Archive for the ‘Christchurch – wider’ Category

Today’s walk started at Mona Vale, and Christine and I agreed to meet at the car park there. Since I last visited a new and larger car park has been opened with a gateway through to the garden.

Entrance to Mona Vale

The flower beds are looking magnificent, all carefully tended by staff from the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

Mona Vale flowerbed

Along the path towards Fendalton Road is a memorial to Alastair MacLeod.

Alastair MacLeod Memorial

It is an Armillary Sphere where the shadow of the central staff is supposed to indicate the time. Not today, because the weather was cloudy.

Further along we crossed Waimairi Stream where one householder has a rowboat moored.

Boat on Waimairi Stream

We walked up Royds Street to Straven Road, then along Weka and Tui Streets, past Christchurch Boys’ High School and many impressive houses, into the grounds of the magnificently restored Riccarton House (former home of the Deans family).

Riccarton House

On the riverbank we were delighted to meet two families of Paradise ducklings, the first with eight stripey babies.

Paradise ducklings

At the Kahu Road exit we saw a large oak tree which was planted by Jane Deans in 1897 to mark the site of the first house on the Canterbury Plains built by William and John Deans in 1843.

Jane Deans’ Oak

Matai Street West led us past the Britten Stables, currently for sale, across the railway line, and back to the Mona Vale car park. This easy walk took us and hour and a half, and we could have spent longer if we’d explored Riccarton Bush, the only podocarp forest remaining in Christchurch – perhaps another time.

Exquisite gardens on the way
enhanced our city walk today

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A letter from my doctor advised it was time for my annual blood tests. Stephen usually has a monthly test, but missed last month because of lockdown, and last week when he went to our usual clinic at Forte Health he found it closed because of Level Two. We decided we would both go to the Barrington Clinic and we needed to go early because my tests require fasting.

When we arrived at 7.45am there were eight people waiting outside at carefully marked social distances. I wondered what happens to people who can’t stand for a long time.

Barrington blood test clinic

Half an hour later when I was finally admitted there were eleven in the queue behind. I was given a numbered tag and asked to sit in a room where three others were also waiting. There was a water dispenser, but no cups. The woman who took my four vials of blood told me they were short-staffed, the pressure had been relentless, and it was expected to continue for weeks. I was pleased we’d got our tests before anything happens to change life again.

Afterwards we were keen to break our fast, but Barrington Mall was not yet fully open. Luckily we found the Majestic Tea Bar who serve cooked breakfasts. This is a larger place than the one in the BNZ/Five Lanes centre, with a number of tables in the corridor outside.

Majestic Tea Bar @ Barrington Mall

After this we headed for home and my usual Monday morning cleaning routine.

It’s challenging to get blood test
You need to queue up with the rest

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Our beach walk this morning coincided with the 4 Paws Marathon. This is an opportunity for dogs and their owners to run through Bottle Lake Forest and along the beach. There were several options ranging from 2.4km to a full marathon of 42.2 km. Runners wore bibs with their name and their dog’s name on them.

Some people ran without dogs. Running along the beach was hard going because the tide was high and the sand soft.

I’ve heard that dogs can suffer injuries if they’re over-exercised, so I hope all the human entrants were carefully aware of their dog’s capabilities.

Ziggy thinks the whole idea is silly and prefers to spend his days sleeping on the couch.

While dogs may run for many miles
our cat just curls up warm and smiles

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This morning Christine and I strolled through the University and the Ilam Gardens. As we walked beside the river we noted a beautiful scent coming from this tree:

Does anyone know what it’s called?

We were thrilled to spot a family of ten ducklings, all still with yolk yellow on their heads – the first I’ve seen this year.

The cherry blossoms are breathtaking at present. Earlier in the week Stephen and I had driven along Harper and Riccarton Avenues just for the pleasure of seeing the ones there.

Over in Ilam Gardens we saw a rock with a plaque honouring the 51 Muslims massacred in March 2019.

The Saxon word Ilam means at the hills and the name was given by JC Watts-Russell the original owner of the Ilam Homestead, who died in 1875. He is credited with starting the magnificent Ilam Gardens which are at their best between September and November.

Spring bulbs at Ilam Gardens
Rhododendron & Azalea

If you would like to walk in spring
these Ilam Gardens are the thing

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Christine and I parked at Pioneer Stadium with the intention of doing the Somerfield and Hoon Hay Walk from the Council’s 1998 Walk book. The land on which the stadium was built was originally a worked-out shingle pit. The City Council purchased the land in 1937, and in 1950 the pit was filled, grass sown, and the area named Centennial Park to mark the Canterbury centennial. The stadium, which is a multi-purpose recreational facility was opened in 1978.

The highlight of our walk was the discovery of a Lilliput Library in Mathers Road.

Cabinets of books

What an excellent idea to use filing cabinets to house this. Presumably the householder (Pat?) puts books out on top in the morning and files them away at dusk or if it rains. One cabinet is labelled a Community Pantry, but there was no food in it today.

We passed lonely barking dogs, and saw several cats including this one that surveyed us from a gatepost.

Hoon Hay cat

The parks and reserves on our route all looked abandoned today.

Gainsborough Reserve

Perhaps that’s because the children have gone back to school. Time constraints prevented us doing the full walk, but we may well visit this area again.

The pantry had no food for cooks
but there were plenty of free books

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Although the morning was cloudy I optimistically hung the washing on the line before we headed west to Lincoln. The Market there had a good selection of vegetables but nothing to tempt us. We explored the shops, lamenting the fact that there was no interesting junk shop, then went to look at the Art Gallery, where the custodian was keen to discuss the last book in Lucinda Riley’s Seven Sisters series – one I haven’t yet had the chance to read. The most interesting artwork had several pictures of birds drawn on dried-out teabags, a form of recycling I’ve not seen before.

The Art Gallery is in a 1911 building

Lincoln has much Pakeha history, which is memorialised in several places, thanks to the Lincoln Historical Society.

Millstones from Moffat’s flour mill established 1867
Pioneer Hall erected 1874 as the Public Library
Plough made in Lincoln c.1865

We retraced our steps back to The Laboratory, a pub with a different character.

The Laboratory
I like their lavatories with pedestal porcelain basins

We appreciated the fact that all the pub tables had angle-poise lamps which were useful for reading the Press while we enjoyed our drinks. The menu is limited, mainly pizzas and burgers. I would have liked fish and chips, but this is available only for children. We shared a Margherita pizza and chips, both of which were of excellent quality, the chips being served in an aluminium measuring cup.

By the time we left there was blue sky and warm sunshine. We hoped we might have seen lambs in the fields, but saw just one in the distance. We arrived home to find the washing was dry.

We hoped there might be lambs to see
as well as bits of history

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The morning was cold, but sunny and still as Christine and I parked in Avonside Drive to walk along the river. As soon as we got out of the car we were approached by three pukeko.


Soon gulls joined them along with ducks and a swan.

Gull on car

In winter school holidays they are probably missing their usual feeders, but we had nothing for them.

We walked east along the riverbank and stopped to have our snack at the memorial seat to John Taylor. He was the last of 1,300 to remain in the Avonside Red Zone after the earthquakes, and he died in 2017. He used a wheelchair because of paraplegia, and his memorial seat reflects this.

John Taylor’s memorial seat

We crossed the river at the Gloucester Street Bridge and enjoyed the view from the opposite side, including this shag, drying its wings in the sun.


Further along we found a collaborative art project Te Tuna Heke where tuna/eels are portrayed. The aim is to build a habitat that is high in mahinga kai value and will enhance the mauri or life force of the river.

Next we came upon the new Fungi Farm which is a project of Richmond Community Garden, beside Avebury House. This reflects the Mycelium Network, also known as the Wood Wide Web.

Woven fungi

We admired Letterbox Love where Andrew Powell has re-imagined the boxes and their context. The people who lived at the Red Zone addresses these letterboxes once served had their lives turned upside down and flipping the letterboxes reflects this upheaval. Each letterbox has been transformed into a planting container where flowers can grow and flourish symbolising that life continues even when things change, and that beautiful things can emerge from this.

Letterbox Love

We returned to our car refreshed by our time beside the river, and stimulated by so many interesting sights.

Along the river we could see
some birds, artwork, and new fungi

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On a cold cloudy morning with rain looming we opted for the Sumner Seaside Walk rather than venturing out into the countryside. We parked by the new Sumner Surf Club and walked along the beach. Cave Rock is an earthquake survivor that holds many childhood memories.

Cave Rock

According to legend the Ōpawāho chief Tūrakipō cast a spell on an Akaroa maiden Hineao after she scorned his advances. As a result of the spell Hineao became sick and died. In revenge Hineao’s father Te Ake used magic to strand a poisoned whale on Sumner Beach. Tūrakipō’s people ate the whale and subsequently died in their sleep. As a result Cave Rock is known as Tuawera (cut down as if by fire).

Soon we were obliged to leave the beach and continue along the esplanade to Scarborough. We saw a couple of intrepid surfers, and two ships out on the horizon.

Two ships at sea

We sat looking out to sea to have our morning snack. There were only a few dog walkers out, and no children in the playground. Our walk book suggested continuing along Heberden Avenue, but this is now fenced off because of earthquake damage, so we cut across Colenso Street and down to the shopping area. Outside the Community Hub we met Dolly the elephant, a sculpture by Hannah Kidd, whose engaging works have also been seen in the central city.

Dolly elephant by Hannah Kidd

By this time the rain was imminent and we were glad to head home. I was lucky enough to have Stephen’s onion soup waiting for lunch.

I love to walk beside the sea
no matter what the weather be

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Two small boys and their grandfather were carefully making sandcastles as we came onto the beach. When we returned from our walk they’d disappeared, but their construction remained.

The secret to building sandcastles is to have plenty of water. Experts suggest one part water to one part sand is ideal. Half fill your bucket with water first, then add dry sand and mix thoroughly. With practice you might eventually manage to build a castle like this one I saw at New Brighton in 2015.

There’s so much one can do with sand
make castles small or mighty grand

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This café at the north end of Barbadoes Street has much to recommend it. On a dull day with a forecast for the most significant rain in ten years we needed to go out for a few things, and chose Ris’tretto for morning tea. I’d been there once before, but it was many years ago. They were doing a brisk trade, with takeaways for the diligent parents watching soccer games at the park across the road, as well as a buzzing crowd of customers sitting warm inside.

The ambience is like the coffee bars we remember from the 1960s and 1970s, with chandeliers and mirrors above the rear booths.

There’s a well-equipped and well-fenced children’s play area( at right of photo), and the wall above has whimsical pastel drawings which could be illustrations from children’s books.

I enjoyed a raspberry and chocolate muffin, and appreciated the fact that they offer bite-size as well as full size slices. There are also dog biscuits available, but no-one sitting outside with a dog on this rainy day. My hot chocolate came in a glass, which is not my preference, but luckily the glass was thick enough to be comfortable to hold. This café is definitely one we’ll visit again, especially now I know they have creamy mushrooms on their breakfast menu.

The drawings – not quite Tintoretto
but they enhance walls at Ris’tretto

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