Friday, 11 December 2020

Saturday morning. Being a tourist in Christchurch

I started my Saturday morning off by listening to Kim Hill interviewing Sarah Shieff" about her new book 'Letters of Denis Glover.'  "Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle" - many New Zealanders know Denis Glover as the author of the iconic poem "The Magpies". But there are better ones of the mountains such as Arawata Bill and the series in Sings Harry. No one writes about the mountains better than Glover. I met him in 1973 and was smart enough to get him to sign his latest book.

As the interview outlined Glover as a poet, printer and publisher he also left behind a tarnished personal legacy, of womanising, drinking and a chaotic private life.  Sounds familiar. Shieff is hoping to widen our understanding of Glover beyond his flaws to include his wit, gift for friendship, and his bravery. She's spent over 7 years reviewing thousands of letters. 

After 10 am this morning I caught the bus to the Interchange and my first stop was Scorpio books. As I walked in a signboard said:  Books can be dangerous, The best ones should be labelled "This could change your life."

The selection of books they have in stock in the lead up to Christmas is amazing. There were approximately 70 people in the shop and many walking up to the checkout with armfuls of books. Let no one tell me books are dead.

I stumbled across a new book by Fleur Adcock which is a collection of her poems. The first poem is such a tragic and romantic one which is called  'Flight With Mountains'  (in memory of David Herron) David was a brilliant NZ academic and an equally good climber who died when an avalanche engulfed him on Aiguille d'Argentiere in 1960. He also did his PhD thesis on James McKerrow- Explorer and Surveyor. He was a good friend of Phil Houghton and Mike Gill.

Then I said hello to my friends at 'Miss Saigon' and told them I would be back around 1 pm for a big bowl of Pho Bo.


Next I had a chat to Robert Scott (statue)  en route to Adventure Books. I first met him there in July 1969 when I was training in Christchurch for some months at the old Geomagnetic Observatory in the Botanical gardens.  He didn't nod, but I think he enjoys my chats that span 51 years. Then over the bridge to Worcester Blvd and on the Explorers Hub. It was nice to meet Thung and have a good chat. He's a good man. The shop or as Kipling would call it, The Wonder House, is looking good. I loved the penguin outside the shop to keep your sign company Bill Nye.

On the way back to meet 'Miss Saigon' I sat by the Avon and dreamed of 'freedom.' Compared to the rest of the world, we are so free and we have good Governance. 

Back at Miss Saigon I was able to 'show off ' my rusty Vietnamese and enjoy the company of three Vietnamese staff while they prepared my soup pictured above.

Then I stopped to talk to my old mate who lives on the streets in Ch Ch with his dog. He never begs, he just sits there and watches the world go by. He radiates a lot of humble wisdom. After browsing a few more shops, I caught the bus back to Northwood, where I bought a Lotto Ticket and two bottles of Sauvignon Blanc. I've gotta win Lotto and see the world again next year.

So that was my outing today. I find it important to keep my diary up to date with ordinary days recorded.