This afternoon I have had an opportunity to fossick around
in my computer.
My main computer is now a Mac but I have only recently, well
within the last two years anyway, changed over from PC. The PC
files have been transfused into the Mac and that is where I have been
today. In the transfused files I mean.
There are some photos in there that I cannot just put in the rubbish tin,
the Geiger counter is clicking. I have something to learn from them.
Tonight I was going back over Invercargill files, two years ago.
It was one of the richest times of my life.
This cat was in the street window of a store. It is of course, fake.

A Day at the Races

Last Saturday I drove the two and a half hour trip south to Invercargill where, last year, I was artist-in-residence for 4 months. I had to go there because it was a good friend’s 50th birthday party, I had to pack up some of my belongings and hand over the keys of the William Hodges residency where until the end of November I had been living, and on Sunday I hoped to go for a flight in an historic aircraft before returning to Central Otago. The wild weather prevented this last option.

The birthday was held in the Fantasy Room at the racecourse, a room directly over the birdcage and the finish line. The Fantasy was a famous Southland racehorse so don’t get the wrong idea. The party started at 12.30 pm. I was there shortly after. I am always punctual, although I tell people that it is because I don’t like to miss out on anything.

First surprise was the woodchopping competition taking place near the carpark. Here are some women competing for the underhand chop. I was impressed. Slamming a razor sharp axe hard down between your feet is not for the fainthearted.

Inside, in the first race that I saw a magnificent beast, ironically called Ultimate High, crossing the finish line, with one of its four legs all awry, sort of flapping. Soon after an ambulance pulled up in front of him (?) and it wasn’t long before with the help of a vet, his inert body, covered with tarpaulins or some modern version, lay over his body, except for the offending leg sticking out.

Four or five races into the afternoon, during one of the breaks, there was a lingerie parade! So sorry that I didn’t take any photos of this guys. I was too busy looking perhaps.

So, wine, death, sex. I felt as if I was a Roman at the Colliseum.

South Island, New Zealand

Here is a map to make clearer where the localities
that I am discussing in my postings are.

Clicking on the map makes it larger. The same
is true of all photos on this blog.

Right now I am in Invercargill, down at the very bottom.
I’ve seen written that it is the southernmost city in the world. That may be true.
It is an end-of-the-line town. Anyone coming here is not en route to anywhere else, except for Stewart Island, Bluff, Riverton, small settlements like that.

It is tempting to ask oneself if towns at the end of roads, or railway lines, have a
particular personality. Do they attract a particular kind of inhabitant? I’ll let you
know if I come to any conclusions but I’m not going to be too hasty about it. It’s too
complex, although I know for sure that where ever I have gone, pretty well without exception, I have experienced overwhelming kindness and generosity.

Burwell House, Invercargill
It’s a month since I moved here. Immediately upon arrival I realised that one of the main pleasures of my stay here was to be living alongside the airport’s flightpath. I like aeroplanes very much.

Here the airport is almost in the suburbs. From my upstairs kitchen window I can see the runway and the control tower. 50,000 people here, same as New Plymouth.

On one particular day, Boeing 737 jets from Air NZ and QANTAS began coming in. It was cold and snowy weather and Queenstown was closed. The diverted passengers were going to be bused there. Twice this happened but the heavy jets had passed before I could find my camera. The sight and sound of them was exhilarating.

Air NZ Bombardiers from Christchurch visit here every day. A couple of weeks ago I raced down the down the stairs and out the front door, just in time to record this. It wasn’t the photo that I had imagined but somehow it might be better.