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Construction Craziness

A sign saying ‘footpath closed’ was in my way as I walked to the Book Fridge yesterday.  I’d already jaywalked across the road, and along this ‘closed’ footpath before I got to the sign, so I ignored it, as I do many others of the same ilk.

On my second trip to the fridge (I’m decluttering), as I went to cross the road a man in a high vis vest came running towards me, waving his arms to deter me.  He assured me that it was illegal for me to cross near my house and there was dangerous work going on that meant I could be killed.  The work was concrete cutters on the opposite footpath, and a noisy suction truck.

I queried how it could be more dangerous for me to cross and walk along a footpath where I would be further from the work than I was standing at my front gate, and he said “it just is”.  When I persisted he told me I would be acting illegally to cross there (which I do several times a week).  He said I might die, and it was his job to stop me crossing, otherwise he would be responsible for any consquences.  I then queried the fact that a car was parked beside that very same ‘closed’ footpath, and he replied that it had been there all day – presumably that meant it wasn’t in danger!  While we spoke a woman drove up and parked her car beside the path outside Piko (on yellow lines).  He said this was illegal, but didn’t make any attempt to stop her.

I dutifully walked up to the corner and crossed on the pedestrian crossing, and later observed others using the ‘closed’ path without being accosted.

It is this kind of officiousness that has been annoying so many people during the central city rebuild.   I appreciate this man had health and safety obligations, but he needs to have a logical explanation rather than saying “it just is”.  During the night there were continual noises, and this morning the footpath is clear once more.

“I’m sick and tired of road restrictions
and these unneeded path evictions.”

If Chaucer is the father of English poetry, then Julian is the mother of English prose.

julian-of-norwich-small

This slim volune is easily read, impeccably researched, and relates what is known about Julian.  The author is a course director in History of Art at Oxford University who has written and presented numerous BBC history documentaries.

Julian of Norwich was born in 1343, the same year as Geoffrey Chaucer, yet he is much better known.  Her ‘Revelations of Divine Love’,  the oldest surviving book written by a woman in English, is a spiritual autobiography as relevant, comforting, and thought-provoking today as it was in the 14th century.  Julian was a mystic, and her writing is experiential rather than academic.  Because she wrote within a Christian framework she calls the divine God, yet she provides inspiration for people of all faiths.  She speaks of God as father and mother, who provides the unconditional love which is universal, including inside each one of us.  I found much that reminded me of Sufi and Pagan beliefs, especially when she says “there is no created thing between my God and me”.  Julian is quietly confident that no matter what happens “our heavenly mother Jesus cannot allow us that are his children to perish.”

The author gives the context for Julian’s book and marvels that the writing remains optimistic, hopeful, and positive, despite the death carts that must have trundled past her cell carrying victims of the plague.   She reiterates that Julian’s words, which exist outside time will always ring true whenever and wherever they are read.  I feel privilaged to have read such an excellent outline of Julian’s life, and to have had the opportunity to visit her rebuilt cell in Norwich.

“All shall be well, all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

Woodstock Weather

“Good morning and I hope it stops raining” said in a croaky voice, is the one non-musical quote I remember from ‘Woodstock’.

This is the third morning we’ve woken to persistent rain.  I’m grateful we haven’t had the heavy floods that have struck Auckland.  I regularly check to see out gutter’s flowing freely.  It often gets clogged, and I remove the debris, but it’s been fine this week.

In Canterbury the rain is very welcome for gardens and farms, and will surely have put an end to any Port Hills hotspots.  It’s all linked to global warming and our new normal.

The other quote I always think of when it’s raining is a poem I learned in French class:

Il pleure dans mon coeur
Comme il pleut sur la ville.
Quelle est cette langueur
Qui penetre mon coeur?”

I wonder how many former EGGS students are reminded of this when it rains.

Strangely fine weather doesn’t bring any quotations to the surface.

“”Rain always brings this poem to mind
where sunshine just brings joy, I find.”

Flaunting Feathers

This decorative wall is outside the new Justice and Emergency precinct, and very close to where I worked in a temporary office post-earthquake.

feather-cloak-small

It represents a Kakahu (feather cloak) and was made by Auckland artist Lonnie Hutchinson.  More than 1,400 anodised aluminium panels change with the light, and it’s a welcome addition to our central city.

Opening of the Justice and Emergency Precinct has now been delayed until late 2017.

“This lovely wall, made to evoke
the feathers on an ancient cloak.”

 

Stranded Campervan

Three women parked their campervan on the Star and Garter site across the road.  Unfortunately when they tried to back out their two left wheels became lodged in the gutter, between two crossings.  The vehicle could not be moved.  They called for a tow truck, and the driver scratched his head, uncertain what to do.

He phoned for advice, eventually managed to extricate them, and the relieved trio drove away.

“You must be careful where you stop
in case your vehicle goes plop.”

 

Collection of Cultures

A wonderful range of ethnicities was on display at Culture Galore today!  There were people in costume, dancing, stalls, and a variety of different foods on offer.  We sampled Sri Lankan, Indonesian, and Hungarian food, all at reasonable prices.  A highlight was the range of activities available for children.

I love these floating bubbles.  The kids look like mice on treadmills.

You could do limestone carving.

Or pedal on all kinds of weird bicycles.  Plenty of rules to keep everyone safe, e.g. ‘one person per seat’

The police were timing young runners with a laser speed device.

Among the many bouncy contraptions was this charming snail.

“So many facets to explore
we did enjoy Culture Galore.”

Earthquake Enshrined

The national earthquake memorial is huge.  The marble wall looks bland from across the river.

But close up there’s lots to see and contemplate.

I did wonder about the blank parts of the wall.  It’s almost as though they’re waiting for more disasters to be inscribed.  The Mauri with its constantly running water is a great idea.

No memorial will suit everyone, and this will meet many needs.  I still find the 185 chairs more moving.

“For me, the chairs just say it all
and I prefer them to the wall.”