The Kiwiana backyard soundtrack to summer is, for the most
part, a welcome reminder that sunny freedom is finally here:
sweet chirpings of both birds and bugs, sizzling of sausages
and steak on the barbie (and of skin beneath the sun), lazy
buzzing of fat blowflies ...
Oh, and the splashing and screaming of kids in pools.
Without doubt, the latter is my least favourite of summer
Dreadful, raucous, clanging high-pitched squeals. The
inconsiderate shouts and occasional swears from some
particularly poorly brought-up scamp. The slapping, dashing,
running, yelling, rowdy, rowdy, terrible children. I just
want to read my book in peace.
How is it possible for so much potential for nuisance to be
stuffed into people so small?
I don't pause to wonder but slam my book and head out of the
house. Coffee is calling.
Compared to the busyness and the compactness of Dunedin,
Christchurch is an expanse of quiet emptiness. For the first
time since February, everything ... has ... stopped. Can you
hear the tumbleweed blow?
No deadlines or tests or classes or meetings or interviews or
catch ups or ... anything to do at all, really.
Bliss? Boredom, more likely.
Desperate for attention I replied instantly to a text message
Now? I asked. Does it suit you to meet right now?
Unfortunately not, so I took myself out, alone, regardless.
Since then, I have dedicated a fairly large amount of time to
a self-delegated mission of divulging the best cafes that
Christchurch has to offer.
Whereas in Dunedin literally tens of coffee sources were
within walking distance, Christchurch automatically loses
points for requiring transport and essentially obsoleting the
After filling the tank (to the quarter line), I set out, day
after day, discovering the best destination for satisfying a
cafe craving (and there's so much more to it than just
I hasten to admit that this task isn't as strenuous as it may
sound. Indeed, during a recent job interview I'm fairly sure
that I mentioned cafes as one of my main "hobbies". Almost
embarrassingly, the first thing I'll do in a new city is
scope out a cafe; a refuel stop, a safe place, a comfort
A place to meet friends and make new friends. A source of
community information and, at the very least, of pamphlets
and posters about upcoming ...
stuff. A space to pause, relax, indulge, observe, work,
think, read the paper, read my book (in peace).
So, have I discovered Christchurch's Cafe de la Rotonde?
Hardly. But then, I've still got a few more days before
beginning work, and a few more dollars in the bank. It'd
probably be wise to cut back on the caffeine at some stage,
especially now that all-nighters are a thing of the past ...
(Although as I look at the clock now, it's almost 2am; some
habits die hard).
P.S. Are you familiar with (post-quake) Christchurch?
If so, feel free to refine my search with suggestions ...
- Katie Kenny graduates from the University of
Otago next month.