At the little doggy’s ‘forest walkies’, if you look carefully, just inside the gate, you will see there’s an elevated seat, on a grassy knoll, that overlooks our river loop.  I like pausing here for a bit, to snap some pics trying to improve the photography skills or try out new camera lenses.img_1452

The river loop used to be a hive of activity in the early days of our town. It had a wharf and lots of flaxmills built beside the river employing many people, including my Grandfather.

In this pic above is of one of our little town’s tourist attractions, a working Dutch windmill, used to make and sell all types of flour.  In the past, lots of dutch settlers came across the ocean to live here.


Very familiar and popular in New Zealand are Pukekoes, plentiful in the swampy edges alongside the river, their image is on just about everything  you could want to buy.


This is Christine and her rescue dog Annabelle, sitting, faces into the sun, watching as it goes down out on the horizon.

Recently she and a friend, both big animal lovers, who go to protests about animal rights, fished a bloated, dead cat, out of the river, to give it a proper burial.  I felt a bit guilty hearing that story, as I must admit my animal love is not quite there yet.forest-walk

Deeper into the forest, where the light gets a bit gloomy, it brings to my mind, ‘Up, Spook Hill’, a line from a Berenstain Bears’ book that my little kids absolutely loved, in a scary kind of way, haha.

For the most part our forest encounters are fun and friendly but occasionally not so good.


Bouncy Billy here, bounces along the track, happy and excited to be having an outing.

However, I am constantly stunned by the owners in denial, when their big bad, ugly breed dogs, rush up and jump all over us, while the owners keep insisting, “not to worry, he’s harmless”.  Even as their dog is mugging us before their very eyes.

One owner’s dog was so big he was standing at my height with his paws on my shoulders like we were going to have a waltz, but was instead attempting to eat alive the little dog in my arms.

Eventually, his owner regained control, and pulled him off with the large chain he was attached to. They departed with the owner still declaring how harmless he was.


Once, during duck-shooting time, a fella with a gun got mad because he saw me take his pic as he was shooting ducks sitting on the water, when the rules say they are meant to be given a fair chance and only shot at when flying.

He came in hot pursuit after us, calling out, and we had to run all the way back to the carpark and make a hurried exit.


Coming out on the other side of the forest, we climb to the top of a floodwater stopbank for pics of the mountains that run like a dinosaur’s backbone down the center of the North Island.

Mother, Pied stilts, nesting in the earthworks around the town’s sewage ponds, down below us in the above pic, start flying sorties. Voices screeching, they fly around in ever decreasing circles a few times, before honing in and dive bombing us.  Time for another hasty retreat, lol.


The little ones, disturbed by their mother’s behavior, face up to us sitting on the stopbank above them, flapping their wings that can’t fly yet and also squawking hard out.


Negotiating our daily lives there will be times we feel like we are in the gloom of a forest, times when we feel like we are climbing ‘Up spook Hill’, and times where it seems big bad dogs are mugging us.

The bible says our enemy goes about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour us.  But wait up, ‘like’ a roaring lion, is not the same thing as a real one.

The little Pied Stilts, did whatever they could, when facing an unknown danger.  If we would dare to do the same, facing whatever it is seeking to devour us, by standing in faith using our voices to declare the word of God, the heavenly father, like the mother Pied Stilt, will fly to our defense and give us the victory.


God Bless Coral.









i of the happenings along the river bank.


A great place to take photos discretely.

Billy is a very fun bouncy regular, whose easily distracted by the messages as he comes through the gate, then has to run to catch his people up.




Dog and owner taking in the sunset view.

It looks rather ancient, like me but actually chugs up and down the river.



There will be many ‘up spook hill’ experiences for each of us walking through life