I found this book profoundly moving.  Diana’s story of her long search for her lost father is enthralling and at times heart-breaking.  Her Jewish father survived the Warsaw Ghetto, the Holocaust, and more.  The loving care with which she researches and writes his story makes a book which anyone would find gripping, especially those who’ve done some family history research.

I lost my father at an earlier age than Diana, and can relate to the need to find out more details about his background and life.  My family story is a common one.  Diana’s is incredibly complex.

Many passages moved me to tears.  Reading of the memorial plaques Diana saw in Berlin reminded me of poignant plaques I saw on Paris schools commemorating the number of children who were deported and killed by Nazis because they were Jewish.

Paris, 2007

This memoir is beautifully written, and highly recommended.

“Historic horrors haunt this tale
as she unearths her father’s trail.”



Wayside Weed

Convolvulus is flourishing in many neglected corners of our city.  This patch is on the walkway by the Fitzgerald Avenue Bridge.

When I was a child we used to press the flowers at the bottom and say “Granny, Granny, pop out of bed”.  Did you do this too?

“If left, this weed has rampant growth
may need to poison, though I’m loath.”

Memorable Music

What a wonderful experience to sit on the Archery Lawn this afternoon and enjoy some excellent music.  On a thirty degree day there was plenty of shade, a gentle breeze, and room for the thousands of people.  The first half was Izzy Miller Bell, with James Wilkinson and Jon Hooker.  They were followed by Graham Wardrop and Liz Braggins.  The sound technicians did a superb job, and the music was great.  I especially enjoyed hearing Liz and Graham sing the Everly Brothers’ “Devoted to You”.

Graham Wardrop & Liz Braggins on stage

This was all free as part of the Ingham’s lazy Sundays which are on every week until the 25th of February.  I’m looking forward to Fiona Pears on 11 February and the All Girl Big Band on 25 February.

“This concert was a special treat
and I enjoyed every beat.”

Ibis Illustrated

I love this attractive mural on the wall of the Ibis Hotel in Hereford Street.  The City Council held a competition between three designs to choose what would go up, and this was the winner (the one I voted for!).

Artist Brendan Warrell has depicted kowhai and a silvereye emerging from Christchurch rubble.

“It brightens up a central street.
Far better than that dull concrete.”

Elfin Entrances?

On a tree by the river I spied what I thought was litter and went to pick it up.

Elfin entrance number one

Then I realised it was a carefully constructed tiny doorway, perhaps part of someone’s game, so I left it there.  Further on I found another one.

Elfin entrance number two

I looked, but didn’t see any more.  I wonder who made and placed them?

“Who could have made this special door
and who is it intended for?”

Motor Memory

In Sydenham I spied this Austin A35.

My first car was a similar A35, although mine was a two-door.  I think it was a 1958 model.  I do remember that when the law came in making it compulsory to fit seat belts my car didn’t need them because it was too old.  What was your first car?

“Fond memories of my first car
it meant that I could travel far.



Floral Friday

Small Sunflowers

I usually avoid having yellow flowers in my garden.  The last time I planted sunflowers they were red ones, but they didn’t come up the next year, and I haven’t bothered since.  These sunflowers came from New World’s ‘Little Garden’, so it’s appropriate they should be just little.  I took the photo yesterday when it was raining hard because I thought they may not survive the deluge.

In Greek mythology, there was a maiden, Clytie, who fell in love with the sun god Apollo.  Every time he passed overhead in his fiery chariot, she stood and gazed at him longingly, even though she had chores to attend to.  Apollo, who made a point of shining brightly so people on earth couldn’t actually see him, eventually got fed up with the girl’s foolishness.  He flung one of his sun arrows at her, and she turned into a sunflower on the spot.  To this day, she faces east in the morning and west in the evenings, following the path of Apollo.

Research has found that it is only the buds and leaves of the sunflower which turn towards the sun.  Once a head of the plant has come into bloom with its petals on display, it remains fixed facing towards the east where the sun rises.

“The buds and leaves turn to the sun
so photosynthesis is done.”