Saturday, 23 September 2006

Out and About

I've been so busy the last two or three weeks, writing the planning documents required for the Cape Town workshop that I've hardly been out of the house. I finished the last document yesterday, and so to celebrate Iain took me out for an airing - shopping in Palmerston North followed by a scenic drive on the way home.

These photos are of the Pohangina (paw-HANG-eena) Valley. We were planning on walking one of the trails in the area, but it was closed due to lambing, so we had to be content with a short stroll by the river. Iain's going to organise a walking trip for the first weekend after I come back from South Africa. I'm looking forward to it.

There was a weird warning on the radio yesterday. It said we were going to have a low ozone event this weekend. Sounds like some sort of supermarket special offer, doesn't it? What it actually means is that the hole in the ozone layer will be passing directly over New Zealand, and consequently, UV levels will be far higher than normal. As the normal levels of UV radiation here are the highest in the world (40% higher, on average, than in the southern Mediterranean) then it's something worth paying attention to. I slapped on the factor 30 on every exposed area of skin, and even though we only spent a short time outside today, I feel all 'glowy' now, like I used to sometimes when I was a kid and spent all day in the garden, running around in my swimming costume.

Walking along the riverbank, with the sun warm on our backs; the only sounds the raucous call of the pukeko birds
and the gentle burble of flowing water, we began for the first time to get an inkling of why some people enjoy fishing. Fishing doesn't really cut it as an adventure sport, and it doesn't pass my rigorous animal welfare standards, either, but it does seem like a good way of spending time enjoying the outdoors. Iain is toying with the possibility of taking it up as a hobby at some point. It certainly has the 'farting about doing bugger all' factor, so it should suit his temperament perfectly!

I fly from Wanganui to Auckland tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon, and then on to Cape Town (via Sydney and Johannesburg) early on Monday morning. Very early. I have to check in at 5:30 a.m. Gulp! The journey takes 39 hours altogether - almost 21 hours of that spent in the air. Although I'm looking forward to the workshops I'm not looking forward to the journey at all! I'm not a happy flyer.

I'm taking a one-use camera with me, with the intention of taking some snaps on my day off, so hopefully I'll have something to put on the blog when I get back.

I'm off now to start packing.


Saturday, 9 September 2006

The Sky at Night

We bought a telephoto lens for our camera several months ago, but hadn't got round to using it. Well, now we have.

Here's a photo of the full moon which we took last night. The image is not quite as sharp as we'd have liked, because there was some high cloud, but it's not bad, and is proof positive for all you northern hemisphere people that the moon does look 'upside down' down under!


Thursday, 7 September 2006

All your Christmas present problems solved!

There must be at least one person amongst your family and friends who's a bit of a bibliophile. If you're wondering what to get them for Christmas this year, why not buy them a book or two from my online writers' forum, The Write Idea?

'The View From Here' - edited by Alan Jackson

Hot on the heels of our poetry anthology, Oi!, we've just released a new collection of short stories, entitled The View From Here. Both volumes are professional quality productions, and are very reasonably priced at under £9 each. The royalties we receive go towards the costs of running the forum.

Here's a link to our storefront at Lulu, where you can find out more about both books.

Check out our books here!