Dragons in the Avon

Last weekend was the Lantern Festival, so on Sunday night I met up with Lytteltonwitch and (after a detour to watch Loving Vincent (which was… interesting?  I liked the concept, and it was very pretty, but I thought the sound was badly done – it sounded too much like a radio play, and didn’t connect properly with the pictures (by which I don’t mean it wasn’t in sync, it’s just that it somehow didn’t sound like it was coming from inside the scenes – I’m sure there’s a technical term for that…) which kept pulling me out of the story) at Alice’s (and is this the worst example of nested brackets totally messing up the parsability of a sentence ever?  Sorry!)), we wandered through the Square and along the river to see the lanterns all lit up.

I’ve heard a few complaints about how crowded it was, but I don’t think it was that bad. Some of the queues for the food and activity stalls were quite long, but you just had to be patient (or pick one of the stalls with shorter queues). And there were a few bottlenecks where construction areas are still cordoned off, but again, just a matter of patience. I just thought it was wonderful that finally we have enough of the city back that we can have the Lantern Festival in the CBD again and not hidden away in a corner of Hagley Park as it has been for the last few years. And it’s still enough of a novelty to have actual crowds in the city centre I can’t help enjoying it when it happens.

On Saturday Gwilk finally managed to get everyone back together for another attempt at our long-neglected Dungeons and Dragons game.  It was a lot of fun (Thokk (my character) spent most of the evening being nasty to Mrs Gwilk’s character, after she inadvertently insulted Thokk’s parents.  I *think* Mrs Gwilk got that it was all just role playing…), so hopefully it won’t be another year before we manage another game.

Hmm, I seem to be telling the story of my recent adventures backwards again.  So, to continue the theme, let’s skip back a few more days.

Last Thursday I went to a really interesting panel discussion put on by UC’s FemSoc club, on the topic of the #MeToo movement.  The panel included victims, educators, and politicians, and had some really thoughtful things to say about how society and the justice system is failing victims of sexual abuse, and the difficult question of how to fix the problem.  There was a surprisingly respectful audience discussion afterwards, and it sounded like the evening might have some good outcomes in terms of the university looking more closely at its policies around harassment and abuse.

And I was out on Wednesday as well, at another recording of the Nerd Degree with Jacq and their partner.  It was, as always, incredibly funny, although I thought it took longer than last time to properly warm up.  Darcy, another former LING student (and who helped me with the graphs for my thesis, so will forever be my hero for her R-ninjaness) came along too, so it was nice to see her again.

So quite a social week last week! Plus we’re in the middle of interviewing for a couple of new positions for the Lab, and I’m on the interview panel for both of them, so it’s been busy at work as well.  Thankfully this week has been a bit quieter on the social side at least – there’s been a lot of just coming home and crashing in the evenings.

I haven’t forgotten about my Block of the Whenever quilt (and I definitely haven’t run out of ideas – I’ve got a long list of blocks I want to try next), but I decided I needed to get on with the quilting on the Birds in Flight quilt before I lost track of what I was doing.  And the exciting news is, I finished all the quilting!!!  No photos yet, because I still need to put the binding on, but it’s getting much closer to a finished quilt.  Not bad for three and a bit years’ work…

A spot of colour on a grey day

It’s a grey and drizzly day, and not at all ideal for photographing quilts, but I finished binding the Little Squares quilt last night, and I’m off to Wellington tomorrow (these are completely unrelated events, except that being in Wellington will mean I won’t get another chance to take a better photo of the quilt over the weekend), so I dashed out before work this morning to get a few quick pictures:

I’m really pleased with my quilting on this one. Rather than doing an all-over design, I branched out and used the blocks as inspiration for the quilting. It’s not perfect, but I think it looks really good, and it’s another small step in expanding my quilting skills.

The effect is really cool on the back, too:

Work has been ridiculously busy, with a major project deadline looming (actually, several project deadlines – it’s a PBRF round this year (contestable funding based on the amount of research the university produces), so everyone is rushing to get things finished before the end of the year.  Which, for our biggest project, means getting it finished in the next few weeks so it can go to peer review in time to be published in December.)

And with perfect timing, I’m taking the day off tomorrow.  It’s kind of work related though – I’m off to Wellington for a union conference on LGBTQI+ issues in the workplace.  (This seems to be how the union’s going to suck me in to being active again – I turned down the offer to return to the branch committee, but this conference comes with a free trip to Wellington, so, yeah, looks like I’m getting involved in the union again…)

Anyway, it means I’m now doubly rushed to get everything done this week, so I’m grabbing a few minutes in my lunch hour to write this, then it’ll be back to debugging code.  So many bugs…

The other not ideal timing about going away this weekend is that Dad rang to say he and Stepmother are in Akaroa, and planning to come over to Christchurch for the weekend, so while he’s here do I want him to help me paint the laundry (so I don’t have to spend the insurance payout on a professional painter).  Except I’m not going to be here…  Of course, Dad being Dad, he offered to just do the painting himself (and let’s be honest, it was always going to be more a case of me helping him paint, not the other way around), so he’s going to pop round tonight to pick up a key.  So I should come home from Wellington to a freshly painted laundry area.

I never got round to writing anything last weekend, but I did have an interesting Friday night.  There was a night market in the Arts Centre, with a talk at the Teece Museum on the night-life of ancient Rome.  I met up with Lytteltonwitch at the talk (which was really interesting – all about how most depictions of Roman street scenes are nothing like the reality, which would have been crowded, messy, and pretty dangerous), then afterwards we wandered around the market and the shops that have just (re)opened in one of the newly restored buildings – including Fudge Cottage, which was such a wonderfully nostalgic sight to see back in the Arts Centre (I remember going there at the weekend to buy fudge (or just try the free samples if we were all feeling poor) when I first moved to Christchurch) that of course we had to buy a few pieces (well, that was our excuse, anyway!).

Walking back to the bus exchange, we spotted a man feeding the eels in the Avon.  So of course we stopped to watch, and ended up staying chatting to him for about half an hour, while he fed the eels (and a very large trout who joined the party) an entire pottle of cat food.  They are fascinating to watch (as long as you keep your fingers out of the way – they can give you a nasty nip if they mistake a dangling finger for food, and they’ll climb up out of the water to get at it) – we all agreed it was much more entertaining way to spend a Friday night than going to the pub!

Right, time to get back to those bugs…

Pineapples and ping pong

This has been turning out to be quite a busy week.  On Thursday evening I went to a craft meetup, one of the many things on my “when the thesis is finished” list.  It’s quite a cool group, pretty diverse in ages, if not genders, and a reasonable range of crafts, although of course heavily weighted towards the portable, like knitting and crochet.  They meet once a week, usually in a bar, and have a drink and a chat while working on their projects.  Last time I’d gone to the meetup had been in the middle of my thesis, when I wasn’t working on anything except the thesis, so I hadn’t taken a project, just sat and chatted and admired everyone else’s work.  But this time I was determined to take something I could work on.

As I couldn’t exactly lug my sewing machine and giant quilt along, I thought about taking a cross-stitch project, but it’s been so long since I worked on any of them it would have taken me all night just to figure out where I was up to, so I rummaged around in the study until I found a ball of wool (except it’s actually cotton) that Jenny had given me when she left, and found a crochet hook, and asked one of the crocheting women to refresh my memory on how to crochet (which I haven’t done since I was at high school, and wasn’t all that good at it then).

My aim is to make a dishcloth – I was given a crocheted dishcloth a couple of years ago (I think in a secret santa thing?), and after many washings it’s finally wearing out and developing big holes.  So I thought I’d have a go at making myself a new one, and with a bit of help (and a lot of “what on earth have you managed to do here?”, and “are you sure you’re right handed?”) from my instructor, I made what I think is good progress:

My technique is a long way from ideal (I’m sure I need at least two more hands!), and my tension is all over the place, but who cares – it’s going in the sink, it doesn’t have to be perfect 🙂  And at least it’ll be the most colourful dishcloth ever, even if it isn’t the prettiest (actually, that multi-coloured wool is horrible to use – it’s so hard to see what you’re doing!  I just picked it out of the stash because I knew it was cotton, so would work for a dishcloth, and I thought the colours would be nice and bright – I didn’t think about the practicalities of being able to see where the stitches are…)

Then last night I met Lytteltonwitch after work and we went to the Noodle Markets in Hagley Park (after a very long walk around the park, because they had it in a different place to last year, and neither of us had thought to look up where exactly it was (and Hagley Park is HUGE – it’s about a kilometre across North Hagley alone)).  The market was much better organised than last year, and only a couple of the stalls had the ridiculously long queues of last year.  Most of the stalls were concentrating on just a couple of dishes and were just churning them out rather than making to order, which really sped things up, and there were no signs of any of them running out of food like they did last year.

We shared dishes from a few different stalls at random, wanting to try as many different dishes as possible.  Then we saw people walking around with barbequed meat on skewers that looked particularly tasty, so we followed the trail of people back to the source, which turned out to be one of the stalls with the longest queues.  So I volunteered to stand in that queue and get us some skewers, while Lytteltonwitch went in search of the other thing we’d seen people walking around with – drinks served in pineapples (yes, actual pineapples, hollowed out and with a straw and an umbrella stuck in them – we decided that it didn’t matter what the drink contained in them was, we wanted one!).

Although my queue was long, it moved relatively quickly (they had an amazing production line going on with the skewers, with a huge line of barbeques grilling the meat), and we were entertained as we waited by passing dragon dancers (and by a sudden shower of rain – luckily, I happened to have a small fold-up umbrella in my bag, so I and my queue neighbours were able to shelter under it).  When I finally got to the front of the queue and got some skewers, there was still no sign of Lytteltonwitch.  So I headed in the direction of the pineapple drink stand, and found her still in the queue, which was almost as long as the skewers one, but much slower moving.  I was able to pass a skewer over to her to give her sustenance while she waited, at least.  The drinks, once she finally got them, were really good – a kind of mango smoothie, with a tonne of fruit in them, and garnished with slices of pineapple and orange.  Definitely worth the wait, and seriously filling – we didn’t bother going to any more stalls after that!  Using pineapples for cups worked really well with the eco emphasis of the festival (all the plates and cutlery were compostable, to minimise waste), and they were great marketing for the stall – as we wandered around we were asked by several people where we’d got our drinks, and even though we told them how long the queue was, they all raced immediately over there.

Walking back to the bus exchange, we passed a new addition Gapfiller has made to Re:Start – three table tennis tables, with bats and balls that you can borrow for a game.  Neither of us had played table tennis since high school PE classes, but we decided to have a go anyway, and spent a very giggly half an hour occasionally playing but mostly chasing down rogue balls – we decided we really should rename the game “off-table tennis”. There’s signs on the tables saying you must stop play when a tram passes, and I can see why, considering the number of times we had to retrieve the ball from the tram tracks!  We couldn’t quite remember the scoring rules, so no idea who won, but we had a lot of fun 🙂   A couple of young men stopped to watch (they were very polite and didn’t laugh too loudly), so after a while we surrendered the table to them so they could play a proper game.  Definitely a fun way to finish off the evening!

Then this morning I went to another meetup, this time with the Christchurch Bloggers group.  The group kind of fell apart a couple of years ago, when Miriam, one of the main organisers, moved to Australia.  But she’s back, and decided to reinstate the meetups, so we met for breakfast at C1 this morning.  It was great to catch up again with them, and the conversation ranged far and wide.  Hopefully this will be the start of more regular meetups again.

I’m turning into such a social butterfly lately!  (Though mostly just because I feel like I need to make up for lost time, after having pretty much ignored everyone for so long)

Production line

(Warning to family-type people who read this blog: there are Christmas-present spoilers below.  If you don’t want the surprise ruined, stop reading now.  Alternatively, if anything really catches your eye, let me know and I’ll make sure that one’s your present 🙂 )

January and the start of my masters is looming large, so I’m trying to fit as much as I can into the rest of this year, before I have to be head down over the books again.  Of course, my list of things to do (urgent) is much longer than the time remaining, but I’m making pretty good progress.  Last weekend I decided Saturday needed to be a “buy all the things” day, so I planned out an over-ambitious route to various corners of the city to tick off some of the retail-based to dos on my list. And ended up walking most of it.

That wasn’t the original plan – I was going to walk as far as Hands, then catch a bus from there into town, walk from there over to a place on Fitzgerald Ave, then catch a bus to Riccarton, and finally bus home.  But I spent too long in Hands (a common problem), so just missed the bus into town.  And it turns out they’ve changed the timetable so that bus only runs once an hour at weekends now.  So I decided I might as well walk into town (probably a stupid decision, given how hot a day it was, but the alternative was sitting at the bus stop for an hour (or going back to Hands… but that could have got expensive!)).  And from there I still had to walk over to Fitzgerald Ave of course (which is only a few blocks more, but walking through the dusty wasteland of the central city it feels much longer), and then I discovered the shop didn’t have what I wanted anyway, so I had to go to another place on Memorial Ave (another several blocks across the wasteland in the other direction), then back to the bus exchange – I’d love to have had one of those step trackers on to find out just how far I walked in total  (Actually, I just looked on Google maps – it adds up to a bit over 11 km!!!  No wonder I was feeling tired!)

I didn’t quite get all the shopping done I’d planned (clothes shopping got struck off the list due to feeling too hot and dusty to try anything on… or possibly just because clothes shopping is my least favourite variety of shopping, so it’s easy to find an excuse to put it off – I’m sure the clothes I bought years ago will do me for another season, won’t they?), but I did manage all the important stuff at least.

Which left Sunday free to spend working my way through the pile of sewing projects I’ve got on the go (most of which will end up as Christmas presents, so look away now, Mum (yeah, I know you won’t…)).  I had quite a quilting production line going: I managed to get most of the patchwork bits done, quilted all but one of them, and even did the binding on one (the rest might be sitting in front of the TV in the evening jobs).

My “failed” first attempt at a star. Now that it’s all quilted and bound, I’m much happier with it – the wonkiness and missing points are much less noticeable (though I still know they’re there). I was really pleased with my free-motion quilting – I felt like I was finally getting a feel for the right speed to use, so it flowed quite nicely, and the tangled Christmas lights effect I was going for came out really well.

I did the same FMQ design on my better stars – a wee bit trickier on this bigger size, but I think it looks really good. The centre star looks like it’s missing a set of points, but that’s just because the fabric is a bit too similar in shade to the background, so it got a bit lost when I quilted it. I actually quite like the effect though. Obviously, this one is still in the “needs binding” pile.

Another one that needs binding. This is the reject bird that I’d planned to put on the back of my ‘Birds in Flight’ quilt (which is also in the to do pile, but will probably sit there quite a bit longer – it’s so huge that I’m totally intimidated by the idea of quilting it. I probably should just give in and pay someone to do it), but that I got the colour progression back to front on. It was sitting there looking sad and unloved, so I decided to turn it into something. I’m really pleased with how the FMQ came out on this – I wanted it to have the feel of air currents swirling around the flying bird, and I think I achieved that. I probably should have done something different on the bird itself, and just had the currents around it, but it’s such an intricate shape that sounded to complicated, so I just went with the all-over swirliness. Let’s just pretend that it’s a depiction of air as a three-dimensional space, so some of the air is between us and the bird… yeah, that works 🙂

And more stars. I’m not obsessed with this pattern, honestly, it’s just that I keep getting it almost but not quite right, so I have to have another go to see if I can do it better. I haven’t got as far as quilting this one, but it’s basted (that’s what all the safety pins are for), so all ready to go as soon as I decide whether to go for the tangled lights design again or to try something different.

The other projects I wanted to get done before the end of the year are all still in the rough-sketch-in-a-notebook stage (or the even earlier vague-idea-in-the-back-of-my-mind stage), so whether I get them done is pretty doubtful. So many ideas, so little time…

Blossoms and Snowflakes

A couple more FMQ squares for my experimental quilt (at this rate, winter will be over before I get it finished…):

This pattern is called Happy Blossoms, and it was a nice fun one to sew (even if I got confused on a few of the flowers) – it flows quite nicely.

And this is The Snowflake, another pattern that’s greatly helped by drawing chalk guidelines (just ignore the few wee places where I veered totally off the lines).  The snowballs were supposed to be randomly placed, but apparently I’m not very good at doing random, because I seem to have ended up with diagonal rows of them.

Other than that, and a bit of working on a wee secret project for an upcoming birthday party, I’ve had a very lazy weekend.  Last weekend was so full-on (as well as the Oamaru trip, I went to Alex’s farewell lunch on the Monday), and then work is still reasonably stressful while we wait for a decision on our future, that I pretty much ran out of go this weekend, and spent a lot of time vaguely mucking around on the internet and watching youtube videos.  Not the most constructive way to use my time, but sometimes necessary.

On Friday afternoon a few of us from work went to visit the Whole House Reuse exhibition at the museum.  Whole House Reuse is an amazing project – they took a redzone house that was scheduled for demolition, and salvaged as much of the material as possible (it was supposed to be all of the material, hence “whole house”, but they found asbestos in the insulation, so had to dispose of that), then asked artists and craftspeople to find ways to reuse the material in creative ways.  The idea being to show just how much material that normally ends up in landfill when a house is demolished is actually still useful.

We worked with the Whole House Reuse team at the beginning of the project to archive their catalogue of all the materials recovered from the house, so we were really keen to see the exhibition of works created from the material.  There’s some really amazing stuff, everything from a whole new building (a 10 square metre “tiny house”) down to jewellery.  There’s some incredibly imaginative uses of material, too, like light-switch casings turned into picture frames.  Hopefully we’ll be getting pictures and documentation from all of the artists to add to the collection in CEISMIC.  There’s going to be an auction at the end of the exhibition, and I’m very tempted to attempt to buy one of the smaller pieces for myself.  They may all end up being way out of my price range, but I’d love to have a part of such a cool project.

After the museum closed, I met up with Lytteltonwitch and we went over to The Commons for dinner.  The food trucks that were at the Square every Friday night over the summer are at The Commons one Friday a month over winter.  It was very cold, and the ground was pretty wet after the rain, so you had to be careful dodging puddles in the dark, but there was a great atmosphere and loads of exciting options for food.  Jan was there with her pop-up tearooms, doing bacon butties and puddings, so of course we had to sample both, and then we were tempted by several of the other stalls, so ended up eating way too much (and I still didn’t get to sample half the things I’d have liked to – I think I would have exploded if I’d eaten anything else, though).

I got to try out the new bus exchange on the way home (only half of it is open, but it’s the half my bus leaves from) – a huge improvement on the temporary one, if only because you get to wait for your bus inside and sheltered from the weather.  It seems a lot nicer than the old one, too, though that might just be because it’s new.  But it felt a lot more welcoming to me, and safer, too (though I’m not sure what exactly was making me feel that).  Nice to finally see one of the many promised anchor projects finally open, anyway.

On stage at the Theatre Royal

Just had one of those “I love my job” moments.  The polytech is running an architecture summer school, and as part of it they’d organised a tour for their students to look around the rebuilt Theatre Royal, an amazing heritage project that reconstructed (almost from the ground up) an Edwardian theatre badly damaged in the earthquakes. And we got invited to join them for the tour.

It was very short notice (we only heard about it an hour before it started, just enough time for us to race into town), so I didn’t have my camera with me, but it was an amazing experience.  The tour was led by the CEO of the theatre and the project architect, who were able to tell us so much about the process, and all the amazing things they’d had to do to preserve as much of the original material as possible, and to recreate what hadn’t been preserved (while cleverly hiding lots of nice modern safety features in behind the walls :-)).  As well as the auditorium area, they also showed us around backstage, down into the orchestra pit, and of course onto the stage itself.

So cool – incredibly interesting to see behind the scenes (almost literally – except the stage was empty, so there were no scenes to see behind ;-)), and the restoration work is just amazing.  Definitely got to go and see a production there sometime soon!

A few of my favourite photos from last night

Nobody seemed particularly worried that we appeared to be in the middle of a scene from The Prisoner.

This may have had some influence on our decision to start dinner with cake 🙂

After the belly dancers, an aerobics session (complete with Jane Fonda workout tape), and the crowd starts to join in:

Not long after this I gave up trying to take photos and just joined in myself – everyone was having too much fun to just stand and watch!

Yep, those road cones get everywhere – apparently they even fly.

Street volleyball and extreme hopscotch

Lights, colours, and …aerobics?

Caught the bus over to Lytteltonwitch’s place tonight (conveniently, the bus that stops across the street from my house goes past the end of her street), and we walked into town from there to see the FESTA (Festival of Transitional Architecture) light displays.  It was a very cold night, but there were loads of people in town, and a great atmosphere.  They’d closed off a few roads, and as well as the artworks there were food stalls and games and music and just a lot of people having fun.  We watched bellydancers, joined in a mass aerobics class (well, attempted to, anyway – I’d like to blame the fact that I was carrying my camera and tripod for the fact that I couldn’t keep up with all the moves, but the truth is I’m just utterly uncoordinated!), played extreme hopscotch, ate dinner in reverse (it started with cake and ended with bacon butties), stalked a steampunk spaceman, and took a LOT of photos.  Which I’m too tired to sort through now, so they’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

A seriously fun night!

A photographic tour of Christchurch

This is what central Christchurch looks like these days – still a mass of cordon fences, road works, half-demolished buildings, and vast open spaces that can feel pretty desolate:

On the plus side, there’s cool artwork (official and unofficial), and a lot of the empty demolition sites have been grassed over, which makes some parts of the city feel quite rural:

This is Latimer Square, of course, so it’s always been grass, but those green areas across the street used to be full of tall buildings.

Neil Dawson’s Spires, sitting in front of the temporary cardboard cathedral, but very much inspired by the old one.

The ultimate yarn bombing!

And after a while you don’t really see the fences and road cones any more.  I took this next pair of photos looking in opposite directions from the same bridge, because in one direction all you could see were demolition sites, while in the other it was a classic Avon River scene and you’d almost never know there’d been an earthquake.  Except when I downloaded the photos, I of course realised that there were road cones and cordon fences in the second scene too – I just hadn’t noticed them, they’re so ubiquitous around here…

Some demolition sites have been completely transformed.  This is a cool “nature play” area – a conservation site crossed with a playground, where kids (and big kids) can explore the little stream via stepping stones and tunnels through the garden, and nowhere is off limits.

Other places are pretty much untouched.  This stretch of river bank still has the large cracks from “lateral spreading”, where the river bank slumped towards the river.

They announced recently that the Forsyth Barr building has been bought, and is going to be refurbished as a hotel.  I’m not sure I’d want to stay in it, given its history (it was the building where the stairways collapsed, so office workers in the upper floors had to be winched out by helicopters (while aftershocks still rocked the building) because they had no way of getting out).  I suppose they’re relying on tourists having short memories…

There were a group of people in suits and hi-vis vests standing on the top of its carpark – I assume representatives of the hotel looking around their new investment.

But of course, it being the end of August, what really caught my eye as I wandered around the city yesterday were the little signs of spring.  Most of the trees are still bare and stark, but if you look closely there’s definitely buds on the verge of bursting into life.  And while the council’s official plantings still have winter poppies and forget-me-nots, there’s illicit daffodils and blossom popping up here and there:

The Botanic Gardens are of course the best place to spot spring’s arrival in little bursts of colour:

The classic koru of an unfolding fern always says spring to me.

For the foreigners, if you’ve ever wondered why New Zealand’s sportspeople wear a silver fern on their uniforms, this is why. It’s in reference to this native fern which has a silver underside to its fronds (even more noticeable when you see it almost glowing under the dark canopy of trees out in the bush).

Across the river, the ultimate sign of spring in Christchurch – Hagley Park’s famous daffodils are starting to bloom.

This photo must have been taken by a million tourists over the years – the band rotunda among the daffodils. And from this angle, you can hardly even see the cordon fencing around it…

Weekend wanderings

As you can probably tell from the sudden drop-off in blog posts, life is very much back into the normal pattern of work, work, and more work, and feeling like there’s not enough hours in the day to get everything done I want to (and term hasn’t even started yet, so there’s still study to add to the mix…).  Although I was actually intending to sit down and write a blog post on Sunday afternoon… and then the power went off.  So I read a book instead 🙂

I spent Saturday exploring the central city.  The RISE festival is on, so there’s all sorts of interesting street art springing up in unexpected places, as well as the usual constant flux that is central Christchurch, as the demolition (and very occasional rebuilding) continues.  Always something new to see.

“Official” street art (if that’s not a contradiction):

This artwork, Julia Morison’s ‘Tree Houses for Swamp Dwellers’, has been around for a while, but for some reason I’ve never stumbled across it before now:

I think this hi-viz-wrapped tree has been around even longer (I’m sure I saw photos of it ages ago), but again, the first time I’ve seen it in the “flesh”:

And then there’s the unintentional art of partially-demolished buildings:

The flooded basement of that one held a surprise. Along with the usual contingent of road-cones and rubbish tossed over the fence, a pair of ducks.  I had to look twice to check they weren’t real, but no, they’re hunting decoys.  I love these little touches of humour that brighten up the rubble in random places.

The Town Hall was never a pretty building, but it has a weird attractiveness these days in its overgrown state:

I discovered a few new-to-me Gapfiller sites in my wandering, too.

The Sound Garden, with instruments made from recovered/recycled materials:

This was my favourite – bells made from old fire extinguishers (it was amazingly well tuned!):

The Weaveorama asks passersby to weave in any random materials they want, to create a collective artwork.  It’s already full of weird and wonderful things – as well as fabric and plastic strips, and bits of plants, there were things like bus tickets and even a couple of jandals woven in.  The woman who designed it was working on it while I was there, so I stopped for a chat.  She commented that they hadn’t had a bra woven in yet – on Monday I saw someone tweeting a photo of it, and sure enough, there was a bra…

She had a bag of fabrics with her, so I added a few strips of it as my contribution:

Near Alice’s there’s a bike safety training course, again made out of recovered materials:

I went and had a look at the cardboard cathedral (we’re supposed to call it the “Transitional Cathedral” now, but the cardboard name has stuck :-))

It looks quite good from the outside, but what struck me inside is that they’ve got it arranged the wrong way.  It tapers in from the wide “stained-glass” (it’s just printed, not proper stained glass) end, to a narrower end that is plain, with just a large cross made of cardboard tubes decorating it.  And they’ve put the altar at the narrow boring end, so all the seats of course face that way.  Which seems all wrong to me, if the aim of religious architecture is to inspire awe in people (which is why cathedrals are always so high-ceilinged).  Standing at the altar looking back was much more awe-inspiring, with the walls broadening out, then that vast expanse of stained glass.  Instead, sitting in the seats you see the walls narrowing in and it feels like you’re in a much smaller space than you actually are.  Harvestbird, who knows such things, suggested it’s maybe because the altar is supposed to face east in Anglican churches, but (as you can see from the Port Hills behind) the cathedral’s actually aligned north-south, so that can’t be the reason.  Maybe the Bishop just is scared nobody will listen to her if there’s something more interesting to look at 🙂

Other randomness:

A pumpkin growing along the security fence around the Theatre Royal.

We’ve had pop-up malls, and pop-up cafes, now a pop-up gym in a shop in New Regent Street.