Archive for the ‘Taking a Walk’ Category

Despite the drizzly weather Christine and I sallied forth to do the Bishopdale and Papanui Walk. We started at Bishopdale Park, behind the Mall, and headed south-east along various streets until we reached Edgar Macintosh Park. This was developed in the early 1960s and named after Edgar Hika Macintosh who was the City Surveyor from 1942, because of his work in negotiating recreational reserve contributions from the large subdivisions done during his time. Surrounded by trees, the park is the home of the Marist Albion Rugby Club and has a well-equipped children’s playground with paddling pool.

Playground at Edgar Macintosh Park
Avenue of trees at the park

Here we took the “wrong” sealed path which led to our re-tracing our steps and eschewing the part of the walk which goes through St James’ Park.

Papanui was the original Māori name for the Bishopdale and Papanui district and is the Māori word for a platform in a tree from which birds are snared. This name comes from the time when the area was covered by a large stand of forest, dominated by totara, matai, kahikatea, and kanuka, similar to the smaller stand of bush that now remains in Riccarton.

The streets and houses we passed were mainly well-presented, with established trees and singing birds, but there was little character to inspire me to take a photograph. The small pocket reserves found in other areas were lacking here, and we ended up having our morning snack in a bus shelter on Harewood Road.

We had intended to visit the Bishopdale Library, but by the time we got back to the Mall we were weary and couldn’t be bothered going through the hassle of donning masks and showing vaccine passes.

We did not finish all the trail
round Papanui and Bishopdale

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The damp weather was not conducive to beach walking so we parked beside the Botanic Gardens and walked around the river. It was good weather for ducks, and we were intrigued to see one that had a crest on its head:

Crested duck (behind the white one)

We also saw two families of appealing paradise ducklings:

Our aim had been to see some of the Scape 2021 sculptures. The Native Section by Aroha Novak, on the Museum tower is an index of indigenous fauna removed in the creation of Hagley Park.

The Native Section

Resilience Training by Olivia Webb re-considers the four Cardinal Virtues and replaces them with values that better support resilience now and in the future. It’s a voluntary public performance artwork, with performances on Saturdays at 3pm.

Resilience Training

We appreciated the Nikau palms in the North Quad of the Arts Centre:

Nikau Palms

There was also a piano we hadn’t seen before:

Piano at the Arts Centre

After morning tea at Bunsen we walked along the Worcester Boulevard and noticed a Tardis at the Astro Lounge.

When we’d entered the Gardens we’d seen pair of shoes abandoned on the riverbank. By the time we returned someone had placed them on a picnic table.

In central Christchurch, walking by
all kinds of sights will meet your eye

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Our car was due for its annual warrant and service, and we booked it in to Armagh Automotive at 8am this morning. Both the nearby cafés are closed on Mondays, so we walked down to Belle on the corner of New Regent Street to get breakfast. They open at 7am on weekdays, serve delicious food, and the weather was warm enough to sit outside. We savoured our breakfast while watching others hurrying to work.

Breakfast at Belle

The endangered black-billed gulls which have nested in this area the last few years have been moved along, but there are still some red-billed gulls, and these swooped the moment we left our table. One grabbed a piece of bread and others crowded round trying to snatch it away.

Gulls squabbling over bread

We walked home along the Cambridge Terrace side of the river. From the Manchester Street bridge the poplar reflections were beautiful.

Poplars reflected

Several piwakawaka darted among the trees but they were too quick for me to be able to get a photograph. Just past Madras Street someone was offering free sunflower seedlings and I was pleased to pick up a pottle with six plants in it.

Free sunflowers

I’m not sure just where I’ll put them as they will need sun and water, but I’ll probably find them a spot outside the fence. Further on we spied a family of ducklings, always a delight to see.


I’m writing this outside in the swing seat at midday, and the temperature in the shade is 20°. Summer is definitely making its appearance, with bees buzzing in the flowers.

Out in the balmy summer air
with flowers blooming everywhere

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Christine and I chose this walk from the Christchurch City Council’s Walk Christchurch book. This has 60 short walks, and was published in 1998. Despite earthquake disruption the instructions are still good.

We started at Redwood Park and walked past Northcote School where one of the buildings definitely needs to have its spouting cleaned.

Green spouting

The walk took us all around the area, and through several small reserves, many with lovely trees.

Relaxed cat at Sisson Park

Many of the houses we passed obviously were state houses, and the gardens had varying amounts of attention. Some were beautifully planted and tended, while others looked sadly neglected. Further on, the homes were newer. One even had an owl, symbol of Athena, on the gatepost.

Owl on gatepost

We wondered why this pine cone was hanging from a tree, and Christine suggested it may serve as a bird feeder.

Bird feeder?

It was good to visit unfamiliar streets and see a different suburb.

We do enjoy our monthly walk
a time for exercise and talk

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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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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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Shared experiences are the way friendships are built. Doing things together is how we get to know someone. If there is trust, there may also be the deep personal sharing that makes a lasting bond.

I’m lucky to have some friends whom I see and/or talk to every few weeks, and while lockdown has meant catchups in person have to wait, a longer gap is not a difficulty.

What I do grudge is the fact that being on Level 4 means the cancellation of my weekly beach walk with a special friend.

Sunday morning beach walk

The combination of being out in nature and hearing about each other’s lives has been a highlight of our week for about 15 years. A phone conversation is good, but not the same. I yearn for the day when we are again free to meet with whomever we wish, and suspect lockdown will not be lifted for some time yet.

This week two old friends have died, one in Auckland, and one in Invercargill. These are friendships that have grown fainter with distance, but news of death brings back memories. This is especially true of the Auckland friend who visited us just a couple of months ago. In ordinary times we would not have travelled to either of these funerals, but I feel acutely for family unable to make plans for ceremonies in these uncertain days.

So many things will have to wait
while Delta’s knocking at the gate

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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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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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