'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.

Saturday, 26 February 2011


While Christchurch still shudders from the effects of the earthquake and aftershocks, here I sit in Auckland, in my apartment eyrie overlooking the high city and Rangitoto Island as the sun dips below the horizon behind me.
And as I sit, I reflect on that same Rangitoto island, which is just one of numerous volcanoes (at least 50) that reveal the monogenetic volcanic field upon which most of urban Auckland sits, and the most recent to erupt, 600 years ago.

We know Rangitoto's eruptions have tended to become bigger over time.

This field is not extinct. A new eruption could happen at any time, although there are usually between hundreds to thousands of years between eruptions.

Hundreds to thousands of years.

Incredibly short in geological time.

Oh man, how brief thy life, how short thy memory!

Friday, 11 February 2011

Lemon Tree Borer?

A few warm evenings ago this beetle was spotted strolling on the window, attracted to the light inside. As it was difficult to identify from the underside...

I went outside, stood rather unsteadily on the wobbly rocks surrounding the garden under the window, and took a few more shots from out there:

So, what are you, a Lemon Tree Borer? Or a Velvet Eucalypt Longhorn? I looked it up in my trusty Andrew Crowe.

Still not sure of the species, I went outside again and moved in on the wee beastie, trying to get a really clear close-up. So immersed in this activity was I, that

... I didn't notice who was acting the clown on the other side of the ...


Saturday, 5 February 2011

Driving from Tauranga to Hamilton

A couple of days ago we delivered another car-load of ephemera to my daughter's new flat in Hamilton.
It was a gloomy, cloudy and showery sort of a day. One that I would not usually have shared on my blog. But, in keeping with the new honesty, I now do.

On the journey, my passengers kindly snapped some images out of the windows.

Some of these were so dark I had to tweak the exposure. This then mucked up the colours, which I then felt obliged to further tweak. So some of these images will look a bit odd, perhaps. Sorry.

Here's the route. It takes us from the outskirts of Tauranga, over the Kaimai (K'eye-m'eye) Range of hills then through the lush dairy country around Matamata; through the be-treed town of Cambridge, best known for its racehorses; then to Hamilton, a University city and agricultural service centre. We stop in the Hamilton Gardens to eat our Subway rolls.

At the summit of the Kaimais (625 m or 2050 ft asl) we are in the clouds today.

The clouds roll over the range. The tops are conservation land - part of the Kaimai- Mamaku Forest Park.

Coming down the other side of the range:

At the base of the Kaimais, we take the turning towards Hamilton.

We are down on the plains now:

Maize is grown and chopped green for maize silage, or ripened and the kernels dried for calf stock food - one brand is called 'Moozlee'.

Here is the little church that serves the agricultural community of Hinuera:

The river that used to run through the Hinuera Valley changed its course and left the interesting stone outcrops each side of the road for us to look at and utilise for building. Although probably not intentionally.

The quarry for the local Hinuera stone:

The roundabout on the main shopping street in Cambridge:

On the outskirts of Cambridge, in the grounds of a retirement complex, an old water tower is a popular roost for local birds:

A workman moves through the Hamilton Gardens with his trusty orange plastic tape and his trusty cones.

There are a number of interesting 'theme gardens' here.
This is the Japanese garden. A serene paradise in the middle of the city:

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Yasi: Amazing no-one was killed

Stuff.co.nz article.

Yasi - 'A jet engine... with stars in the middle'

In Cairns, the wind increases before the onset of the cyclone.

The latest news of Cyclone Yasi is that there have been no fatalities. Thank goodness for that.
Advance warning was timely, preparations were appropriate, and as day breaks soon, we should see the first daylight images of the destruction.
Reports from Northern Queensland are that the sound of this monster cyclone last night was 'like a jet engine going over... with trees cracking', and the brief half-hour of the passing of the eye was 'surreal... we could see the stars'.

Online Guardian article here

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Yasi vs. the World

Here is a great site that compares the size of this mega-cyclone* with other parts of the world.

Of course a storm of this magnitude is unlikely to develop outside tropical regions, but it just shows you what the Aussies are referring to when they talk about 'cyclone season'. Although they're not usually whoppers like Cyclone Yasi.

Here is it superimposed on Europe...

..and over Asia:
...the USA,
Just the eye, over Katrina country:


And my own New Zealand. Whewee!

And this isn't a disaster movie, folks. It's happening right now.

*Artificially colour-coded by rainfall density.