Peace and quiet would be music to the ears

Lines of Altocumulus lenticularis in a northwesterly flow over the Wanaka area. Photo: Heather...
Lines of Altocumulus lenticularis in a northwesterly flow over the Wanaka area. Photo: Heather McLeod
How were the cafes at the weekend? Plenty of nice, quiet corners for those flat whites?

You’ll remember Yvonne Coughlan wrote last week, bemoaning the early closing time of so many cafes around the region.

Helen Edwards has emailed with another bugbear of cafe-crawlers. Noise.

"We are looking for Dunedin cafes where we can enjoy good coffee and conversation without the ‘background’ music dominating the occasion.

"Our regular has closed — I hope it was not because other people found it too quiet and peaceful!"

Helen has a very good point. The trouble is, most cafes have hard furnishings. There’s very few with carpet or wallpaper, so chairs make a lot of noise when they get scraped on the floor, and that "background" (I use the word in an ironic sense) music does not get absorbed by the walls.

If anyone has suggestions of Otago’s quietest cafes to visit, please pass them on.

Verging on a battlefield

There’s nothing like a nice bit of neighbourhood gentrification.

Gary Corbishley emailed with a cautionary tale from Waverley.

"It was pleasing to see the photo of the verge with the flowers in Larnach Rd.  I live in the suburb and pass this on a daily basis.

"I try to keep the verge outside my house looking good, too.  Although I haven’t planted it out in flowers, I carefully mow the grass, apply fertiliser to it and regularly re-seed it.  And it looked good — until THEY arrived.

"They’ are a contracting firm that, for a few months last year, turned our street into a replica of the Somme battlefield while they installed fibre-optic cabling for the ultrafast broadband (UFB) project.

Elvi Voight has had this Gregg’s jelly album since the 1960s. She says there are still a few...
Elvi Voight has had this Gregg’s jelly album since the 1960s. She says there are still a few cards missing, ‘‘so I can’t have liked jelly all that much! I’m not sure why I stuck cards on the front — most likely because they were double-ups.’’ Photos: Elvi Voight
"Of course, we don’t own the grass verges outside our properties.  They are road-reserve controlled by the Dunedin City Council.

"Most have services running under them — water, wastewater, electricity, telecomms etc.  So when work is required on these things we just have to grit our teeth and see all our hard work ripped up.

"But is it unreasonable to expect contractors to return the verges to a good condition after they have finished work?  I don’t think so.

"Yet this firm left the verges in my street in a disgusting state — not level, strewn with stones, full of holes etc.

"Requests to them and then the DCC for remedial work all fell on deaf ears.  So I purchased some soil and seed and did the necessary work myself on the verge outside my house. And after a few months it was looking pretty good again.

"Until THEY arrived.

"This time, ‘they’ are the company contracted to connect properties to the aforementioned fibre-optic cabling.  It seems the neighbours wanted UFB and to connect them up meant the verge outside my house had to be ripped open again.

"Perhaps not surprisingly, once again, it was left in a disgusting condition.  I collected a bucket full of small rocks left strewn across the grass, grass which the DCC expects me to mow.  I bet this latest company and the DCC wouldn’t pay for repairs to my mower if I had hit one of these rocks.

"Again, requests to the DCC to have them send the company back to tidy up its mess were a waste of time.

This time round, I did what I could to tidy up the mess. But I won’t be spending my money on it because who knows how long it will be before the next contractor arrives to carve it up.

"These contractors always seem to be in a great rush to get to the next job.  It is also obvious that the DCC never checks to see whether these contractors are reinstating the verges properly. So that is one reason, I believe, why so few people make much effort to keep the verges looking as good as the one in Larnach Rd.

"The concept of ‘Keep Dunedin Beautiful’ seems to have completely escaped this DCC contractor."

Thanks Gary for summing up the utter frustration many residents feel when it comes to contractors and the mess many of them leave behind.

Any other berm problems anyone would like to share?


Aha. You use the word in an {insert Sponsor name here} Ironic sense.