Archive for the ‘Christchurch – Central’ Category

We thoroughly enjoyed our five-course degustation dinner at Baretta.  At $39 each it was excellent value.  The small plates were beautifully presented and extremely tasty.

The ambiance was elegant and attractive.  Our five courses were: Cauliflower and bacon soup; pulled pork croquettes with horseradish cream; prawn and swordfish bouillabaisse; lamb rump on pumpkin puree with red wine jus; cookies and cream bavarois.  Doesn’t it all sound delicious?  Although the restaurant is promoted as being Italian, what we ate was more classic European.  We’ve had a degustation meal before and we love it.  No need to make any decisions, and five small plates are more than enough to satisfy.  On Tuesday evening we were one of just three couples dining, and there were no later bookings.  I do wonder how even a restaurant as good as this can survive in central Christchurch at present.  We will certainly go there again.

It would be hard to find a better
meal than this one at Baretta.

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When the oven light died Stephen replaced it with a spare we had in stock.  We then decided we’d better buy another spare, or even two.  Last time we’d got one from Radcliffe Electrical in Tuam Street at a cost of about three dollars.  This morning when we went there they were out of stock and suggested we go round the corner to R Redpath Ltd.  This we duly did.  They were also out of stock of the Philips but offered us a Crompton one which they assured us was just the same.  We said we’d take two, and were shocked when we got to the checkout to find they were $8.30 each – more than twice what we’d paid before.  We gulped and paid.

Later this morning we were in the lighting section of Mitre 10 Mega, and on the off-chance I inquired whether they stocked the Philips oven light bulbs.  Yes, they did, at a price of $3.98 each.  We bought two, then returned to Redpaths, and requested a refund for the earlier purchase.  This they happily gave, but it will be a long time before I go there again.

The same light bulb at twice the price
is definitely not so nice


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A group of friends kindly agreed to try out the Avon Loop Heritage Walk I’ve recently researched and compiled.  We started at The Bricks  cairn where we found the inscription had become difficult to read.  I’ve since been there with hot water and a wire brush and it’s now much more legible.

The walk took us along the river and adjoining streets.  Sadly, few of the older buildings have survived the earthquakes and subsequent red-zoning, but some sites are still obvious and the group enjoyed hearing about the area’s history.

Riverview Lodge from the Bangor Street Pumphouse

This walk will feature as part of the Beca Christchurch Heritage Festival and I was glad to have the opportunity to test it with a group of friends.  I now need to tweak it in a few places.  If you’re interested, the walk will be on Saturday 19 October, at 10.30am, and it’s free.

Six friends were pleased to come and walk
and hear me practising my talk

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Bank Building

National Bank Building

The heritage building on the corner of Colombo and Armagh Streets, which once housed the National Bank, has been beautifully refurbished and is open to the public this week.  Built in the 1920s, it’s an example of Georgian revival architecture and was originally earmarked for demolition to make way for the Convention Centre.  As part of the Arts Festival it’s open from noon until 7pm each day until 4 August, with an exhibition of work by students from the University’s Fine Arts Department on the top three floors.  It’s worth the climb to the top to see the views (there is also a lift).


View of Armagh Street

View of Victoria Square

The ground floor now houses a restaurant, the Permit Room.  I only once ever went into this branch of the National Bank, but I’m thrilled the building has been reprieved and refurbished, one of the few heritage buildings left in the central city.

So pleased this building’s been retained
when so much heritage has waned


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Turanga offered a Remix Plastic workshop on how to make beeswax wraps today.  We each took a cotton square, placed it on a sheet of baking paper, then sprinkled it with grated beeswax.  After covering this with another sheet of baking paper we used a hot iron to melt and evenly spread the wax.  Easy when the materials are supplied and there’s someone there to show you how.  The tutor suggested if you’re trying it at home, don’t use your good iron as it could easily get mucky with beeswax.

Beeswax wrap workshop

The woman I shared a table with told me she had cotton fabric that had belonged to her late mother and she was planning to make beeswax wraps as mementoes for all the family members.

The wraps which can be warmed in your hands are then easy to fold and seal around a bowl, sandwiches, etc, and are much better environmentally than using plastic wrap.  They can be washed in cool water and reused.  They should not be used to cover raw meat as they can’t be washed in hot water.  The tutor told us if you want to make more there are opportunities to do so at Stitch-O-Mat at New Brighton.

My new beeswax wraps

Easy and quick to make a wrap
and then no need for plastic crap.


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Rollickin’ Gelato in New Regent Street currently has an arrangement of fairy lights in their window.

The accompanying posters advertise a mid-winter Xmas light show every 90 minutes in the evenings.  This sounds like a lovely idea, and I was glad to see that  an addition to the poster near the entrance to the street advised the show may not be suitable for those with photosensitive conditions.  Many people are unaware that flashing lights can be extremely distressing to those with such conditions.  I had a friend who sometimes found it difficult to drive at night because of this.  If a cyclist with flashing lights rode by she would have to pull over and close her eyes until they had gone out of sight.  Shows or films with flashing lights also caused her distress.  This condition is not well known, and those staging public light shows need to be aware of it.

Those flashing lights that look so pretty
have an effect that can be shitty.

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Bird murals always attract me and today I saw a new one.

This is on an alleyway by the Sweet Soul Patisserie in the Guthrey Centre near Ballantynes.  I wondered whether this pukeko might be plump because it’s pregnant, or because it’s been sampling the patisserie’s goods?

Mr Explorer Douglas claimed this bird can fly, walk, dive, and swim, but can do none of these even tolerably well.

Pukeko usually live in groups with three to seven breeding cocks and two breeding hens who lay their eggs in one communal nest.  Their small communities are rife with incest, but they thrive despite inbreeding.

This pukeko upon the wall
has no community at all.

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