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Posts tagged “Wanaka

As always, two laws, depending on who you are

Thought for the day…”Rough Diamonds may sometimes be mistaken for worthless pebbles.”

“We may pass violets looking for roses. We may pass contentment looking for victory.”

So often in life there are two sets of laws, depending on who you are and who you know.  The New Zealand government is charging NZD 3100 (about 1800 euros)  for the compulsory 2 weeks quarantine but has a quote system to limit the number of international arrivals.   Sounds fair enough to only allow in as many people as can be housed in the isolation hotels BUT, as always, some groups are getting in.    A film crew was allowed into New Zealand to make a sci-fi film as they were considered ‘essential workers’.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/121692713/political-favouritism-for-hollywood-film-crews-says-opposition-mp

This week, the NZ news is reporting that the West Indies cricket team is being allowed into Queenstown, all 28 of them –

https://www.odt.co.nz/regions/queenstown/warm-welcome-windies

Whilst there are stories in the press and on the internet about families UNABLE to get places in the isolation hotels and unable to get one of the limited places to be allowed into NZ.    Families are also being kept apart –

http://www.thesouthafrican.com/lifestyle/south-africans-delays-henco-de-beernew-zealand-quarantine/

So while families and couples are being kept apart due to the quota system for managing isolation and arrivals, a film crew is deemed to be ‘essential workers’   and 28 members of a cricket team are also allowed in.  Now in my mind that is wrong.  Very wrong.  Making a sci-fi film is NOT essential, nor is playing cricket.     But as always, there seem to be two sets of laws…….

Gone but not forgotten, this 747 of Air Pacific takes off from Nadi airport in Fiji.  It was retired from service in 2013.

and another photo from the archives…..a motorist enjoys the early morning view over Lake Wanaka, Pembroke on the South Island of New Zealand.

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RESPECT,  CONSIDERATION  &  FAIRNESS


Joys of travelling

Thought for the day…”Reach for the stars, even if you have to stand on a cactus”

It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go.”

The joys of travelling….exciting new places and destinations.  But it is not always fun.   One of my pet hates (one of many) is that hotels often do not have a list of TV channels.   Given that some hotels can have upwards of 100 channels, why can they not put a list in the room to save endless channel surfing trying to find the 5 or 6 interesting channels??    A simple card or print out listing the channels would be so good.   And linked to this pet hate are hotel TVs that as soon as start them are at maximum volume, hardly ideal for a hotel when guests are trying to sleep.

Next pet hate……Many hotels are no longer giving the small bottles of shampoo and conditioner or individual soap, preferring to have dispensers on the walls instead.   All very well IF the hotel refills them but so often just when you are in the shower you discover that the dispensers are empty.

And staying with hotels and pet hates…..the annoying habit that more and more hotels are only putting in one rubbish bin/trash can in the whole room and bathroom.  Saves them a little money, but is hardly good for the guest experience.

Another hate….modern hotels whose managers have decided that THEY know the temperature that guests want the rooms to be at, and have removed individual temperature controls in the rooms….I am seeing this more and more and it is also not good for the guest experience.

Topping the list of pet hates for hotels…..any hotel that has slow internet or has a poor internet signal in the room deserves to go out of business….no excuse for this in the 21st century.    Excuses such as “it is the number of guests in the hotel” or “it is the rainy weather” just get me irritated.  It is not rocket science to get fast, reliable internet in a hotel, but it seems to be a major problem for some hotels.

The list goes on….to be continued………

Today’s photo is of the lakefront in Pembroke, South Island, New Zealand, on a perfect Summer’s evening.  One man and his dog admire the view….

and another photo from the archives…..driving hazards on the roads of Scandinavia….these are a much bigger problem at night when they tend to freeze in the car headlights.   A male elk can be over 300 kg, so can cause a lot of damage to a car.

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Oslo to Copenhagen ferry

Thought for the day..”Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.”

“It is not the strongest of the species which survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change” Charles Darwin

Oslo harbour and the ferry which goes between Norway and the Danish capital, Copenhagen.   Prices onboard this boat have gone up a lot, and the journey time has also been increased, making the trip now more expensive and also slower. This boat was previously owned by Viking Line, and sailed from Sweden to Finland.   Whilst the ferry was previously a good option, with the high prices onboard and also with the improved road connections to Denmark, it is no longer a good option.  Quite why the company thought that slowing the trip down was a good idea is a mystery, as is the logic of increasing the prices onboard.  Just like the airlines, DFDS have started to charge for things (eg. internet onboard and the bus connections to/from the boat)  that used to be included in the ticket price.   It appears that nearly all the public seating onboard has also been removed, presumably to try and force people into the bars and restaurants onboard to spend more money.   Sad to see the decline in standards on these ferries now, and the need to pay extra for so many things.     The kayakkers had a great view of the ferry though……

and another photo…A dramatic sunrise over the hills of Pembroke, New Zealand.  Great cloud formations are not unusual on the South Island of New Zealand due to the prevailing winds crossing the Southern Alps, which often leads to banding and wave clouds.   Add that to the first sun of the day and the result is a great photo.

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An aviation classic – the Hawker Hurricane

Thought for the day…”I haven’t failed. I just found 10 000 ways that won’t work” Thomas Edison.

“Turn your face to the sun and the shadow falls behind you”.

Wanaka, New Zealand hosts the Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow every two years, and was at one time, also home to a number of Warbirds, such as this Hawker Hurricane.  This particular aircraft had an interesting history, having flown in 1940 and crashed in Preswick, Scotland, then after a rebuild was damaged several more times before being transferred to the Soviet Air Force in 1941.  It crashed again near Murmansk, Russia in 1943 and was recovered around 1990 and partly rebuilt in the UK from 1992 to 1995.  It was fully restored in Wanaka and flew again from Christchurch, NZ in January 2000.    It was later sold to a French owner based in Cannes.   The photo was taken in Wanaka about 2010 prior to the sale to the new owner.

And a photo from Oslo harbour in Norway.   The DFDS ferry travels overnight down to Copenhagen, Denmark.  Unfortunately, journey times have been increased now and prices onboard are very high, making it much less attractive than previously, especially when the highway down through Sweden is a fast alternative.  Why management wanted to slow the trip down is a mystery, as the boat is now much slower and leaves both cities too early to be much use to business travellers or people wanting a full day trip.

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Soon to be devloped – an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Though for the day…”Prepare for the worst; expect the best; and take what comes.”

“To different minds, the same world is a hell, and a heaven.”  (J.B. Priestley).

A panoramic photo from Glendu Bay on the South Island of New Zealand near Pembroke.    This area is on the edge of Mount Aspiring National Park, but sadly is being sold for development.  Already new roads are being put in and sections for houses laid out.    It is terrible that the local council is allowing an area of outstanding natural beauty to be developed.  As they say, “money talks”.     Sadly the politicians and officials in NZ have not learned from the mistakes that have been made in other places, and once this area is developed then it is gone forever.     Soon photos like this will be just a memory.   Progess??

And another photo from the archives, beautiful Wineglass Bay in Tasmania, Australia

RESPECT, CONSIDERATION  &  FAIRNESS

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Censorship by Booking.com

Thought for the day…”Chocolate is ground from the beans of happiness.”

“The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it.”

Free Speech.   Something that is very important, but something that is disappearing fast in Europe.   Political correctness has already gone far to far, but now the online travel agency (OTA)  Booking.com   is also at it.

I recently stayed in some accommodation in Zurich which I booked online via Booking.com         The property was not good (badly run, dirty and with poor facilities) with poor security.   Not only was the property not clean, but it appeared to have many problems, one of which was what appeared to be asylum seekers in the accommodation.   So after my stay, I wrote a TRUTHFUL review to help other people in deciding whether or not to book.    One of the things that I wrote in the review was that the property appeared to house asylum seekers.    I did not make any statements about the rights or wrongs of this, nor did I mention nationalities, skin colour or race.    No references were made to immigration policies or criminality, just a statement that there appeared to be asylum seekers housed in the property.

But Booking.com   refused to publish my review because I had used the words ‘asylum seekers’  which they said could cause offense to some some people.   I would argue that the words described (truthfully) a situation, and were just reporting what I had seen and experienced.   Despite emails to Booking.com   the review did not get published.     So it seems that Booking.com   also want to be politically correct, even if this means distorting the truth.

The result of this….I cancelled a lot of future bookings with Booking.com     and now try to book direct with hotels etc. where this is possible.  I am not going to have Booking.com   tell me what I can and cannot say in a review.   It also makes me think that the other reviews on their website may also have been edited too.    So if you are reading reviews there then be aware that the reviews may have been edited for suitability.    George Orwell’s   1984 is here, just a bit late.   Booking.com    is in the same group as Priceline.com    and Agoda.com

Today’s photo comes from Glendhu Bay on the South Island of New Zealand.    The valley in the photo was until recently one of the homes of the Canadian country-pop singer, Shania Twain.  Nearby is Mt. Aspiring National Park and the Southern Alps.

and another photo from the archives….a SRN-4 hovercraft seen here in Boulogne in France.  These hovercraft had a top speed of 154 km/h and crossed the English Channel in as little as 22 minutes.  The record is held by the hovercraft in this photo, the Princess Anne.

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Now it is SWISS airlines turn.

Thought for the day…”It’s better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life.”

“The less you talk, the more you’re listened to.”

More evidence of how bad things are getting for Economy Class passengers.   SWISS airlines have now announced that on routes to/from Geneva GVA, that passengers on the cheapest economy tickets will now only get free water.  Gone are the  (included) meals and tea/coffee for those travelling on the cheapest fares.   So given that SWISS airlines are using aircraft such as the Airbus A320, the same as some budget/Low cost carriers (LCC) are using then what is the point of paying extra money to fly with SWISS airlines??   Seats and interiors are very similar, and both are going for a buy-on-board system, flight times are very similar, and increasingly, departure and arrival airports are the same.    So the legacy carriers believe that people will continue to pay higher prices for the same service as on a budget airline?  Not me for one.  Airline managers may have looked to the USA and have been inspired by what airlines there have been able to get away with, but I am drawing the line now.    With SWISS airlines announcing these cuts to basic economy tickets (not to mention the devaluing of the frequent flyer points system), I may end up flying a budget airline such as Wizzair in future.   No point to pay more money for the same service.  At least the budget airlines do not try and pretend that they are full service airlines.  Swiss airlines have gone too far with the latest cuts.

A black & white for for the picture today, one from Iceland taken in 2005.

and another photo from the archives…early morning on the lakefront in Pembroke, South Island, New Zealand.

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Flying variety – old and new, north and south

Thought for the day….”Success – keeping your mind awake and your desire asleep.”

“Sooner or later, those who win are those who think they can.”

Two photos from the opposite sides of the Earth….the first is a Tiger Moth aircraft seen here in Pembroke, New Zealand.   This type of aircraft was designed in the 1930s  by the De Havilland company, who went on to make over 8800 of them.   Many pilots learnt to fly in these, and they are still popular for teaching pilots their initial tail wheel training.   Typically, it had a 120hp Gypsy Moth engine, which required hand starting as there was no electrical system in the aircraft.    Top speed was 140 knots.

and another photo….the lunchtime Wideroe Dash 8 aircraft arriving at Honningsvag in Artic Norway.  The aircraft carries 50 passengers, and is often used in Norway on the ‘milk run’ service in northern Norway, stopping at many of the isolated towns along the coast.

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Worse service on the airlines, and more to come

Thought for the day…”The envious man grows lean at the success of his neighbour.”

“Hope is such a bait, it covers any hook.”

It is amazing that so many people are still choosing to fly with airlines, as a new round of cuts in services are leaked in the press.  The Hong Kong based  Cathay Pacific Airlines has announced that it too will follow the trend and squeeze in 10 across seating on its Boeing 777 services (the aircraft was designed for 9 across, so the change to 10 across will mean even less shoulder room).  There is also talk about going to 11 across onboard the A380, with the same result, less shoulder room for passengers.  And following on from that announcement, it seems that the Lufthansa group will move towards a ‘buy on board’ system for food.   It is being trialed at the moment, and apparently SWISS airlines (part of the Lufthansa group) are also going to trial a buy on board system.    Here is an example of one of the ‘meals’ that was served on a Lufthansa flight not long ago…about 100g of cheese and bread.   No plate, no meat and no other food.

So even before they start charging for food onboard, then they had almost cut out the included ‘meals’.  Earlier there was the news that British Airways were going to reduce the seating pitch onboard, meaning that their passengers would have LESS leg room than those on Ryanair.    And Lufthansa have also followed the trend by squeezing in more passengers on their new Airbus A320 NEO aircraft.   They have also removed one of the toilets (to fit in more seats) and made the remaining toilet even smaller.   Less leg room, less shoulder room and now even less food onboard.     The airlines mileage/frequent flyer programmes have been devalued so much that they are now virtually worthless, so the question is, is there any point now to choose one of the original airlines over the budget alternatives? Seems not.   You often have to pay for checked-in baggage, advance seat selection and a higher basic ticket price on thee traditional airlines anyway.    So why choose them?????

In most other businesses, giving a poorer service would usually drive people away, but it seems that the airlines are an exception.   Poorer service now, but still increasing numbers of people wanting to fly.  One thing is sure, the airlines that have increased the seating to 10 across on their 777s will not be seeing me onboard.   The limit has been passed.  Economy class has become a test of endurance, and is far from a pleasure now.

Staying with the theme of aviation, a photo that is now history, an AirNewZealand 747, seen here at Brisbane airport in Australia in 2004

and another photo from the archives….a local man in Southern Oman….

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RESPECT, CONSIDERATION, FAIRNESS.


Always connected – the digital overload

Thought for the day….”It is not the years in your life that count.  It is the life in your years”

“Knowledge comes from learning.  Wisdom comes from living”

One of the big challenges now is that we are never disconnected.   People are now suffering an onslaught of information at all hours of the day, and with tables and mobile phones, this continues even when they are not at work.    Internet is available almost everywhere, and the mobile phone means that people are still connected even when they are on the beach or walking in the park.    Not only are people able to be online continuously, but there is also an overload of information now.     Some scientists are now saying that this constant stream of data is making it hard to concentrate, and is also causing increasing levels of stress.  There is also the problem of trying to juggle all the different forms of technology, and to cope with all that information that is now bombarding us.     So rather than making life easier for us, this technology is actually making life MORE difficult and stressful.     People now believe that they have to answer a mobile phone call immediately, and that the email that has just arrived must be read instantly, whilst at the same time they are still bombarded by information from the internet.  Some hotels are now advertising that they do NOT have internet, and also are advertising digital detox breaks.   Always connected, and not a good thing.

Today’s photo comes from the lakefront in Pembroke, New Zealand, where there is also internet.  Who needs it though with a view like this?

and another photo, the waterfront at Picton, South Island, New Zealand.    From here ferries depart for the 3.5 hour trip to the North Island.

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Spectacular start to the day – dawn in New Zealand.

Thought for the day….”Dreams do not work unless you do”

“Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise me”

Couple of sunrise photos from Pembroke, New Zealand.  Strong upper winds and lots of clouds, but the golden colours only lasted for about 5 minutes.  The term ‘sunrise’ is actually incorrect, as the sun does not rise at all.  It is the motion of the earth which makes it appear that the sun is rising.   In the days when Concorde was flying, it was possible to see 2 sunrises or 2 sunsets in the same day, as the aircraft flew ‘faster than the sun’.     Both the photos today were taken as jpegs using the Fuji X-T20.

and another photo of the same sunrise….

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The Southern Alps of New Zealand

Thought for the day..”Success is when preparation meets opportunity”

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your entire life running up and down the field and never score”

Two photos from yesterday, taken on a flight around the Southern Alps on the South Island of New Zealand.   Unusually there was absolutely no wind over the mountains, meaning absolutely no turbulence, so I was able to fly closer to the mountains than normal.    The photos are screenshots from the video camera (the video will go up on Youtube later), and show Mt. Aspiring (3033m high) in the Mt. Aspiring National Park.  In the first photo, on the horizon left of the wing, you can see New Zealand’s highest mountain, Mt. Cook, which is now 3724m high.   To the right of Mt. Aspiring is the large Bonar Glacier.   Unfortunately there is a movement in New Zealand to rename many of the places and mountains with minority names, however the official names of the mountains are still Mt. Aspiring and also Mt. Cook.   So here is Mt. Aspiring below the wingtip….

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and another photo, again a screenshot from the video camera..The normal climbing route is up the long snow covered face (about 60 degrees) on the left, then along the ridge to the summit at 3033m.

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Triathlon in Pembroke Wanaka, New Zealand

Thought for the day….”Success with a negative attitude is called Luck.  Success with a positive attitude is called Achievement”

Next Saturday (18th February) is the day for the annual Challenge Wanaka triathlon.    This event is part of the worldwide Challenge triathlon circuit, and it has grown into a large competition.    The race comprises of a 3.8km swim  (the lake will be around 15 degrees), followed by a 180km cycle, and finally the 42.2km marathon run.   The fastest competitor will finish in around 8 hours 40 minutes.    Here are a few photos from previous years races….

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Around the Bend – Challenge Wanaka

Thought for the day…” Follow your heart but take your brain with you”

“Success is when preparation meets opportunity”

Every year in Pembroke Wanaka, New Zealand, the Challenge Wanaka triathlon competition is held.   As usual, this consists of a swim of 3.8km followed by a 180km cycle and finally a marathon run of 42.2km.  The photos today show the final turn on the cycle leg.  At this point, the competitors will have already swum the 3.8km and will almost have completed the 180km cycle leg.  It is only a few hundred metres from the final turn to the transition area.   The 2016 race was won by Dougal Allan in a time of 8 hours, 31 minutes and 53 seconds for the total race.    His cycle section (180km) took him just 4 hours and 36 seconds (and 45 km/h is an impressive average speed on a cycle).   The next Challenge Wanaka race will be on the 18th February 2017.

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More depressing news from New Zealand

Thought for the day…”If things do not go right, go left”

“Success – keeping your mind awake and your desire asleep”

More depressing news from New Zealand….even more flights and even bigger aircraft.   As well as increased numbers of flights from the USA and also from China, Emirates airline has announced that it is putting a 4th Airbus A380 on the route to Auckland.    This will mean that there will be 4 A380s at Auckland at the same time in addition to another A380 from Singapore Airlines.  Whilst the tourist board in NZ may be congratulating themselves on record numbers of visitors, the country just cannot cope with ever-increasing numbers.   The country has a population of just over 4.6 million people, but now receives over 3.3 million tourists, many of whom want to see the same few places.   The last 2 summers have seen accommodation fully booked, and tourists having to sleep in cars due to the lack of accommodation.  Buses and flights have been fully booked, and it has even become necessary to reserve some mountain huts ahead.    Queenstown (known as the adventure capital of the world), with a population of around 22 000 people, is now receiving over 2 MILLION tourists a year.  You can imagine what the town centre is like there in high summer.   But the tourist board keeps encouraging more and more flights, thinking that more and more tourists are good for the economy.  Yet the very nature and beauty that these tourists are attracted to is fast becoming destroyed (there have been attempts to build a monorail in one of the national parks already).

Some of the popular walking tracks (such as the Abel Tasman coastal track and the Tongariro Crossing) are now so crowded that they are considering giving people starting times for the walks, in an attempt to spread the crowds out.    Clean and green New Zealand it once was.  Now it is crowded and busy NZ.   So the news that the airlines are putting on even more flights to cope with this demand is hardly surprising, yet nobody in government has had the courage to stand up and say that there is a limit to how many tourists that NZ can accept.   It seems that every month that a new record for tourist arrivals is being reached (China is the big growth area for incoming tourists), with no sign of it easing up.    So when those millions of tourists do finally arrive in NZ, then the fun and games trying to find accommodation, rental cars and domestic flights begins.    Those politicians who think that unlimited numbers of tourists are good for the NZ economy should take a trip (assuming that they can get a seat on a flight or bus) to Queenstown or Milford Sound in summer and see just what sort of effect the millions of tourists are having.    Start queueing now !!!

Early morning in Geilo, Norway for the photo today….great colours from the Fuji camera together with clear air helped make this such a good photo.  The early morning mist had almost burnt off when the photo was taken.

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and another photo from the archives…two tourists admire Lake Wanaka, Pembroke Wanaka on the South Island of New Zealand. Two tourists managed to creep into this photo even !!

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Up In The Air – Two classics of aviation

Thought for the day….”Don’t look back, you are not going that way”

“If you are not meant to have midnight snacks then why is there a light in the fridge?”

A couple of photos from the recent Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow, held at Easter this year in Pembroke Wanaka, New Zealand.   The first photo is the Supermarine Spitfire.    Designed by R.J. Mitchell, it came into service in 1938, and was in production throughout the second world war.   About 53 Spitfires are still in flying condition.   Over 20 300 Spifires were made, and they remained in service until 1961.    This particular aircraft carries a registration to commemorate the New Zealand pilot Alan Deere.

The second photo is the Messerschmidt Bf 109, which was used by the Luftwaffe in Germany during the second world war.   It entered service in 1937, with around 33 000 being made.   At least 10% were lost in take-off or landing accidents.

Both aircraft performed displays during the 2 days of the airshow.

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and another photo from the archives….an early test photo from the X-E1 camera………

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218 Million British Pounds gone on a new folly.

Thought for the day…”It always seems impossible until it is done”   (Nelson Mandela).

” Life is like photography.  You use negatives to develop”

One definition of a ‘folly’ is a building that is built mainly for decoration, but in a style to imitate something else (such as a castle or tower), and at such expense to have shown folly for the builder.     So when I read news about the new airport that has been built on St. Helena island in the Southern Atlantic Ocean, then the word ‘folly’ springs to mind.    The news often features stories about the much-delayed new Berlin airport, which seems to be continually delayed and plagued by one problem after another, but the new St Helena airport is equally worthy.

This new airport (soon to receive its first commercial flight) has been built at a staggering cost, reportedly 218 MILLION British Pounds.    The fancy airport comes complete with control tower, restaurant, departure lounges and full security facilities, and a fire station complete with 3 expensive fire-engines.  Not bad at all, except for the fact that St Helena only has a population of about 4255 people.   Not only that, but the island only has 2 small hotels, which will be completely unable to cope with the numbers of tourists expected on the weekly flight to the island.     So the British government has spent 218 million British Pounds on an airport which will have almost no flights, an airport which will serve a population of about 4255 people and an airport which will overload the 2 hotels on the island.  So it is not only Berlin that gets it wrong with its airport.     Folly?    I think so.

Another great photo from the Fuji X-E1 camera…taken with the 55-230mm lens at the maximum 230mm….

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and another photo from the archives….autmn colours at Glendhu Bay, Lake Wanaka, New Zealand

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Warbirds Over Wanaka – the preparations

Thought for the day…”The Wright Brothers created the single greatest cultural force since the invention of writing. The airplane became the first World Wide Web, bringing people, languages, ideas, and values together.”  (Bill Gates)

It is almost time again for the Warbirds Over Wanaka Airshow, held around Easter every 2nd year.    Today there were a few historic aircraft at the airport in Wanaka, so I had to stop and take a few photos.   Sadly the weather forecast is not good for the next few days, but hopefully it will improve enough to get some better pictures.    Ticket prices for the airshow have shot up over the last few shows, which might be one reason why the number of people visiting the airshow has gone down to about half of what it was previously.   A few photos from today…..starting with the Vought Corsair…..followed by the Curtis Kittyhawk…..

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Challenge Wanaka 2016 – the cycle leg

Thought for the day…..”  Well begun is half done”    (Aristotle)

“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavour”.

20th February was the date for the Challenge Wanaka triathlon competition this year.    The event includes the standard 3.8km swim, followed by a 180km cycle then the 42km (marathon-length) run.    Unusually, this year’s event was partly in heavy rain, which added to the challenge, as did the strong winds which hampered the cycle leg.    It was noticeable that there were far fewer spectators this year, understandably given the poor weather later in the day.

A few photos from the cycle leg of the race……

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Breakfast morning sunrise – Pembroke New Zealand

Thought for the day…” We are going to have peace even if we have to fight for it”   (Dwight Eisenhower).

“Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often    (Mae West).

Nice photo of the sunrise on 20th Februrary for today’s photo.  One of those occasions when it was so lucky to have the camera ready AND be in the right place at the right time.     I took a series of shots as the clouds and light changed, but the aim was to get the clouds to appear to come out of the electricity pylon and a frame around the best of the clouds.  See what you think.  As the light was changing so fast (and the clouds were also moving fast due to the strong winds aloft) then there was not time to set things up properly, but the results were fine.  Hopefully the time-lapse of the moving clouds will be equally dramatic.    So much fun with a camera !!!

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and another photo out of the archives….night train from Trondheim, Norway to Oslo……This was one of my first night shots with the Fuji X-E1….

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Istanbul back streets – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” Speak in such a way that others love to listen to you.   Listen so that others love to  speak to you”.

” Forever may be only tomorrow”.

Off to Turkey today for the photo, and to the back streets of Istanbul.   Istanbul is the only city built on two continents (Europe & Asia), and is divided by the Bosphorus River.    It is said that Turks introduced the Dutch to tulips and that they also introduced Europe to coffee.   Despite being the biggest city in Turkey population-wise, it is not the capital (Ankara is).    It was previously called Constantinople but changed to Istanbul in 1930.  With a population of around 14 million, it is said to have 3113 mosques, and is also home to the famous Grand Bazaar, housing around 5000 shops and stalls and around 250 000 visitors a day.

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And a photo from the archives….. Lake Wanaka in New Zealand.

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Political correctness – something is wrong here.

Thought for the day…”Why does a round pizza come in a square box?”

“If electricity comes from electrons, then does morality come from morons”

If you have visited Sweden recently then you will have seen the large numbers of refugees and asylum seekers in the cities and in the train and bus stations.    Whilst normal tourists need to apply for a Schengen visa to enter, it appears now that the borders to Europe are open to all, and without limit.     Swedish Television has now issued instructions to it’s staff that they are not to use the words ‘immigrant’, ‘black skinned’, ‘dark’ or ‘African origin’  for fear of  insulting people.   The use of words such as ‘white skinned’ is still allowed though.   Is that fair?  Is it not discrimination??  Even  worse is that anyone accused of racism by an immigrant is not going to be allowed time on TV or radio to defend themselves.  And whilst people in Sweden have had to put their names on waiting lists for sometimes several years in order to get public housing, asylum seekers are being put into housing quickly.  Across the border in Norway, asylum seekers are housed in hotels (at public expense) and are given a daily living allowance, whilst Norwegian people have to pay to stay in hotels and are taxed on the priviledge.    Is that fair?

The photo today comes from the lakeside town of Pembroke Wanaka, on the South Island of New Zealand.  A typical morning view of the lake from near the town centre.

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and another photo from the archives….window cleaning in Ljublana, Slovenia

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Making the same mistake again (and again)

Thought for the day…” We cannot control the wind  but we can direct the sail”.

” If you want a happy ending, that depends of course, on where you stop the story”  (Orson Welles)

I should have learned my lesson before.   Having suffered the fiasco of Windows Vista, I ‘upgraded’ to Windows 8, only to be caught again by all the bugs and problems of that system.   So you would think that an intelligent person would learn.  Once bitten, twice shy, as the saying goes.   But no, along comes an offer from Microsoft to ‘upgrade’ free to Windows 10, and I again fall into the same trap.  Not only are there serious privacy concerns about the new operating system, but Microsoft seems to want to take control of YOUR computer and decide for you how things will run and which programs will run.   Perhaps worst of all is that there is a clause in the user agreement which allows Microsoft to monitor in real time your activity and also which keys you are using (a keylogger).   Even if you want to you YOUR choice of music player, the Microsoft own music player (called Groove) tries to take over instead.    And Microsoft even made deleting its Groove player difficult, needing a user to go to a command line prompt just to delete a program.   The more that you read about the loss of privacy with Windows 10, then the worse it becomes.  Somehow I just cannot accept that they would be watching every key that I press on MY computer, every webpage that I look at, and every program/game/application that I use, all in real time.

So Windows 10 had to go, and gone it has.    I regretted installing W10, hopefully this time I will learn my lesson.   Experiments with the LINUX operating system have been far happier.  It is a much simpler system, it works as it should, and its privacy policy is far better.    Windows 10 be gone !

Lakefront in the South Island, New Zealand town of Pembroke Wanaka for the photo today…..

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and another photo from the archives…the Challenge Wanaka triathlon competition, held each year in Pembroke Wanaka, New Zealand.

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Crown Range road in New Zealand

Thought for the day…” A mind is like a parachute.  It does not work unless it is open”

“Teamwork – Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success”  Henry Ford.

If you are fortunate enough to be cycling in New Zealand, then the road linking Queenstown with Wanaka, the Crown Range is going to test the legs.  The road climbs up to 1119m, including a section with zig-zags and also some great downhill sections.   Easy to get up to around 80 km/h on the downhill sections, although the bends will make higher speeds difficult.  Great views down into the Gibbston Valley below, and also towards Queenstown and Arrowtown.  The road is the highest sealed main road in New Zealand, winter snow and ice make the road difficult in winter time, but summer it is a joy to cycle.   On the Pembroke-Wanaka side of the pass, there is the small settlement of Cardrona, which was once the site of a gold rush.  Nowadays Cardrona is more known for its pub (in the second photo) , which has featured in advertisements, and also for the nearby bra-fence.  The bra fence has been moved from the main road due to repeated theft of the bras and the problems caused by too many cars stopping to admire this New Zealand curiosity.

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