Saturday, November 10

How could I be so blind??

I recently posted here, about a tree we have growing on the side of our property. I always felt this tree had the leaves, & appearance, of a Pohutukawa, & I wondered why I had never seen flowers on the huge tree. I finally concluded it was not a Pohutukawa, & wondered what it could be.

I ventured out, after our rain, & strangely cool weather, to see if there was a photo-worthy sight. Imgine my surprise, after living here for 10 -ten!- years, to finally discover I was correct in my recognition of the leaves. I was so surprised. I could not believe I had never seen these flowers before. I do believe they are in the family of Calistemon, but the Pohutukawa tree is known as a New Zealand Native, & it flowers around Christmas time in New Zealand. It is also known as the New Zealand Christmas Tree.

When I was there last year on holiday, slightly later than now, I was happy to see the Pohutukawa were bursting into blossom on the East Coast of the Bay of Plenty- my home ground.They bloom all along the East Coast on the cliffs above the beaches, & if they bloom early, are said to auger an early, long, & hot Summer.

This is an illustration from wonderful books from my childhood, of the Adventures of Hutu & Kawa, by Avis Acres. These were the New Zealand equivalent of the Gumnut Babies of May Gibbs, of Australian fame.

'"We must be cousins!" said Hutu'

An illustration from Hutu and Kawa find an island (1957), by Avis Acres.

While I was on the lookout for things to photograph, today, I was struck by this cloud formation, looking to the west. I could not believe the colours, when I transferred the pics from the camera.
Where did the yellow, & the pink come from?? Very interesting to think about. Was it some reflection? I was not wearing garments of either red or yellow colour. I had white shirt, with a pale green & blue print.
This view is what alerted me to the colours, when I cropped the photo.

We used to experience the phenomena of 'Ghosts', when we lived in the Christchurch Inner City Tavern. We felt cold spots. We heard noises. Friends experienced strange happenings, visitations, when they spent the night in our flat.
Our children had water sprayed at them- real water, with no apparent source. We had many strange events. Patrons in the downstairs Bars experienced odd, cold touches, chills, so cold they defied explanation. Staff swore they felt the presence of 'persons'.
A strange law, ('Strange laws' have been the subject of some blog interest lately,) for our Hotel, was that, as it was situated on the banks of the Avon River in Christchurch, it was to be available at all times, for use as a morgue.
This was necessitated, by it's proximity to the river, & the fact that many drowned bodies were fished from the Avon River in those days. There was another Hotel which was designated for Morgue duties too, & that was the Oxford Hotel, which later became a Tavern, of the same name. This was the case in our Hotel's evolution, & it was known as the Royal Hotel, way back before it's reincarnation as the Grenadier Tavern.
Enough of the ghosties & the ghoulies.
Take some music, & drift away on the thoughts.
Joan Baez, Daddy, You've Been On My Mind.


Helen said...

I don't remember the Adventures of Hutu and Kawa but the illustrations are so cute. Do you thing the colder weather made the pohutukawa blossom? Great post.

Aunty Evil said...

That is a beautiful flower!

I love ghost stories. I wish I had some of my own!

tracey petersen said...

Curious indeed!

Could it have been the sun behind the cloud? (so speaks the great sceptic, sorry)

PS fantastic grammar too!

Mike said...

I love ghost stories!

sheoflittlebrain said...

Interesting post , Meggie! Love the exotic flowers, expecially ahwn blown up for a closer look.
I'm fascinated by the morgue/tavern, and your experiences there. Were your children nervous or did they take it all in stride?
A story set there, or an article about your experiences there could be a spine tingling read:)

Katie said...

It looks like you captured a rainbow! Whether it's in the camera or up in the sky that's a great picture. :)

ancient one said...

Your flowers on that tree are not like anything I have ever seen. So pretty, as was the cloud picture.

Yes, your first book must be about ghosts!!

Christine Thresh said...

I love reading about Australia. I used to be a wool-spinner and dreamed about visiting your country.
Your mention of the Melbourne Cup on your November 6 posting sent me back to reading one of my favorite books, In the Frame by Dick Francis. I was good to vist again.

fifi said...

Hi meggie,
I have lots of that meterosideros and I am happy to say it flowers madly every summer. It is called New Zealand Christmas Bush. At sculpture by the sea in Bondi there is a sculture which actually immerses a tree within the sculpture, and its the most wonderful NZ christmas bush. Because of all the rain, it is startlingly fulsome and green and magnificent. I love these trees. They are heroic

Leanne said...

Great photos - New Zealand Xmas bushes bloom down here in South Oz around this time each year.

Tanya Brown said...

How interesting - I wonder why the tree decided to bloom this year and not during the previous years? Do you have hummingbirds there? I daresay nectar sippers or pollen munchers would find these attractive.

Now I want to look up both Hutu & Kawa and the Gumnut Babies. I'm not familiar with either of these, but the illustration you have here is charming.

The yellow and pink on the cloud make me wonder if you had a bit of a lens flare thing happening. This isn't unusual when people shoot into the sun, or close to it. If I look at the zoomed image, I see some unusual colors in the lower left hand and lower middle as well.

meggie said...

Hi All, Thank you for your comments & interest.
I suspect you are right Tanya, about the lense flare thing. It has never happened before, but I got the feeling as I took it that something did not look quite right.
The Gumnut Babies were written by May Gibbs in Australia. She wrote some wonderful characters. Her illustrations were just magic.

I was not aware who had written of Hutu & Kawa, who of course are New Zealand characters, until I looked on the Web. I do remember the books from when I was a child.

I have blogged a little about the ghosts at the Hotel.

bluemountainsmary said...

I really love those trees.

And am going to look up Hutu and Kawa for Margot - as she would love them.

We have Snugglepot and Cuddlepie too of course.

Sheila said...

I love the unusual (to me) flora and fauna you have down there.
The shrub you show reminds me of 'bottlebrush', which I have seen growing in Portugal, I wonder if it is the same family?
Interesting story about the hotel being used as a morgue. Very spooky, but handy for a medicinal brandy if one needed it!

Lucy said...

Those flowers look like fibre-optics. Love the little NZ flower fairies!