Six Word Saturday: another day, another couple of beaches

Boy and couple watching waves crash over the seawall at Mairangi Bay, Auckland, NZ during a storm in early January 2018. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Storm-watching, Mairangi Bay, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2018


Six Word Saturday: watching the storm clouds roll in

Obviously storm conditions are no barrier to fun for men in wetsuits. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

Takapuna Beach, Auckland, NZ. Waiting for the next storm to arrive. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

Six Word Saturday is a blogging prompt from Cate at Show my Face. Here are some other bloggers’ Saturdays:

I love Paris in the drizzle…



When still images don’t quite paint the picture

Last night Auckland was hit by another storm – our third in as many months. Now these are not catastrophic events, but for those whose houses have lost roofs and suffered water damage, who have no electricity and are blocked in by fallen trees – the storm has wrecked the kind of havoc that will impact their lives for weeks and months to come.

We have been especially lucky this time. While the last two storms left us without electricity for a while; this time – so far, so good. We are warm, dry and safe and surrounded by still-standing trees which have spent the night bowing before gale force winds. It is calmer today and the flora in our neighbourhood seems to have largely survived. But the view from my window is largely of trees – and today they continue to sway and dance to the howling gusts of a storm that may have reached its crescendo, but not the finale.

Photos simply don’t do justice to the movement and sound of tall slender manuka trees being whipped about by the wind; but I think video might.

This afternoon I found myself at the beach, watching foam – churned up by the waves – being blown onto not only the beach itself, but the grass reserve and on to the road beyond. In this case, still images captured some of the magic, but again, I think video does a better job.

Foam blown over the sea-wall and onto the grass, Mairangi Bay Beach, Auckland, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Shot with iPhone4.

Foam blown over the sea-wall and onto the grass, Mairangi Bay Beach, Auckland, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Shot with iPhone4.

Sea-foam blown across the park at Rothesay Bay, Auckland, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Shot with iPhone4.

Sea-foam blown across the park at Rothesay Bay, Auckland, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Shot with iPhone4.

This theme of the week’s phonography and non-SLR photo challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally is nature, and I’m trying something a bit different. As well as still images I’m posting the videos I shot on my phone and edited with MovieMaker. I’m interested to know what you think of moving images as part of this challenge.


And here are some other participants’ response to the theme:

Unexpected lakes

Submerged fields and fenceline, Kaipara, Auckland. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

Submerged fields and fenceline, Kaipara, Auckland. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

While life after Tuesday night’s storm has returned to normal for us, I am aware that for many recovery will not be so quick. Damaged homes and businesses will take days and weeks to repair, and although most of the fallen trees have been cleared, swirling debris is everywhere – spread by high winds.

It was a fierce storm, yet I was still surprised yesterday to find whole fields submerged when I ventured beyond the edge of the city, to Auckland’s rural north-west.

It was a beautiful day, and I was happy with the images I shot. But for those who own the land, and for whom it is an integral part of their livelihood, the artistry of blue sky and marshmallow clouds reflected in flooded fields is no compensation for the damage caused by nature.

This week Ailsa at Where’s my Backpack challenged us to show the unexpected.

Here are a few other posts on the theme that I enjoyed:

The Unexpected

Travel Theme: Unexpected

Weekly Travel Theme: Unexpected

Travel Theme: Unexpected


Wordless Wednesday, but I’m making up for it now

A power black-out meant not computer. After a few hours I got out the knitting. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

A power black-out meant no computer. No computer, no work. After a few hours I got out the knitting needles. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

A storm hit Auckland on Tuesday night; wind gusts of 170 km/ph were recorded, the Harbour Bridge was closed to trucks, ferry sailings were cancelled, boats were torn from moorings and hurled against rocks and around 70,000 homes and businesses lost electricity as trees, trampolines and assorted flying debris downed power lines.

Our power went off just after 1am. I know this because the wind was so strong it rattled our normally very robust windows and woke me.

Lack of electricity in the middle of the night wouldn’t usually be a problem for us, as even the Big T has usually retired by then. But of course, Tuesday night had to be THE night he had two conference calls – one at 2am, the other at 6am. He managed both,  sitting in the dark of our living room (which is warmer than his office when there’s no heating), though the battery on his phone barely lasted.

When I got up at 7am there was still no electricity and with it no chance of a shower or a proper cup of coffee. The boy-child is home from school with glandular fever, so at least we were spared the nightmare of trying to get him to the bus-stop in gridlocked traffic (traffic lights were out as well).

So it was an odd day.

The storm itself had passed, and as the day progressed, the sky became increasingly blue. Our neighbourhood was eerily quiet – the only people out seemed to be workers clearing away fallen branches and repairing power lines.

That took until about 3pm.

So it was an odd day. Our house wasn’t damaged, so we had shelter. We had food and as much hot water as could be boiled on the gas cook-top. We even managed to make one pot of coffee before the pre-ground stuff ran out and we realised our coffee grinder is electric. It wasn’t a particularly cold day, so the lack of heating wasn’t a problem. Our house has good natural light, so we didn’t have to resort to torches and candles. Really, we had pretty much everything we needed. Except the ability to work.

Without our computers, internet access and the ability to charge phone/iPad batteries – neither the Big T nor I could do much actual work. At one stage we were both sitting in our cars, charging our phone batteries and answering emails, but the newsletter I was working on had to be abandoned, as did a report I wanted to write for a meeting last night.

First world problems; and I am more than a little ashamed of myself for complaining about the lack of a latte and the possibility of a cold shower.  I’m ashamed when I think of large families in cold, damp houses struggling to get children fed and off to school, before they faced the traffic to reach jobs where lateness – whatever the cause – has a financial penalty. I’m more ashamed when I think of Auckland’s homeless population, and of the people of Christchurch who have endured three years of post-Earthquake disruption to the fabric of their daily lives, and in particular those whose homes flood in storms like Tuesday night’s.

The Auckland City Mission has long been our family’s “Christmas” charity, but of course compassion is for life, not just for Christmas.