The Great Flood of ‘23

The official Auckland reporting station got something like 10” of rain on Friday. In our neighborhood, the total was more like 12” according to some amateur meteorologists. Our driveway turned back into the stream it once was. But luckily our house sits out of the path so no damage to us.

Lots of friends and neighbors had their basements get wet. We know one person whose ground-level apartment was chest deep underwater, and her car was completely submerged. Yuck! The bowling / pétanque club took on close to a foot of water, so we went down and helped clean up.

There were a lot of mudslides, and with so many houses perched on hillsides or next to cliff edges, the damage will be costly. In the shot above, that house is a lot closer to the edge of the cliff than it used to be, and the public tennis court is out of service for the foreseeable. Surely this flood will reignite the discussion about letting the whole Little Shoal Bay park complex go back to marshy wetlands.

We’ve lived through floods before, one-day events like this as well as the big Midwest floods of 1993 and 1995. People will recover and rebuild. But it will be hard, and it will eat up so much of the financial breathing room for affected families and the whole city over the next couple of years… instead of doing whatever was next on the list, our efforts will step back down the hierarchy of needs ladder by a step or two. It’s a shame, although I think unavoidable with this many people living in this particular place. Of course drainage systems could be improved, but the cost of truly flood-proofing all the houses and roads in Auckland would be unacceptable.

Red, sure. But also pink and yellow and purple and white and…

This past weekend was the annual Parnell Rose Festival. Although this is our third year living just up the street, we hadn’t made it to the festival before. One detail I’d never noticed before was how the big container ship unloading cranes loom in the background. It’s kind of cool about Auckland that a lot of things are close like that, but it manages not to feel crowded.

Anyway… back to the festival. The roses are at their peak, which was just lovely. The festival brings out dozens, maybe hundreds of people smelling, photographing, and enjoying the flowers.

And hundreds more bring their kids for games and face painting and so on.

And thousands more who crowded into the food truck area to stand in line for overpriced and dubious quality eats. Go figure.

Rites of spring

This pink tree is definitely one of the nice early signs that spring is around the corner. The birds love these flowers.

Running through Cornwall Park yesterday… no dogs, please, it’s lambing season. It’s pretty great to have this park, totally available to the public, in an otherwise ordinary suburban neighborhood just a few miles from downtown.

Into every life a little rain must fall*

Suddenly, it started to rain! Hard!

Even the rickshaw guys took refuge.

Within minutes, the poncho vendors appeared. And it works, the micro-economy works efficiently. Yay!

But we are seasoned travelers because we had already bought ponchos in a Bali downpour– and left them behind. So we knew how to ride out the storm…

* the post title is actually a quote from Longfellow, but to me it’s the slogan of a mortuary in LA that advertised on bus benches when I was in high school.

It’s beginning to look a lot like summer

We wonder how native Australasian people feel about the changing seasons … for us, when the days get short and cold, the leaves fall, the snow flies, we think of Christmas. But Christmas here is when you can finally swim in the ocean without a wetsuit, when it’s light till almost 10, and so on. Does the thrill translate, or does the magic of Christmas rely somehow on the whole winter solstice idea?

Winter is coming

On the way to work the other morning. The part of the day where you can be comfortable in shorts is getting really limited now.


The weather here is remarkably constant day to day, and one good consequence is that spring, wisteria season, is lasting a nice long time. 

September showers bring…

You can tell that I’ve manipulated the colors in this wisteria picture. They’re not really this purple. But they make such a vivid impression that I wanted to convey, so I added drama… 

This tree, on the other hand, really is as yellow as this. 

These flowers are really common landscaping plants. You can’t quite tell from the picture how large this tree is. It has 4-5 main trunks, growing out quite horizontally, and each one is the size of a normal “big tree.”

Marigot after Irma

marigot 2marigot

Last December, we enjoyed a super-relaxing vacation in St. Martin. Today, I googled around for photos of the devastation from Irma last week. Yikes.

These two photos are from in front of the cemetery that we overlooked from our AirBnB apartment… the very same apartment we spent some time dreaming about investing in. The pictures in my post RIP are taken from inside the cemetery, and the masts in the background of my pics could easily enough be from the actual boats shown here. Again, yikes.

Today, it’s Florida’s turn, and we are hoping that the many people we know and know of down there are safe and sound.


Blog at

Up ↑