since found my camera and my spare cellphone), but because Wellington is truly the land summer forgot.

Here is what today looked like from my house:

Sigh. Though in the Pollyanna tradition of making the most of what I have, I was quite pleased with myself that I could capture the bouncing raindrop!

But the other evening, when it wasn’t raining and wasn’t cold and wasn’t even too windy, I walked down my street to photograph this house.

Forgotten House

It’s by far the worst I’ve seen in our hilly, only-ten-minutes-from-the-city neighbourhood, which is full of lovingly maintained and modernised homes. There is evidence that it is probably occupied, but it certainly receives no outward TLC. I couldn’t get a good angle on the house due to the slope of the street, but the fence was I thought, quite photogenic, and has certainly been forgotten. I played around with it, and quite liked this posterized version.

Forgotten Fence Poster


Things I am happy about today

I’m enjoying the photography challenge that I do in between Microblog Mondays posts, but I think I’ve realised that one of the things I like best about it is that I get to explore things that are important to me, and to then write about them here (however briefly), taking as much or more pleasure in that than I do the photography.

I found my old camera!

The grilled chicken sandwich I made for lunch, with leftover chicken from dinner last night (marinated in coriander – cilantro for you North Americans – and mint and lime juice and red curry paste) and the spicy banana chutney that goes with it.

Remembering that friends and relatives are so important to our well-being, and should be celebrated. The last few days have been especially good – I got to see two friends on Friday, a niece and her partner on Saturday (and it was fine enough to have drinks on the deck), and other friends for dinner last night, a friend who spends half her life in France will be visiting in a few weeks, and I’m anticipating the arrival home of another friend after four years in Europe.

That we manage to balance our interests by happily driving an old, increasingly beat-up car (we bought it new 19 years ago), not owning diamonds or fancy clothes or expensive shoes etc, so that we can travel.

After waking up (at 5 am) to a gale that was shaking the house and rattling the roof, with mists that shrouded the house at the same time, followed by heavy rain, now it is bright and sunny (though still reasonably windy). Three seasons in one day, but there’s still time for a fourth, so here’s a Crowded House treat for you:

Sweet things

I have a sweet tooth, but for chocolate and ice-cream and desserts rather than for confectionary (lollies/sweets/candy). So I wasn’t wildly thrilled at the photo challenge for candy this week. As I’m doing both last year’s challenge and this year’s, the Candy challenge required both photos of candy, and photos that implied candy. The first photo speaks for itself.

The chocolate is just asking to be made into a chocolate mousse, in the very glass I’ve used to serve chocolate mousse. I can’t remember the last time I made chocolate mousse. Yet it was one of the first ever fancy desserts I would make for guests. At least one person reading this will remember how I used to make chocolate mousse, and decorate it with chocolate palm trees. I need to try that again, and show you, although it has been years since I made chocolate mousse. Just talking about chocolate mousse makes me want to make chocolate mousse. I love chocolate mousse.


The second photo is really about my opinion that tomatoes are the candy of the vegetable world. I’ve written about tomatoes before. When I was in the Middle East, I adored the cherry tomatoes that I ate in Israel and Jordan. In our hotel in Amman, we were served a small bowl of cherry tomatoes, along with a small bowl of olives, with our drinks. Perfect!


Photographically speaking, this challenge taught me a number of things. I played with light, and with different backgrounds. I realised that I should have done this challenge with traditional round cherry tomatoes, as the oval ones look as if I distorted the photo. I learned that I should not always go for a very wide aperture, as it can blur too much of the photo. And I learned that I should take more time for my challenges, and not try to sneak in five or ten minutes of photography when I’m waiting for my husband to get home with the takeaways for dinner.

Putting it somewhere safe …

Do you ever put something away somewhere safe, and then can’t find it?

Two years ago we went away for a few weeks, and so I hid my hard drive that held all my back-ups from my laptop, including years of photos. I came back, looked for it where I thought it was, but had no luck, and as I’ve had no luck subsequently, I now use a new hard drive that backs up my laptop.

In November, we went away for a couple of weeks, and I did the hiding-precious-things again, including my laptop, my hard drive, and my recently replaced but much-loved eight-year-old camera. On arrival home, I retrieved my laptop and hard drive, but didn’t realise for some weeks that I didn’t know where my camera was.

Lastly, I replaced my cell phone about six months ago, but my old one still works and will be quite handy when we travel, as I use an international SIM card (because it is so much cheaper than typical roaming charges) but don’t really want to have to swap out SIMS on my new phone. I suspect I hid it at the same time as I hid my camera, but I’m not sure – I know I don’t know exactly where it is.

Am I losing my marbles, or do you think we have a mischievous technology-stealing sprite living in our house?

A walk to the park

By yesterday, I’d really had enough of this so-called summer. The rain teemed down, we were surrounded by mist (as we are a hill suburb, this is not uncommon), I’d forgotten what the sun looked like and started wondering if I was developing a Vitamin D deficiency. Everything was dreary and grey, and although what I was seeing outside was drained of colour, I knew that this wasn’t what the photographic challenge setters meant when they said to take a black and white landscape.

Today is one of our rare (so far this summer) fine days, without gale force winds, so I headed out for a walk this morning with my camera – fitness and photography at the same time. There wasn’t a lot that was going to offer the contrast required in a black and white photo, but I snapped a few things, which I’ll show you, even though I know they’re not good.

The first is a large macrocarpa tree, just a few hundred metres from my house. They’re ubiquitous in the New Zealand countryside – and I grew up with these large trees behind my house – and rarer in cities, though they are not uncommon in Wellington. We have some huge macrocarpas on our own section, and love their sculptural nature.


Further down the street, the local park – with its popular playground and sports grounds – is lined with pohutukawa trees, right at the end of their blooming season. I played around with black and white shots here too, and quite liked this one, though I wish I’d sat down on the side of the hill and tried a lower angle, which might have highlighted the trunks, which were after all the reason I’d chosen them as a subject.


The other weekly challenge this week asked me to take ten shots of something, and choose my favourite. I tried that with one of the pohutukawa trees, but wasn’t very adventurous, and only had one lens with me, and gave up. I have to show you one, so here it is. I like the bark and the shape of the branches, and the red blooms hiding away.


I’m finding the challenges both interesting and frustrating. Interesting because I’m thinking about photography in a different way, and frustrating because what I imagine in my head is not what the camera is taking! I’m not giving enough thought or time to the challenges, and might have to drop one, and do the other next year. Or maybe I’ll repeat them next year and see if I make any progress. In the meantime, enjoy your stroll around my suburb.

Are we going to make it?

As many have already written, Mary Tyler Moore died last week. I remember watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show as a teenager (I think that’s when it was on NZ TV), when I too was looking forward to the prospect of leaving home and moving to a big city, full of opportunities. I probably didn’t realise how ground-breaking it was at the time, perhaps because I always felt more than a little frustrated because Mary was by far the most sensible and capable person in the newsroom, and she did most of the work, she had to fix the messes from their scrapes, but still she was junior to the men, and was pushed about by them.

Some things have changed since the programme – I read, for example, that the character Mary was only allowed to wear trousers/pants once an episode because they were not yet readily accepted attire for a woman. But society didn’t change that much that quickly, as I distinctly remember having to dash home from the Embassy in Bangkok in the early 1990s to change my pants to a skirt when I was asked to accompany the Ambassador later that day to call on the Prime Minister, and even in 2016, you hear that a woman was sent home because she didn’t wear high heels.

And in the last decade, I have seen female friends spending years of their working lives supporting men who were promoted over them and preventing them from making mistakes, just as I remember Mary covering for Lou Grant and Murray, rather than receiving those promotions themselves. Double standards still exist between the genders in all spheres of life, and the recent women’s marches all around the world were a genuine response to that. Sadly, although I like to think that we, as women, are “gonna make it after all,” I’m not hopeful that it will be soon.

Sadly, although I like to think that we, as women, are “gonna make it after all,” I’m not convinced that it will be very soon.

I have already complained about summer so far this year. By yesterday, we were fed up of hiding inside, and ventured out for a relaxed lunch at a local café. I didn’t realise I would get to wear my raincoat – recently purchased for inclement weather and temperatures later this year – would get an outing so soon. But it did. I am pretty sure that I could literally count the number of fine days we’ve had this summer on the fingers of one hand. Maybe that’s exaggerating – but I’d be confident in saying I could count them on the fingers of both hands. The combination of a fine, sunny day and a temperature of above 20 has been rare this year in Wellington. And whilst a few days ago I thought I was resigned to it, by today I’m feeling fed up and frustrated. Ironically, it is sunny and there is blue sky outside as I write this (although the temperature is under 20C), and it was fine enough (and the winds were mild enough) that I could go for a walk this morning too. The one thing I know is that it won’t last.

(We’re told that the excessive winds we’ve been experiencing this year, along with the dismal temperatures, are because the ocean temperature east of Australia this year is 4 degrees C above normal. That is so depressing.)

So when my photo challenge this week involved mirrors, I had an idea what to do. Yesterday, I took a shot of the reflection in the mirror in our dining room. I love that we can look at the mirror, and see the view outside. But yesterday, you can see, it was dark and gloomy. Today is much brighter, so I’ve superimposed yesterday’s shot onto a mirror, under the direct view outside the window today. It hasn’t quite worked the way I wanted, but here it is.


Oddly, as I was playing around, I caught this shot.


It turns out the bevel on the edge of the mirror reflected the reflection from the centre of the mirror of my much loved dangling birds from Vermont that hang in the middle of my window. If you look closely, you can see that the birds are also faintly reflected in the window. Dangling birds times three – bonus!

So I’m not sure of the two photos I prefer, and I know neither is perfect. I can also see that my windows need to be washed, but given the blustery storms we’ve been having, what’s the point? Anyway, both photos reflect life at my house.