A wet and windy walk on Waiheke


This gallery contains 24 photos.

Waiheke locals often refer smugly to their microclimate which means that even when Auckland is cloaked in damp clouds, just a short ferry ride away, the Waihetians are often basking in warm sunlight. But sometimes even Waiheke succumbs to a fit of the dismals, and once you’ve been to the Cinema, Solar Cafe and the video shop you’ve exhausted most of the possibilities, especially those which won’t cost a bomb with three kids in tow. When tempers start to fray, the only answer is to man up, rug up and get out into the wet and windy weather. Fortunately although the weather may be rough, it generally isn’t very cold.  And … Continue reading

Acacia Pod

Acacia seed pod100 Day Project: #18

Another Waiheke find, I think this is the seed pod of an acacia. But there are a number of poddy species it could be and I would stand happy to be corrected!

I do love the little rounded hollows where the seeds sit, nestled in place until they are dry and ready to be deployed on a mission to perpetuate the species.

Yellow lipped shell

yellow lipped shell100 days Project: #17

This little shell painting is for my husband who found it for me on the precarious piece of beach between Oneroa and little Oneroa on Waiheke. At certain times, if you’re not very fast, you will end up drenched.

This shell has lips of a sulphur yellow which is particularly displeasing to me, I won’t even have this yellow in my garden (yellow dahlia I’m talking to you).

But he found it for me, so it stays.

Hunting and gathering – family time

Dried flax flowerFlax flower: 100 Day project #11

This dried flax flower was found on a walk from Hekerua Bay around the cliff to Little Oneroa and then up to ‘Big’ Oneroa for a pie.  After a luxurious and enjoyable morning lolling about in our PJs we put on our jackets and went for a walk in the blustery air.  We even took Hector, in an inclusive ‘no man or poodle left behind’ spirit.  Although at thirteen, he is half blind, and we took a bag as well in case we had to carry him.  He was overjoyed and capered about on the beach like an old puppy, taking some larger dogs to task for being large and being dogs, and making it home with his dignity and a limp.

We were so lazy and late leaving the house that by the time we got to our destination only the sausage rolls and more exotic pie flavours were available from the coffee bar  Thai chicken anyone? Alright then.

En route, the boys found many small brightly coloured and patterned objects of interest to support the painting project, including this flax flower which is so beloved by the tui when it is still plump and ripe.  It’s really fun to see how involved the children have become, with quite strong opinions of their favourites and which painting should go up next.  Something of a relief too, to now that I’m not likely to run out of subjects with them around.

When I lived in France in the mid nineties, I worked with a Dutch girl who generously opened her family holiday home to me.  It was close to Orleans and was called “La Pomme, or ‘the apple’ for the small orchard in which it stood.  Mariet and Charles-Henri were married from the chateau nearby and had a lengthy post-match celebration in this orchard, at which half the guests (male) spent with one ear attuned to the broadcast of the France/NZ Rugby world Cup game (as you might guess, it didn’t end well for us).

Hunting traditions ran strongly in Charles-Henri’s family and in Autumn the gentlemen, for that is what they were, would dress up for the job and stride off to take part in the annual chasse.  At the end of the hunt they would display their catch in a neatly arranged square tableau, standing behind to mark the occasion with their photograph.

tableauWhen we returned from our our walk on Saturday I couldn’t help but arrange our finds in a tableau on the bench.

These habits of hunting and gathering run deeper than we know.

Feeling crabby? Time to get away

crab pincer closeCrab pincer: 100 Days Project #10

It’s always delicious, that feeling of getting away.  And luckily in Auckland, it isn’t that hard.  Thirty minutes’ drive will get you to a patch of green or blue you can call your own for a short time.  Somehow it’s even more refreshing when you get to go by boat.  Everyday stresses and cares are tossed to the wind, carried by the gulls and churned behind you in the wake of the car ferry as you literally leave the city behind.

On the Waiheke passenger ferry, cardsharp commuters mingle with students, fascinator-wearing wedding guests, anoraks and hardout alternative lifestylers for a 45 minute journey to another place.  Friendships are struck up over mongrels and labradoodles alike on the back deck and there’s always a feeling of freshness and transition.

So, imagine one day if your parents were to say to you: ‘We’ve found the perfect Waiheke section to build our bach at last!. It’s steep, covered in bush, inaccessible by road and requires a 10 minute walk-in by a steep zigzag track!’ Naturally the only possible response is ‘fantastic!’.  Not everybody has the good fortune to have parents with a house near the beach, and it isn’t something to take for granted.

Now that we have three children who can walk, talk, swim, and (theoretically) hang up their own towels, the magic of this house nestled among the trees become more evident with every visit.  They can trot down to the beach, through the flax, past the serried ranks of orange sea kayaks and aluminium dinghies, all on their own now.   They know about lifejackets and how to mess about in boats. They can spend long hours ignoring sunscreen advice and finding beach treasures such as the crab pincer above.

Their childhood memories are being formed there.  For our eldest, this is the spot he thinks of when asked to picture his ‘happy place’.

Here, we get to create our own traditions, such as ‘Grandad tries to sneak out on his own for the paper‘, ‘breadmaking one-upmanship‘ and the time-honoured ‘we kayak to get a samosa‘.  Nobody, but nobody, will spend longer in the water with our boys than their Grandma, and they get the chance to pick beans still sun-warm from the row with their Grandad.

I think that like a lot of parents, our jobs have often gotten the better part of us, first in our own business and then as part of a larger company. Our children pay the price for that.  The small distance between our home and Hekerua Bay allows us to reframe and refocus.  We need to do that a lot more.  Thanks Mum and Dad. x