'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Monday, 20 August 2018

My Answer to too Many Photos ...

... is to buy cloud space!  I now have over 16,000 images. Anyone beat that?
Oh, and I also bought a new laptop.*
 Then I went to Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Germany, England and finally popped in to Lewis and Harris to see Geeb.

And now I'm back home with lots to talk about and lots of pictures to show you.

...if there's anyone still out there reading my blog?  I hasten to add, I don't blame you if you have departed.  I've been away from blogging a long time.

In the centre of this pic can you see the dancing flies?  (poss. Hybotidae sp)

*which I had to leave behind when I went away, but which, having been home nearly two weeks, I have just found again.  I hid it very well.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Clunking Along

I have become very attached to this dear laptop of mine.  I refuse to write 'dear old laptop', because it still feels very new to me. However, that's what it is.  Bought in mid 2010, it is now the ripe old age of nearly 8 years old, and will no longer do what it should do.  In fact, despite, or, possibly because my son installed the latest operating system on it, it has become very very slow.  It took 3 minutes simply to open its own information.

Oh dear.

Apparently I could do three things.
1. see if it has room inside for a bigger hard-drive to be installed, and if so, for about $400 get one put in.  Which still may not solve the problem.
2. remove my 10,000 photos from iPhoto and see if that makes it happier.
3. buy a new one.

I'm working on #2 but due to the  s l o w n e s s, I may reach senility (or be driven into it by the plodding pace) by the time it gets done.  It's a lovely way to waste time however.  Happy visual memories.

Sketching Kea feather colours at the Back of House at the Auckland Museum last year.
A Piwakawaka (Fantail) in my garden - one of my next painting subjects

Parrotfish while snorkelling in Tahiti

Sunset on Guam

Looking for insect pests in a market garden on Pohnpei

Tang at the Palau Aquarium

My first scarab sighted - Taiwan

Nice veggies from the garden.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Terribly Important

This is the most important blog I have every written, and although I hold with only some aspects of the Gaia philosophy, the rest is very important.

It contains only two things. A request that you watch this movie.
And this link.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

The Apple

Since I stopped blogging regularly, my eldest son and his wife have had my first grandchild who is about one and a half years old and is the apple of my eye and the arrow to my bow, the sun and the moon and stars and every other like metaphor you care to quote.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Bobby and Alice.

In January of 1990 we went camping and brought home a self-reliant little black puppy that had been living rather poorly on fish bits tossed to him by campground fishermen, and what other scraps he could beg. He was a very active tyke and we named him Bobby. He seemed to have springs in his legs.  He must also have been older than he looked, possibly stunted, because by spring of 1990 Alice my airedale had produced a huge unplanned litter of Alice-Bobby puppies. In January of 1991 I only had three months to go of my own third pregnancy and was looking for homes for the last thee puppies.  I wrote a poem about it all, which I have recently stumbled upon. It wasn’t a particularly happy mistake, but I guess my young sons learnt a bit about unplanned reproduction and the consequences at the least. It's also not a brilliant poem, but it was the best I could do at the time I suppose.

Like many things truly amazing
They appeared with ease.
Bobby was keen,
Alice did what was required,
Seemingly indifferent, matching mine.
But eleven puppies! Oh Lord!
Dreadful for me
The first decision, the first six
Dispatched in batches as
They appeared,
shiny wet helpless butterballs.
The vet’s assistant
Comforting me as I sobbed
Pregnant myself.
And today the last three are now gone.
Four months of naming, growing, tumbling,
Walks, play, licks and cuddles.
Your lives saved
then given away,
In cardboard boxes.
Two to a guy in Thames
One to a guy up the Coro.
Easy come, easy go.
But not for me.

James, two of Alice's puppies, Gt Aunt Eva, Thomas.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Up a Tower Monking

About the last six weeks or so, for a couple of days each week, I have been being rather Monkish.

A bit of background. A few years ago my former art tutor James Ormsby discovered that an ancestor of his had copied and illuminated a psalter, which is part of the collection in the Bodian Library.
He decided he too would write out parts of the bible and illuminate them, and has done some very interesting and beautiful work, even to my non-religious eyes.

At present, he has an exhibition ‘Tu’, of his work in the local Tauranga Art Gallery. As part of the exhibition, he decided he, or someone, would work, during opening hours, on another manuscript, but up a tower with the the work slowly cascading down the side of the tower as it progressed. He is writing out Revelations, backwards, and in Maori.
He talked me and two other friends into writing and illuminating a work too. We are together writing out the Tauranga City Council Vehicle Regulations. At any time each day, there’s usually someone up the tower working away.

It has been a fascinating experience. We have ‘taken a vow of silence’ and don’t engage with visitors through talk, but can answer people’s questions called up to us, by writing on pieces of paper and tossing them down. We wear a dark brown hoodie, with the hood up.  I feel a certain pressure to write Wise Words, which is not always easy when the question is something like 'Do you eat up there?'

We’ve done about six weeks and the writing is done. We are now working on the illustrations and illuminations. Two weeks to go. The general theme of my own illustrations is 'nature one can see from a car'.  So far I have been painting a lot of gulls eating chips.  I might move on to gulls on lampposts.

‘Tu’ means ‘the space between’.

Monday, 19 March 2018

The Battle of Gate Pa

This is one of the best descriptions I have ever heard of a battle that took place near my home here in Tauranga (better pronunciation is 'Toe-Rong-a' or Toe-Rang-a, both with a soft g).
I hope you enjoy it.  Allow 30 minutes. Worth it.