Sights, Sites & Scenes Seen

Christmas sorted and seen to for another year. 2020 is a palindrome. But you knew that. So was 1919. Scrambling about in my mind to find some personal connection to the last palindrome year, I came up with it being the year when my father became more than just a twinkle, getting himself born eight months later in September of the following year. Well, it’s a bit desperate, but a connection nevertheless. This coming year he would have been one hundred. Now that’s something for me to ponder on.

Tram in Christchurch helping to roll in some fresh energy to the battered city centre.
A heart on a window saying it all for this city that has had its fair (or unfair) share of heartbreak
Time, for some new growth and beauty
In the middle of the post-earthquake rubble of what was once the highest office building in Christchurch’s central business centre, the most endangered species of gull (Black-billed) have found sancuary and chosen this spot as a breeding and nesting site.
There they sleep, sit, strut and squabble in all their quarrelsome glory, protected and enclosed by a purpose-built wall, complete with viewing windows and information for the public.
Gull viewing.
New beside an old survivor. Christchurch is far from being completely fixed, but it is getting there.
The Avon (named after a river in Scotland and not, as I presumed, after the famous English river.) Here is information on the river as written in Wikipedia: The Avon River was known by the Māori as Ōtākaro[2] or Putare Kamutu.[3] The Canterbury Association had planned to call it the Shakespere [sic].[4] The river was given its current name by John Deans in 1848 to commemorate the Scottish Avon, which rises in the Ayrshire hills near what was his grandfathers’ farm, Over Auchentiber.[5] The Deans built their homestead adjacent to the Avon River where the suburb of Riccarton now lies. The river’s name and that of the river which runs through Shakespeare’s birthplace of Stratford-on-Avon is thus only coincidental, contrary to popular local belief.
The name was officially altered to Avon River / Ōtākaro by the Ngai Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998, one of many such changes under the Ngāi Tahu treaty settlement.[6]
The day we were there, people were taking leisurely punts – another sign of Christchurch’s healing and of it coming back into its own.
Fair to say, the Avon River / Ōtākaro is one of Christchurch city’s gems.
We followed a trail laid down for walking from the old city centre to the Gardens.

There’s a lot of the ‘new and mended Christchurch’ that can be seen now. We certainly didn’t see it all. Naturally enough, it looks a bit like a puzzle with missing pieces at the moment, but it is possible to imagine what the completed picture will look like. Watch this space.

A pond on the outskirts of the Gardens and where Robert and I spotted black-billed gulls feeding. We also saw little scamps of ducklings that kept straying away from the safety of their largely unconcerned mothers.
Part of a large Seraphine Pick painting in the Christchurch Art Gallery.
And a Bill Hammond from the exhibition of his work in the Gallery
Another Hammond.

Our visit to family in Christchurch before Christmas, was followed a day later by a trip farther south to spend part of Christmas Day with Robert’s mother.

Returning home to Dunedin that night, the roads were eerily empty. Deserted roads meant a faster more pleasant trip home (keeping within the speed limit of course!) without having to deal with traffic. However, the empty roads and lack of humans, did feel weird.

Approaching Dunedin, there seemed to be hardly a soul about – and it was only 9.00 pm.
Since Christmas, down town (and all of Dunedin) is still pretty quiet. No trouble finding car parks!
Looking down Stuart Street towards the Dunedin Railway Station.

The quiet streets are bound to be more crowded and rowdy tonight when the celebrations kick off to bring in the new year.

I have been putting the present lull between Christmas and New Year to good use and using the quiet spell to meet some writing deadlines. I figure if I can’t picnic or barbecue – or even soak up some sun while reading a book, the next best thing is writing. For a writer, that’s not half bad.


Writer from Dunedin, New Zealand.

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