painting of Totara Valley home

I was so fortunate to be able to commission a painting by a young Wellington artist – Jessie Boston, as a gift for Anne on her birthday last week… it is a beauty.  I love Jessie’s ability to minimalise with a touch of quirkiness and come up with such a great result.  Awesome.  Check out Jessie’s art on





Hello Sunday cafe, Christchurch

I am itchy to write a review but my bias is total – my eldest son Sam is the head chef and menu designer and my younger son Josh is on the front of house staff.
Hello Sunday on Elgin St, Sydenham, Christchurch

Hello Sunday on Elgin St, Sydenham, Christchurch

That declared and out of the way, I want to acknowledge the passion and energy of this young team – Christopher Penny (owner/manager) and Sam Stewart and the people alongside and around them have established a fantastic operation – the food (and I am paying my full share – they can’t afford favours!) has been consistently fresh, tasty, well-presented and an adventure.  The coffee has been smooth and good with no bitter edge (well done Switch, well done baristas!), and the surroundings, while echoing a little at this early stage of their development, are very pleasant with a nice comfortable homely retro feel.
We have encouraged many friends and church-folk to try it out and they have all reported that they loved the food and coffee and service (I am going to talk to the management about a ‘being a promoter’ discount one day).
Sydenham is bustling and the addition of this fine little cafe on Elgin Street near The Columbo mall and Academy movie theatre is fantastic.


I wrote the following by way of apology to a meeting:
I am in the middle of a dental calamity (a two-toothed gap) and am finding it hard to say some of my favourite words like ‘existence’ ‘presbyterians’ ‘spaciousness’ ‘spirit’ ‘stewart’ ‘species’ ‘Jesus’ ‘shiraz’ ‘sex’ etc.

I fear I will only make a nuisance (another troublesome word!) of myself (another) if I tried to be useful (yep, one more) at the meeting, and I don’t look as sartorial (another) as I might either!

Please accept my apology for not being at the meeting – I should be repaired on Tuesday next!

The letter after ‘R’ is troublesome

Ellerslie Garden Show 2014

It was good to head along again this year and see that good changes were bearing fruit – a sense that the garden were the centrepieces – more of them, better consistency, sufficient practicality and  contrasting quirkiness.  Placing the big tents around the edges was a vast improvement – the whole place felt open and uncluttered despite the presence of several thousand people.  There were some great touches – the involvement of children, fantastic sculptures, and small features to try at home.  I think it has earned its reprieve but it could do with a rebranding now – something that reflects the Christchurch setting.  The ChCh City Council made a controversial purchase of what was an Auckland show, and it has paid off.  Now it is time to own it as a local show for people from near, far and wide.  Some of my images…
burn after reeding DSC_0376  DSC_0383 DSC_0381 DSC_0404 take rest DSC_0385 DSC_0387 DSC_0389 DSC_0399 DSC_0392 DSC_0415 DSC_0371