Sunday, September 18, 2011

Rugby World Cup

Although I'm not a rugby fan it's hard not to get caught up in some of the spirit, some of the enthusiasm and some of the hype around the Rugby World Cup. If you live in New Zealand you'd almost believe that the Rugby World Cup is THE MOST IMPORTANT sports tournament in the world, ... ever ... anywhere. The fact that any country that has enough rugby players to make a team of 15 can send their team to compete doesn't matter one bit. It's still THE MOST IMPORTANT sports competition on Earth.

I enjoyed the Opening Ceremony, it's fun to see All Black and New Zealand flags flying all around the country and it's great to see people showing national pride and loyalty. Yesterday I was in Wellington. It was a rare Wellington weather day of complete calm and brilliant sunshine. The central city was buzzing as people got out and enjoyed the day. There were also a significant number of South Africans and Fijian supporters enjoying the build up to the match between their countries that evening. I spent some time in town with my nephew. He is also caught up in World Cup fever although his enthusiasm is from the curious perspective of a six year old. His focus is on flags. He can name the country of every flag of competing RWC nations and likes colouring in photocopies of the flags. He has a small, fabric All Black flag.
"Where did you get the flag from?" my sister prompted him to explain.
"From Richie McCaw" he said.
"You mean Richie McCaw the All Black?" I asked.
"Mmm," he murmured, as he fiddled with a couple of Weetbix rugby cards.
"As in Richie McCaw the captain of the All Blacks?" I said, "Wow! Did you meet Richie McCaw?"
"Yes," he said.
He wasn't interested in elaborating on the whole event so I had to find out from my sister how Zak got to meet Richie McCaw (at a public event promoting the RWC). I'm sure Zak must have been excited at the time but he clearly wasn't awed by the experience. Maybe that's a good thing. He's not hero-worshipping the players nor showing an over-the-top obsession with rugby. I don't think he'll mind too much which country wins the World Cup as long as he likes their flag!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Gap Filler

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about a tiny phone booth library in England. Now I've discovered that New Zealand has its own version, and not only that, it's part of a creative use of post-earthquake and post-demolition gaps in the Christchurch city landscape. The 'Gap Filler' website describes the project as follows:

'Gap Filler is a creative urban regeneration initiative started in response to the September 4, 2010 Canterbury earthquake, and revised and expanded in light of the more destructive February 22, 2011 quake. It is now administered by the Gap Filler Charitable Trust. Gap Filler aims to temporarily activate vacant sites within Christchurch with creative projects, to make for a more interesting, dynamic and vibrant city.'

There have been a number of individual projects such as a petanque pitch and a photographic art gallery. I learned about Gap Filler it when I read Moata's Blog on the Stuff news website. She describes a book exchange Gap Filler that she uses and helps to keep tidy. It's a glass fronted fridge, complete with paving stones leading to it from the roadside, for anyone in the community to use. Moata explains the book exchange in a bit more detail and she describes a rather unique book she acquired this week. I recommend you read her blog post about the book. I thoroughly enjoy reading her blog. Her posts are entertaining and it's refreshing to enjoy the clever and thoughtful comments that people leave compared to the rubbish comments that appear on some websites.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Host of Daffodils

Today was a sparkling spring day with real warmth in the sun and clear blue sky. Mum and I went to an open day at a local daffodil growers property and we enjoyed the scent, sight and show of masses of daffodils. I love the shapes and colours of daffodils, but I think I love them that little bit more because they signify the end of winter and the welcome arrival of spring.

Funnily enough as we were wandering around we both thought of the poem by William Wordsworth. Mum could remember 'I wandered lonely as a cloud' and I remembered 'A host of golden daffodils' but that's all we could remember. Google made it easy to find the whole poem simply by searching the first line. So here is the poem along with a few photos I took of the daffodils.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er
vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed---and gazed---but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.