jaydogblog

my life in the land down under


1 Comment

Cycle Hike Pt 2

Here begins part two of our cycle ride in Napier at the end of February (you can see part one here).

2013-02_Napier-BeachView

View from near our lunch stop – cruise ships in the distance, agapanthus seed heads in the foreground

After leaving the cafe we headed out of town again, and gradually worked our way back down that orange-marked trail on the map. The route soon took us through farmland.

2013-02_Napier-Sheep-01

Sheep

2013-02_Napier-Sheep-02

Cyclists coming through!

We felt sorry for these sheep who seemed to have very little feed, water or shelter. By now it was early afternoon, and the day was heating up. The landscape everywhere was so dry and barren in appearance. Not long afterwards the entire North Island was declared a drought area, and we heard stories of farmers in the Waikato having to destroy their animals due to lack of feed. As I write this I’m pleased to say the drought is breaking, and several of the drought areas have had good amounts of rain in the last few days. (Update: The drought has well and truly broken in our area, with very heavy rain and flooding over the past few days!)

2013-02_Napier-Boardwalk

Boardwalk

2013-02_Napier-Bunnytails

Hawkes Bay summer landscape – loved those ‘bunny tails’

2013-02_Napier-Track

Gravel trail

2013-02_Napier-Gate

Another gate

2013-02_Napier-Gumtrees

Through the gum trees

2013-02_Napier-DryWaterbed

More evidence of drought – a dried-up stream

2013-02_Napier-Bridge

The last leg – or should that be, ‘on her last legs’?!

The small camera John carried was much easier to access & operate while cycling; in the afternoon I was finding it increasingly difficult to stop, dismount the bike and wrestle my SLR out of the camera bag to use it each time. Getting back on the bike took more effort each time too, so there was some moaning & groaning involved! As a result I missed a few good shots toward the end of the ride – including one of the old bridge over the Ahuriri estuary (above), which is a local landmark. I did prove to myself that I could carry a camera while riding though!

35km later, we finally made it back to John’s sister’s place, but not before she’d texted us to make sure we were okay. We got back later than she expected – before dark and in time for tea though. 🙂


1 Comment

Cycle Hike

When we visited John’s sister in Napier at the end of February, we took the bikes with us and rode a cycle trail we had been talking about doing for a while. John has been keen for me to blog about it ever since. We’ve had a busy few weeks, but I finally got around to it…!

2013-02_Napier-Map

Cycle trail map

We followed (some of) the orange trail on the map above; the pen tip shows our starting point. I took my Nikon SLR along for the ride and John took a Nikon point-and-shoot. It was cool and cloudy to start with so good weather for riding, but not so good for photos as the light was very flat.

At the beginning of the trail we rode along the top of a stopbank, with a river hidden by trees down to one side of us, and vineyards and orchards on the other.

2013-02_Napier-Stopbank

Riding along the stop bank

2013-02_Napier-Vineyards

Vineyards

2013-02_Napier-Orchards

Apple orchards – we saw pickers at work

We reached the coast at Awatoto, then rode north through an industrial area and along Marine Parade to the port, where we saw two cruise ships.

2013-02_Napier-Sea

Stony beaches

2013-02_Napier-Mural

Colourful comfort stop

2013-02_Napier-Port

Approaching the port

2013-02_Napier-CruiseShip

Cruise ship complete with security guard

2013-02_Napier-Marina

Parked at the marina

As we were mostly following designated off-road cycle trails, we weren’t having to contend with traffic and stayed safe on the bikes. I did have one ‘close call’ near the marina, when I wasn’t paying sufficient attention to where I was going, almost colliding with a railing alongside the path as I went around a corner. I made a very sudden stop and my body collided with the handlebars instead – thankfully I stayed upright and there were no major injuries. 🙂

2013-02_Napier-BeachGarden

Beachside garden

2013-02_Napier-Coast

Paved cycle track  along the coastline

2013-02_Napier-Coast-02

Coastline view

We got ‘lost’ a couple of times when we entered suburban streets and the trail was poorly marked, otherwise it was mostly flat and easy to follow. As we reached the most northern point of our ride it was time for a lunch break.

2013-02_Napier-Cafe

Table decorations in the cafe

2013-02_Napier-Lunch

Lunch!

To be continued…


Leave a comment

I’d rather be… writing?

Yesterday morning I came across an older post from someone whose blog I follow. It was written in response to a WordPress writing prompt, regarding what her ideal space for reading & writing would look like.

I haven’t thought about what mine might look like – but it did remind me I’m meant to be writing!

Two days ago – besides being Valentines Day – was a work day for me, and the date of my annual performance appraisal. I had spent quite a few hours over the last couple of weeks nutting out a self-review, to cover every indicator of every sub-category of the four main ‘competencies’ or standards that my work practices have to meet. So you can imagine my disappointment when my boss let me know I needed to write stories or ‘scenarios’ to back up my bullet-point statements of ‘I do this / I do that’. She gave some helpful suggestions but it wasn’t what I wanted to hear – and was followed by a particularly busy and difficult shift during which I had the role of co-ordinator.

To clarify – my boss has no problems with my performance, it’s just that the self-review needed to be written in a different way to pass the portfolio assessment (that’s a 3-yearly requirement).

Due to a bad habit of procrastination over things I don’t really want to do, and having already requested a three-month extension for my portfolio – which ends very soon (where did the last 2 1/2 months go?!) – I only have a few days to rewrite & re-present my self-review, in time for my boss to add her comments, so I can add the final touches to my portfolio and hand it in by 1st March.

So I’m meant to be writing stories for work today, but I’d rather be writing blog posts – or sewing that Made with Love quilt, which has gone on the back burner again. 😦

This weekend we have a photographic project on, which I expect to be fun but challenging, and that will involve a fair bit of post-processing and the creation of a slideshow. We were also planning to travel away for a few days from next weekend to visit John’s sister (who is also a quilter), and weather permitting explore some of the cycling tracks in her area. Plus I have several work days between now & then. So there’s not a lot of time…

***

Yesterday our 150th butterfly of the season emerged from ‘her’ chrysalis. Which also reminds me of John’s comment a few days ago that it would be great if we could withdraw from other commitments for a while, almost like going into a chrysalis, get some things sorted out, and emerge as something new at the end.  🙂

Butterfly #150

Monarch butterfly #150 (female)

Butterfly #150 Drying Wings

Butterfly #150 drying her wings

Butterfly #152

Butterfly #152 (male)

Anyway, back to work…

***


5 Comments

One Word

As 2012 ended and 2013 began, I kept reading about the concept of choosing a word for the year rather than a set of goals or New Year Resolutions. I’m certainly no good at keeping resolutions, and gave up on them a long while ago. However I still find myself wanting to make some goals or a list of ‘things I want to achieve’ each time a new year begins.

As I pondered what word to choose for this year, I came up with ‘Focus’.

Some definitions of ‘focus’: (noun) a central point, as of attraction, attention, or activity; (verb) to concentrate, or (of a person or their eyes) to adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly.

Some ways I could live this out in 2013:

decide on the right priorities and goals for me

keep my mind and heart on the goal(s) I’ve set

aim to complete things

don’t be so easily distracted by all the little interruptions and choices that take me away from the longer-term goals

avoid (or at least limit) time-wasting, both activities and thought patterns

be more mindful about what I choose to do (and not do), and how I use my time each day

be consciously moving forward

let go of past situations and relationships that have caused stress & anxiety

Appropriately to our interests,  focus is also a photographic term. What happens when you focus incorrectly? Maybe nothing in the frame is focused sharply – or maybe everything is equally sharp, and there’s no single object that stands out amidst the detail and clutter? Either way you could end up with a messy and confusing image, leaving the viewer wondering where to look.

Blurred Gum Trees

Blurred gum trees

Buttercups

Buttercups

Using selective focus and shallow depth of field makes the subject of the photograph stand out more clearly.

Monarch on Dahlia

Monarch on dahlia

Fuchsia

Fuchsia

I’m definitely not there yet. It’s so easy to get distracted from my goal(s) by a multitude of interesting or necessary things, and then reach the end of the day with tasks unfinished, and feeling frustrated at my lack of progress.

However, I will be doing my best to stay focused and move forward this year.

Are there more of you out there who are giving this ‘one word’ thing a go? I’d love to hear from you!

Related posts:

Ann Voskamp’s blog post on moving forward – When You Don’t Want a New Year but a New You

Hearing this song again last week – The Feelers ‘Stand Up’ – about letting go of the past and moving on.

Zack Arias’s video ‘Signal vs Noise’ – the need to simplify, and to decide ‘What is signal? / What is noise?’ in relation to my own life.

From CalmHealthySexy (a Christian marriage blog) – “Every time you say ‘yes’ to something, you say ‘no’ to something else.” – Learn to Say ‘No’.

Others who have chosen one word (thanks for the inspiration!):

Paperkeeper – It Takes Just a Nudge to Budge

Katie Swanberg – 2013

Too Darn Happy – Your OneWord is calling – Time to Answer