Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Royal Nursery

Remember Mother Monarch ?

Her offspring are growing rapidly and will soon be ready to leave the nursery. Here are some of her growing brood. I think the family numbers a dozen or so. Royal Nursery

© silkannthreades


A great little gift

The other day, when I was visiting my Tulip Tree ( Me, the Tree, and Helen)  at the former site of Helen Connon Hall, I decided it would also be a suitable hour  to say goodbye to the adjacent St Saviour’s Chapel, where we held our church service during the Reunion weekend in October 2000. St Saviour’s Chapel is about to  embark on  yet another voyage, and must be the most travelled chapel I have ever met.

St Saviours Chapel was originally built for, and located in, the West Lyttelton Parish of  Lyttelton. Lyttelton is home to our main sea port and, from Christchurch, it  is reached by travelling over  the Port Hills or through the tunnel. St Saviour’s was consecrated on 22 October 1885. For many years it was a chapel for seafarers and local parishioners alike. Amongst the seafarers to worship in the Chapel were Captain Robert Falcon Scott and the crews of the Discovery and Terra Nova.

In 1975, the Lyttelton parishioners gave the Chapel  to the Christchurch Diocese  and it was then given to The Cathedral Grammar School for use as its school chapel.  To reach its new abode, the Chapel had to be  dismantled and moved in sections over Evans Pass to Christchurch, and then reassembled. It was blessed on its current site on the corner of Park Terrace and Chester Street in July 1976 .

In 1980, a piece of the Chapel made another, much longer, journey. Acknowledging the Chapel’s connection with Captain Scott and  Antarctica, the original altar was given to the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research  and  later placed in the Chapel of the Snows in Antarctica.

Now the little Chapel is too small for the needs of The Cathedral Grammar School, so it  has been given to the parishioners of Holy Trinity Lyttelton, who lost their own church to the recent earthquakes. Soon, the Chapel will  return close to its original home. Quite how it is to travel is still undecided, as far as I know.  It may go the way it came or possibly, and very appropriately for a seafarers’ chapel, it may travel by barge on its first sea voyage ever. What a great little traveller and adventurer.

Here is  St Saviour’s Chapel being readied for her voyage. St Saviour's Chapel Waiting


Stowed away but not yet shipshapeStowage

The CaptainThe Captain

The BellThe BellLook  out

Reflections on the  port of callReflection

See East Wave farewell to the childrenFarewell to the Children

Need a Chapel?  Need a Gift? St Saviour’s to the RescueSaviour to the Rescue

If you would like more detailed information on the amazing life journey of this great little Chapel please refer to the following links:

© silkannthreades

I know, now, how things work; mostly.

In our outings and aboutings, I have noticed that there are certain places which are favoured as rest areas by taxi drivers and people in work vehicles. Usually, they are places with free parking, lots of shade, beautiful views and lots of activity to attract the eye. However, there is one area in a Burnside park which has always puzzled me by its popularity with resting workers. It has shade and free parking, for sure, and the view is fair enough, but, during the working week, activity to watch is limited to a few dogs being exercised, and some grass growing.  Until my visit yesterday, I would have said ‘how dull’. But, after some time sitting in my car, pretending to be a resting cab driver, my eyes have been opened, my horizon extended and I know,now, how things work; mostly.

Here’s my path to enlightenment and knowledge.   Sitting in the car, I look at the view.  I think it would be more inspiring if the Port Hills were visible and the ugly fencing in the foreground were taken away. Across the Fields

Ho hum, tiddley dum; twiddle thumbs. But, wait a minute, something interesting is happening in the rear view mirror. I hop out of the car for a quick inspection, leaving husband happily eyes front, waiting for the glimpse of a hill, or a dog to bound across the emptiness.

This is the rear view action Thrilling water drilling

where there is danger and muddied waters andDangergushing pipeGushing, rushing water

and haphazard hay bale damsBaledBaling out

and a pile of sticks near dappled depths.Stuck sticks But, since no one is in the danger zone to help me trespass across the dams, or find a use for the sticks (Pooh Sticks would stick in the dam, I decide), I return to the car. Husband is  not yet bored and neither are our parked  neighbours, everyone one of whom has their car determinedly reversed to the action.

So,again, I sit and look and look at the bare-ish expanse before me, and start to wonder if I could take a panoramic view of the landscape. I  fiddle with buttons on my camera. I press this one and that one; no panorama setting is to be found. But, hey, what’s this button? Oh my,oh my, is this true? Can my little camera do that and that and this, and this and that one,as well. My camera has a whole other life I have been too busy to see.  I am beside myself with excitement.  Husband is now ready to leave, but I am too occupied in discovering my camera’s inner existence.

Eventually we get home to supper and domesticity.  In the quiet of the evening, I make a note to never again doubt the wisdom of working drivers, or the appeal of a bland view. Therein lie hidden depths and inspiration, and, maybe even the source of hay bale dams. I know, now, how things work!

Well, not quite completely, when it comes to the inner workings of my camera. Here is last night’s camera experimentation. LIghting the Night

© silkannthreades

Precious Metal

This is metal, precious metal, from the World Trade Center.Branded for Life

I am standing close enough to touch it; to press my cheek against it. But I can not. My hand is raised, ready to feel the rough surface, but I hesitate and withdraw as if afraid the redness of the metal may somehow burn me. Am I being fanciful? Possibly. Yet, the fact remains, my hand is restrained by a sense of  overwhelming pain, imprinted on the object before me. It does not want to be touched. It is not ready; it is healing.

Are objects bearers of our burdens, our feelings? Do they carry our histories? Would I feel this way if I came to this piece of metal without knowledge of its tragic story. I am not sure.

What is this story and why am I so close to it on a sunny, Saturday afternoon, in the city of Christchurch?

I am at the Firefighters Reserve, on the corner of Kilmore and Madras Streets, Firefighters Reserve

next to the Central Fire Station. Central Fire Station

I am here out of curiosity. The Reserve has been in existence for more than ten years. I have driven by many, many times, and know something of its origins, but have failed to stop for a proper visit. Today, I want to find out what I have been missing. This is what I find. This is what I see. This is the story.

The TributeThe SculptureThe Story BeginsSculptureSculptureSculptureSculptureThe Story

This part of the story comforts me. It seems to validate my inability to physically communicate with the sculptured metal. “The sculpture stands……near the historic site of the former Tautahi Pa. There were important Maori cultural and spiritual issues to be considered in placing a sculpture made from a site of death near this significant life-giving site. Consultation……took place to ensure that processes and procedures were enacted to appropriately acknowledge and address the cultural considerations.” It also answers a question I posed in my earlier post on a sacred site a few metres  further down river from the Firefighters Reserve…..

And, finally, the story ends or, perhaps, begins a new telling.Endings or Beginnings

And ,so, I sit and reflect Reflecting

how I,  in my small corner of the world,Small corner

can help to heal the wounds of our world.WoundedIn the words on the plaque………


PUMAUTIA KI TE POU ROKO    © silkannthreades

Gracie’s Graces

The other day, when I was preparing my post  Me, the Tree, and Helen , I found, tucked away in  my  Helen Connon book,  a thank you letter, from a  very old, Helen Connon Hall Old Girl. It is a hand written note and closes with the lovely words, “Grace begets Grace.”  The ending made me smile and remember the pleasant few hours I spent in the Old Girl’s company, listening to her stories of days gone by. She was a gracious hostess.

The words also made me smile for another reason; in fact, this time, I not only smiled but I chortled, as well, because it occurred to me that, in my back garden, I have a perfect, and down to earth, example of grace begetting grace, in the form of my Aspidistra.  My Aspidistra is a descendant of a large and lovely Aspidistra who lived comfortably, and well, in a purple hued pot near the fireside in my grandmother’s living room. My grandmother called her Aspidistra, Grace, or more accurately, Gracie, after Gracie Fields who sang, The Biggest Aspidistra in the World; a hit song in 1938. Gracie lived by the fireside  for decades and when my grandmother died, Gracie went to live in the home of a daughter in law where she thrived under  tender, green fingered care, for more decades.

A few years ago, my aunt, perhaps feeling that my fingers had finally obtained a worthy, lighter shade of pale green, asked if I would like to care for some of Gracie’s great, great, great,and probably more great, Graces.  I was only too happy to welcome some of Gracie’s progeny to my home.

Sadly, my little Graces don’t have a fireplace to warm them; they have to live in the rough and tumble outdoors and ,sometimes, this leaves them a little bedraggled. But I love them dearly and, more than that, I love that this simple plant has graced our family for at least 70 years and maybe longer, according to some versions of our family history.  How amazing is that! And, imagine, what stories our old Gracie and her Graces could tell of our lives. Full of Grace

© silkannthreades

Here and There

I am feeling weary after yesterday’s heat, so, today, I am only going to post some quiet, soothing photos without the noise of too many words.

This is the carpet thyme and chamomile  forest by my vegetable box.Thyme and Chamomile Forest

Chamomile beacon;Light up my life

Thyme for Chamomile Tea?Thyme for Tea

Nope, not quite yet, because we are off to McLeans Forest on McLeans Island where the strange, eerie whisperings of the pine trees surround us.Pine Forest

The scent of the pines and the songs of the birds are sweet but there is something about the sounds in a pine forest  that raise the hairs on the back of my neck; time to head home


to the homegrown, simple serenity of my zinnias.Zinnias

© silkannthreades

Plum delicious

With surplus plums in the pantry, (well, they would be in the pantry, if I had one), it was time to get creative. So I was. I made my favourite plum coffee cake.Plum coffee cake

The recipe is from the Joy of Baking website which is an excellent place to find cake recipes. I follow the recipe to the letter, but not the pan, because I don’t have a suitable round cake tin.

With the most important cooking task completed, I decided to add a few more flavours to our evening meal. Enter my spinach and rice cake which is another favourite recipe.Spinach and Rice Cake This one comes from Very Easy Vegetarian Cookbook by Alison and Simon Holst. Again, I follow the recipe exactly, even to the baking dish,  because  the Holsts excel at producing precision recipes. Here is a link to their website, although I don’t think this recipe is on it,  The main ingredients, apart from the obvious spinach and rice and tomatoes, are cottage cheese and eggs and parmesan type cheese, onion and herbs.

Baking over, let us come to the table and feel blessed that our food is plentiful.Blessed

© silkannthreades

Let the feasting begin

This morning, I noticed two tiny monarch caterpillars on the swan plants outside our bedroom window.  Here is one of them magnified.Royal offspring

By evening, the caterpillar population had increased to 8; at least that’s how many I could see in the dusk. If the numbers keep increasing at today’s rate, I may have a caterpillar famine on my hands before the end of the week. I hope not. I am hoping, instead, that mother monarch  has laid the exact number of eggs for the exact amount of food provided by two swan plants. What are the odds of a monarch mother doing that kind of calculation. Probably rather good, because I find it completely amazing that, amongst all the vast foliage of my garden and neighbourhood gardens, she found my two small, swan plants. I saw her come three times. The first two visits were reconnaissance, I am sure. There was no messing about.She flew straight to the plants,  from the direction of the street. When I saw her the third time, she was laying eggs. No Google Maps for this lady; she knew exactly where she was going.  So, if she can identify plants so accurately, and select a laying site so carefully, surely she knows the ratio of eggs to plants to optimise offspring survival. Time will tell.

In the meantime, I have been honing my own version of monarch butterfly life skills, by sourcing more free food.  Today, I came upon two different plum trees, side by side, with their fruit laden branches conveniently hanging over a parking lot fence. One of the plums is a small yellow fleshed variety and the other is a delicious red skinned, red fleshed plum . I love red plums with their crunchy outer skin and firm, tart interiors. I picked a big bowl full. The problem now is that, as I am the only plum  lover in the house,  I need more mouths to eat the fruit. I wonder if the caterpillars would care for some plum when the main course of swan is finished?Plums galore

Full of plums

The colours of plumsColours plum and blue

Footnote: I wrote this post yesterday but WordPress was being angry and wouldn’t let me insert my photos,so I couldn’t publish. I haven’t counted the caterpillars this morning but I did see a monarch butterfly hovering around the plants. I wonder if it is the same mother returning to check on the progress of her offspring?

© silkannthreades

Was my journey really necessary?

But, Mam, is my journey really necessary?Do I have to?

I am only a little bit scruffy and a little bit stinky and you know how I cry when you leave meDon't leave me!

at the groomer’s.  Even though they are really nice to me and give me soft toys and comfy blankets, and they even warm the cold shampoo for me so I don’t squeal ……..but…….but…..okay, she’s gone; better go along with the show.


So was my journey really necessary? Huh, huh?  What’s the difference? I look the same. Alastair and Clancy said I was very opinionated today and had a lot to say about global warming. Snort! I was hot and bothered. You would have been, too, if you were stuck for hours in a grooming salon with randoms. Besides, it would be a great saving to the planet if you let me be stinky and doggy. Sigh. C’mon, let’s go home,So, what's the difference?

where I can chill Chilling

and tell you that, even though you are a clean freak, I really love you. Honestly I do. Now, can I have a biccie?I really love you.

© silkannthreades

More sheep than people?

On our gallivants this afternoon, we encountered some sheep, in a small field, a short walk from a major shopping mall. That made me think how lucky we are to live in a city which still has farm animals, and a touch of country, within its boundaries.Grazing on Grassmere

Spurred on by our first sheepish encounter, we went sheep spotting. This group was camera-shy, or plain hungry, and went as far from me as they could get. Shy SheepThese two went even further; into the dry Styx river bed and under the shade of the pear trees.Sheep on the StyxNext stop was at the paddock by St James Church ; bit of a rough, ragamuffin bunch, this lot. Long tails for some and some long locks for others.Sheep styling But, best of all, for sheep in the neighbourhood of spiritual redemption, there was a black sheep in the family.  Black SheepUnsurprisingly, the sheep turned away from me again; this time they moved off towards the churchyard, eating as they went.Sheep to the SteepleSo there you have it; the excitement of gallivanting through the country, in the city. Did you notice any people? NO? Well, I guess it’s true, then, that there are more sheep in New Zealand than people. ” But, wait,” says Sheep,” I saw people. So surprising. I wish I’d had a camera.” Hey, I'm not silly.  I saw people.

© silkannthreades