This photograph was taken from Te Mata Peak, Hawke’s Bay, in June 2022. Today, Hawke’s Bay, a peaceful, agricultural region, is covered in the debris and deluge thrown at it by cyclone Gabrielle.
When I visited the area I stayed with friends from Zimbabwe, former farmers. They’ve built new lives for themselves in Hawke’s Bay. None of it has been easy, but they’ve never stopped. It was a privilege to stay in their beautiful home, and to get to know the area a little.
One day trip was to a stunning old farm house, where the owners had been on the land for several generations, running cattle and sheep on the steep hillsides along the coast. The farm stretches down to a lonely beach. Beyond is the ocean, that goes on and on to Argentina and Antartica. It was idyllic to visit, but it cannot have been easy to develop.
Now, Hawke’s Bay is faced with clearing up and building again.
The photograph above was taken on an early morning, in the middle of this week, just south of London. Leaves were trapped in frosted white, and the sunlight danced. It was beautiful. Proper winter cold. And dry, which was a relief after the days of rain we’ve had.
Then I came back to the centre of London. Today, Thursday, it is still cold, but I haven’t seen the delicate ice lines that fill the gardens and hedgerows.
Here, in the built world, the pavements hold a cold of their own, and the wind more slice, as it whips between and around the buildings in the City. There are fewer greens and browns, and less sky. There is more scaffolding, concrete, hard greys, and steep sides. It is only in the evening that it softens. Then the hard lines fade around bright office windows, and bars and restaurants beckon like burrows.
I suppose a cold city has its own kind of beauty, but it is the cold I am happiest about – happy that London and the south of England, can still do cold after the dry summer of 2022, with temperatures that hit over 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).