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Archive for the ‘Christchurch – Central’ Category

The site of St Luke’s Church on the corner of Manchester and Kilmore Streets has been a significant part of my life, although I don’t remember ever attending a service there.

My earliest memory, aged three, is of going to Play Centre in St Luke’s Hall. Later experience as a Play Centre mother leads me to believe that one of my parents must have accompanied me, but I have no memory of this. What I do remember is being served slices of apples and oranges at morning tea time.

St Luke’s corner is where my father suffered a fatal accident when I was just five. I recall seeing the motorbike he’d been riding lying on the road beside the church.

In the late 1980s PLEBS (Plains Exchange and Barter System) used to hold a monthly market in the Church Hall which we often attended. In the 1990s I was part of a group facilitated by Virginia Westbury where we discussed Goddess traditions. Virginia has a particular interest in labyrinths and she created one on canvas that was displayed at St Luke’s one Sunday afternoon each month. I frequently enjoyed this meditative journey. Sadly the canvas labyrinth was lost in the earthquake.

After the 2011 earthquakes St Luke’s Church was de-consecrated and demolished. Now the bell tower is the only part of the building that remains.

St Luke’s Bell Tower

A plaque on the seat at the bus stop outside the church site memorialises the women who have worked, lived, and died on the streets of Christchurch, and is particularly appropriate as this is an area frequented by street workers.

Memorial plaque for street workers

After the earthquakes a group of students constructed a brick labyrinth in the church grounds that is still there today.

St Luke’s Labyrinth

The building at the right of this photo is St Luke’s vicarage which was in use for over 125 years.

When the poignant 185 White Chairs earthquake memorial needed to be moved to make way for the new stadium it was fitting that it should come to the St Luke’s site.

185 White Chairs

The other significant aspect of this site is that it is believed to be the burial place of Tautahi, for whom our city is named Ōtautahi.

A while ago I heard there was a plan to build a community centre and Diocesan offices on this site, but I’ve heard nothing further. Do you have memories of this corner of Christchurch?

This site has seen so many things
let’s see just what the future brings

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This was a workshop offered free by the Arts Centre. The tutor was Nathan Joe, currently an Artist in Residence there. There were just ten students, all socially distanced, in the School of Art in Hereford Street.

School of Art

The room we were in was formerly the Hurst Seagar Room, which some years ago was the venue for my fiftieth birthday party.

With Nathan wearing a mask I found it difficult to hear him, especially as he speaks quickly. I started to wonder whether I would last for the whole two hours, and at the break I mentioned the difficulty I was having and found I was not the only one. Under Arts Centre Level Two protocols all staff and students are expected to wear masks, but there are exemptions for performers, and after checking with the whole group it was agreed that, as a performer, Nathan could remove his mask, and this made hearing much easier. I would hesitate to enrol for any other workshop under Level Two if the tutor was going to be masked. A friend who’s a teacher told me a sobering story from the U.S. about a teacher who removed her mask so she could better interact with students. Apparently all the students in the first three rows contracted Covid from her.

We were led through several exercises, the first a little like doing Morning Pages, others that tapped into our memory banks and encouraged us to use the five senses in our writing. We were introduced to Jose Rivera’s 36 Assumptions about playwriting, which give some useful tips.

This workshop was a good way to stimulate creative writing.

A good workshop with Nathan Joe
especially once his mask could go

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Meeting Molly

Beside the Oxford Terrace Baptist Church I saw a darling little dog riding in a bicycle basket. She had a bright red hat to protect her from the sun.

Her owner told me her name was Molly, and that he’d just been to Eastgate to get his second Covid vaccination. I wondered afterwards whether Molly went into the clinic too. She’s too cute to be left outside in a bicycle basket.

Was there a Covid jab for Molly
and afterwards a soothing lolly?

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Hereford Street was quiet at lunchtime today. As I walked down I noted a mural by Cracked Ink which has been there since 2017.

Mural in Hereford Street

It depicts a wave of stories playing out across an undulating wave of characters, and is one of ten murals which are illuminated at night by sustainable solar power.

I met a friend for lunch at Therapy, on the corner of Hereford Street and Oxford Terrace, somewhere I’ve not been before.

Therapy outside
Therapy inside

The café was quiet, and I was glad to be supporting a local business during these difficult times. I had a very tasty roast vegetable frittata and a berry smoothie, then strolled home in the sunshine, with a stop at Turanga to collect library books.

I had not been to Therapy
and recommend it happily

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On our second day of comparative freedom we headed out to do a few errands. Warehouse Stationery printing department is offering only reduced services so printing my chapbook will have to wait for Level One, which may be next week, or may be weeks away.

I wanted to buy another reusable face mask. Last year I bought two each for Stephen and me, and I’ve worn one whenever I’ve taken public transport since. The other one I carefully put away in a safe place, but it’s not where I thought it was, and I need another one now I have to wear a mask every day. I can see that it would be useful to have several as masks are likely to be required for the forseeable future, and I’ll be on the lookout for ones with interesting patterns (flamingoes? cats?). Our local pharmacy had no reusable ones in stock, but a friend had seen them at St Albans Pharmacy, so I went there. I got an Untouched World black woven cotton pleat mask, made in N.Z., for $26. The package said: “Please refer to Mask Use and Care Instructions before opening this packet”, but there was no sign of such instructions, and I can’t see anything on the Untouched World website. This new mask is thinner than my other one, and possibly more comfortable to breathe through.

We stopped by Turanga so I could return library books. This involved lining up, signing in, and exiting on the other side of the block, but no queuing today.

Parked at The Crossing we went down to Coffee Culture for a snack. There was no sign-in sheet obvious, and when asked, the staff were uncertain about this saying there had been one the previous day. Eventually someone went away to ask the manager and returned with slips of paper and one pen. Some places have containers of clean and dirty pens, but not here.

Coffee Culture – socially distanced

Tables were carefully distanced and tables and chairs wiped down when people left. We enjoyed watching people walk by, almost all were carefully masked.

After a stroll around Cashel Mall we picked up some mandarins at Fresh Choice. These had been unavailable when we placed our weekly online Countdown order.

This was the first proper outing we’d had since lockdown began three weeks ago and we felt quite exhausted when we eventually returned home. It seems freedom, with masks, may take a little getting used to. I keep thinking of our friends in Auckland, still in Level Four, and likely to be there for some time yet.

Most people now are carefully masked
and doing just what they’ve
been asked

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Outdoor Shakespeare with Top dog Theatre has been a summer highlight for many years. In 2021 they’ve moved indoors to perform at the Isaac Theatre Royal. It’s always a treat to see a show at this beautifully restored theatre. The afternoon was wet and wintry so we went early to be sure of securing a car park. We’d hoped for hot drinks in the theatre foyer, but these were not available. Staff said they hoped to soon have a coffee machine, but baristas are hard to find. We were therefore obliged to each have a glass of wine, which we took upstairs where we found seats by the window.

First floor foyer

“Twelfth Night” is probably my favourite of Shakespeare’s comedies. Stephen had the Sea Captain’s role many years ago at Auckland’s Grafton Theatre, and all the lines are very familiar. It’s just as well they are because the sound today was not good. The actors all had microphones, but I think they spoke into them too loudly and the words were often distorted which was a pity.

In this production there was much music and dancing, and Malvolio had become Malvolia. All the cast did very well. It was just a shame that many of Shakespeare’s wonderful lines were lost. There were some excellent extra touches, sometimes with cast members addressing the audience directly. One scene was at the beach with people waving pool noodles. It took me a moment to realise that what they were chanting was: “Noodle fight, noodle fight” – not part of the play I remember.

Stage set for “Twelfth Night”

I’m pleased to have seen the production, but wondered how those less familiar with the play enjoyed it. A couple sitting next to us did not return after the interval.

With Shakespeare’s lines not always clear
some would have missed good bits, I fear

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A vicambulist is someone who walks around in the streets. That’s definitely me, although I’d prefer not to be called a street-walker as that word has other connotations.

Today as I walked around I met a group of workers who were replacing the traffic light pole at the north-east corner of the Barbadoes/Kilmore Street intersection. It became bent when hit by a vehicle.

Replacing the pole

A night-foundered vicambulist is a street-walker (with or without other connotations) who has got lost in the darkness. This is definitely not me, as if I walk at night I stick to streets I know well. Are you a vicambulist too?

A call for help must needs be sounded
if someone walking is night-foundered

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Black Betty was our breakfast choice this morning, the first time we’ve been there for several years. The food is still excellent and I did appreciate my Earl Grey tea made weakly with tea leaves. The cafe wasn’t as busy as it used to be, perhaps because there are now so many new options available. No sign of the Harley Davidson riders who were Saturday morning regulars. They must have gone somewhere else.

We parked in Allen Street, and as we drove out we spied a mural I hadn’t seen before, as we rarely go that way.

Mural in Allen Street

It’s a portrait of Harlem-Cruz Atarangi Ihaia, and was painted by Erika Pearce in 2017, for the YMCA’s Street Prints Otautahi Festival. The mural raises issues of environmentalism, cultural identity, and female empowerment, and is illuminated by sustainable solar lighting.

Adjacent is a 2021 mural which I found less attractive. The letters appear to read NESS, but I’m not sure what it means.

NESS mural

Black Betty led us to a wall
with a new mural
proud and tall

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On a rainy morning a beach walk did not appeal. Instead we went to Hagley Park and walked around the west side of the river until track and bridge repairs obliged us to cross into the Botanic Gardens. There was plenty of maintenance going on here, presumably in response to last week’s torrential downpours. Our curiosity was aroused to see that at one part of the river the ducks were all lined up on one side and the Canada geese on the other. This must be an instance of birds of a feather flocking together.

It was time to seek a hot drink and we were attracted by the flags on the footpath outside the Lumière cinema. It’s housed in the Arts Centre, where the Free Theatre used to be before the earthquakes. The area has been beautifully refurbished in Art Deco style, and I absolutely loved the bird lights above the bar.

We climbed the stairs, but there’s now a lift as well, and two cinemas, the Bernhardt and the Bardot, which show a variety of arthouse and classic films. The little Bijou Bar offers a good assortment of drinks and a hot chocolate was very welcome.

I’ve not yet been to this cinema, but noted that next Sunday afternoon they will be showing “The King and I” (1956) with Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr, one of my all-time favourites. It’s tempting!

It seems to me the Lumière
shows taste that’s quite beyond compare

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Our kerbside collection is on Monday, and I always put our bins out on Sunday afternoon or evening. Yesterday I took advantage of a slight break in the torrential rain to get the bins out around 2pm. I even cleared some leaves from the gutter and added them to the green bin.

Just after 5pm, when it was raining heavily, I saw a Facebook message from the City Council asking people not to put their bins out on Sunday evening, in case they got blown over in the strong winds. By then a State of Emergency had been declared across Canterbury. The suggestion was to instead put the bins out on Monday morning before 6am. There was no way I was going out to retrieve our bins, especially as I was confident they were heavy enough to not blow over. Also no way would I be going out before 6am in the dark and forecast heavy rain. I wonder if anyone heeded the Council’s call? Did you?

When I checked this morning both bins were upright with closed lids.

My bins were on the street already
and I was certain they’d be steady

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