Doggy Don’t!

Disgusting to see that some dog owner has allowed their pet to defecate on the path through the Margaret Mahy Playground.

Doggy Do

Doggy Do

Occasionally we get doggy do’s on the footpath outside our house, where I can easily remove it (or kick it into the gutter).  Somehow it seems much worse on a path through a children’s playground.  I don’t carry plastic bags, and don’t usually need to, but I wish I’d had one this morning.  The mess was still there when I walked back two hours later.  Grrrr!

“The person who deserves the blame
a dog owner with little shame.”

Margaret Mahy Music

Music at the Margaret Mahy Playground was a feature of this weekend’s Big Band Festival.  What pleasure for us to have outdoor concerts, so close to home.  The venue was ideal, with plenty of activities for children while parents enjoyed the entertainment.  Next time I’ll take a camping chair so I have some back support – the playground is sadly lacking in comfortable seating.  I hope we’ll see lots more music here over the summer.

Papanui High School Jazz Band

Papanui High School Jazz Band

“To have jazz concerts near to us
an inner city living plus.”

Featuring Festa

This year’s Festival of Transitional Architecture aimed to create a ‘spectacular temporary city from repurposed waste’.  There were interesting structures, all made from recycled materials.  Although the evening was billed to be from 5pm, when I arrived shortly after 5 some areas were not yet complete.  For me the most attractive exhibit was that of Zero Waste Otautahi, where there was lots of activity.

Zero Waste Otautahi

Zero Waste Otautahi

I expect the whole extravaganza looked much better when it was lit up after dark.

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“There were some excellent ideas
but not as bright as previous years.”



Mad ideas that might work for the Square’s regeneration were offered by Dr Geoffrey Rice at a Heritage Week talk.   He put forward four main ideas:

1 Paving should incorporate Maori taanako designs.  The Square would then be linked with areas along the river where such designs have already been used, and takata whenua would be acknowledged.

2 Height of surrounding buildings be limited to four storeys.  This would give the Square a human scale, and uniformity.  The dreaded Telecom building would need to go.

3 Arcades (cloisters) all around the Square, with tables and chairs.  We would have shelter from rain and sun, and they could be built on the public land.  Any developers would need to make their buildings interactive with the cloisters, if they want to attract the public.


4 The Cathedral – there have been many suggestions as to what will happen, and we are all waiting hopefully for a decision in early December.  Dr Rice pointed out that Coventry Cathedral, often offered as a model, is actually two separate buildings, one old and one new.  It would be great to have some kind of tower as a central focal point.  I fondly remember how in my childhood the Cathedral spire could be seen from a far distance (or so it seemed to me).  When we returned to Christchurch I was disappointed to find the spire was no longer able to be used as a reference point because of the tall buildings around it.  Despite rumours to the contrary, the definitive Tonkin and Taylor report has shown that there is no problem building on the Cathedral land.  We could have some kind of pyramidal spire, built on public land if the Anglicans don’t want to do it.  Some suggestions were London’s Gherkin (my favourite!) or Shard, or the Transamerica Tower in San Francisco.  I like this idea.  Will we have the will (and the money) for it to become reality?  What do you think?

“Ideas put forward were not so mad
a focal tower I wish we had.”

Riccarton Market

Thousands of people visit the Riccarton Market each Sunday.  Today we were part of that crowd, our first visit in at least two years.  Something new is the little yellow train called Buttercup, which offers rides near the entrance.



Although powered by a diesel engine, it has a convincing ‘toot’, and emits puffs of stem from its funnel.  Perhaps there’s a kettle hidden inside?  Some of the stalls were familiar, but there was lots of variety.  I was pleased to find a suitable gift  for a son-in-law at a craftsman’s stall.  We bought plants and vegetables, and admired the lop-eared rabbits ($70 for a boy).  One stall had an amazing array of pet accessories, including tiny socks for cats or dogs.  We didn’t think Ziggy needed these.

Pet stall, complete with live model.

Pet stall, complete with live model.

Was this a vet’s car in the car park?

Vet's car?

Vet’s car?

By the time we left it was nearly noon and there was hardly a parking space to be found.  Just as well we’d gone early.

“So many goods were on display
with crowds enjoying the sunny day.”

Seeking SCAPE

Following the SCAPE Public Art trail led us through the Botanic Gardens, to the Arts Centre, then to the ReStart Mall.  The artwork that appealed most to me was ‘Diminish and Ascend by David McCracken, in the Kisok Lake of the Gardens.  The setting is just perfect.

Diminish and Ascend

Diminish and Ascend

Here’s some of the works we saw before we rested with coffee, then headed back to the car park.

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“There’s lots to see in this year’s SCAPE
to pass by, or to stand and gape.”


Playground Path

At last the riverside path in the Margaret Mahy Playground has been re-opened.   Yesterday there were lots of activities going on, including stalls where children could make pinwheel flags.


There are many new picnic tables, still roped off at present while the grass grows.  I hope they’ll put in some benches with back support as well.


On the path I saw a new inscription from James K Baxter’s ‘Virginia Lake’.  “Where once a child walked and wondered at the leaves’ treasure house.”

There’s a new barbecue area – wonderful for long summer evenings.


And a new bike stand – hurray!


“The playground’s got some great new things
to complement the slides and swings.’