Tuesday, 16 February 2010


Christchurch, our last stop off in New Zealand, has a little different feel to the other cities on our tour whilst it still demonstrates the things that we have come to appreciate on our journey. This is a great country to visit, very comfortable for Brits, ‘feels like home’, full of stunning sights and fine hospitality and food, not to mention the glorious wine. Maybe the difference here is the older part of the city where there is a river not unlike those running through our Oxbridge cities with dripping willows and boater behatted punt pilots. They tell me that this is the most English of New Zealand cities and in the oldest section it could be true.
Today was a day inspired by the contents of the first photograph, found outside one of the numerous Irish pubs that inhabit every city on the face of the earth. On spotting it a plan began to form. Was there any chance of escaping the latest Lonely Planet tick list and streetathon? A forlorn look and muttering about lack of painting opportunities had Sheila suggest that, after a quick tour on the tram and visit to Art Gallery, I miss out on the joy of the Botanic Gardens and the Arts and Craft centre and head off with my watercolours.


City Centre Tram

Town Crier

Jolly Boating Weather

Forecourt of Art Gallery

Street Sculpture

Off to Cathedral Square, the centre of people activity, to watch and maybe find some inspiration for sketches. Like other congregating venues this was a gathering point for buskers, public speakers and entertainers young and old.
This brings me to the title of this collection, why $6.60? Well I sat and decided to sketch one of the speakers, an interesting guy with magician’s hat and gown, who talked about our failures as a species to accept, acknowledge the great problems of our age and posited his solutions to those problems, a little out of the main stream in his thinking. As I painted I heard the tinkle of coins and found that some of the people looking over my shoulder were deciding that my poverty stricken appearance was deserving of a financial boost. By the time I packed my paints the princely sum of $6.60 had accumulated next to my palette. This was a new experience for me and maybe this is the future that Sheila has for me, ‘Get out there and paint me some housekeeping’.
$6.60 Portrait

Our last evening started in frustration as we attempted to find a recommended restaurant that unknown to us had closed but did have a stroke of luck attached, the place over the road from the empty address presented us with some of the best meat either of us had eaten even in this land of fine produce.
Did Norman Bates live in Christchurch?

Night Lights in Car Park

And so goodbye to New Zealand, a country that has enchanted us from start to finish. There is much that I could write but will leave that till I've had time to reflect on the experience, suffice it to say that it was a stroke of genius when Sheila said, 'I fancy going to New Zealand'.

The next bulletin will appear in a few days time, from the US of A.

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