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Posts Tagged ‘spring in Wellington’

We’re in the last phase of winter, or is it the first phase of spring? Over the weekend, the only deciduous tree on our property sprang into life. On Sunday morning, I saw the first leaves emerge, and by the afternoon there were a few more. Its branches are bursting with buds ready to burst. Spring is, if not sprung, then about to spring.

The neighbours, after huge renovations last year, planted a tree that has blossomed most gorgeously right beside our driveway, so I was thrilled to pop out there and play around with my camera. It was nice to snap away, after the winter when I was tortured by photos of beautiful flowers from my photography course classmates from the northern hemisphere.

I’m reminded too by Fbk that previously I have checked out the tulips in the gardens around this time of year. Maybe next week you’ll get some tulip photos.

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I’m writing this at my desk, with the wide open large skylight above me, and the window behind me – creaked open after a winter closed tight against the cold, wet and wild southerlies – is poised to bring in a cooler breeze, though so far without luck. The sky is blue, and the sun is heating the house, and outside I can see butterflies and hear the tui and other birds chattering away.

After I renewed my driver’s licence (a quick and efficient process, though one that, annoyingly, doesn’t allow me to approve the photo they take for the licence) in town this morning, my husband and I decided, for a change, to drive around the harbour for lunch. The water was blue and calm, and the temperatures warm, and we wound our way around the bays, amazed at this uncharacteristically balmy November weather. Even the pohutukawa are all coming out weeks earlier than usual – I’m hoping they’ll still be in fierce, red bloom when the overseas family arrive in a few weeks.

We stopped at a café that has a lovely view back across the harbour to the city. We found seats under an umbrella to shade us from New Zealand’s fierce UV rays, and enjoyed a delicious lunch of decidedly summer vegetables and flavours.

An elderly couple sat near us with their glasses of chilled white wine, and we looked at each other in disgust, wondering why on earth we didn’t think of that!

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Often in New Zealand we are so hopeful for spring to arrive that we decide 1 September is the first day of spring, but it hasn’t really officially sprung yet, and truth be told, there is always at least one more winter storm to arrive before spring really sets in in October, but there are signs, and it might be premature of me, but I think right now they’re worth celebrating.

On our morning walk this morning, the tui were all going crazy, flying in and out of the vibrant yellow kowhai trees in flower, often the first sign of spring when everything else is grey and bare.

We had a rough weekend, but I went out on the deck today to try to get a shot of one of the aforesaid tui, as two of them were chattering and clacking in our tree, and although they flew off, it was warm enough to wander around in my socks and snap away some of the lovely camellia flowers in our garden, also a harbinger of spring.

As we’re getting back to normal after having a winter filled with our own travel and with travellers arriving here, I feel the urge to spring clean and start afresh.

The first asparagus spears have peaked through the soil in my friend’s garden, and I can’t wait for more to arrive, and to find them regularly in the supermarket, as I eat seasonally, and I’m getting a little tired of the winter vegetables which have all been so expensive this year.

And as I write this, I look out at the wonderful spring light that is shining through our new fence on the driveway, and through the macrocarpa trees, and feel hopeful.

I know that spring can also bring other things, including fierce winds and dust and pollen and allergies, and the temperatures will stay low for a long time yet. But today there is a hope that it is coming, and that lifts my spirits.

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(a variation on a theme)

kowhai spring

  1. For weeks, throughout the city, I’ve been enjoying seeing splashes of yellow from the blooming kowhai, and even though they’re ending now, the yellow is there on the footpaths and roads and in the gutters – just a reminder of the passing seasons.
  2. I need sunglasses again to drive, though I fight against it, squinting my way along the road.
  3. There is asparagus in my fridge, and I’m starting to think about salads, and less about lamb shanks.
  4. It’s birthday season for family, and friends – so many of us have October birthdays, and it is lovely to be able to share it with them all, celebrating surviving another year on this planet.
  5. After months of living in a uniform of jeans (blue or black) with black woollen tops, dressed up or down with jackets or jerseys, it is hard to make decisions about what to wear, never knowing if it will be a last icy blast from the Antarctic, or if summer temperatures will tease.
  6. Pasta and chardonnay nights have resumed every Thursday.
  7. The cruise ships have returned to the city, though I haven’t seen any yet, and I always wonder at the hardy souls who risk coming to New Zealand in spring.
  8. Wellington’s spring winds have returned.

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I’ve had a gloomy and complicated August. And if I had written this post yesterday, it would have been all about how angry I am. Angry at politicians, angry at the public with knee-jerk reactions. Angry at the American election campaign and the ridiculous comments that have been “misspoken” as part of that, angry at the use of the word “misspoken” which really means either “I lied” or “I am stupid.” Yes, I’ve been angry.

I’ve been angry that here in 2012, women are still not seen or respected as equals – not in business, not in making decisions about their own body, not in a myriad of ways that are usually unspoken but yet still blatant.  I’ve been so angry at that that I can’t watch Madmen.  I’ve been angry at the lack of professionalism of an organisation I’ve been associated with for many years, at deceit and churlishness.  I’ve been angry at arrogant and haughty people, who think they seem more important if they treat others badly and without respect.  I’ve been angry at  being taken for granted, for a lack of appreciation.  I’ve been angry at the loss of what has previously been a very safe place, and a big part of my life.   I’ve been angry at disrespectful and self-centred people.  I’ve been angry at seeing the harsh results of aging, in those I love, and (in a so far much lesser way) in the mirror. I’ve been angry at my bank account, and angry (but unrepentant) about my extravagances. I’ve been angry at everyone, and angry at myself.  I’ve been angry.

But oh, what a difference a day makes. How can I continue to be so angry when the day dawns bright and sparkling, when the harbour is calm and shiny, when the yachts are reflected on the water, and the colourful boat-houses look positively joyous on this the last day of winter? How can I be angry when the bay is full of kayakers, the footpath is full of people, of all ages and all mobilities, out enjoying the sun? How can I be angry when I can sit in the sunshine without worrying about sunburn, when I can discard my winter coat, when the coffee tastes so good? How can I feel angry when I feel fatigued but strong (and virtuous) after a tough workout, when I can see the improvement of a solid few months working out without breaks for illness or general malaise, when my haircut looks good? How can I feel angry when I hear the tui chirping in the trees welcoming me home, when it is Friday afternoon, and when tomorrow it is officially spring?

I guess I’m not angry anymore.

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