1. In the city
This is the Viaduct Basin area of Auckland waterfront. It's being redeveloped in readiness for the next America's Cup. Our son-in-law is a landscape architect and is heavily involved in the redevelopment. The public seating on the right of the photo is his design and was the first installation of many. The slat seating has lights inside which come on at night.
Viaduct Basin, Auckland
2. In the countryside
This is Colville Store on the Coromandel Peninsula. You can't quite hear the banjos but there are a few "hippy" communes in the area, lots of alternative lifestylers and artisans. The store stocks just about anything the local area needs as it's a bit of a haul to the nearest town. Nice place to stop for an ice cream.
This photo was taken entirely by chance. We live on the ridge in the background and were just travelling into the village to take part in a pub quiz for a local charity. The sun was just setting and I stopped for a few seconds to take the photo on my mobile phone.
Coromandel Harbour at sunset
4. Something redThere was only ever going to be one photo chosen for this theme! In December, we had the privilege of hosting lovely friends from the island of Guernsey, UK. We all enjoy plants of all kinds and for some years, I've been teasing Nick about the spectacular NZ Pohutukawa trees which flower in their millions in December. Well, Nick and Irene finally got to see them in the flesh which has killed any further teasing. (maybe!)
Nick and Irene suffering more smart remarks about Pohutukawa!
Our daughter Victoria bought me an Asian Cooking course for my birthday and I chose Malaysian cuisine. Travelled to Auckland and we went along to learn to create a classic dish from scratch. Not only did it smell wonderful, it tasted sensational. An unusual and magnificent birthday present!
Dad and daughter time
Our two cats, Thomas (17) and Annie (7) are very much part of the family and the local community come to that. Sadly, time caught up with Thomas this month and he's now at rest in the top of the garden overlooking the harbour. Photo taken around Christmas.
Annie and Thomas chilling in the heat of summer
We're fortunate to live in a pretty much frost-free area of NZ so we can grow a wide range of decorative plants and fruit. The photo below is a close-up of a bee on one of our dwarf bottlebrush bushes.
Dwarf bottlebrush flower
8. Something unusual
Back in March, we visited NZ's capital, Wellington; to catch up with old friends. They surprised us by booking a trip to the movies. Not any old movies but to a movie theatre in someone's back garden! It's a 40 seat theatre which specialises in showing old period movies. The reception area is straight out of the 50's in terms of decor and memorabilia. They even have a half time interval where "period" food and drink are served. Crackers and processed cheese with a slice of tomato on top, home made cake and scones, instant coffee and tea from a massive teapot. Absolutely wonderful atmosphere - no wonder you have to book ahead. For those who are interested: Time Cinema
The delightful reception area
Back in August, I demonstrated complete incompetence by smacking a leg into the towbar of our 4x4 with considerable force. The result was a huge haematoma and massive bruising which was exceedingly painful. I had a full calendar of motorcycle coaching which would have been seriously disrupted by staying at home for a few weeks. I looked for a way round this and ended up duct taping an armoured elbow protector from an old motorcycle jacket over the haematoma to protect it from knocks. Jennie was not best pleased and most of her comments are not printable. "Silly old fart" is by far the mildest of them. It worked though and saved me from sitting around feeling sorry for myself!
10. Best photo of the year
Almost impossible to pick as there are several that hold special memories. However, the photo below taken in February is pretty special. It was taken at the Moto TT track day at the Bruce McLaren international circuit, Taupo. We were at Taupo for the Institute of Advanced Motorists annual conference and taking part in the trackday was part of a fun-filled weekend. The Suzuki really picked up her skirts and flew. After about 6 sessions on the track, most of us were exhausted, called it a day and sunk some ice cold beers back at the motel. No wonder professional racers have to be athlete-fit! As a 70 year old at the time, I was pretty pleased to hold it all together and lap pretty quickly too. Growing old disgracefully is great fun!
Could almost pass for a young fella if I left my helmet on!
There you go Sonja - challenge accepted. Any other bloggers fancy having a go?