Last chance to see


This is possibly the most exciting letter that any rate-payer could receive from his/her council. Look at that, under “Purpose of use”: Wheel of Death. Phwoar!


Sure enough, the signs started popping up on Donald Street bridge. Though I was a bit miffed to see that they’d started saying they’re in Hamilton. Like Hamilton hasn’t enough stuff going on already?


And finally, one Sunday morning I saw it … my first batch of pony poo!


But like all good things it must come to an end.  This weekend is your last chance to see the Wheel of Death and the miniature horses, dogs and clowns. Though, come to think of it, miniature clowns could be a bit freaky.

Raptor season


Don’t wait to get a better picture; if you’re there, and you have a camera or a phone, just take it. I was going to take a better picture of the circus by night but I didn’t. I did get this not very good one, and now that the circus has gone for another season I’m happy that at least I took it when I had the chance.

The same goes for this one of the moonset over Sunnyside, looking west down Boreas Road (you can just make out the crescent of the moon above the treetops). I was going to get a better shot the next night with a proper camera and a tripod. But didn’t. I went to a party the next night, and anyway it was cloudy, and blah blah blah.

I remember talking to someone about children, specifically the baby-to-toddler period, when entire days can be lost sitting on the kitchen floor banging the lids of pots against the lino. Time seems to grind to a halt, and then you raise your eyes to discover that that time has gone. My friend described it thus: “The moments last for years and the years are gone in moments”.

I was thinking about this when I was walking down the creek the other day. The wet, warm weather has provided perfect conditions for those myriad creatures that make up the wide base of the food pyramid: the gnats and skinks and tiny fish, the lizards and ducklings, the rabbit kits and the mice. It must have been a good season because of the abundance of creatures at the pyramid’s apex. I can’t remember seeing so many large raptors; the black-shouldered kites and kestrels are common all year round but recently I’ve seen a grass owl, a swamp harrier and now a pair of peregrine falcons.

I had a moment with this pair, a moment that lasted a year while it was happening but was over in an instant. The first falcon I saw was perched atop one of the fuel storage tanks in the petrol depot. As I watched, the swooping black crescent of a second peregrine sped past, causing the perching falcon to rise with a furious shriek. The two of them set into an acrobatic display of dives and soars and pile-driving swoops, all the time squawking their rage at one another. The whole show was over in about thirty seconds. The interloper, vanquished, soared around impotently a few more times while the first falcon resumed it’s perch, nonchalantly raised its haunches and crapped down the side of the storage tank. I tried to commit everything I’d seen to the hard drive of my brain. A few moments: if I’d left the house a minute earlier or later I would have missed it entirely.

Meanwhile, the circus is leaving. By the time I post this, Thunder the pony will be being “stolen” in Wagga or Port Kembla or Parkes.

The creek is clean from the recent freshes. Hunter Water drove by and picked up the bags of rubbish that I collected and so I have a warm and virtuous feeling about me. Stuff is starting to accumulate again, inevitably, but I feel that I can control it. A bag and week and I’ll be on top of it. Some things, however, I just leave. It might have a half-life of two million years but I think this dinosaur deserves a chance to see the sea.

As does this slightly creepy dog thing.

No, maybe not the creepy dog thing. That’s going in the bag.



The whole of Newcastle is abuzz with the theft of Thunder, the miniature pony, from Weber’s Circus last night. (Read the whole gripping affair in the Herald here.)

The more cynical among you may suspect that Thunder is “stolen” in every town that Weber’s visits, each time being conveniently recovered, unharmed, a few hundred metres away. Tut tut. There may be no people like show people, but that would be just … well, funny.