Holiday learning and fun for kids and teens

Cover of Holiday programmes brochureKia ora koutou. Holiday programme brochures are now out at your local library. Ask your librarians for further details. The programmes are as follows:

Trendy Trading Cards (for 8 to 10-year-olds)

Digital Illustration ( for 7 to 9-year-olds)
Film School (for 12 to 17 year-olds) – a great lead-in to the Summer Reading Film Competition
Holiday Photo Story (for 8 to 12-year-olds)


Summer Reading Adventure for 5 to 12-year-olds
The Science Alive Reading Adventure for 5 to 12-year-olds

Entry form for Summer Reading Adventure

Download The Great Summer Reading Adventure entry form [1.9MB PDF]

Entry form for Science Alive reading adventure

Download The Science Alive Reading Adventure entry form [2MB PDF]

School’s out! Have some fun.

Christmas at The Homesick Hotel

Cover of HomesickI check in to The Homesick Hotel every Christmas. And I am not alone.

My yearning for family, always subtly present, reaches a crescendo on Christmas Day itself: one red candle in front of my annually diminishing array of Christmas cards, a shtonking great bird in the middle of the table, two Christmas crackers, two paper hats, one nervous looking husband and a glass of champagne. There will be tears.

And you don’t have to be a migrant for homesickness to strike. In Christchurch there are folk homesick for Christmases that took place just down the road in the Red Zone, where they used to live. There are parents longing for Christmases that took place right where they are now, before the kids all left. Then there are those with  no homes and no families at all.

You are all welcome at The Homesick Hotel.

I check in with a full book bag (and if you haven’t yet got one of those, slap it on your Christmas list right now). Here’s what’s in my bag this year:

  • Homesick – a book of linked short stories by Roshi Fernando, an award-winning Sri Lankan writer living in London. The namesake story introduces thirty four characters (most with Sri Lankan names) in the first eighteen pages. I need to read the rest of the book to unravel what is going on.
  • The Goldfinch – I loved Donna Tartt‘s book The Secret History. This new novel is about an abandoned boy, a small painting and the art underworld – that should cheer me up!
  • A House Somewhere – this is an old favourite – a collection of excellent essays on living abroad, written by great writers like Isabelle Allende and William Dalrymple.
  • The Gallery of Vanished Husbands by Natasha Solomons, because it is about Art, Love, the Sixties and has a great title!

Back in 1977, The Eagles said of Hotel California:

You can check out anytime you like… but you can never leave

It’s the same at The Homesick Hotel, but reading does help. A lot. So, what will you pack in your book bag this festive season?

Morrow, Bassett & Co : 1902

View in our collection
Morrow and Bassett ghost signs Morrow and Bassett ghost signs
Morrow and Bassett ghost signsMorrow and Bassett ghost signs
You might recognise these names from a couple of ghost signs just off  Madras Street:
A clever bit of research by Phil Braithwaite reveals more about the company and its connection to McCormick reapers and binders, using page 259 of the 1902 Tourist Guide to Canterbury as a source.

If you are interested in ghost signs, see our earlier post on Pannells Bootmakers and check out Mark Spurgeon’s splendid site Preserve that documents such signage.


We have digitised a rather splendid 1902 publication Tourists’ guide to Canterbury.