Six Word Saturday: learning to drive my new machine

Shot of Elna overlocker/serger. Photo credit: Su Leslie, 2016.

I bought myself a new overlocker yesterday and am now trying to learn how to drive it. My old one lasted over 30 years. I wonder if this one will serve me as well? Image: Su Leslie, 2016

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The Changing Seasons: April sun in Te Atatu

Sunrise in Auckland. View of city and harbour bridge from Te Atatu Peninsula beach at low tide. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Early morning on the Te Atatu Peninsula; looking across the Waitemata to the city and harbour bridge. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

I have to confess; April is probably my favourite month. Poised between Auckland’s oppressive summer humidity and the damp, grey of winter, April in my city is often utterly, gloriously beautiful — especially at sunrise and sunset.

Tomorrow is the start of New Zealand Music Month, and I’ve been thinking about the songs that form the soundtrack to my life. One of the first to pop into my head was April Sun in Cuba.

Released in 1977, it was the first big hit for the band Dragon. April Sun in Cuba was released in Australia first; the band having relocated to Sydney from Auckland a couple of years earlier. I don’t know if writers Paul Hewson and Marc Hunter were thinking of Auckland or Sydney when they wrote the song, but the opening lines are:

I’m tired of the city life
Summer’s on the run
People tell me I should stay
But I got to get my fun

Paul Hewson & Marc Hunter

I am definitely tired of the city life, but at least for the moment, the April sun in Te Atatu, or Greenhithe, or Herald Island are part of the solution, not the problem.

Sunset at Rahui Beach, Greenhithe, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Sunset at Rahui Beach, Greenhithe, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

At sunset, gulls flying above Christmas Beach, Herald Island in Auckland. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

“Birds in the winter sky” — gulls above Christmas Beach, Herald Island in Auckland. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge hosted by Cardinal Guzman. There are two versions:

Version 1 (The Changing Seasons V1):

Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery.
Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.

Version 2 (The Changing Seasons V2):

Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
Each month, post one photo (recipe, painting, drawing, whatever) that represents your interpretation of the month.
Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!

 

Anzac Day: on helping us to remember

Small boy examining Field of Remembrance cross, Auckland Museum. Private Augustine Bond, from Papakura, Auckland, served with the Auckland Infantry Battalion, and died on April 25th, 1916, in first landing at Gallipoli. He is buried in Baby 700 Cemetery, Anzac, Turkey. Image: Su Leslie, 2015

Private Augustine Bond, aged 25, from Papakura, Auckland. He served with the Auckland Infantry Battalion, and died on April 25th, 1916, in the first landing at Gallipoli. He is buried in Baby 700 Cemetery, Anzac, Turkey. Image: Su Leslie, 2015

April 25th is Anzac Day in New Zealand and Australia; our most important national day of remembrance, for all Australians and New Zealanders:

“who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served.”

ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps; a term – and an entity – that came into existence in World War One.

This year is the 100th anniversary of Anzac Day, and its role in our national culture has, if anything, grown in recent years. It is not uncommon for whole families to attend dawn services, not only at our major war memorials, but even in the smallest local communities.

The Fields of Remembrance Project has been set up to honour New Zealanders who lost their lives in WWI. White crosses are being placed in locations all around the country; each one bearing the name, rank and service number of one of this tiny country’s 18,200 dead.

Field of Remembrance Cross, Auckland Museum. Private Edwin Cox, from the Auckland Infantry Battalion 16th (Waikato) Company; died on the first day of the disastrous Gallipoli landings; 25 April 1915. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Private Edwin Cox, from the Auckland Infantry Battalion 16th (Waikato) Company; died on the first day of the disastrous Gallipoli landings; 25 April 1915. He had celebrated his 23rd birthday two weeks earlier. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

The Auckland Museum’s Field of Remembrance has 1684  crosses (and currently two Stars of David); bearing the names of those who died in 1915 or 1916, and who served with Auckland regiments or came from the wider Auckland region.

Star of David, Field of Remembrance, Auckland Museum. Private Maurice Simon Caro joined the 2/13th Kensington Battalion, The London Regiment, 1914. Born Christchurch and resident in Auckland, Maurice Caro was a wine importer before the war. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Private Maurice Simon Caro joined the 2/13th Kensington Battalion, The London Regiment, 1914. Born in Christchurch but resident in Auckland, Maurice Caro was a wine importer before the war. He died on July 2, 1916, during the First Battle of the Somme. The Caro Bowl, an Auckland tennis competition trophy, was established by his parents in his memory. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Next year, the names of those who died in 1917 will be added to the Fields; the same will happen in 2018 for those who died in the final year of WWI — including the Big T’s great uncle Eric.

I have no connection with the men commemorated above. Their names appear prominently in these images mainly because of the way the Field was laid out and the practical considerations of taking a photo.

But it seemed wrong to share them without trying to know a little about the men whose names they bear. Most of the biographical information that I found has come from Online Cenotaph, a project undertaking as part of the WWI commemorations, by the Auckland War Memorial Museum and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

This project not only collates official information about our war dead, it is also open to family members and other researchers to add information, images and memories. As a family historian, I am hugely excited by this clever (and very user-friendly) application of technology to help preserve the memories of those who died in the service of our country.

As a personal plea to my NZ readers; if you have family members who served in the NZ military, and you haven’t already explored the Online Cenotaph, please click on the link and take a look. This is our resource, and a wonderful opportunity to contribute to our nation’s collective memory.

 

Portraits #2

Black and white portrait of the Big T, mud-splattered from mountain-bike ride. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Outdoor pursuits. The Big T after a mountain-bike ride in the rain. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

I began this year thinking that I’d like to learn how to take better photos of people, and even posted a few images I’d captured of the boy-child (Portrait #1).

Well, the intention hasn’t gone away, but I remain a bit nervous about asking friends to pose for me. So, last weekend when the Big T came back from mountain-biking in the rain, I knew I had a perfect subject for portrait #2.

Black and white portrait of man, mud-splattered from mountain-bike ride. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

“I’m so tough, I kick sand in my own face.” The Big T after a mountain-bike ride. Image: Su Leslie, 2016