Public Parking

For a lunch date in the central city, we chose a Good Spot to park.  These not-for-profit spaces along Manchester Street are co-ordinated by Gap Filler as part of their placemaking project in the central city.   We were pleased to think our parking fee would be going towards local community projects.  We were even more pleased to discover that parking was free today, as it’s a public holiday.  I doubt that Wilson’s car parks would be as kind!

There are signs saying park here to show you care.   There are also signs referring to the history of the particular area.  Where we parked there was one pointing out that people have been parking on this site for more than a century.  Just 50 metres up the road was the site in 1903 of the Canterbury Horse Bazaar for horse trading and all day “parking”.

Park not-for-profit in the ‘hood
when you park in a Spot that’s Good.


Tonnes of Tributes

Today was the first time I’ve been to visit the fence outside the Botanic Gardens where people have been leaving tributes since the terror attack.   Five weeks later most of the flowers have been removed, but there are many non-perishable items still attached to the fence.

Closer to the museum people are still leaving fresh flowers, and there is a notice inviting everyone to visit the Mosque in Deans Avenue.

The sight of all this and reading the messages is very moving, and shows how much the people of Christchurch have been affected by this horrendous event.

The people want to show they care
and one way is to leave flowers there.

A Bevy of Beetles

Hundreds of Volkswagens are on display today at the corner of Madras and Gloucester Streets, as part of the VW 2019 Nationals.  There are Beetles of every vintage, some beautifully shiny, others a little shabby.

Bevy of Beetles

I was surprised to find the yellow one in the front of the photo belongs to someone I know, but he didn’t appear to be around.  I think it’s a 1974 model.  It has a new engine, and is for sale at $16,000.  Many Combis were there too:

Collection of Combis

I’ve never had much to do with VWs although a close friend had one from new for forty years, until someone ran into it and it was written off (she was okay).

These cars were originally made by a Nazi company, and it was Hitler’s pet project to develop and produce an affordable yet still speedy vehicle that could sell for less than 1,000 Reich marks (about $US 140 at the time).    After the war ended, the Allies made Volkswagen the focus of their attempts to resuscitate the German auto industry.

Volkswagen sales in the United States were initially slower than in other parts of the world, due to the car’s historic Nazi connections as well as its small size and unusual rounded shape.  In 1959, an advertising agency launched a campaign, dubbing the car the “Beetle” and promoting its diminutive size as an advantage to consumers.  In 1972 the Beetle surpassed the longstanding worldwide production record of 15 million vehicles, set by Ford Motor Company’s legendary Model T between 1908 and 1927.

The small and compact people’s car
has been adopted wide and far.

I was moved and thoroughly engaged by this book.  The theme is donation of fertile human eggs, with a side theme of hot air ballooning.  The people involved, especially the two women, are beautifully depicted and I couldn’t help being drawn into all the emotions that go along with many aspects of motherhood.  One of them wanted a child but was infertile, the other was a career woman who didn’t want children.

The issues explored give this book wide appeal, with some heartbreaking moments.  In some ways the dilemmas faced reminded me of moral fiction by Jodi Picoult.  The author is Australian, and the New South Wales setting helped to make it attractive.  This author has written several other novels, and I shall look out for them.

The greatest gift that there can be
is love unconditionally


Buying Buns

As we walked into the New World Supermarket this morning we were assailed by the enticing smell of hot cross buns baking at a stall at the entrance.  There was no sign of buns inside, and as we came out we went to buy some, but alas, there were no ordinary buns left.  We could have had chocolate ones, or fruit-free, or mocha, but if we wanted ordinary hot cross buns we would have to wait half an hour for the next batch to be ready.

We declined to wait.  Stephen went to load the shopping in the car as I started to walk home ( a good way of getting exercise).  As I went past Ballantynes, I thought I might check to see whether they had buns available.  They did, at nearly three times the price of the New World ones, but these were still warm from the oven, and I couldn’t resist.  I couldn’t help thinking nostalgically of the days when they were “one-a penny”.  We enjoyed some for morning tea, because they are best eaten fresh, and the others will probably be toasted tomorrow.

Did you know that the original hot cross buns were a female symbol, associated with the Goddess Eostre, after whom the Christian Easter Festival was named?  The cross is thought to represent the four seasons and the wheel of life.  Eostre’s totem was the moon hare which laid eggs for good children to eat – the forerunner of our Easter Bunny.

Easter, of course, is a spring festival, and it’s a pity that it’s usually celebrated in Autumn in Aotearoa.  Perhaps we could save our eggs and our buns for the spring equinox in September.

Ballantynes charge more than a penny
but at New World there just weren’t any.

Ready for Rebellion


Signs and posters for the Extinction Rebellion are appearing all around town.  This movement, whose logo is a circled hourglass, is gathering strength all the time.  Its followers brought London to a standstill yesterday.  Representatives addressed the Christchurch City Council last week.   The warnings need to be heeded if humankind is to survive.  Young people are at the forefront of this movement, and we older ones need to be there too.

Each one can be a hellion
and work for this rebellion




Neck and Neck

A close-fought game on Wordscraper led me to ponder of the origin of the phrase neck and neck.  It developed in the early 1800s and comes from horse racing, where two or more horses that are evenly matched might run closely together towards the finish line, side by side.  These days the expression is used to describe any competition which is so close that the preferred standpoint shifts from person to person in a manner that is not easily distinguished.

You might also say they are on level pegging.  This comes from the card game of cribbage via the game of darts.  When darts first began to be played in public houses, players used the pegs in an old cribbage board to keep score (cribbage is the card game where points are scored on a 61-holed board with pegs).  When the scores were equal, then the pegs were level; hence the saying level pegging.

In chess, a player might say “check”
if game was ending neck and neck.