Another week, another trip. Hawera in South Taranaki this time, in the middle of "white gold" country. Watching those hundreds of milk tankers moving around everywhere brought it home how much money there is in dairying! And of course it's not just milk that is produced here: it's cheese, casein, whey powder, yoghurt, butter, cream, etc etc....
I like Taranaki. It's beautiful. The gorgeous mountain (Mt Taranaki or Mt Egmont, depending on who you talk to!) is a near-perfect cone (spoiled by Fanthams Peak), but it's shy: they always say here that if you can see the mountain, it's going to rain, and if you can't see it, it's because it's already raining! I was lucky enough to see the mountain on the way up yesterday: it was silhouetted by a lovely gold and red and crimson-purple streaky sunset (and yes, it's raining today!). The photo below can be found here (I'm so the student: I give credit even on a blog. Scary!).
I also got a glimpse of Mt Ruapehu across the plains, sitting like a great big chunk of ice hovering on the horizon - obviously there's been a fairly large dumping of snow up there.
It got better too. I saw a hawk flare and mantle onto a kill on the other side of the road - I'm not sure if he brought the bird down himself or found a very fresh roadkill. He just stood there grabbing his dinner as I drove past, and didn't seem at all worried by the fact I was doing 100km/hr in a red car on the other side! I only hope he got his kill and took it somewhere else for consumption, otherwise he might have become roadkill himself. But it was beautiful: this wonderful, powerful bird stooping and mantling on a kill so close to me.
Training went well today: I was doing a course I hadn't done for a while and there are new materials to deal with, so it was slightly interesting, but it was all good in the end. I had hoped to catch up with some dear friends for dinner, but something came up for them. Hopefully another day. It was also my first training with the new data projector, and I'm gobsmacked by the picture. Really bright, really clear, and with a great colour balance. My previous one had been slowly losing red for some time and the pictures were getting quite distorted.