Monday in New Zealand

I’m writing you, gentle reader, from the Interislander Ferry as it bears Marge and me back to the North Island. It’s a great way to pass a few hours, have a bite of dinner, a drink, a cuppa and do a little reading and writing.

I’ve been flying the colors for NaNoWriMo today and have been reading my story so far. Made a few editorial changes but I’ve really been enjoying it. Come November first I want to dive into finding out the rest of the story.

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Today started out rainy and it spit rain here and there all along the way. We got back to Murchison in time for a bit of lunch and then back to Picton in time to see Marge’s friends before heading off to the ferry. You can see the photos from my phone today starting here:

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Of note was seeing a Weka, a large flightless bird who was visiting with one of the young women stopping traffic at one of the 23 construction stops we encountered along the way.

When all comes to all, the most precious element in life is wonder. Love is a great emotion, and power is power. But both love and power are based on wonder. — D. H. Lawrence

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The Night of the Penguins

After dinner, Marge and I headed over to the nearby Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony. Looked around the reception area for a few and then went outside with the rest of the visitors to take a seat in a small grandstand to hear some information (in English and Mandarin) and to await the return of the penguins from their daily trip out to sea.

Every night the little blue penguins return to land after traveling about 25 km in search of food. The colony now monitors them and provides them a safer environment, having protection against predators and small nest boxes built into small hills around the grounds.

Sure enough, the first “raft” arrived and what a sight it was – about 38 little blue penguins all close together, all in similar posture, all headed to the same spot. They did look like a raft, all having the same idea: to find their little home on land for the night, maybe tending to their eggs and chicks.

No photography or recording is allowed so as not to frighten the penguins but I’m so glad we went. Last time we met penguins in a different sanctuary but to see so many arriving all together was fantastic!

We gave up the idea last night because it was so cold and rainy and it was a good choice. Tonight was clear and cool but not too windy. Marge found a blanket in the car and an extra jacket to keep her warm, I wore my painting hat and we were good.

Now we’re both warmed up and had some refreshments and it’s about time to hit the sack again. Tomorrow we’re on the road to our next stop.

Monday in NZ

You can see some of today’s photos by clicking here, or always at the link at upper right:

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Today we went to a quilt exhibit at Our Lady’s Home of Compassion, as well as an exhibit about one of the sisters, Suzanne Aubert, who is now considered “Venerable” in the Roman Catholic Church and who it is hoped will become New Zealand’s first saint.

Then it was off to lunch – and a wonderful lunch it was – chicken pate with a beet relish and ample ciabatta… mmmm. And a glass of cider and a flat white (aka coffee) to finish.
Marge had a twice baked goat cheese souffle, wine and a brownie.

We ended the day by going for a walk at Zealandia. What a treat – lots of bird calls and songs, a tuatara and birds!

Out Looking Around This Morning

My intention was to get up early, grab a coffee and go out and paint. The night-spirit was good intentioned but the morning-spirit was not so fast moving. I did get up and grab a coffee but by the time I was out there, there wasn’t a lot of time so I went back and took morning photos of an area I’d found recently and am thinking about painting. It’s called gathering reference material people. You can check out the still photos here on this Flickr album but I also took this short video. Hope you enjoy the water and birdies.

The Little Close Encounter

Go out into the woods they say. Commune with nature they say. Draw strength from all beings. Yeah. Well sometimes you go into the woods, think deep thoughts and write a big book. Othertimes you go for a walk and stuff happens.

I thought I’d record some of the beautiful bird songs Tuesday so I used my phone. I was almost instantly sorry I wasn’t video recording. As soon as I hit the record button of course all the birds stopped singing, so I take a few steps toward the birds I can see and hear…

The next thing that happens is two birds tumbling through the air together whooped down on me out of nowhere and continued on their way. Whether they were enjoying what we called in Zoology Class a ‘cloacal kiss’ or were joined in a turf war I didn’t get a chance to find out.

Friday, trying. I’m trying. And why

If you recall, my motto is Practice, Persistence, Beauty. In that spirit I got myself out of the house, put a coffee and breakfast sandwich in my hand and splattered paint on paper for a short while before work. My goal – don’t be saying a few years from now – wish I’d used my paints…

When you set a timer because you really need to pack up and leave by a particular time, it puts what you’re doing in a different light – will not be finished, will not be perfect, what am I doing, sketch, darks, shadows, lights, what’s in the frame…

I got a little distracted by an oriole and some territorial canadian geese with a handful of goslings and maybe a fox sparrow and could that be some sort of warbler up there but despite it all some paint ended up on the paper and then I went to the other work.

What’cha been doin’?

I’m waiting for the paints to set up in my new travel palette. What colors? Hansa Yellow Light, Quinacridone Red, French Ultramarine, Indigo, Sap Green, Hooker Green, Burnt Sienna, Sepia. All Daniel Smith except the sepia which is Winsor Newton.

And through circumstances too difficult to explain, I ended up with a wad of my own hair from combing and brushing and set it out for the birdies to use as nesting materials. A tufted titmouse got right to work on that.