Back in the CBD

Yesterday marked the first step towards reopening the CBD, locked behind the red zone cordons since February. Only a very small step in actual space terms, just a couple of blocks, but psychologically a very important one, as those blocks make up Cashel Mall, so badly damaged in the earthquakes that only four or five buildings are still standing, but which has been transformed into a temporary shopping centre – what they’re calling a “pop-up mall”, with shops and cafes housed in converted shipping containers.

We’d planned to have a meetup to mark the occasion, but in the end it was just me and Rarsberry. Thanks to very last minute announcements about exactly when the mall was opening, we arrived at 10.30, two hours before the actual opening. That’s ok, though, we just retired to Coffee House for cake, then went for a walk around the gardens and released a few books.

The ducklings were out in force in the gardens, including these distinctively-coloured ones (they’re Paradise ducks):

Once we’d distributed most of my books to park benches (no catches yet, but there were a lot of people around, so it’s only a matter of time) we went back up to Cashel Street, just in time to hear the opening ceremony (no chance of seeing it, because the crowds were so dense we couldn’t get near enough).

After the obligatory speeches from politicians, they opened the gates and the crowds surged in. Within seconds all the shops were so full of people all we could do was peer in the windows, but it was still an exciting feeling to be back in the city again, even if it was completely unrecognisable (actually, it was really weird – all the seats, planters and paving is exactly the same as it was before the earthquakes, so if you focussed narrowly enough (or faced towards Ballantynes, which (on the Cashel Mall side at least) is unchanged) you could imagine you were back in the old mall. But then you turn your head slightly and you see all the gaps where the buildings used to be, and it’s so disorientating – I kept hearing snatches of conversation where people were trying to work out which shops used to be where.) A great atmosphere, though, and the container shops are really well done. And just so nice to be able to go into town again, even if it is just a handful of shops.

Pretty Sparkles! (or, Who Let Me Loose With a Glue Gun?)

After a couple of incredibly busy weeks trying to catch up with work and study after my unplanned break, I had my final exam on Friday, which means I have finished my BA!!! (Ok, so there’s still the little matter of actually having passed the exam, but I’m feeling pretty confident, especially considering I’d done well enough in the in-term work that all I had to do was turn up to the exam to pass the course). Only took me 10 years…

Anyway, having been released from the need to spend every spare moment studying, I went shopping yesterday, and came home with this lot:

That’s a cheap picture frame, some dowelling, spray paint, screws, cup-hooks, staples, net and pretty sparkly stuff. Which, after a bit of carpentry, turned into this:

and then this:

and finally, this:

Can you tell what it is yet?

How about now?

Yes, it’s my solution to never being able to find a matching pair of earrings in the clutter of my jewellery box (probably something to do with the fact that it was just that – a box. With everything piled into it haphazardly. And the fact that I’m usually searching in the semi-dark, because I normally get up before MrPloppy, so I try not to turn on the main light in case it wakes him up.) I’ve been toying for a while with the idea of using a mesh-covered frame to organise them, and now that I’ve actually got a free weekend the idea grew into something that could store all my jewellery (well, almost all – there’s a few rings and stud earrings that are still in the box, because I couldn’t think of a simple way to add them to my creation). And because we’ve been re-watching The Gilmore Girls it became a bit prettier and sparklier than my original plan.