Tag Archives: river

1885. Kent’s gabions

Kendall suggested to Kent that what his (Kent’s) back garden area needed was gabions. Kent’s back garden area was susceptible to flooding. By putting up gabions along the stretch of creek that ran along the bottom of the section, when it rained heavily the creek wouldn’t drown the garden he had so lovingly tended.

Gabions – in case you don’t know the word, as the writer at first didn’t – are basically a pile of rocks stuck inside a wire cage. They can look quite pretty. Artistic even.

Kent went even further. If he slightly dammed up the creek he might be able to use the water in the heat of summer to irrigate his plants. The dam wouldn’t be big of course. And he would be able to open it so that during a storm the water could flow naturally.

It was a lot of hard work, but Kent, with the help of his friend Kendall, created a flood-proof backyard complete with a little irrigation dam. It not only was practical, it also looked good.

One weekend, when Kent was away attending a gardening convention, it rained heavily. Kendall was on the ball. He went over to Kent’s house and opened the floodgates, just in case things flooded.

By evening the creek was a raging torrent. The gabions held the water at bay. There was no flooding in the garden! But my word! The streamlining of the water flow meant the water shot past at a terrific rate. It couldn’t spread out, so it sped up.

The neighbour’s back garden was completely flooded. The raging waters had simply washed all soil away to the sea or somewhere. There was nothing left but stones and rocks.

Rather quickly, Kent (with the aid of his friend Kendall) removed the gabions and dam and no one was the wiser.

1841. Eustace’s ducks

Eustace was eleven years old. He lived in the country. He had four pet ducks. They were black and white.

A river passed through the neighbouring farm. It wasn’t a big river; more of a large stream. One day Eustace’s ducks waddled down to the river and went for a swim. Eustace told the farmer. The farmer didn’t mind. He said the ducks were welcome to cross his fields and swim all day if they wished. Besides, they looked pretty swimming around.

So that is what they did. Every morning before school Eustace would let the ducks out of their pen and they would waddle down to the river. They messed about in the river all day. Then after school (after he had done his homework) he would go down to the river, call the ducks, and they would follow him home. Of course they followed because they knew it was dinner time.

One day Eustace went down to the river and called but no ducks came. Then he saw them. They had been shot at close range by a hunter and tossed into a pool in the river. The hunter hadn’t even bothered to take them home to eat.

Eustace never got any more ducks.

1634. I could get hooked

Who would ever have thought I would have survived? It was a miracle! As far as I know it has not happened before; at least that is what is being said. The waterfall is gigantically powerful, and I went over it! Apparently it’s the Seljalandsfoss in Iceland. I don’t know where I am half the time.

The whole thing was an accident. It was a mistake on my part. I was simply swimming in the river and got too close to the waterfall. Those who are nice say it’s because I was too young and inexperienced. I certainly was that! Once the power of the waterfall increased the pull of the current I was a goner. Now I know how a galaxy must feel when it gets sucked into a black hole. I was swept away!

This waterfall is high and thunderous. People from all over the world come to see it. In fact, when I went over there were quite a few taking photos of me with their cameras. I’m a star! I can tell you though, I’d never do it again. I couldn’t see myself doing it twice and surviving. In fact I haven’t really got the wherewithal or the gumption to go back up to the top of the waterfall. I suppose it could happen – going over again and being twice lucky. There are some advantages in being a fish, and a small fingerling at that. The next challenge in life is not to get hooked, cooked, and be eaten for someone’s dinner.

1600. Stream lines

Recently – like a month or so ago – I got a message of congratulations from WordPress on this blog’s 6th anniversary. It’s actually been going a couple of years longer because I suffered a bout of scruples, deleted the first few years, and started again. Be all that as it may, this is Story 1600. At first I intended to write 100 stories, then 365 (one a day), then 555 stories (the number of keyboard sonatas written by Dominico Scarlatti), then 1001 (in honour of the Arabian Nights), and then 1500, and now 1600… and what the heck…

Sticking to a time-dishonoured tradition on this blog, a significant story number calls for a celebration of some sort. So this is a walk with my camera (I don’t have a mobile phone as I’m so “tomorrow”) starting from the back of the property where I live. There a spring trickles out the side of a hill. I’ll follow the trickle of water for as far as possible before hitting neighbouring property and we’ll see what happens… (Note that photos of the crayfish and the pukeko are not my own, and nor are the last three photos).

The spring seeps out the bottom of the hill and creates quite a swamp.

It’s a complete soggy bog, almost impossible to walk over, although the dog (who seems to have joined me uninvited) has no trouble traversing the mud.

Little rivulets quickly appear and within maybe forty yards (36 metres or so) a small stream has formed.

Soon after, a little pool is shaped, gathers strength, and would crash down in white water torrents if things were multiplied by a 100!

Now the cat has joined me – uninvited. Oh well – what is a celebration without friends?

Almost immediately, the newly formed stream flows through a stream-cut channel and a natural fernery.

It enters a glade of willows – mainly fallen – where the water divides into stagnant pools. The thicket and swamp make it almost impenetrable.

Very soon the water re-emerges and flows down a gentle valley. By now it could be called a “stream” and over time it has carved out its path, exposing rocks and boulders.

Beneath the boulders many freshwater crayfish hide. They are a protected species – so no hors d’oeuvres tonight!

A skylark sings high in the sky. I can’t see it for the glare, but I’m joined by six fantails. These tiny birds dart and flutter around my head, twittering madly. They drive the dog crazy, but the cat remains nonchalant – knowing from experience that such zig-zagging creatures are uncatchable. Of course, it could be claimed that I’m a fantail whisperer and they twitter around my head because they love me. But my walk disturbs gnats in the grass, and this presents a feast for the fantails. Their fluttery flight is impossible to capture with my camera, but one bird sat long enough on a fence wire to allow a photograph!

There are literally thousands – if not millions – of Little Blue Butterflies and Common Copper Butterflies feeding on the winter-flowering daisies and dandelions. My steps create clouds of tiny butterfly wings!

A lone pukeko doesn’t mind being disturbed.

Soon the stream becomes wider and still. It’s as if it’s collecting itself, waiting to tumble to the next stage.

And here it’s on its way!

Immediately it forms a deep pool that has an eel lurking in it.

Someone thinks it’s his private swimming pool.

Thank goodness there’s a surf life-saver watching.

From here, the stream goes into shady undergrowth. It passes into a culvert, under a road, and out onto a neighbouring farmer’s farm.

I guess the walk has taken about 25 minutes. The stream cannot be followed anymore. But I know it later joins the Patea River.

It passes through Stratford, my local town. The volcano behind is Mt Taranaki.

From there, at a town called Patea, it flows out to sea!

Phew! What an exhausting walk!

1419. Welcome!

The Innes Family of Stockton Street were excited. They were sponsoring a distant cousin from England. Tommy was eighteen years old, had no brothers and sisters, and his parents had passed on. Mr and Mrs Innes had met him (years ago) on their trip to the Old Country. How would he like to live with us and start a new life in New Zealand?

Tommy was more than capable. He organized everything possible from his end. Meanwhile, the Innes Family repainted the spare bedroom, made new curtains, and generally made his room as welcoming as possible.

Oh the excitement among the Innes children as the day drew near!

“We don’t want to rush things,” said Mrs Innes. “Just take things slowly. Tommy will need time to adjust to his new country.”

He arrived! It was as if he had been part of the family all his life! It was a perfect arrangement!

On the first Saturday (with grandma as well) they packed a picnic, crammed into the old car, and headed for the river.

“A picnic at the river, a swim, fresh air, will do us all good,” said Mr Innes.

And Tommy drowned.

1017. River walk

1003footprints

Huck made his way to the nearby river to get his daughter. She’d gone there with other children for a swim. They did that nearly every day in summer. Today however, Huck went down to the river for a reason; his wife had collapsed and died suddenly while preparing lunch. Huck went to the river to tell his daughter the sad news and to bring her home.

Together, hand in hand, they walked back to their house. Mummy has died very suddenly. Everything is going to be fine. They crossed barefoot through the swamp that bordered the river. They crossed through the stretch of long grass. They passed through the plantation of trees. They reached home. Everything is going to be fine.

“These footprints preserved in rock,” said the palaeontologist 49,000 years later, “are the footprints of a primitive adult male and child. They were in a hurry. It’s possible to imagine these footprints being made by a father teaching his son how to ferociously hunt and kill.”

619. A fisherman’s tale

© Bruce Goodman 21 June 2015

619trout

Logan was almost five years old. He loved to go fishing with his Dad. Sometimes his grandfather would come fishing too. They would fish in the river.

There was a quota limit of five trout per person. Logan’s father and grandfather had caught twenty-three.

“I’d better take these fish home in the car before the ranger turns up,” said Logan’s grandfather.

He went off in the car. Logan and his Dad stayed on fishing.

But who is this approaching? It is a stranger in uniform.

“Hello,” said the stranger. “Have you had any luck with fishing?”

“Yes! Yes!” said Logan excitedly. “My Dad caught twenty-three fish, but my grandfather has taken them home in the car.”