Last day of June and the last of the wine
Well sort of. So I didn't take a photo a day, nor did I upload the photos in any order. In fact they were batched. I did however learn a lot about my camera. Going out at the weekends with a list of subjects or topics for my photos focused what I was doing and helped me experiment. Adam helped a lot and having a lazy Sunday brunch at Rachel's today was great as the kids made perfect subjects. So the end of June. I'm sitting slowly (oh so slowly) sipping the last of the red wine, tomorrow brings Dry July. Comments on the photos or top tips for surviving Dry July will be gratefully received.

But for now take a look at June....

Nearly dry

The rain is raining, the photo challenge is still challenging and round the corner is a Dry July. Maybe not doing something every day will be easier than trying to do something every day. I'm sure you'll hear either way. You can still donate, spur me on, help a great cause. Follow this link for my profile. I have a national ranking for goodness sake. For tonight, the fire is as warming as the delightful Central Otago pinot noir.

Photo challenging

Deciding to do a photo challenge seemed a good idea and to be fair it's only my lazy procrastinating self that is proving the problem. Sunday afternoon today turned into a delightful time spent in a cozy house while a wild wind battered the garden (and the country it seems) and rain poured as only NZ rain knows how to do. I read cook books, I planned the next holiday, I baked a cake and the roast dinner is nearly ready. A quick and canny  catch up on the photo challenge was the only real work to do. So yes, they were all taken on the same day...never mind eh
Day 14
Focusing on eyes

Day 11
Black and white

Day 12
Same shot different light

Day 12
Same shot different light

Day 15
Anything you want

Dry July

Tis the year of monthly challenges. The June Photo challenge is going well, so let's start thinking about next month. Dry July. See my profile here. For anyone who knows me you'll understand this is a real challenge. I have a host of mocktail recipes planned, but any other top tips will be gratefully received....along with the donations of course

Bird table raising

The garden hasn't had a mention for a while. We do get into the garden, even a fair bit at times and we've done some great stuff over the summer. In that elusive quest for balance and getting to grips with us both working Monday to Friday in jobs that we love that little bit too much writing about the garden has taken second place. Admittedly second place to lounging on the settee with a glass of wine but that's another story. Our garden is a little overwhelming at times. I really don't care that it's only a rental. I have so enjoyed growing things, eating said grown things or really just watching the seasons and the changes. It's a great feeling to get very dirty and muddy, breathe in the air, talking to the weeds and feeling so refreshed when settling down to that wine on the settee. 
Today saw us achieve a goal we'd been striving for over some time. One of those goals that had me throw a strop attack in the DIY store and abandon my trolley, leaving, needed chocolate. It was a bizzare thing. I wanted a bird table. I had a great plan from a magazine and was going to build one - that didn't happen - above strop attack saw that idea die a finial well deserved death. I found a fabulous website, Creative Woodcraft. All New Zealand made, rather wonderful things. Our rather amazing bird table turned up and then the quest for a post began. We learnt a new phrase/word - standard waratah - I'm not going to explain it - you google it and see what you make of it and work out where to buy one. Today was that quest. it really did feel like a quest. When I heard Adam say "I think I've found a waratah" I was cracked up. This really was a quest. Out joy and smile as we high fived, finally finding the post for said bird table. I am carrying around the post thing that was going to be attached to the bird table. Now I'll celebrate the opening of an envelope and in my job you do learn to appreciate the little things, such as being alive, so to say we are sitting here drinking bubble because of completing our quest may explain how much this has meant - or I really do like bubbles. 
So while Adam was doing the work, I scrambled around the garden still trying to get to grips with new flashy rather lush camera. 

Wonderful leaves on our cherry tree

Said leaves on the well watered grass (rainy season in Auckland)

Playing with the camera. I don't even miss the apps on the iPhone, well not much

All the rain lately has blown the rhubarb into crazy mode

More rhubarb

The veggie patch is still there, more manageable now it's downsized and looking ready for winter.

Afternoon sunny spot

The proud man with a waratah

It is a flash bird table, I do hope they like it

Great bird bath now has flash bird table

Kevin the potted Christmas tree from many years ago is sill going, a little lopsided but still alive

The rosemary may be taking over

The cherry tree is a picture of autumn but really will need to be trimmed this year

Walk 9 - Rangitoto

Seriously how bad can your day be when you get to walk up a volcano. Such a cool thing, it's fantastic. So easily accessible from Auckland and such a doable walk. Now boat trips, always a good thing for a day - and this from a woman who has been on a boat that sunk.
This was my third trip to Rangitoto, an island that erupted 600 years ago. The youngest volcano in the Huraki Gulf and the last and largest volcano to be formed in the Auckland volcanic field.
It is an icon of Auckland, I see the beautiful classic volcano each time I drive into work and you catch glimpses of it from all areas of Auckland. It is so cool.

As I said, my third trip and a different walk each time. The walk to the summit is great, and as it's a popular trip, particularly on a public holiday weekend, it can be a sociable event too. I may have mentioned my complete lack of exercise lately so I was expecting this to be tough, it was. I take my time, I get there. I enjoy the effort knowing the walk isn't long, the view is amazing and it's all downhill afterwards.
I was finding it tough so we took an abbreviated walk back to the wharf, then after an amazing lunch, sitting in the sun, looking out over the sparkling water (sorry this is winter) we explored a bit more, taking time to look at the historic bachs and play/learn more about my new camera.
I took loads of photos but also used the day to create a unique birthday card for the daughter of my rather dear friend - so a sneak peak of her card for you Sharon.

As always....clear signage

Loved this bench and was there for ages trying to capture what I wanted, didn't quite get there but this was the best.

Our traditional shot

Loved this picture of Adam but then a learnt a rather neat trick my camera does........

There's this handy display thingy that helps me get the photo straight, for a woman with a wonky eye, this is amazing

We were at the summit around midday so the view shots didn't come out great, but this one might give you an idea

Another shot I spent ages on, a few different ankles and loads of different light settings. 

My favourite picture of the day

Well apart from this one, a homage to YMCA and a happy birthday to Molly


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