Posts Tagged ‘Avon Loop’

Seal Seen

This baby seal is resting on a rock near to our cottage.

This is the first time I’ve seen a seal within the Avon Loop.  Perhaps the cold weather and rough seas have driven it inland?   Where are its parents, I wonder?  I understand it’s been in the area for a week now, and I hope it can find its way back out to sea.

“Today this is a city seal,
but should be by seashore, I feel.”


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A great jet of water pouring over the river and Oxford Terrace prompted me to investigate.

It turned out to be a Fire Brigade Training exercise.  They simply lift up the cover of a fire hydrant and plug into the water main.  The bright sunlight provided a rainbow in the water.

The firemen assured me they were kindly washing the road.  When I inquired what might happen to any car coming down Oxford Terrace from Hurley Street they demonstrated how they could change the direction of the water flow.  It’s good to know the brigade is prepared for all kinds of fires.

“I went across to see because
I wondered what the water was.”



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‘Putahi; tributaries feeding tributaries’ is the title of a new exhibition by Otautahi Korerotia.

Three talented young artists have created works which depict the many social, material, and ecological streams that flow around our community cottage.  Liv Worsnop, a Plant Gangster, led a group who have cared for the green space all over the Avon Loop.

Seeds from the community

Mikaela Marshall observed the various traffics in the area and depicted them within a lightbox.  Phoebe Hinchcliff asked locals to fill in a questionnaire about what community means.  She transferrred the answers into haunting music which plays within the exhibition.

The whole experience is delightful.  The exhibition will be open again on Wednesday evening, May 3rd, between 5 and 8pm, and is well worth a visit.

“These artists took a different view
to show the Loop to me and you.”

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Continual rain overnight (thanks to Cyclone Cook) meant that our patio was flooded when we got up this morning.

Patio Pond

We’ve not seen it like this before.  There was 40mm of rain overnight, and the ground underneath must still be saturated from the previous week’s rain.  Luckily it’s draining now the rain has eased.  The river was also high, and was over its banks in several places.

Avon/Otakaro near Barbadoes Street Bridge

It’s flowed onto Fitzgerald Avenue near the Kilmore Street intersection.  We’ve been spared the high winds that have caused problems in the North Island, and a fine afternoon is forecast.

“I’ll stay inside, the river’s high
and I want to keep warm and dry.’


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“How old is your cottage?” is a question we’re often asked.  It’s difficult to answer accurately, because the City Council’s building records don’t go back far enough.  The land on which the cottage stands was originally part of Town Reserve 21 and designated to become the Botanic Gardens.  When it was decided the gardens should be in Hagley Park the designation was changed to Reserve 63.  The first title for our small piece of land was issued in 1872 to Arthur Appleby, who also had many rural sections.  In 1877 he sold it to George Levitt Binning, a City Council Labourer, who we believe was the builder of this colonial cottage.  At first it would have consisted of just two rooms, and was probably constructed from a kitset, selected from a catalogue, and shipped from Australia.  It’s likely that it was erected by 1878, and we’ve recently put up a sign saying “Est. 1878” so that passersby can have an answer to their question.  Since the earthquakes there aren’t many cottages of this age left in the local area.

“Our cottage is extremely old
almost one-forty years we’re told.”


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It was inspiring to hear Professor Simon Kingham talk on this subject at the 2016 Rod Donald Memorial Lecture.

He quoted statistics from Charles Montgomery’s “Happy City” which show that personal connections and trust can make you happy and healthy.  Having one friend or family member to confide in has the same effect on life satisfaction as a tripling of income.

Wellbeing is higher if you use active or public transport rather than driving.  Simon emphasised that if you have to get in your car, it’s not local.  This shift from local is something many of us in Christchurch experienced when local facilities, e.g. shops and jobs, disappeared after the earthquakes and we needed to drive when we’d been used to walking.

Simon stressed the value of ‘bumping spaces’ such as riverside seats or a book fridge, as well as ‘gathering spaces’ such as a community cottage, shops, and cafes.  Green (and blue) spaces are essential.

Our Community Cottage

Our Community Cottage

Simon installed a basketball hoop on the street frontage of his home to encourage people to “bump” there.  I live beside an empty grassed section where a group of youths regularly play cricket.

After the earthquakes the Christchurch City Council had some great plans for re-creating our communities, but CERA changed many of these.  An obstacle to creating sustainable urban communities is the fact that Government departments often don’t share information or values, e.g. the Department of Education appears not to recognise the importance of schools as community hubs.

If you’d like to hear this lecture it will shortly be available as a podcast from PlainsFM.

“We have the opportunity
to rebuild our community.”

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To see horses crossing Barbadoes Street is unusual.  I grabbed my camera and followed them along the river.


These horses usually live in Marshland Road, and had come into town to give some children a ride.  They were now being offered a chance to cool off in the river.  I did wonder whether pollution in the water might  be harmful to them.

The horses’ owner was called Richie, and I think he’s Richard Hayden, who has previously seen in town with horses.  Certainly the ponies and dog look the same.

“A horse is not a common sight
to have them near was a delight.”


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