Six Word Saturday: out to play with their uncles

James and George Cruden (back row) with David and May Ramsay -- their niece and nephew. Photo: Ramsay family archive.

James and George Cruden (back row) with David and May Ramsay — their niece and nephew. Photo probably taken in Dysart, Scotland. c. early 1930s. From Ramsay family archive.

My maternal grandmother was the oldest of five children. She married young and had her first child at around the same time my great grandmother bore her last. I wonder if my aunt May and Uncle David (front row) referred to their playmates (standing behind) as Uncle Jim and Uncle George?

Out, out, out on the street

Street performer at International Buskers Festival, Auckland Anniversary Day. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

Street performer at International Buskers Festival, Auckland Anniversary Day. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

Hating crowds, I normally avoid big public events. But like thousands of other Aucklanders, I headed into the CBD last weekend to take part in the city’s 175th anniversary party. This included the International Buskers Festival, which included performers from Australia, Canada, Spain, the UK and Pancho Libre (above) from Mexico.

Audience for a street performance. Auckland Anniversary Day celebrations. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

Audience for a street performance. Auckland Anniversary Day celebrations. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

This city has been my home for much of my life. It’s changed enormously since my parents arrived here from the UK in the late 1960s. More outward-looking and ethnically diverse, there are many things to love. But as a lot of the growth here is at the expense of the rest of the country, New Zealand is in danger of losing much of what has made it so attractive to generations of migrants.

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No fun working when everyone else is enjoying themselves. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

The last time I’d been to the Anniversary Day festivities, the boy-child was much younger. Walking past the fairground attractions and fast-food stalls made me quite grateful he’s all grown up and no longer interested in bouncy castles and putting the ball in the clown’s mouth (or at least, isn’t interested in experiencing these things with me).

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Stilt-walker on Queens Wharf. Auckland Anniversary Day celebrations. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

Musicians getting ready for the evening concert. Auckland Anniversary Day celebrations. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

Musicians getting ready for the evening concert. Auckland Anniversary Day celebrations. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

Street photography isn’t my thing normally. I feel really self-conscious pointing a camera at strangers. But my phone is more discreet, and most people were way too busy enjoying themselves to care.

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Rocking the parasol! Auckland Anniversary Day celebrations. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

The title of this post comes from the song Out on the Street by New Zealand band, Space Waltz.

In 1974, when the band won a TV talent show (think early American Idol crossed with ‘X’ Factor), glam rock was pretty alien to this very small, very conservative collection of rocks in the South Pacific. Indeed, such was my father’s antipathy to the band’s singer Alastair Riddell (think David Bowie crossed with Marc Bolan), that he would leap up and turn the TV off every time the song came on. Which was pretty frequently, since winning the talent show was huge news!

Years later, I opened my front door to find Alastair Riddell standing on the porch. A bit lost for words (telling him that my dad had once considered him the devil incarnate didn’t seem like a good idea), I kind of pointed vaguely at the downstairs flat where my landlord lived — since he was the reason Alastair had come calling.

So here is Space Waltz, with Out on the Street.

This post was written as part of Sally’s phoneography and non-SLR digital devices photo challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally. You can find out more here.

Express yourself in art – and bring joy to the audience.

Eddy Eighty and friends. Street performance at Auckland International Buskers Festival. Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Eddy Eighty and friends. Street performance at Auckland International Buskers Festival. Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

It’s Auckland’s Anniversary Day today — 175 years since European settlement began in earnest and Auckland was chosen to be New Zealand’s capital (albeit briefly).

The weekend-long celebration includes the Auckland International Buskers Festival, with performances all around the city waterfront. Amongst the buskers bringing street theatre to Auckland was Eddy Eighty from Spain. His funny, high energy act included fire juggling, dance and acrobatics — with a little help from a couple of guys in the audience.

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Eddy Eighty and friends. Street performance at Auckland International Buskers Festival. Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

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Eddy Eighty and friends. Street performance at Auckland International Buskers Festival. Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

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Eddy Eighty and friends. Street performance at Auckland International Buskers Festival. Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

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Eddy Eighty and friends. Street performance at Auckland International Buskers Festival. Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Street theatre. Auckland Anniversary Weekend celebrations, CBD, Auckland. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Eddy Eighty and friends. Street performance at Auckland International Buskers Festival. Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

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Eddy Eighty and friends. Street performance at Auckland International Buskers Festival. Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

This post was written for the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge. You can see more here.

On taking a cooling dip into the past

Specimen shell, Auckland Museum. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

Specimen shell, Auckland Museum. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

A few days ago Auckland’s heat and humidity got the better of me. Once upon a time, I would have gone to the beach to cool off; after all, the city is surrounded by water. But it’s still school holidays, and I couldn’t face the prospect of driving on congested roads to a busy beach, to then drive round and round looking for a parking space before trying to claim a little patch of sand and sea.

Instead I sought respite from the weather at the Auckland Museum; a wonderfully cool (in every sense of the word) neo-classical building with high ceilings and large airy galleries. The Museum has been a place of refuge for as long as I can remember. Although several refurbishments and re-organisations have led to collections being moved around, there are few – if any – new exhibits. And that is part of the pleasure. I know where everything is and take enormous pleasure in seeking out artifacts like old friends.

Specimen shells, Auckland Museum. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

Specimen shells, Auckland Museum. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

When the boy-child was small, museum outings were fairly frequent. While he loved playing in the two dedicated child-friendly galleries, he was also totally fascinated with the Marine Collection and could spend ages looking at the shell collections, mounted on wire and preserved behind glass. As these were well above the height of a two year old, this particular part of each expedition tended to involve holding him up to the cases until my arms ached. Visiting again, without my boy-child in tow, I was able to appreciate the beauty of the shells — and the irony of viewing them so far from the beach on a summer’s day.

Specimen shell, Auckland Museum. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

Specimen shell, Auckland Museum. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

This post was written for Sally’s Phoneography and non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally. You can find out more here.