Here is the landscape I lived in for a year before returning to Taranaki. Today, the forecast said that the maximum there was going to be 1 degree Celsius. I’m missing these rocks, and the cold. It was the long dark nights that I struggled with.

Back in the Studio

For more than a year I have been running two studios, my main one here in New Plymouth and a satellite one in Alexandra in Central Otago. The South Island one came about as the result of having a residency there but it has now ended. Before the year in Alexandra I was 4 months in Invercargill so it has been a fair while.

In hindsight I underestimated just how difficult this was going to be, especially as I had a book being produced in Auckland in the middle of the year. Strategically this was less than ideal.

Exacerbating the problem was that while in Invercargill I made the decision to switch from using a PC to using a Mac. Right now here in New Plymouth, they are both set up side by side awaiting the arrival of a technician who will extract everything of value to me from the hard drive of the PC and transfer it to the Mac. It has been a change well worth making, but again I might have underestimated just what there was to learn and to choose a time when I had a book underway was probably not a great idea!

Now I look forward to regaining my strength. At present I am having difficulty seeing new photos, it’s been like that for about 3 months but there is no panic, it is a time of removing a lot of overburden to put it in mining terms.

The Heat is On

The temperature in this region is beginning to climb so yesterday I sought refuge in the cool of this small forest on the edge of town. An added attraction is that the forest also contains a large collection of irises, many of which are beginning to flower.

Today I visited this waterfall.

PS Today I decided to add this postscript because I’ve had locals who, after visiting my website, are now asking me where the waterfall is. They are puzzled because they have never heard of any waterfall in this area.

The answer is that it is formed by water spilling over the Lower Manorburn dam, about 10 minutes drive from Alexandra. The dam is a part of the social history of this town because the lake that it forms during cold winters, not this one just past, freezes over sufficiently for ice skating to take place.


For the last few weeks I’ve been so busy with all the showbiz associated with launching my new book that I have become very weary and unable to concentrate on other issues such as maintaining this journal.

Now that I am back in Alexandra in the sanctuary of this three and a half acres of wild garden my spirits will, I hope, be restored, my heart strengthened. The lilac are in bloom, the peonies not far behind. They give me solace.

Albino Hare

Here’s a coincidence. Last night I stayed with friends who live in a most interesting house on several beautiful acres just out of Alexandra. it was clear that their land, like much of this region, has a severe infestation of rabbits. Rabbits have changed this landscape, nibbling plants so close to the ground that when the wind blows the topsoil is carried away forever.

Jazz, their cat, caught a young rabbit last night before our very eyes as we sat, alfresco, sampling some of the wine that this region is famous for. It was a gruesome yet riveting sight. I took out my camera but couldn’t find a photo in it.

This morning when I got up, rather late by my standards, there was Jazz with yet another young rabbit laid alongside the previous night’s kill. Again I couldn’t find a photo, I found it hard to watch as she gnawed away at the victim’s neck.

Later this afternoon, three friends from Nelson turned up here at Henderson House. As always, it was a delight to see them. As they were leaving, Tim said that a few days ago they had bought something that he thought that could be interested in. Disappearing into their caravan he emerged with this stuffed albino hare. I took one snap of it. It could be a keeper.

Spring in Alexandra

This area is famous for its spring display, in fact there is even a blossom festival held here every year. At present a vivid green is appearing on many of the trees.

I am trying to photograph blossom, but once again, as with autumn colour, it’s a well trodden track and very hard to find something original to say about it.

This view is from my bedroom window.

Almonds Over Alexandra

This morning, a Saturday, I made a big effort to take a photograph.

Here is one from my balcony although I admit that I softened the effect of the Alexandra houses in the foreground.

The tree on the left is an almond. The last time I saw one of these was 10 years ago on Ibiza.

Alexandra this Evening.

The light is changing, there is a warmth to it.
I notice that there is colour in the trees.
Notice the famous Alexandra clock on the side of the hill.

One of my favourite sites, the confluence of the Clutha and the Manuherikia. There is a shingle beach at this point.

Two Views

Here are two views taken today. The top one, is of me signing the back of prints. Thank you H, I like it, especially the telescope in the background.

If I was to raise my eyes from the table at which I am working the bottom photo is the view that I would see.