Archive for the ‘Christchurch – wider’ Category

These Tree Houses for Swamp Dwellers were installed in 2013.  I hadn’t realised until today that they had real grass, and of course it needs to be weeded occasionally.  That’s what these people appear to be doing.

“You would be pleased to see these fellas
if you were overgrown swamp dwellers.”


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We couldn’t resist stopping at Dispense Espresso for coffee and hot chocolate (and a tasty scone).

Situated beside a pharmacy, it would be the ideal spot to spend time waiting for a prescription.  We wondered about the water dispenser which had no drainage.  Would any drips go to the plant below, and thence to the dog bowl?  Have they dispensed (sic) with any drainage?

The next door stationers had a window display exhorting people to shop locally.  While I totally agree with the sentiment, I thought it would either be preaching to the converted, or likely to send others scurrying back to their own local shops.

We visited the Mitre 10 Mega for garden supplies, and new plants are now safely bedded.

“We’ve been to visit Ferrymead
returning with some plants we need.”

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Last night we dined at Clink in Sumner.  The building with its old stone walls is reputed to have been a prison for mutineers early in the 19th century – hence the restaurant name.

We had the five course ‘Trust the Chef’ dining experience.  Usually $65 per person, I’d bought a Grab One voucher which gave us two experiences for $65.  I liked the idea of surprises and not having to make decisions.  The five small courses were superb, and beautifully presented.  Paying the full price would be beyond our modest budget, and we were delighted with the value we got.  They had Guiness on tap for Stephen, and I enjoyed an Aspall’s cyder.  This is certainly somewhere we’d come for a special occasion.

“Five luscious courses and a drink
we certainly dined well at Clink.”

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This morning we visited the Lyttelton Farmers’ Market.  This is a great place to go on a Saturday morning with dozens of stalls selling plants, baked goods, delicatessen items, crafts, clothes, and more.  There’s entertainment too.

Lyttelton Farmers’ Market

Lots of friendly dogs were at the market

Mist on the hills surrounding Lyttelton

I persuaded Stephen to go by bus, and our ride included a close-up view of the gondola terminus which I haven’t seen before – I’ve boycotted it because I don’t think it should have been allowed to be built on the Port Hills.

The weather in Lyttelton was overcast, but back home the sun was shining. For lunch we enjoyed the focaccia we’d bought from Vic’s Bakery’s stall – rosemary with sea salt, and very addictive.

“Lyttelton’s the place to go
to see so many goods on show.”



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This novel would fascinate anyone with an interest in the history of Banks Peninsula.  A branch of my family lived in Akaroa in the late 19th century, I’ve spent many holidays there, and I’ve walked the Banks Peninsula Track.  With careful research of the historical setting the book tells the stories of two fictional early Pakeha settlers in Akaroa, the struggle between French and English for control over the area, and the interaction with takata whenua.  The willow tree of the title, sometimes thought to be the ancestor of the willows that now grow along the Avon/Otakaro, came from a slip from the willow beside Napoleon’s grave on St Helena.

The book opens unusually with a glossary of Maori words.  There was only one I wasn’t familiar with – Tinirau, guardian of sea creatures, son of Takaroa.

The descriptions of the area have the power of authenticity, especially when characters walk up the Rue Balguerie, past the stream.  I loved the description of the forest “where birds seemed not so much to twitter as to shout”.

My only quibble about the writing was that it sometimes seemed to me a little ponderous, almost as though the author couldn’t decide whether she was writing serious history or fiction.  The story is well worth reading and an excellent addition to local knowledge.

“”The separate settlements unfold
as Akaroa’s story’s told.”

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Every year our local Community Board puts on ‘Winter Blast’, an afternoon of free entertainment for seniors.  Yesterday we had the pleasure of music from Graham Wardrop, who is always an absolute pleasure to hear.  He played songs from the 1960s which we were invited to sing along with.  There were also items from Te Waka Unua Kapa Haka group, and Highly Strung ukulele group.  The latter invited singalongs to much older tunes (some were 50 years old, 50 years ago).

It’s great that the Community Board provides this afternoon, with refreshments, but the venue at the Woolston Club was crowded and cramped.  I appreciate it would be hard to find a bigger venue, but maybe they need to reduce numbers, or hold it on two separate occasions so everyone can be comfortably accommodated.

“Hundreds of older people go
enjoying this music show.”


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A shopping trip on a bitterly cold morning required a stop for hot drinks and snacks.  Station One in Papanui Road was our choice, and it was a good one.

This cafe has a friendly character, and all food is made on the premises, including traditional baking.  They even offer discount to Super Gold Card holders, although we didn’t discover that until later.  There’s plenty of cosy space, and the decor is interesting, with cathedral and cat pictures on the walls.

“Ideal for coffee and a bun
suggest that you try Station One.”


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