Monday, July 22, 2013

You can take the girl out of the farm but...

... it would seem you can't take the farm out of the girl.
Warning - one of these photos may turn the stomach of non-farmish folk!

Yesterday, as part of my quest to capture photos for an MPS club competition, I took myself out to Ambury Regional Park to see if the afternoon light was any good on the west coast.
The park features a farm, and it's the time of year for lambing. Visitors are allowed to meander through the paddocks en route to the coastal walkway, so long as the mums and bubs are given a wide berth.
It was like being transported back 35 years, though the paddock was flat as opposed to very hilly, and I was on foot, not horseback. If I am correct, the sheep were perendales, just like ours were, and the lambs looked just like the hundreds I'd seen and handled growing up. I actually delighted in watching them feed (especially through my zoom lens) and comedically bounce on all fours as they do.

I noticed a ewe lying down some distance away and took a closer - but still distant - look to make sure she was OK. I suspected she was giving birth and I did not want to disturb that process.
However as I skirted around her I noticed a very still lamb and a distressed Mum.
As I knelt down to the lamb, my recollections of how my Dad would encourage life into a struggling newborn kicked in. Check for mucus over the mouth, some 'slaps' on the chest' etc... I stopped short of mouth to mouth (not that my Dad would have done this either!) as the body was almost cold and by then I know she'd already lost her struggle. Despite having seen this sort of thing so many times growing up, I was really, really sad... I could hear myself saying "Wake up, baby! Wake up, baby!"... but it didn't help.
Now, if I'd had my Dad's lambing belt, crook and a good turn of speed, maybe I'd have 'stolen' one of the only set of twins I spied, skinned the dead baby, made some slits for the legs and heads, and dressed the 'twin' in the newly fashioned jacket so he smelled like the grieving Mum's baby and she'd accept him as her own.
Instead on my return to the carpark, I hunted down a park ranger and told her the sad news instead.
The collateral damage of all this was, in my efforts to save a lambie life, I did disturb the birthing Mum. who ran off with her half delivered baby hanging out her bum - which is the photo I warned about. Also something I have seen several times before, and in mast cases, they do lie down again and deliver - though last seen this ewe was grazing!


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Cooler Than Michael Jackson

Back in the early 1990s this was some accolade. Probably still rings true today!

As a teacher, you often receive lovely little notes from certain students in your class - they are always heartwarming and some touch you more than others, for a range of reasons. Mainly they attest to the fact that you are pretty special to that person, and getting a genuine one really does go a long way to make a teacher's day. Having not had a class to call my own for some years now due to my management role, the relationships formed that lead to these sorts of childish (in the nicest sense) appreciation, don't occur as easily. It's the aspect of classroom teaching I miss the most. (The relationships, not the notes!)

Which is why when I stumbled across this wee gem in one of my boxes of 'Memorabilia' some months ago, I took a snap of it with my phone. I found the photo again yesterday when I updated phones, and was going through and deleting pics.

It was written by a special student (yes, yes, they are all special) at the end of her Std 2 (Year 4) year, at a time when I was changing schools. So working back, it would have been 1993 to be specific.
If you can't quite make it out the writing, here's what it says...

Dear Miss Fothergill
It's so sad that you're moving but as Mum said "She's young and so that means she has to move around to get to know other people". I guess she's right. In my old school, my teacher Ms Honeyfield was teaching the same people the next year. I wish it was the same.
Any was (sic) thanks a whole heap for teaching me this year. It's been great! I have to go now, because Mum is telling me to come and have your dinner young girl!
Bye for now.
Lots of love and kisses
from ...

I shall keep the name anonymous, as this person and I have made a reconnect as grown-ups (good old Facebook), and I don't want to 'out' and embarrass her. But if she reads this, it may just be a reminder that the kids are special to us teachers too.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Eyes on the Money

As my friends and family are aware, I have just had iLasik surgery. So far so good - the results and recovery are progressing as expected, so no regrets. But I would not have been able to get the procedure done were it not for the 24 month interest free offer for payment; it's a pretty bloody pricey bit of surgery. 
Considering it's all over in a matter of minutes, the hourly rate would be... phenomenal.
When my brother picked me up from my follow-up appointment today, he parked beneath the building where he spotted these beauties... a Maserati, an Astin Martin and a Porsche 4x4. We can only presume that they belong to the surgeons. After all they would be able to afford it!

PS The imposter is my shiny red Mazda 3 (Thanks Dan and Rik for the cleaning job!)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Guiltless Pleasure

So I am lucky enough to be on holiday at the moment. Yes there are plenty of purposeful things I could/should be doing around the house, but I've promised myself I'll clean one room a day, and I did do the laundry so... no guilt there. Also I ticked off one of my 'health checks' for the year this morning, so the guiltometer was well in the black.
Yes. Over the past couple of days I did something completely for myself that I have not done for a very long time... Totally dedicated my time to reading a book, like it was a mission, but a pleasurable one. Actually it was a mission that did have a timeframe, as I had to have it finished by Wednesday for my Book Club, but being a Jodi Picoult novel (her latest, The Storyteller), I figured that if past reads were anything to go by, it would not be an onerous task to get stuck into. This proved to be an accurate assumption; I pretty much devoured it, and almost felt duped at having finished it by 3pm today, with 2 days to spare.
So what did I think of it? It was good - not my favourite novel of hers, or my favourite war-themed book, but a thought provoking, sometimes harrowing, always 'entertaining' read. As with others' of hers I have read, I enjoyed the telling of the stories from the different characters/perspectives. I did wonder if the tale of the Ania and the 'upior' was a Ms Picoult trying to jump on the vampire popularity bandwagon, and while I got the allegorical comparison, I didn't especially enjoy that aspect.
I look forward to dissecting it further with my Bubbly Bookworm Buddies in a couple of evenings' time.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Paying it forward

I would like to share a link to another blog - one of the class blogs from my school.
I had the opportunity to share my photographic knowledge and experience with a wonderful group of 12 and 13 year olds this week, and was thrilled with their enthusiasm, learning and talent. 
This post from Gemma illustrates what one student took away from the time, and some of the photos she captured.
Here are a few more that they created; I was so proud!


Sunday, July 7, 2013


Caught this dude fishing today... but only just.

The tide was almost in and the water was mill-pond-like. This dude would disappear under the water and re-emerge quite some way away in his quest to find breakfast. After watching him on and off as we tracked a similar path (me on terra firma obviously) I heard a flurry in the still morning air and was just in time to catch him with his catch.

It's days like this I wish I had a bigger zoom. Sadly these are already heavily cropped.

It was an awesome morning to be out to catch photos though. Doing the 100 Days Project is not only making me take my camera with me all the time, but really is making me look out for extraordinary things in my everyday environment. There are special things everywhere people!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Peoples' Choice vs Judge's Choice

Stolen from Hugo
Tonight, buoyed by the encouragement of recent photographic successes, I went to my first night at a new photographic club, the Pukekohe Franklin Club.
I entered four images as entitled, selecting recycled images from MPS which had previously achieved honours. I was happy to get one honours and three HC... including HCs for two that had gained top honours of 'Image of the Night' at Manukau.
That, and a comment from the judge, reiterated the fact that photos, like all art forms, are 'judged' differently by individuals. The judge's comment was directed to another PFCC 'newbie', a young high school student who went by the most awesome name of Hugo.
Hugo's photo, pictured here, was the winner of the People's Choice award at the recent Auckland Photo Day. A cumulation of votes, not from the judging elite, but from public vote. Our judge tonight, through clear on his personal views, acknowledged the kudos this public vote afforded Hugo's photograph. A bright future ahead for this boy. And a reminder that one judge's opinion is just that.