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Showing posts from December, 2017

Church on Christmas Day

We move up the generational ladder. It used to be that people came to our place for Christmas. We decided on menus and decorations and the order of the day's events, but now we are grandparents, and travel to where our children are, and someone else calls the shots. This year it was Bridget, who lives in Rolleston . Rolleston is a town which has grown from nothing to almost city size over the last few years, populated largely by refugees from the wreckage of Christchurch. There are a a number of retirees, but most of the inhabitants are young families renting or buying one from the plethora of new houses. The infrastructure of the place tells its own story. There is a large shopping mall, still in the process of construction and a bare paddock, where a proper little town centre is promised. There are playgrounds everywhere and four new primary schools, each with a roll of over 700 children, and an impressive new  high school has just finished its first year. There are rugby, s


I heard this album today after arriving back in New Zealand. It made quite a contrast with my penultimate night in Sydney, spent looking at the houses decorated for Christmas. The decorated houses are a kind of 21st Century folk art using projectors, LED lights, snow machines (in a 30 degree Sydney summer. Yes really) and automatons. 100 houses viewed, give or take. And the imagery was 3 Nativity scenes and the rest Santas, trees, snowmen, stockings, gifts, reindeer, candy canes and elves. There is no use crying about putting Christ back in Christmas: if Christ was ever there he's not now. The lit houses are icons to the central religious belief of Western Culture, namely,  that possessing stuff will make you happy. The sisters, I think,  have another motivation. **** I've done something to mark the start of Advent. I've deactivated my Facebook Account. Perhaps in due course I'll reactivate it again but at the moment Im rather inclined not to. I'm not going to

Blue Mountains

To capture something of the scale of this place, my fancy camera with its assortment of lenses stays in the bag, and I set the camera on my phone to panorama mode. Its as near as I can get.  It's easy enough to make an impressive photograph of the landscape in New Zealand. We pack a lot into a little space, and we major on height. There's usually something pretty to make a nice foreground and  if you want a bit of scale, there's always a convenient line of snow capped peaks somewhere, and possibly, an obligingly still lake in which to reflect them. The archetypical  New Zealand shot is this one,  which is not mine: It's of Lake Matheson, on the West Coast. It shows Mt. Cook and Mt. Tasman, both around 12,000 feet high reflected in the little lake which is at about sea level. So, with the reflection, 24,000 feet of vertical reach and a few trees to give a sense of scale. Lovely. And this is actually what it looks like, so capturing a pretty accurate picture of t


There is a scarlet wasp dragging a spider down the footpath. The paralysed  spider is a huntsman, newly destined for the role of incubator for the wasp's egg. It's quite large,  too heavy for the wasp to fly with, so she is going by foot instead. She drags it a few inches, then leaves it to fly off, looking for a suitable place to stow her treasure, before returning to drag it some more. I make sure Zoe gives it a wide berth; that sting is still intact and the spider has not absorbed all the venom. **** The old men at the next table are speaking Italian. We have discovered rose petal gelato, and have stopped by here most days, to sit at the distressed tables on the odd assortment of stools and share a dish with our tiny grand daughter. **** The playground has been laid out for wheelchairs. A gentle ramp has chimes which passing wheels will ring. The huge electric roundabout has smooth, wide access on every side. There are tables for waterplay at just the right height.

Neither Here Nor There

The Kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed, nor will they say 'Look, here it is!', or 'there it is!' For in fact, the Kingdom of God is among you. -Lk 17:20 All we want. All our hearts long for. All that will make us complete. All that we so frantically search for in our own time honed suite of falsehoods is already ours. It is lying to hand, hiding in plain view on every side.


There is a province in which the photograph tells us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, but there is another in which it proves how little our eyes permit us to see. - Dorothea Lange


Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony. - Thomas Merton