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Archive for the ‘Cafes & Restaurants’ Category

To see spring lambs was the purpose of our drive to Rangiora. There weren’t many, but we did see some on the main road, including these four asleep in the sun.

Four sleepy little lambs

When I came close to the fence they woke up and (l)ambled away.

Waking lambs

Rangiora’s central area is inviting with many fine old buildings. In fact, you’d hardly know there have been earthquakes. We lunched at Coffee Culture, sitting outside where they have several large tables. I think these are a good idea as it means you may have a chance to meet and talk to other people. They also provide magazines to browse. We looked at The Simple Things, which I’ve heard of but not read before, and also Good, a New Zealand magazine I’d never heard of. It usually takes us all week to get through the Listener and the Guardian Weekly, but Stephen is always keen to look at other publications for recipe ideas.

Lunching at Coffee Culture

Afterwards we visited the Public Library which includes a small gallery. Their current exhibition, until 6 October, is Ngahere – The Bush of Aotearoa by the Professional Weavers’ Network of NZ Inc. Lovely woven pieces filled the room.

Hanging artworks

There was a sign saying Please make sure children are supervised at all times in this exhibition. Presumably there is concern that children might finger the pieces. No need to warn adults to keep their hands off? I loved this piece by Karuna Peralta.

Jewels on the Forest Floor by Karuna Peralta.

A northern drive on sunny day
with sleepy lambs along the way

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Breakfast out was Stephen’s suggestion. I was happy to agree and proposed that we go to the Foundation Café at Tūranga in the Square. Because the café opens earlier than the library I was confident we would find mobility parking nearby. On opening the café door we were surprised to discover two attractive griffons sitting on a rug just inside.

Griffon dogs

The café was bustling, even though it was just after 8.30am on Saturday morning. Most people were sitting near the windows which is why you can see empty tables in my photo. I noted that several staff behind the counter were not masked, and a sign advised they were short-staffed as is so often the case these days.

Foundation Café

After ordering we chose a table right beside the dogs, which the waiter told us belonged to the manager. Later the manager came by and said “Sorry, guys. I only came in for an hour but it’s taken longer.” At first I thought she was talking to us, then realised she was addressing the dogs who were quietly and patiently sitting waiting.

Breakfast was good (although I would have preferred the plates to be heated) but the canine company was definitely the best part.

It was a pleasure while we ate
to sit beside a sweet wee pet

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Coffee and hot chocolate was what we needed after yet another medical appointment. We were heading for Edgeware Road when I remembered I’d seen a café among the shops on the north-east corner of the Bealey Avenue/Colombo Street intersection. This area is nostalgic for me because when I was a child it was the site of Mr Jones’ Grocery Shop, long before we had supermarkets.

The Colombo Street cycleway means there’s less parking in the area, but we found a spot across the road, and then discovered the café actually has its own mobility parking space. If we’d been driving south, rather than north, we might have seen it.

There was a limited range of food on offer, including large chocolate brownies. We ordered one between us, and they obligingly cut it in half and provided two cake forks. Stephen pronounced the coffee excellent, and my hot chocolate was too.

Circa Cafe #1

The café, officially titled Circa Coffee and Wares, has plenty of character along with items for sale. As well as oddments of china, there are exotic postcards, children’s books, and a rack of clothes which included an adult size bear costume.

Circa Café #2

There’s a record player with 45s and LPs, and the coffee machine is hidden inside a wooden piano. One wall has a display of greeting cards which look as though they’ve been made by children. This all makes a change from bland cafés, and it’s worth a visit.

This café has a different air
with lots of things to be seen there

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Stephen now has a mobility parking permit which makes everything much easier when we are out and about. This morning we needed to do a couple of errands at Papanui, and decided to have lunch at Kidd’s Bakery Café on the way home. We hadn’t been there since well before the pandemic.

The cafe was not busy and had a sign up warning they were short-staffed because of Covid, but the service was fine. On a day when heavy rain and possible snow were forecast it seemed amazing to be comfortable to sit outside in their garden courtyard. It also made good sense for social distancing.

Lunch at Kidd’s

Stephen had a chicken filo, and I had a Quesadilla with sesame chicken, which was flavourful and filling. Both of these were warmed in a small oven (not microwave) which gave them a good toasted finish.

The other group in the garden area included young children who were supplied with colouring pencils. After they left the sparrows swooped in to clear away any crumbs.

We sat outside at Kidd’s Café
surprising on a wintry day

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Rain was pelting down early on Sunday morning and the weather was definitely not suitable for beach walking. By 10am the rain was clearing so we decided to walk through the Botanic Gardens. The river had overflowed, and ducks were enjoying new places to swim.

Ducks on the river overflow

At the Central Art Gallery in the Arts Centre we found an exhibition by Hannah Kidd. I’ve enjoyed her work before, and was keen to see these new pieces. Seven of them are sculptures of dogs, made from steel and corrugated iron, all extremely lifelike and very attractive.

Hannah has also painted and glazed a number of pots on different themes. An attendant kindly lifted the lids on these to demonstrate how each has an appropriate aroma inside. I had to take a photo of the one which showed a flamingo:

Friday Night Drinks

Another depicting Putin did not appeal:

Putin is Hot Pot

The delicate one with cats is inspired by a blog the artist follows called 12catslady. One of the paw-traits looked like Ziggy:

12catslady Pot

Bunsen Cafe was handy for a morning snack, with sparrows perched inside waiting for crumbs.

Expectant sparrows

A large raspberry and chocolate muffin meant I didn’t need lunch when I got home.

A stimulating way to spend
a dull day on a wet weekend

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After rainy days we needed an outing, and drove to Kaiapoi. They have an excellent Salvation Army op shop which is always fun to browse. I prefer op shops to ones with brand new merchandise. If I see something I fancy there I know I can afford it, and if it turns out to be unsuitable I can always donate it back. This time I bought a jigsaw, and Stephen bought a Greek cook book.

We then went over the road to the café in the old station building, which is called Paris for the Weekend.

Paris for the Weekend Café

We last went there for breakfast two years ago, and liked it. This time they were offering orange-flavoured hot chocolate, which was delicious, and ideal for this jaffa-loving person, although I would have preferred it slightly hotter. We enjoyed a light lunch sitting in the turret area which is definitely the prime spot.

Turret table

There’s a new kinetic sculpture on the riverbank behind the café:

Karo by Andrew Drummond

and it’s always good to see the Kaiapoi River Queen:

We hope to have a trip on this when the weather is warmer.

A pleasant drive to Kaiapoi
with light lunch that we did enjoy

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Another hospital visit this morning and another excuse to try one of the local cafés. Today we went to the Black and White Coffee Cartel on the Promenade in Oxford Terrace.

Black & White Coffee Cartel

At 10.30am it was busy and we were lucky to get the last indoor table. Some people sat outside but that would have been a bit cold for us. Stephen, who’d missed breakfast, enjoyed Eggs Benedict, while I had a cheese scone and hot chocolate. The chocolate was truly hot, which isn’t always the case, and the scone came with a generous double serving of butter.

Because Stephen’s mobility is limited it’s easiest for us to travel to the Public Hospital by taxi. We use Gold Band, and they are always punctual. The fare to or from home is just over $18, but twice recently the driver has said “Fifteen dollars will do”. I wonder if they find it a nuisance to give change in coins. or if they’re just being kind to vulnerable older people.

Each time there is a medical meet
it gives a chance to go and eat

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“Why haven’t you blogged lately?” friends emailed me to ask. It’s been partly lack of inspiration and partly the fact that health issues have taken precedence recently. Over the last two days I’ve attended five appointments at Christchurch Public Hospital, one for me, and four to support Stephen.

My appointment was a follow-up for the finger operation I had last month. This proved to have been a tenosynovial giant cell tumour, something rare, and luckily benign.

At the first of Stephen’s appointments he was asked where he was born, and whether he is a New Zealand Citizen or Resident. This is something we’ve never been asked before and is new data now being collected. I wonder why?

Despite the hospital recently being close to and sometimes over 100% occupancy all the staff were cheerful and efficient. My G.P.. suggested that they may be focussing on smaller surgeries that don’t require an overnight stay.

As we were early for one appointment we visited Kānuka, the café in the new Outpatients Building.

Kānuka Cafe

They don’t seem to offer cooked meals, but have a good selection of cabinet food including attractive salads. I appreciated that they offer half size slices, something I’ve longed for at other cafés. Being at the hospital they presumably need to allow for people not feeling well enough to eat a whole slice, or maybe they’re just encouraging less sugar consumption. There were signs saying that mask-off time should be limited to fifteen minutes, and to make doubly sure to keep your distance when eating and drinking together.

When all our appointments were over, we treated ourselves to lunch at the Antigua Boatsheds Café – always a pleasure to sit beside the river and watch ducks and punts.

Post our health system walkabout
we well deserved to have lunch out

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This week I had early morning appointments at two different hospitals on two consecutive days.

On Tuesday I needed to be at St George’s Eye Clinic at 8am for an assessment of my second cataract. I had a similar assessment at Christchurch Public last August, but Covid meant the operation never happened, and I was happy to be transferred to St George’s where parking is easier. While my eyes were thoroughly examined Stephen enjoyed a late breakfast of bacon and egg pie fresh from the oven in the hospital cafe. My cataract operation is now scheduled for mid May.

Yesterday I was booked at Burwood Hospital to have the excision of a nodule on my right index finger. This was a soft tissue lump which had been annoying but not painful for some months.

Lump on finger

At Burwood there is plenty of parking on open ground and we arrived at 8,30am as instructed. It was another hour with form filling before I was admitted and Stephen went off to the cafe – only a cold sandwich this time.

I was given a Covid RAT test, the first I’ve had, and after this proved negative the surgeon came to inject local anaesthetic with the longest needle I’ve ever experienced. At 10.30 I was told my operation would be in 20 minutes, but in fact it was 11.30am before I went to theatre with a gown over my clothes and covers on my shoes.

I was impressed that the surgeon introduced each of the group of four nurses and two medical students (Burwood is a teaching hospital), and chatted about his personal life. The whole atmosphere was efficient and relaxed. It did seem a little strange to be lying on an operating table while fully awake. The lump removed resembled a chickpea. I was not invited to take it home because it has to go to the lab to be analysed. Before the operation my blood pressure was 153/96, but afterwards it had returned to a healthier 135/79.

Lump gone and finger dressed

While I was recovering with a cup of tea and biscuit someone kindly fetched Stephen. The nurse discharging me recognised him and it turned out she had cared for him at St George’s twenty years ago when he had a heart valve replacement.

With my arm in a sling I was grateful to have Stephen ministering to any need, and I napped for a couple of hours in the afternoon. I’d taken a Patricia Wentworth murder mystery to the hospital for the waiting times – a small volume that fitted easily into my handbag – and I finished it before I went to bed. As instructed I took a codeine tablet and slept soundly.

The sling is supposed to stay on for three days, and the dressing for four weeks, so life is somewhat constricted. I’m reminded of the time in 1985 when I broke bones in my right hand and had my arm in traction plaster for six weeks. Typing on the computer is possible but challenging with only one hand. No exercises for me today, I may just go for a short walk, then settle down with the Listener.

A small wound in Ziggy’s ear appears to be infected, so he now has a hospital appointment for tomorrow morning. We’re just hoping Stephen stays healthy!

Health’s been the focus of this week
with me at less than prime physique

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There’s lots to see and do in Ashburton. At the 24 hour service station I bought two copies of the “Press” – to have one each to read and do puzzles was a holiday treat. After breakfast at Somerset Grocery we visited Trott’s Community Garden, a N.Z. Garden of International Significance.

Breakfast @ Somerset Grocery

The weather was perfect for this with autumn sun and no wind. There were pigeons and fantails flying free, and an aviary with pheasants and budgies. The garden was established in 1984 by the Trott family, taken over by a charitable trust in 2017, and is now maintained by volunteers. Many of the vistas were superb, even if there were few flowers at this time of year.

Long perennial border
Garden Chapel
Knot garden

I wanted to visit the N.Z. Sock Company in Ashburton, but this wasn’t easy to find (lacking a GPS). The street it’s in is divided by a square and later by the railway line. We were pleased to buy NZ made merino socks, and as there was a Warehouse next door I also replaced my printer cartridges, which now cost far more than I originally paid for the printer.

We browsed all five of the Ashburton op shops, where we bought a couple of jigsaws for me, and a cookbook for Stephen. I realised we hadn’t seen any postcards, and eventually found a postcard stand at Paper Plus, where there were cards of Timaru, Mt Hutt, and Methven, but none of Ashburton. The shop assistant said they hadn’t seen the postcard rep for a long time, and I presume there’s less demand with no international tourists.

Dinner was at Kelly’s Irish Café and Bar, the first time I’ve been in a pub for many months. Stephen was pleased to be able to have a Guinness, and we were intrigued to see the tap had a harp attachment.

Kelly’s Irish Café & Bar

They had a digital jukebox, on the wall beside Stephen’s chair, something we’ve not seen before. He couldn’t find anything familiar on it and we wouldn’t have been able to hear it anyway as there was so much laughing and talking going on. Sky Sports was showing on the TV and we realised it was Dan Carter doing his Kickathon.

When we left trees along the main street were lit with fairy lights, and a mural was also illuminated.

Ashburton mural at night

To see the garden made by Trotts
one can’t help but admire the plots

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