Fiona’s book is the story of Christchurch, from the very beginning, through the quakes, almost to the present day, with glimpses of a possible future.  I love the fact that she tells it exactly how I believe it is.  This is my story, and the story of so many of us.

There’s an emphasis on the Avon Loop because Fiona too has lived here.  She tells how Nova Place was once called York Street, then changed to Nova (which is Avon spelled backwards).  A 1980 city council report specifies forty-one local houses built before 1900.  Ours is one of those, and one of very few remaining now.  Fiona documents the process of zoning so much of the Avon Loop red, with an appraisal of this dubious process.  Reading it rouses my emotions, now less strong, but still active.  This is a book I hope everyone will read.  Fiona plans a companion fictional volume, and I look forward to that too.

In L’Aquila she observes another city shaken by earthquake in 2009, makes comparisons with Christchurch, and quotes Seneca on natural disasters.

There is reference to the Avon Motor Lodge’s chimney, a continual source of pollution over many years, and still a visual pollution.  Reference also to anger with the All Right? campaign, which some feel has gone on for too long.  Fiona explores the notion of home, and asks what happens when you cannot trust that home?  When it no longer offers that fundamental sensation of comfort, and we may lose our whole sense of who we are.

All of this is put in a political context in a way which matches my feelings.  Well done, Fiona!  I eagerly await the companion novel.

“My city’s story, clearly told.
How will its future now unfold?”


Cloudy Corner

Somebody’s painted an attractive scene of hills and clouds on the fence at the corner of Bealey and Fitzgerald Avenues.

Fence mural

Fence mural

It’s a scene that must make people feel good as they drive past.

“This bright and tranquil scene with clouds
must surely cheer the passing crowds.”


Diggings Day

Today is International Day of Archaeology (just in case you didn’t know).  It’s a project where archaeologists from all over the world record and share their day.  Posts include some from our local Underground Overground team who did a great job of recording finds from the Avon Loop.

“As every house was torn away
they checked what was beneath the clay.”

Time will Tell

Transition city’s where we live
they say there’s no alternative
the landmarks we all used to know
now disappeared – seem long ago.
The anchor projects on their way
are subject to intense delay
not sure we need them anyhow
some seem quite unimportant now.
Convention Centre, Stadium
a kind of millstone they’ve become.
Some things repaired but others not
we have to live with what we’ve got.
Ten years or twenty it may be
‘til all the rubble’s history
and we can bid road cones farewell
I don’t know. Time alone will tell

Tedious Thai Tale

Reading novels is one of my favourite forms of relaxation.  Whenever I see a book reviewed, or have one recommended that I fancy, I order it from the library.  I also belong to a Book Discussion Group which meets monthly to discuss a particular book.

This month our chosen book is “Killed at the Whim of a Hat” by Colin Cotterill, a murder mystery set in Thailand.  We received it nine days ago, and because I had nothing from the library at the time I’ve managed to read 290 of its 370 pages, but I am not enjoying it.   I don’t like the style of writing, and find the story tedious.  The male author is writing from the point of view of a female heroine, and not doing that very well.  My predilection for female authors is being reinforced!

Each chapter heading has a peculiar quote from George W Bush, which adds to the bizarreness of the whole book.  This morning I collected three of my reserves from the library, so I’m unlikely to finish this tedious Thai tale.  I hope our next monthly selection proves more interesting, and wonder how many of my blog readers also belong to a Book Discussion Group?  If you do, do you read the whole book if it doesn’t engage you?

“George Bush adds nothing to the text.
I wonder what book we’ll get next.”


Contemporary Cafe

Breakfast this morning was at Supreme Supreme, a new cafe in the building that once housed Hop Yick’s Asian Warehouse.  It’s a large space with an industrial ambience.

Supreme Supreme

Supreme Supreme

High ceilings must make it hard to heat, although the northerly aspect helps.  We were warm enough but I noted one staff member was wearing a beanie.  There’s a large commercial kitchen where they make jams and sauces as well as meals and cabinet food.  At 9am there were at least seven staff on duty, and a similar number of customers, but by the time we left a couple of dozen more customers had come in.  All the staff wear industrial-type aprons with pockets – very practical.

My breakfast choice was pulled corned silverside with potato, herb hash, and a poached egg, for $18.  This was delicious and an excellent choice.  Rather than a big brekkie, they offer poached eggs with extras.  Stephen had eggs, bacon, hash browns, and homemade baked beans, which came to $25, a little more expensive than other places.

Our breakfast

Our breakfast

They use tea leaves, not bags (hurray!), and my tea was served in a fine china cup, a pleasant change from the many cafes which use thick cups for tea.  The accompanying hot water came in a little bottle, which was uncomfortably hot to hold, and I needed two refills.  Stephen queried whether his homemade baked beans had been properly baked.  He suspected they may have had sauce added after cooking.  The evidence was pieces of tomato in the sauce which would usually have disappeared in the baking process.

We’re pleased to have found a new central city breakfast location, especially one that opens at 8am on weekends (7am on weekdays), and will certainly go again.  We did miss the lovely Hop Yick cat, and hope he’s found a happy retirement.

Afterwards we made our weekly visit to the Downtown Farmers’ Market for vegetables and eggs.  Today we also bought apples, pickled onions, jam, and nougat.  I love our weekly market shop.  It makes the central city finally seem like a community, something that’s been missing for me since the earthquakes.  Meeting friends at the market, and returning my library book in the same area all helps.

“We found a good new breakfast place
then went up to the market space.”


As I removed the outer frame from a sheet of postage stamps I remembered how my mother used to keep these gummed perforated strips.

Stamp paper

Stamp paper

In her day they were always white, not the coloured ones we have now.  She would use them in place of sellotape, especially to hold two pieces of paper together.  I guess growing up between the wars encouraged her, like others, to be especially frugal.  Sellotape was first manufactured in 1937, so Mother would have grown up without it.  I don’t keep stamp paper, but I do save rubber bands, paper clips, and twistie ties.  What possibly useful objects do you hoard?

“This useful perforated strip
could well fix up a tear or rip.”


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