In New Zealand, there is a real culture of Do-It-Yourself. From building homes to renovating homes, the isolation of the country and a lack of nearby tradesmen in many places has probably facilitated this culture of people being more self-sufficient.
This translates onto the TV also, because after thinking about food TV last time out, it then occurred to me how many DIY shows are on TV. There are shows from NZ, Australia, Canada, USA and the UK all about this same thing. I can actually understand this a little more here in NZ because of the culture and I suppose these shows give people ideas on how they might change their abode but how many is too many?
But then I wondered something else, on one Australian show where it is as plain as day that they are shopping in Bunnings (a DIY store which I believe has just arrived in the UK), are shows like this really just a blatant sponsored attempt to get you to spend money in those places?
I have been writing this blog now for around 3.5 years. When it began, my intention was to use it mainly as a way for friends and family to keep in touch and see what I’d been up to after moving to New Zealand from the UK.
I quickly realised – perhaps unsurprisingly – that not many people you know are actually that interested in what you are doing or saying (quite sad really as you might think that friends and family would be a main audience) but yet they are happy to share and read inane content on things like Facebook. Go figure. The flip side of this, however, is that I have been delighted to discover so many other blogs which are out there on WordPress and it has been fantastic to create new connections with people who have shared interests in many different parts of the world.
I thought I would therefore share just a few of these links with you in case you wish to explore them further yourself…
Nature Has No Boss – Mike Bizeau regularly posts some truly amazing landscape and wildlife photography from around the USA, often in wilderness areas like Yellowstone.
Uthamz – Utham captures some stunning images of big game animals in Africa, amazing to see.
Through Open Lens – Lucas Kondraciuk posts a good amount of excellent bird-based photography but with a twist – there is always a light-hearted joke to go with the facts in the post to brighten your day.
Nature’s Place – Mark posts truly incredible photos of insects. If macro photography and seeing the small residents of our planet is your thing, you will love this.
Travelling the World Solo – Ellen is from Australia and travels a lot, with a particular fondness for Greenland and Scandinavian countries. Some lovely photos and experiences are there to explore.
Stephen Liddell – Stephen has possibly the most fascinatingly researched blog that I follow, he regularly posts really interesting insights into the world and its history. He is an author with a varied portfolio too.
That will do for now – hope you enjoy exploring! I will share some more in future!
Arguably, no country typifies film-making or is more obsessed by filmstars than America. Many of us recognise so many places in the USA because of TV and film.
It is hard not to get wrapped up in this a little when you visit places and indeed seek out those places you recognise but I find it fascinating that someone in Philadelphia decided to commission an actual statue to commemorate Rocky Balboa. Not far down the road you can visit a museum of Rodin’s sculptures (i.e. wonderful art) but I can well imagine that this replica of Sylvester Stallone gets more tourist visitors each year. A little peculiar how in this instance people have commissioned another form of art to commemorate art itself.
It seems that in an age when cinema seems to be producing more and more remakes (which are often far worse than the original anyway) that perhaps it is a dying art form but hopefully there will still be original stories to tell many years from now.
This photo is one I took some years ago while on holiday in Virginia, USA and shows adverts for a lot of different churches on a main road (amongst other things).
I find it interesting because surely not all Churches can be right…surely not all belief systems can be right…that is not to say that they are all wrong of course but if all of these believe in the same God then you really have to ask fundamental questions about the rationale behind them (and religion in general) and the people who ultimately decided on those systems.
It is a mad world we live in.
I had always had an aversion to making a specific trip to Las Vegas. Everything it stood for, in my mind, was not really something I had a great desire to be a part of. However, as part of a broader holiday into California and in wanting to see the Grand Canyon, it felt like an ideal starting point on a road trip.
The first thing that struck me about the city was that as you fly towards it from the UK, you see a barren, largely deserted landscape for a good while before a brightly-lit beacon that is Las Vegas comes into view…quite literally like a desert oasis.
The whole of the main strip feels like it is largely superficial and for show, but for a couple of days it was really great entertainment (any longer and I think I would tire of it very quickly). There is just so much going on which is fun to observe and be a part of (and often you don’t need to spend any money) and even if you don’t gamble (which I didn’t), the hotels themselves are tourist attractions in their own right – I got the impression that they are all competing to try to get you into their casino so that you will lose your money there. Just walking down the strip can easily keep you entertained for half a day or more.
A couple of points of note…if you decide to do the rides on top of the Stratosphere, be warned that having an aversion to heights may make you think twice. Make sure you take in a show too (why not?). Where else can you see the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Venetian gondolas (indoors!), Pyramids and more on the same street? It is remarkable…and like nowhere else.
Arizona contains the world-famous Grand Canyon. There are a number of ways to get there of course but we chose to go by helicopter from Las Vegas (in Nevada) which, while more expensive, means you save quite a lot of time and land down in the canyon itself. It certainly makes you feel small.
As the helicopter headed in to the site (playing the theme music from Indiana Jones), the thing that strikes you most is surely the size of the canyon. It is BIG! It is quite incredible how the ground seems to disappear away beneath you. America has so many vast landscapes that it is hard to do it justice with a camera at times.
For somewhere that looks so barren and devoid of life, it was interesting to see squirrels in the area, and of course plant life by the Colorado River.