In the autumn sunshine

Yesterday, the last day of autumn … out in the city. And it’s a sunny afternoon. The camera doesn’t like being stuck in the bag; I can tell it wants to get out and play. So here – with a minimum of Photoshop time involved – are the results of my playing in the sunshine.

The orange flower spikes are sampled from the bed of Aloe vera just off Civic Square, behind the City Art Gallery, on the way down to Jack Ilott Green. “A member of the Liliacea family, Aloe vera is a succulent perennial, grows in a clump and has long, spiky, grey-green leaves. The yellow-orange tubular flowers bloom at the top of tall spikes that emerge from the center of the plant. There are approximately 400 species of Aloe, but it is the Aloe Barbadensis Miller, or “true aloe,” referred to as Aloe vera, that possesses the most remarkable healing properties” (from a web site called Way of the Wild Heart).

And the tall plant with the wonderfully curved blade-like leaves … is that some kind of Agave? (If you can identify it from my pix, please comment.)

The wooden wheel is part of the sculptural decoration on the City to Sea Bridge. I hadn’t been intending to stop on the bridge, but the silvery-blue light was just too appealing to ignore.

Back in the 1930s, the St John’s Bar and Restaurant used to be the home of the Wellington Free Ambulance. I mention it because the cabbage tree shown here is among a number outside the handsome Art Deco structure.

Bond Street impasto

Bond Street back story

Between January and April 2015, Bond Street [in Wellington, New Zealand] was transformed with temporary changes to the way the street looked and was used to bring colour and energy to the area.

Bond Street is an important street for servicing local businesses, we wanted to make it a destination for pedestrians as well. To explore ways of making it work for both people on foot and businesses, temporary changes were made to the layout and use of the street before looking at possible long-term changes.

To catch people’s attention and bring vibrancy to the street, two outdoor seating areas and an artificial lawn area were installed. The road surface was painted with a bright red pattern and a shipping container was located on the site to host events. Urban designers call this type of project ‘Tactical Urbanism’ and there are many successful examples of these projects internationally and locally.

Reason enough not to …

Choisya ternata – Mexican orange or mock orange (28 October 2014)

Choisya ternata – Mexican orange or mock orange (28 October 2014)




A spring afternoon.
Gardening: reason enough
not to write haiku.

(10 October 2015)


In truth, it was not my own little domain that took my attention today, but the garden of a friend. I was helping to lay out terracotta planters in place of timber troughs which, having rotted, had begun to collapse.

The choisya flowers decorating this post belong to last year; during late autumn and winter the painters’ scaffolding decimated what had been a handsome and luxuriant bush outside my front window. There are a few flowers again now, but full restoration is going to take a bit of time.


Pink camellias

camellia #402 (11 August 2015)

camellia #402 (11 August 2015)



The shopping is done,
and the menu decided.
But which vase to use?


The prospect of dressing the table for dinner this evening sends me out to the front garden, where the camellias are beginning to flower. The weather has been showery and cold, but the wind has not yet burned the pink petals: there are enough good blooms for the vase … although it’s hard to hold the camera focus at close range.

Gingko gold in Grey Street

The atmosphere in Grey Street, off Lambton Quay in downtown Wellington, is often thick with cigarette smoke – especially at lunch-time on weekdays. It’s a pedestrian precinct, with a water feature and abundant seating. It also offers access to my bank, among other things. And it has gingko trees.

A recent post on the |cross-ties| blog pictures the canopy of gingko gold on Lambton Quay, near Wasabi Sushi in the James Cook Arcade, where I like to eat lunch from time to time.


Japonaiserie (19 March 2015)

Japonaiserie (19 March 2015)

Whilst the arrangement of the items in this photograph (taken today in Cuba Street, Wellington) has little or nothing to do with Japanese art, my ‘seeing’ was certainly influenced by it.

The Dutch post-impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh used the term Japonaiserie to express the influence of Japanese art.

In a letter to Theo, his younger brother, Vincent wrote: “One of [Jules] De Goncourt’s sayings was ‘Japonaiserie for ever’. Well, these docks [at Arnhem] are one huge Japonaiserie, fantastic, singular, strange … I mean, the figures there are always in motion, one sees them in the most peculiar settings, everything fantastic, and interesting contrasts keep appearing of their own accord.”

“The West moistens everything with meaning like an authoritarian religion which imposes baptism on entire peoples.” (Roland Barthes, in Empire of Signs)

Drying nīkau

drying nīkau (04 November 2014)

drying nīkau (04 November 2014)

Today on |cross-ties| – the blog of “the other” – there’s an image of a fallen nīkau frond “from one of the palms in a paved area on the corner of Victoria and Manners Streets.” Having published the post, it occurred to me that there were, in my folder of unpublished images, one or two that might have been suitable for inclusion in that post.

Looking again, the older picture (taken at the same spot) seemed to prefer its own space.

“The nīkau (Rhopalostylis sapida) is a palm tree endemic to New Zealand, and the only palm native to New Zealand” (Wikipedia).


Summer morning

laundry (02 January 2015)

laundry (02 January 2015)


This summer morning …
a few honey-bees are drawn
to my lavender.

Sipping camomile
tea, I contemplate the lines
of drying laundry.

“After enlightenment, the laundry. It’s a Zen proverb,” writes Jen Zbozny in her blog piece titled After enlightenment, the laundry (24 January 2014).