Category Archives: Wellington

Windy Wellington

stormy-weather4

Our capital city certainly lived up to its name yesterday.  All day long we were battered with gale force winds and torrential rain.  A friend commented that it was as bad as the day in which The Wahine foundered on Barretts Reef at the entrance to Wellington Harbour.  In all 51 people lost their lives in spite of the valiant rescue attempts of many.

I wasn’t in Wellington on that fateful day – April 10, 1968 – but the tragedy was beamed around the country and around the world.  We were shown images of the disaster and the rescuers in action.  We sat glued to the television as the drama unfolded.  We didn’t know Wellington then having recently arrived in New Zealand and were living in Auckland but we could see the rugged coastline and the reef on which the vessel came to rest.

But yesterday’s storm did not cause loss of life; it did, however, cause much damage.  It is reported that “At its peak, winds gusting up to 200kmh damaged buildings and tore trees from the ground. …Lashing rain caused surface flooding and, at times, up to 30,000 residents were without power. Conditions were so treacherous that some council and power companies stopped their workers from carrying out repairs.”  Click here to read the rest of this and see the devastation caused by the wind and rain.

Fortunately, we came through this storm unscathed.  The only damage that I can see is the garden furniture blown around and some of the cyclamens that I planted in pots to brighten the entry to the house have been battered, but a small price to pay for what could have been so much worse.  Across the road a tree has been blown down taking part of a newly installed fence with it and blocking the footpath.

A series of calls to and from friends and relatives confirmed that all were well and had suffered little or no damage to their property.  So now on this wet and still windy Friday, my small dog and I are having a quiet day at home.  There is no attraction for leaving the fireside, except that later Bella will have to have a very short walk.

Here’s a rainbow for those who did suffer damage to their property.  At this time we have heard of no injuries to people.

Rainbow

My rainbow

Saturday Again..

OK so it’s Saturday again.  Where did this week go?  Must have been  having fun!

Six word Saturday button

If you want to play along either click on the above image or go to http://www.showmyface.com/.

NEW DAY – NEW WALK – NEW FRIENDS

A couple of days ago  I wrote about a very simple pleasure bestowed on me by two little girls and I thought how lucky I am to live where I do, rather than in a retirement village surrounded only by other ‘oldies’.

So to Saturday.  Today started out as grey and very windy so as is my wont, I stayed in bed with my book having been brought breakfast –  juice, coffee and toast  – until well into the day.  When I did surface the wind was blowing and I thought it would be a stay at home day.

However, shortly after lunch I finished my book “The Dying Light” by Henry Porter and thought we should sally forth to the supermarket to buy whatever we needed for dinner.  While I had been reading about intrigue in the highest echelons of British politics, Prime Minister et al, my friend had been reading the daily newspaper and discovered there was a new (?) lookout on the hills above Wellington.  So we decided that we would try the walk to the lookout and then go to the supermarket.

By the time we worked out where we were going, the day had changed completely,  the sun was shining, the wind had dropped and it had become an almost perfect Spring day.

We found the new lookout Te Ahumairangi and marvelled at the sight of the city spread in its glory in front of us.

We also found this great place to walk Lotte without her lead.  She was really excited as she rarely is off the lead when out of the house.  On the walk we met several people exercising their dogs, so Lotte has a whole lot of new friends to meet on her walks in future because we will certainly be going back to this area of the town belt.

I have written before about how lucky we are in this capital city to have the town belt and how so many of the citizens fail to take advantage of the peace and serenity that it offers us in this busy world that we inhabit.  We certainly appreciated it today – the wind was absent for a short time and the sun shone.

Rainbow

My rainbow

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An Earthquake.

On Tuesday evening we had an earthquake.  Quite large as these things go.  In fact is was 7 on the Richter Scale.

Map of New Zealand

The long, rolling quake, at 230 kilometres deep, was centred around New Plymouth (that’s the sticking out bit on the western side of the North Island)  and was felt throughout the lower North Island and upper South Island. We are told that buildings shook and evening workers reported being shaken about in their offices.

The first I knew about this large shake was when a friend called me shortly after 10.40pm to ask if I was alright.  “Yes” I replied “Why wouldn’t I be?”.  You see I hadn’t felt a thing but so far haven’t spoken to anyone else who was unaware of the quake.  So what does that say about me?  Oh Lotte rushed into the bedroom where I was preparing for bed, but I thought it was because she had just realised I wasn’t in the room with her.

New Zealand has always been known as the Shaky Isles and as Wellington sits firmly on a fault line we are all aware that at some time – whether now or in 100 years time – the city will experience a large earthquake.  However, this latest one, felt by so many did little damage.  And it was larger than the one that devastated Christchurch and resulted in the death of 185 people in February 2011.

We now have a host of predictions about earthquakes and our preparedness (or lack thereof).  We are told that it could take 40 days to restore the water supply to even a basic level, while road access could take up to 120 days, according to “worst case” predictions presented to the region’s Civil Defence Emergency Management Group, following Tuesday’s quake.

That could leave Wellington residents or commuters trapped in the city for months, and dependent on water rations being distributed by authorities for about six weeks.  Grim predictions indeed.

But for most of us, we go about our usual business heedless of the many minor quakes that shake our city regularly.  But are we being foolhardy?  and how many of us have survival items readily available in case of such a disaster?  I suspect that if I did even a small poll amongst my friends and family, most would be aware of what should be in a disaster kit, but many would not have made any provisions for surviving a disaster.

“We live in the midst of alarms; anxiety beclouds the future; we expect some new disaster with each newspaper we read.”
Abraham Lincoln

Sunshine, Wet Towels and Gardens

It’s a lovely summer day here in Wellington.  It’s Saturday and the sun is shining, and the whole day stretches ahead of me.  I can choose how I spend this day.

House through trees

A bit of a problem to start the day.  I live in this lovely old (1914) cottage with all mod cons except that the washing machine empties into the laundry tub.  And yes, you’ve guessed it, something was left in the tub and I was greeted by water rushing to meet me as I opened the door.  As the laundry is tucked away in a cupboard in the bathroom, I now have the cleanest floor tiles in Brooklyn.

Today was Suburb Cleanup Day.  This is apparently an annual event and they/somebody will take away any household items you no longer want.  Of course, they don’t take garden or household refuse.  So bright and early I put a few things that I wanted rid of out at the gate and looked up to see the many things that neighbours had discarded.

A golf bag (minus clubs) across the road; a child’s pram at another house; an armchair at another; and the girls next door put out the dog kennel.  I guess they decided that as George, their little pooch, never goes ito it they may as well get rid of it.

Then a friend called to say that if I was going to work in the garden he was happy to come along and help.  Great friend!  Before we started I had to borrow some shears from my neighbour and as is the custom here, before starting work the three of us sat in the sunshine on the patio and had coffee.  It was so lovely, no wind, which is unusual for Wellington, sunshine and pleasant company I didn’t want to move.  But then we did.

We cut back several decades of ivy from a sitting area at the rear of the house and then weeded the brick steps leading up to it.  I ruthlessly cut back much of the growth that was keeping the sunshine from the back patio and now there is more light in that area and into the house.

Then lunch and my friend left because I had to finish my blog for the day before we go out to a fireworks display for Guy Fawkes night.  Heaven knows why we continue to celebrate this treasonous act but here in New Zealand we do.

fireworks

Many families have parties on this day and let off fireworks.  One of my grandsons has a birthday on November 5 and so they always have fireworks.  The City Council has as firework display each year in the harbour.  So we are going to visit friends whose house overlooks the harbour to view the fireworks.

Frankly, I don’t like fireworks and think they should be banned except for properly organised displays.  When I was very young I saw a child lose an eye and have hated fireworks ever since.  You will understand then that my children were never allowed fireworks.  On the odd occasion that their father bought some, the children  were kept inside well away from any trouble.

End of rant for the day.

“Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason while gunpowder treason
should ever be forgot.”
Traditional English rhyme – 17th century.

The Massey Memorial

Massey Memorial

Have to go again to get the rest of the words.

The exterior is of the memorial is pale Tākaka marble, resting on a base of dark grey Coromandel granite.

Yesterday, on a beautiful early summer afternoon we took a walk up to the Massey Memorial.  It is sited on a promontory at Point Halswell in the inner harbour in Wellington and commemorates W. F. Massey, prime minister of New Zealand from 1912 to 1925.

Bush walk to Massey memorial

The lovely gentle walk upwards through dappled sunshine gave little or no hint of what was to come.

The harbour

From the site one gets this unobstructed view,  without any of the buildings that usually invade  intrude in shots of the harbour.

Memorial

A little potted history now.  William Ferguson Massey, often known as Bill Massey or “Farmer Bill” (26 March 1856 – 10 May 1925) served as Prime Minister to New Zealand from 1912 – 1925.

Massey was born in Ireland into a family of tenant farmers.  The family  moved to New Zealand in 1869 but he stayed to complete his education and arrived here a year later.  After arriving in NZ he worked as a farm-hand for several years until he acquired his own farm in 1877.  Fie years later he married a neighbour’s daughter.

Massey became prominent in his local community through his involvement in civic activities.  He was invited to stand for election to Parliament i the General Election of  1893 but was unsuccessful.  But the following year he was invited to contest a by-election in the neighbouring electorate of Waitemata, and was victorious. But in the 1896 election he stood for the Franklin electorate, which he represented until he died in 1925.

In 1924 illness forced Massey to relinquish many of his official duties. He died of this illness the following year.  Shortly after Massey’s death  the Massey Burial-ground Act was passed allocating land at Point Halswell to be set aside as a burial ground for him and his widow. Public subscriptions raised funds totalling £5,000 and the government contributed £10,000. One wonders what such a memorial would cost to build today.

Here endeth today’s lesson.

Lotte

C'mon - ready to go home now

“I dream of hiking into my old age.  I want to be able even then to pack my load and take off slowly but steadily along the trail.”
Marlyn Doan

City of Sails

“The time has come”the walrus said
to talk of many things:
Of shoes and ships and sealing wax
of cabbages and kings.”
Lewis Carrol –
from Through the Looking Glass

In New Zealand Auckland is known as the city of sails but here in Wellington we have our fair share of yachts.  Large and small, we see them braving the mad winds we have in our harbour.  Yesterday, when out for our walk and even though there was a brisk wind, the only activity around the marina seemed to be people cleaning and getting their yachts ready to sail.

Yachts

As you can see the marina is almost in the CBD.

Yachts

Having been married to a boat owner (several launches no yachts) I do know just how much work there is always waiting to be done around boats.

Laser dinghy

Laser image via Wikipedia

One Christmas when they were about 13 and 15, we bought the children a Laser.  They had earlier been introduced to P-class sailing when we lived on Lake Pupuke in Auckland, but this was their first real experience of sailing and managing a yacht.  We had many laughs until they got used to it, and they had many hours, weeks, months and years of fun.

But back to yesterday.  It was a very good day for a walk around the harbour even though the wind did it’s best to blow Lotte’s ears inside out.

Chaffers Sign

For some reason the date reverted to 1 January 2007 on the camera.

This is the main marina in the city but there are others scattered around our harbour.  New Zealanders love the sea and use any excuse to get out on their boats.  Children start very early with p-class yachts and if they are keen, they can always find somebody wanting a deck hand on a boat for the day.

And of course, nowhere in New Zealand are we any more than about 2.5 hours drive from the sea.  So those born and/or brought up here have the sea in their blood.

Chaffers Dock Apartments

These apartments converted from an office block, have uninterrupted views of the activity on the harbour.  On the ground floor is a variety of cafes and restaurants where one can while away time over a good coffee or a meal.  Lotte is welcome but of course, we sit outside with her to drink our coffee.  This is a particularly good place for people watching – my most favourite sport.

cup of latte

“We do not live by coffee alone; order a danish.” Judith Baxter