The Changing Seasons: August 2018

It’s been a busy month, and not always in a good way. I feel that I’ve wasted spent far too much time on household admin stuff. As the month closes, I’m still waiting on others’ to provide information I need to make decisions and cross these things off my “to-do” list.

One the plus side, there’s only so much book-keeping and financial planning a person can do before they lose the will to live (for me that’s not very much), so there has been plenty of need for distraction. This has mostly taken the form of still-life photography (much of which you’ve seen), trying to improve my embarrassingly basic PhotoShop skills, and spending quality time with my journal and some watercolour paints.

The Big T and I have only managed to escape the city once — for a long weekend in the Waikato. The weather was mostly great and the scenery awesome in that green hills and big blue skies kind of way — especially on the day we went to explore Kawhia, on the west coast.


First glimpse of Kawhai Harbour. Image: Su Leslie 2018

Although it’s only about 60km from the nearest town, Kawhia feels quite remote. The land is mainly farmed or forestry and there is only one other settlement on the way there — Oparau, with its “sells everything you could ever need — at a price” general store and the bike fence.

bike fence1

Oparau — where old bicycles go to die? Image: Su Leslie 2018

I don’t know if it’s a Kiwi thing — do people in other countries adorn fences with collections of found objects? We have the bra fence in Cardrona, Central Otago; several jandal (think flip-flop) fences (Foxton, Kaeo and the Bay of Plenty); a hubcap fence in West Auckland; and apparently more than one bike fence.

I didn’t count the number of bikes cable-tied to the fence in Oparau, but the installation stretched for at least 100 metres.

Kawhia is a tiny settlement nestled inside a large, flat harbour. The tide was out during our visit, so I’ll spare you shots of the muddy estuary — except this one of the Kawhia Museum, because the building is so pretty.


Kawhia Museum, housed in what was once the Council office. Kawhia, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2018

The ocean beach, a little beyond town, was beautiful and almost deserted. It is a hot water beach, which means you can dig a hole at low tide and soak in the naturally hot spring water that seeps through the sand.

This sounds like a great idea, and unlike the more famous Hot Water Beach on the Coromandel, there weren’t thousands of other people trying to do the same thing. But it IS still winter, and it’s impossible to dig a particularly deep hole, so the prospect of having a warm bums and legs while the rest of us froze just wasn’t that appealing.

Our trip home involved a detour to Te Aroha for coffee, and Ngatea for a fairly disappointing lunch. Luckily the local St John’s charity shop was open and turned out to be a treasure trove. The Big T and I both left with goodies — and we now have a loyalty card. I’m not sure quite what that says about us.

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share whatโ€™s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Donโ€™t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Donโ€™t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to this post, I can update it with links to all of yours.


Please check out these bloggers and see how August played out for them

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Klara’s Brussels in August

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Jude at Under a Cornish Sky

Marilyn at Seeking intelligent life on Earth

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Max at Cardinal Guzman



80 thoughts on “The Changing Seasons: August 2018

  1. Ah, those green hills and the rustic fences and the long flat beach bring back so many memories of my visit to Raglan. I am rather annoyed now that my son didn’t take me to a beach where I could get a warm bum! We went as far as Ruapuke beach which was absolutely gorgeous. New Zealand has stunning beaches and landscapes. And I am now regretting throwing my old windows away!
    PS I think Kiwis and Aussies have quite a weird sense of humour regarding stuff that litters the landscape and is classified as ‘art’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kawhia is a bit of a hike! Apparently Aotea Harbour, which is between Raglan and Kawhia, is really nice too. We thought about exploring, but ran out of time. I agree that we still do beaches pretty well (though I have started avoiding all but the most remote in summer). And you’re right about the pop-up “art” installation stuff. Perhaps to be expected from a country where the local authorities condone (and promote) giant fibreglass “sculptures” of carrots, crayfish and soft-drink bottles as tourist attractions. Sigh.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Ah, when I look at the alluring ocean photos, I feel the urge to break from our smoked in environment and escape to the fresh air near and at the sea. Great job, Sue! I am glad you were able to break free from your to-do list of duties. Best wishes! Peter

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love to see those rolling green hills. This is countryside and scenery thatโ€™s so familiar to me (high school in Matamata, and Teachersโ€™ College in Hamilton) and I still think fondly of it, especially during drought in Australia. I hope the bikes on fences thing doesnโ€™t grow as ponderous as the padlocks on bridges in Paris and other places. Your photos make me want to take a quick NZ fix!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Glad to give you a taste of the past, if not home ๐Ÿ™‚ We lived in Tokoroa when I was a kid, and used to travel to Auckland via Matamata. My parents really loved it and so we always stopped “to stretch our legs” there. It’s so busy now, with all the Hobbiton tourism.
      The padlocks-on-bridges thing seems to be inceasingly widespread. The footbridge at Frank Kitts Park on Welly’s waterfront is festooned, and I noticed a few recently in a really odd place — I can’t quite remember where, but it did prompt a bit of a WTF moment.


  4. Beautiful photos, Su. Those op shop purchases look like they were a real highlight of your month. And the green does make NZ look postcard perfect. I’m just putting the final touch on my month and will send the link through shortly. It is hard not to get preachy about climate change and sometimes I fail abysmally. Regards. Tracy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much Tracy. It’s funny how finding a couple of cheap, interesting objects in the op shop raised our mood after a pretty disappointing lunch. And I don’t think the lunch would have bothered us much if it hadn’t come after so many other average to disappointing meals that weekend. Either T and I have a cafe jinx, or there are an awful lot of sub-standard eating places around.
      And I don’t think we can ever say too much about climate change. I agree it’s difficult not to sound preachy — but sod it — it’s too important not to keep talking about ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, those precious finds can give one a boost. What a shame about the quality of the cafes. I tend to think if you can get one or two really good ones in a town or region, then that little bit of competition helps raise the standard all round. I don’t know if it is purely coincidental that on our travels, those towns with a great cafe were doing well. Those without, were very sad indeed. Have good coffee and food and they will come?

        Liked by 1 person

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  6. Interesting month Su. Ah the green green grass of home…. sighs…. I still miss NZ. Fortunately I left offspring over there so an excuse to visit. Lovely photos youโ€™ve captured the country so well. Jack is an op shop fanatic. I donโ€™t think Iโ€™ll tell him about loyalty cards. Though I have never heard of them over here. I just took photos this morning for my August changing season, better get to it before the month has gone….

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A loyalty card for an op shop! Priceless! I would take one in a flash. ๐Ÿ™‚ Household admin is such a chore. Just as well you had a chance to freshen your spirit in beautiful surroundings. I am wondering how long it will be before the Kawhia museum is washed out to sea.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I so enjoy seeing the land where you live, Su. Stunning land and seascapes. The bike fence is surreal though (in a good way) and apart from people attaching padlocks to bridges (due to whatever film it was), or bits fishing twine to the boardwalks in Maine, I have never seen these kind of collections. My mind is boggling at the bra fence: a sort of liberation installation?!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Tish. I have to get out of the city to remind myself how lovely NZ is.
      Maybe the fence is a NZ thing? I’ve seen bits of rural fencing with wellies and flip-flops attached, but the bikes were new to me. But we (as a nation) do have an odd sense of what’s appropriate or interesting in public spaces. Several towns have giant fibreglass representations of objects that “define” the town — a huge carrot in the town of Ohakune, a crayfish in Kaikoura, a soft drink bottle in Paeroa (there is a lemonade-y drink called lemon and paeroa). Matamata likes to think of itself as Hobbiton because of the Hobbiton movie set nearby, and the town of Te Kuiti briefly re-named shops and streets, etc after an ex All Black who lived there. I suspect it’s a slightly insecure part of the psyche of a very isolated country “showing off” to the grown-ups — the way kids say odd and inappropriate things to get attention. But I’ll probably be branded a traitor for even suggesting that. Here’s a link to the bra fence btw:

      Liked by 1 person

  9. A hot beach—I’ve never heard of that before! Sounds very cool (I know, wrong word to use here). And we don’t have such fences. I did see in Prague the bridge with all the locks on it. But so far, the craze has not reached this part of the US anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • NZ is very geothermally active. There are hot springs all over the place and sometimes they flow under beaches or streams. Many have become tourist attractions and are no fun to visit anymore, there there are still some that are more remote or just not as well known.
      The padlocked bridges are starting to happen here — and it’s worrying engineers because padlocks are heavy! But the fence thing … sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I love those luscious green hills, and the fences are certainly …. different. Can’t say I’ve ever heard of such a thing before so maybe it is a Kiwi thing. I’m sure it makes drives through the countryside rather interesting though ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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  12. Lovely photos. Like Amy, I hadn’t heard of hot water beaches. It would be fun to try one. I am assuming an op shop is what we would call a thrift shop but for the life of me I can’t figure out what the op is short for. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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  15. I find Australia’s obsession with big things annoying but do like quirky fences. I think there are some themy things going on over here, especially in Tasmania where they are a little bit wacky. Nice bunch of pics Su. Must get my act together.

    Liked by 1 person

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  19. Your trip to Kawhia looks beautiful though I can feel with you about being disappointed by the quality of the lunch. The adorned fences make me laugh! Never seen a thing like this but then I love in a city and open landscapes with fences to be adorned are hard to come by anyway. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The hot beaches sound fascinating! Never heard of them either and hope we can plan this into our trip one day! ๐Ÿ˜„ xxxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

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