Looking across Beckenham & Spreydon : Picturing Canterbury

Looking across Beckenham & Spreydon. Christchurch City Libraries, CCL-Arch887-074


The Displaced Reader: Spreydon Library is like a tree house

With autumn here Barrington Park is a picture as you walk to Spreydon Library next door. Once inside you get that tree house feeling especially as you climb the stairs and see the autumn colours through the skylight windows.

This is a unique library (see my photos) – a seventies building given a 21st century makeover with an interesting skylight over the mezzanine floor and a reassuring amount of exposed steel beams. It also has a lift to make access to the fiction collection upstairs easy.

Downstairs the windows give views out to the park, there is a spacious deck with seating and a bright children’s space. I loved the use of orange and aubergine around the walls. Free WiFi makes this a nice place to visit with your laptop too.

There seemed to be tons of fiction to choose from and I swooped on the latest Donna Leon from the bestsellers and an old fave DVD (Since Otar Left which has an amazing 80-plus year-old actress stealing the scenes). Just the thing with a wet weekend forecast.

Depending on which way you travel to Spreydon Library there could be heavy traffic, especially coming across from north to south. I parked on Barrington Street without too much trouble but there is also the Barrington Mall car park next door. The mall seemed pretty busy, with cars coming and going. There’s a cafe nearby if you need a fix and a playground in the park very close to the library.

Find out which libraries are open and learn more about Spreydon Library

Next stop on the library tour is Hornby, which is in one of the busiest parts of the city, so keep following the Displaced Reader on her travels.

I went to an all boys’ school. Every one of us stank.

That’s a quote, and quite possibly the most accurate description of a New Zealand school experience I’ve ever read. It comes from the pen of Christchurch’s Ryan Nelsen. The All White and Blackburn Rovers defender proves himself to have quite a turn of phrase in A Beautiful Game: football through the eyes of the world’s greatest players.

Collated by English football writer Tom Watt, this  collection of memories and cultural snapshots delves into the stories of how some of the biggest names in the game started out, explores their childhoods and what football meant to them. It puts a very personal and intriguing angle on the world’s most professional game.

Organised into sections like hope, family, dedication, passion, flair and courage, the book gives a real insight into why football inspires devotion from legions of fans. The photographs are stunning and show people playing football on beaches, arid deserts and streets in places as diverse as Baghdad, Liberia and Cambodia.

For Nelsen it’s a story that takes him from Spreydon Domain to the World Cup finals – and its fantastic that a Kiwi features in a book like this. His story illustrates perfectly the opportunity  and the dream football represents for millions of people around the world. I’d recommend it if you’ve ever wondered why blokes like sport so much. If it whets your appetite, there’s plenty more football resources available online or at your library.

Do you have memories of Big League Soccer, late night F.A. Cup finals or stinking out the classroom after lunch-time battles like Ryan Nelsen? Or were you more of a sportophobe?