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Plenty of Pizza

I kept an eye on Dunedin ‘Grab one’ while we were planning a trip, and I grabbed an offer of a 20″ pizza for $25, reduced from $45.  It was at Biggies, just a couple of blocks from our hotel, and Stephen loves pizza.  We went in to book, and found we couldn’t.  During the day this same establishment becomes The Eatery Café.  A sophisticated till system means they can share the same bar stock and know exactly who’s sold what and when, so they remain two completely separate businesses.  It makes sense to ensure the premises are used day and night.

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The Eatery doesn’t take Biggies’ bookings, but we booked by phone and duly arrived at 7pm.  It was a pleasant evening and we hoped to sit outside at a pavement table but the waitress explained that those tables aren’t stable enough to hold the stand for the giant pizza.  We therefore chose an inside table.

Our choice from an extensive pizza range was Pavarotti, with mushroom, capsicum, and pepperoni.  This duly arrived and looked huge.

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Freshly cooked on a thin base it was delicious but daunting, and we managed to eat only three-quarters.  I rejected most of the pepperoni, relishing the capsicum and mushrooms.  The waitress offered to put the remainder in a box for us which we declined as we had nowhere to store it.  I hope it went to some deserving animals.

Biggies was buzzing and popular.  I think the 20″ pizzas might be more suitable for a group of hungry students.

“To serve such pizza on a table
this needs to be extremely stable.”

Newspaper Non-appearance

The Christchurch “Press” is an indispensable part of my daily routine.  I love to catch up on local news (usually over breakfast), check the death notices and do the puzzles (usually over lunch).  The Cryptic Crossword, Code-Cracker, Wordfit, and Number Cruncher are mine.  Stephen does the other word puzzles.  The Sudoku are left to languish – neither of us has yet been tempted to these.

When away from home we still seek a “Press”.  In Wellington that’s no problem.  In Auckland Whitcoulls stocks it, and we assumed the same would apply in Dunedin.  Sadly, no!  Whitcoulls in George Street was closed at 9.15am because they were mopping up from the previous day’s downpour.  We went back after 10am, confidently seeking our “Press”, only to be told they don’t carry it and neither does any other shop in Dunedin.  The Whitcoulls woman told me the “Press” has not been sent to Dunedin for the past three years.  I wondered whether this was because of rivalry between Fairfax and the independent “Otago Daily Times”, but she didn’t think so.  The Dunedin Public Library doesn’t have a hard copy of the “Press” either, although they have a dedicated terminal where you can read it online.  That doesn’t give me access to the puzzles!

“I may endure puzzle withdrawal
if I can’t get a “Press” at all.”

Love the Library

Our hotel wifi was totally inadequate.  The place was fully booked and it appears the system just can’t cope with that.  Luckily the Dunedin Public Library wasn’t far from our hotel and has excellent free internet access.  You book for 30 minutes, and if there’s no-one waiting you are continually offered an extra five minutes – this happened four times for me.

The library building is comparatively new and replaced an older Carnegie building.  (Sigh, I have a very soft spot for Carnegie Libraries having benefitted from them in my youth.)  I was struck by the amazing variety of artwork inside.  They even have a pamphlet of the Library Art Trail.  It all made me long for the time when Christchurch will have a new Central Library.  At least work on the site has started and it should be completed sometime next year.

“Dunedin library made me jealous.
I hope our building folk are zealous.”

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Each chapter in this book is named for a painting displayed in London’s National Gallery which is an integal part of the story.  A QR code directs you to the painting – if you have a smartphone.  I don’t, but I sought some of the paintings on my computer at times that suited me.  That meant if I was reading in bed at might, I waited until the next day to view the relevant painting.  I wonder how many people read the book with their phones beside them?  I started to get impatient with wanting to see the painting, yet not wanting to leave the book to look up the picture.

The story is centred around letters written during the London blitz.  I found the first few chapters pessimistic and wondered whether I would finish the book.  Overall it seemed tedious, and without the paintings it would be tiresome.  Using the two different timelines was an interesting device, but the modern day characters had little to commend them.

“The pictures are well worth a look
I’m not so sure about the book.”

Tall Tail

Coming along Chester Street I saw what I thought was a man with a large alsatian dog walking beside him.  As I got closer I realised the man was actually wearing a tail.

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I was heading in a different direction and had no chance to ask him the reason for his appendage.  Has anyone else seen a man with tail lately?

“To catch the eye he cannot fail
this man who sports a handsome tail.”

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Top Dog Theatre has produced an open air Shakespeare at Mona Vale every summer for 13 years, and we’ve seen them all.   This year’s production is “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”, Shakespeare’s first play, which I’d never read.  I was glad I made the effort to download a synopsis beforehand.  Without that I might have had difficulty understanding just what was going on.  The cast did well, and the language was easily understood, but it was strange not to recognise famous lines as I usually can with Shakespeare.  The action was interspersed with familiar songs from the 1960s (which matched the costuming), and I wondered whether these had been added to make it all seem more familiar.

We went to a matinee performance and chose to sit in the shade, but it soon grew cold and windy.  During the interval a number of people moved to sunnier spots.

This is a rare opportunity to see one of Shakespeare’s lesser-known comedies, and definitely worthwhile.

“No folk we know like Desdemona
among these people of Verona.”

Centre Celebration

The Women’s Centre has attractive new premises at 242 Ferry Road in Waltham.

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This organisation is dear to my heart.  We bought our Cottage from one of the founders, and were intrigued to learn that this home had previously been used as a women’s refuge and been the venue for meetings held to establish the Women against Violence Centre which later became the Women’s Centre.  In 1993 when I was studying Community Skills at Polytech I joined the Centre as a volunteer Support Worker.  Later I became their paid Finance worker and Fundraiser and was a collective member.  At this time they were in the old Atlantis Building in Cathedral Square.  The Centre later moved to Greenwich/witch House and another premises in Manchester Street. Many of the workers were close friends, and I have continued an association with the organisation.

Forced to leave Manchester Street after the earthquakes, they had two other homes before moving at the end of last year to these new premises, and yesterday was their official opening, as well as a belated 30th birthday celebration.  It was a pleasure to be there among so many friends.  Some were wearing pink pussyhats, as seen at the Women’s March on Washington on January 21st.

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Mayor Lianne Dalziel (right) cut the birthday cake with Centre Manager Ardas Trebus.

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“The Women’s Centre is a place
where women have their special space.”