Bargain Breakfast

Today we had the best value breakfast we’ve come across for a long time. We went to Thrive Café, which is part of the Christchurch City Mission at 269 Hereford Street.

Thrive Café

There’s just one cooked breakfast offered, bacon, eggs, and hash browns, for $7.50. It was perfectly cooked and well presented. They also had an enticing array of cabinet food. Prices are kept low at this social enterprise to provide access for everyone to food and a café experience, and the total cost was half what it would be at a “mainstream” café. Profits go to the City Mission and I wonder how they manage to make any profit. I thought maybe some of their workers would be on unpaid work experience but was assured they are all paid. The café is open 7.30am to 2.00pm each weekday – not sure about weekends. They do outside catering as well, and there is off-street parking with two mobility parks.

Good breakfast at a low cost price
and cabinet food looked very nice

Fibonacci for Friends

When Friends was the theme for our poetry group I wrote a Fibonacci:


are hard
to come by
need to be nurtured
cherished and appreciated
as we all grow older some die and some move elsewhere
look after the friends you now have
and stay open to
the chance of

Authentic Altruism?

This week our poetry group was asked to write about something that is selfish or selfless. I immediately thought of volunteers, who may be selfless, but also gain personal benefits from their work. My poem ended up being a pantoum, where lines are repeated.

the many folk who volunteer
give selflessly for common good
they help the needy with warm cheer
and tidy up the neighbourhood

give selflessly for common good
yet they too benefit each day
live in a tidy neighbourhood
they make good friends along the way

they also benefit each day
new skills are added to c.v.
with good friends made along the way
they use their time productively

new skills are added to c.v.
sometimes they need to mop a tear
they use their time productively
the many folk who volunteer

On Sunday morning on my way down George Street I saw an aged busker singing “Just for Kicks”. This was
a song Stephen used to sing in his teens with a band of old school mates, and I hadn’t heard it for decades, so I just had to give the singer some coins.

Busker in George Street

From the Bus Hub I took a number 44 bus to Halfway Bush, and then out to St Kilda. It had been a good move to purchase a Dunedin Bus BeeCard beforehand, and because I’m a Gold Card holder all bus travel was free.

Halfway Bush, Dunedin

Back at the Octagon there was a St Andrew’s Day celebration with a duo singing the Lewis Bridal Song, and lots of tables and chairs available. They had a Haggis Pie Eating Competition, the pies being piped in, piping hot! As each contestant finished they had to open their mouth to show that it was empty. The winner received the Sir Eatalot Trophy. As the compère said: “In New Zealand we do Scottish a little differently”. After this I enjoyed music from the Dunedin Scottish Fiddle Orchestra – no saxophones allowed!

Dunedin Scottish Fiddle Orchestra

I spent some time in the Art Gallery which has an interesting mix of exhibits. Later I took the number 19 Waverley bus which had been recommended by a previous bus driver. This gave lots of views of the city and harbour, right down to the harbour mouth. At Bayfield I even glimpsed a royal spoonbill in the water. Towards Waverly the driver stopped at a dairy because he wanted to get a drink, so I went in and got an ice cream and ate it in the bus with his permission.

Dunedin Harbour from the bus

Early Monday morning I walked around the block past many substantial homes, now mainly student flats.

Freddie Mercury mural on the side of “Buckingham Palace” in Queen Street

Then it was time to head for home, with an overnight stop in Ōamaru. Their gardens are magnificent, with roses in full bloom just now. It was intriguing to walk through the Display House as this was the birthplace of Skinny Louie’s daughter in Fiona Farrell’s The Skinny Louie Book, which I’d heard read on RNZ National just a few days before.

Peter Pan statue in Ōamaru Gardens

Hot haggis pies were just one way
to celebrate St Andrew’s Day

Floral Friday

White Clover Flowers

My “no mow” lawn now hosts dozens of clover flowers. Apparently all parts of this plant are edible. The dried leaves and flowers are slightly sweet and give a faint vanilla-like flavour to baking, plus the flowers make a delicious tea. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked as a substitute for spinach. I haven’t tried it, have you?

The shamrock is the symbol of Ireland, and all shamrocks are clovers, but not all clovers are shamrocks. Clovers are in the Trifolium family and the word Trifolium means having three leaves. A clover can’t be a shamrock if it has four leaves. Having four leaves is a genetic mutation of a three-leaf clover. Basically a shamrock is a three-leaf clover symbol of Ireland and a four-leaf clover is a symbol of good luck. I haven’t seen the latter in my garden, but I keep looking.

The Clover I remember from my childhood was the sister of Katy in the What Katy Did series by Susan Coolidge. The only other time I’ve come across the name is in the 1968 song Crimson and Clover.

Four leaves means there is one over
not a shamrock but a clover

Southern Sojourn

My Dunedin motel had a bench-top induction unit. I’d never used one of these, and there were no instructions, but I managed to poach two eggs for breakfast and felt pleased with myself. The rain had stopped so I headed downtown with a small umbrella but no parka. Tired of carrying a backpack with everything in it I took just a handbag which included a shopping bag. After my success in getting a bus ride back to the motel the previous day I looked hopefully at the stop across the road, but it seemed I’d just missed one bus and although several routes go that way the Saturday timetable indicated I might wait an hour for another.

Mural in George Street

So I walked towards the Octagon, stopping at a pharmacy which offered free hearing tests. My G.P. has suggested it would be worthwhile getting an assessment of my hearing which could provide a base line in case of later need, so I went in. The self-test by Triton Hearing consisted of listening through headphones and entering the digits I heard on a keyboard. They later emailed me to say my result is a strong indicator of hearing difficulties and a full diagnostic hearing assessment is recommended, but I plan to wait until I notice difficulties.

Near the Octagon I was surprised to be greeted by an old friend from Christchurch. She was coming from the Farmers’ Market at the Railway Station which was where I was headed. This is a great venue with a wide variety of stalls, all selling food or plants, no craft items at all.

Farmers’ Market at Dunedin Railway Station

I couldn’t resist some fine looking radishes, and bought tiny turnips to take back to Christchurch. I stopped to rest on the bus stop near the New World Supermarket where the only passing buses were cruise ship shuttles, so I walked all the way back to the motel, and on the way discovered the Playhouse Theatre.

Fantasy mural beside the Playhouse Theatre

Back at the motel I managed to get my tablet connected to WiFi, which was useful for checking email and the weather forecast, but I couldn’t access this blog. At lunch time I finally manged to open the bottle of fruit juice I’d bought the day before. Because I’m “losing my grip” I usually get Stephen to unscrew any difficult tops, and this had eluded me the previous evening. I was able to pierce some of the small metal connections with the tip of a vegetable knife and the juice tasted good.

Despite the forecast of rain I left my parka behind when I headed to Otago Museum. I was keen to visit their Tropical Forest, but felt it wasn’t as good as it had been on previous visits. There weren’t as many butterflies, although I did get one to perch on my finger. The quail, which I adore, have all been replaced by a few parakeets.

Butterfly on my finger

In the early evening I went to the Playhouse Theatre and saw The Real Inspector Hound by Tom Stoppard, performed by the Dunedin Repertory Society. A rather strange play, but well performed in an old theatre with difficult access. I felt some of the acting was over the top, but probably suitable for the piece.

Dunedin has a lot to see
all close to centre of city

Disconnected Days

Time away from home on my own is rare these days. In fact it’s more than six years since I spent a night away from home and Stephen. When a friend offered transport to Dunedin I hesitated, then thought “why not?”. It’s good to have a break from my usual routines, and interesting what effort, physical and emotional, is required to make that break.

At home I have regular rituals and activities, which have been carefully chosen and developed over many years. One of those is reading a daily newspaper and doing the puzzles in it. In Dunedin the Press is now simply not available in hard copy. The Otago Daily Times is a possible substitute, with equivalent puzzles, but the news items don’t have the same relevance.

Usually I do 15 minutes exercises each morning, then go to my computer to check emails and blog, and do Wordle. I took my tablet away with me, but had difficulty logging on to the motel WiFi at some times, and I never even thought about Wordle. Digital devices are great for keeping in touch, but a few disconnected days gave me a chance to focus my thoughts elsewhere.

Dunedin building facade

It was wonderful to wake in the morning and know I had two completely free days ahead of me where I could do whatever and whenever I wanted. This seldom happens at home, and when it does there are always domestic tasks I could be doing. Saturday morning I woke at 1am to the sound of rain. At home I would listen to RNZ National through my headphones, careful not to wake Stephen. In Dunedin I could put on the bed-light (and the electric blanket, lacking the warmth of a partner in bed), and read or write. I’m currently reading Juliet Batten’s latest memoir The Persimmon Journal which deals with lockdown, loss, and release, and even mentions me on page 172. Juliet’s story of ageing and dealing with physical deterioration is an inspiring example of the changes we face as we get older.

I think of time away as being on retreat, and when I retreat I like to have a question or theme to consider. The solution or resolution can often come from the subconscious. For these few days my non-urgent focus was on future plans. What might I do differently in the coming year? Last year I joined the University of the Third Age and have relished the stimulation those talks give me. The previous year, through a writing class, I produced and published a small memoir which gave me a sense of achievement. What new activity could I choose for 2023? What have other older people chosen? It would be good to increase my circle of friends, something that seems harder to do as I grow older, especially when people die and/or move elsewhere.

I’ve offered to co-facilitate a Summer Solstice ritual for a spirituality group where I’ve not led before. I’m unsure whether I have the energy to do more in this area, but it is an option, especially as there are others who would share the responsibility.

The commitment of formal volunteer roles doesn’t attract me at present, but I’ve found satisfaction when an opportunity has arisen to perform a Random Act of Kindness. How could I build more of these into my life?

Or maybe I’ll just enjoy having more time to myself, and meeting each day as it comes.

There is so much that I could do
Great to have time and freedom too

Floral Friday

This is the best time of year for flowers in the garden. The roses are rioting, and this bright dianthus is flaunting itself by the front steps.

It’s called Angel of Desire and was planted five years ago.

Flamboyant Angel of Desire
Def’nitely has both verve and fire

Two mothers have very different views about the need for vaccinations, and the ramifications are far-reaching. The women have a long close friendship although their personalities are not alike, and they each care for the other’s child. The author gives both sides of the vaccination debate, and demonstrates how both mothers are trying to do the very best for their child.

My daughters had all the suggested jabs, and I have too. In the 1980s I knew someone who had a tragic adverse reaction to a pre-travel vaccination, but I know such outcomes are rare. Conflict over vaccination has been topical in Covid times, but most of us believe and follow Health Ministry guidelines.

The characters in this novel are well drawn, and there is suspense.

The main message I took from the book is how easily we can become obsessed by an idea, and how important it is to consider other possibilities. This is an enjoyable book that will make you think.

You can’t expect impunity
if you’ve refused immunity

Meeting Murals

I found another mural I hadn’t seen before. This one is at 150 Colombo Street, on the wall of Formaggio’s Restaurant. It’s by Flox, and is titled An Ode to Hinewai. Hugh Wilson of Hinewai is featured in the top right-hand corner. I love the birds and flowers, and have admired other murals by Flox. The abundance of street art adds to the pleasure of walking around Christchurch.

It’s good to find another mural
around the city they are plural