Dining with Di

An old friend from Auckland was in town briefly, so four of us had dinner at the Carlton.

This pub, which has been completely rebuilt since the earthquakes, was the first in New Zealand to serve beer on tap and the first to have a beer garden.  Almost all the other diners were men.  Is this because the Carlton specialises in steaks?

Di and I have been friends since the early 1970s, and it’s very rarely I spend time with someone I’ve known that long.

“It’s great when an old friend appears
someone I’ve known for forty years.”


Foray to Ferrymead

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.”

This novel moved me to tears at several points.  It starts with a White Russian family exiled to China after the Communist revolution, then follows the daughter to Shanghai, the Philippines, and Australia.  The story deals with love, betrayal, and displacement.  The blurb says it ‘depicts vividly the powerful lifelong bond between mothers and daughters’ but I felt it was wider than that.  The story with wonderfully detailed settings held me entranced, although the writing could have been improved.  It’s fiction, inspired by the journey made by the author’s Russian mother and godmother, and gives an excellent account of what happened to some refugees after the second world war.  Good reading for a rainy day.

“She overcomes a tragic plight
accompanied by gardenias white.”





Sprung Spring?

Today we are again basking in warm sunshine.  The weather was mild enought for me to have breakfast outside (admittedly at 9am).

Plus, our very first daffodil is flowering.

You can see from the adjacent white violets that this is definitely a mini daffodil.  Is it possible that spring is sprung?  Or will we back to winter next week?

“Warm weather is a welcome thing
uncertain if it’s truly spring.”

Classy Clink

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.”

Riverside Restaurant

In days gone by, even for a while after the earthquakes, our favourite place for a special dinner was Tiffany’s.  It had a wonderful situation beside the river and excellent food.   Sadly it changed hands some years ago, and with all the demolition and roadworks the replacement Regatta is struggling.   We had a platter there in 2014, and were not particularly impressed.  Recently they offered a Devonshire Tea for two for $10 on ‘Grab One’, so we thought we’d try again.

Bookings were requested, but we were walking into town and unsure when we’d get there, so waited until we reached the Container Mall to phone.   I was told that the scones weren’t ready yet (at 11am – presumably no-one else had come for morning tea), but that we could have slices instead if we wanted to come then.  Crossing Durham Street was a challenge with cones and fences, but we made it.  Regatta displayed a cabinet of food with no sign of any other customers.  We sat outside and enjoyed the river view, together with chocolate brownies and hot drinks.

Good value for $10, but sad to see how much the restaurant has declined.  Obviously they will be hoping for better times when more of the rebuild is complete, and they probably get some custom from people visiting the Memorial Wall.  I just wonder whether they will survive.

“This restaurant has passed its prime
and now waits for a better time.”




Green Grief

I’ve been a member of the Green Party and its Values predecessor for more than forty years.  Their commitment to a society that is just, sustainable, and community-based is the most likely to bring about the world I hope for.  In the past I’ve given much time, money, and energy to this cause (including twice standing as a parliamentary candidate), but these days my activism is restricted to delivering pamphlets, hosting an election hoarding, and voting Green.  I cannot imagine that I would ever vote for a different party.

I am saddened by recent events.  Metiria Turei took a tremendous personal risk for the good of the Party.  Her revelations led the general media and public to finally realise that social justice has always been important for the Greens, despite efforts to label us as ‘environmental’ only.   Subsequent events, and the resignations of two Green M.P.s mean Metiria’s effective and inspiring political career is now likely to be cut short.  The Greens have always been admired for their integrity, personified by such leaders as Jeanette Fitzsimons and Rod Donald.  That integrity has now been called into question.  Civil disobedience is acceptable when you’re protesting in a picket line or during a Springbok Tour, but not when it happened quietly decades ago.

I will continue to support and vote for the Greens.  I pray that Metiria will find a way through this situation that gives her comfort and peace of mind.  I await with great interest, and some trepidation, the outcome of this year’s general election.

“Despite the changes in the scene
I hope that many will vote Green.”