Christchurch – this week in history (7 – 13 January)

10 January 1887
Tramway to New Brighton completed.
11 January 1851
First copy of the “Lyttelton Times”, edited by J.E. FitzGerald. Read the first issue online.
In January 1988, construction began on what was once  Christchurch’s tallest building to date, the 76.3m Price Waterhouse building.

Price Waterhouse Coopers

More January events in our Christchurch chronology.

Testing the water: Picturing Canterbury

About to test the water
A summer Sunday outing February 1958 at the Waimakariri River.
Bain, Peter, Avis, Merle and Brenda preparing to float down the river for fun. They later realised the danger of the current and didn’t do it again.

Classical sparks

Classical Sparks is now a Christchurch institution. As a celebration of summer and the joy of living in Christchurch it’s hard to beat. The coming together of people from all walks of life in a relaxed atmosphere, sitting or lying on the grass with picnics and children and enjoying the music – it has a charm all of its own. This is our community at its best (like shovelling liquefaction for your neighbours, but more fun).

This year it takes place on Sunday 5 February. They’re featuring some great music with a programme featuring top Australian opera singers Jud Arthur and Virgilio Marino and it includes, to name a just a few favourites:

First half (with links to the music in Naxos Music Library)

Second half

It should be a lovely evening of music, so see you there.

Summertimes – and the entertainment is easy to find

Inaugural New Zealand Sandcastle CompetitionEvery year early in the summer, I pore through the Summertimes catalogue excitedly, even exclaiming out loud to anyone within earshot about all the exciting things that are coming up to see and do over the warmer days.

Every year I only seem to see a fraction of what I want and in particular there is one event I just miss every year! The Chinese Lantern Festival is something that I have tried to go to for years and years, ever since they started having one. I imagine that it will remind me of the time I spent living in Hong Kong, not only the lanterns, but the food. For too many years, even if I put in on my calendar, I forget until the week after, and last year, earthquakes conspired to prevent it even happening. I also forget the Kite Day, most of The Breeze Lazy Sunday Concertsand I must have not only been under a rock but a large pile of sand to have missed the Sandcastles this year!

This week’s goal is to get to at least some of the Busker’s Festival. I’m keen to go inside the Le Tigre Bleu tent and see what lurks.

Shakespeare’s As You Like It at Mona Vale is a must see for me, as is The Anthony Harper Summer Series of The Complete History of Christchurch – Abridged by The Outwits. This is the last Abridged show this talented group is performing. This is one event I have been to regularly most years. We take the folding chairs, food and a little bubbly and we laugh ourselves silly.

So I challenge you all, do a better job of living in this wonderful city than I seem to, and avail yourselves of all the amazing Summertimes and other entertainment on offer until well into March.

Corsair Bay summer: Image of the week

Summer at Corsair Bay
Summer at Corsair Bay, 1964

Barrington Big Fun Day – Sunday 26 February 2012

10AFFIRMSeveral months back I went to a community fun fair in Addington which had everything a big (meaning adult) or little kid could ask for. I really felt the benefits of attending a community get together after all we have had to deal with in our EQ times. It left me feeling the importance of sticking together and the need to connect with those in community more often. Barrington Big Fun is another opportunity for this so I thought I’d  encourage you all to come out on the day. Last year saw a huge turn out of around 2000 people and an atmosphere not to missed!

Barrington Big Fun offers a very entertaining day for the whole family. In years past, more than 50 local musicians, entertainers, cultural groups, sports teams, crafts people, local businesses and non-profit organisations have pooled together with great community spirit. Christchurch City Libraries will be there running a story time session and displaying information on our fantastic services. The mix includes live performance, activities, information stalls, and of course yummy food!

Stage Line up!
It is great to see a community event drawing on local talent and offering something for everyone, a lot of different acts has been packed into the 3 hour duration of the event. Everything from classical, band music, clowns, martial arts, Irish, swing and zumba dancing; rock music and more.

FREE ‘Have-A-Go’ Activities
I still get excited at the thought of trains, kites, bouncy castles and the like. Activities include: Lil’ Puff Train, Climbing Tower, Skytes Kites, Pony Parties rides, Bouncy Castle, Face Painting, TumbleTimes (Council Gymnastics) and StoryTimes (Christchurch City Libraries).

Barrington Big Fun Day offers a good mix of healthy and local produce along with the regular treats one would expect to see at such an event: hot dogs, kebabs, cakes and candy floss. The information tent will also have free water and fruit.

Find out about more local community events in the Summertimes  Family Fun programme and their events page.

Getting the garden through a watering ban

ICover‘ve just started converting my patch of liquefaction into a garden, so I was dismayed to read in the paper that watering gardens might be completely out of bounds if the summer gets dryer. Determined not to give up my morale boosting project, I started thinking about how I could get my new garden through a watering ban.

Twenty five years of gardening on sand in Sumner have taught me a couple of things about dry gardens.

  • Water less often but more deeply. This encourages the roots to go deeper and makes them more drought resistant. This really seems to work and I am preparing my garden by doing that now.
  • Mulching really does work. I always put down dampened newspaper underneath to discourage weeds as well.
  • Get the right plant in the right place – especially if it’s a difficult spot. I have always found Roy Lancaster’s books invaluable for help with this.

A friend in Ashburton, where they have regular watering bans came up with these:

  • Attach a hose to your water outlet pipe. In true kiwi no. 8 wire fashion you can do this by using a funnel, that feeds into a hose, which feeds into a drum. My friend has bought a large water container with a tap on the side because this makes getting the water out again easier.
  • The old “bury a plastic bottle beside drought prone plants” trick. You put holes in the bottle and keep it full of water. This makes very efficient use of your water, although I don’t know if this contravenes a watering ban. I’m hoping to use this to keep my lemon tree alive.

And from the Australians

  • Apparently in Melbourne they take a bucket into the shower with them to collect excess water for the garden.

Of course we have lots of books in the library to consult on water wise gardening there are also some good water saving tips on our website. Maybe some of you have already done the research and have other ideas to contribute. If so I’d love to hear them.

Life savers: Image of the week

Senior 6-man teams at Canterbury Surf Life-Saving Association's third carnival at North Beach, 4 Feb. 1962

Senior 6-man teams at Canterbury Surf Life-Saving Association’s third carnival at North Beach, 1962.

Time for a laugh – Buskers are back

I think most of you will agree that it’s time Cantabrians had something to laugh about. So if funny hair, acrobatics and mime artists put a smile on your face, you’re in for a treat! From 19-29 January 2012 the legendary World Buskers Festival returns to Christchurch.

This year’s performers include:  the ever popular Funny Bones, former Cirque du Soleil artist Christopher Phi and local heart throb Mullet Man.

All you need to take along is your humour, sunscreen and a pocket full of change.

Check out the festival timetable, performers and locations

Along with everything else in Christchurch, the location of the festival has be relocated to Hagley Park – renamed as Busker Park for the event.
So get along to Busker Park, grab the kids and some  friends …  it’ll be great for a laugh!

Farting dogs and teen angst on OverDrive

Hopefully you are all aware that we offer a fabulous e-book and downloadable audio book service through OverDrive. What you may not know is that OverDrive also has a growing range of titles for children and teenagers.

If you are trying to get your sprogs away from their computers and interactive thingee gadgets, then perhaps this is the compromise?  They get the techy stuff to play with and you get to relax in the fact that they are reading or listening to stories. Happiness all round!  For example we have titles such as:

For kids

For older kids

You can access OverDrive titles from home only with your library card number and PIN. Enjoy!