Reasons to be cheerful (Part One)

This Sunday morning, the view from my bedroom window was so cheering I had to sit a while and enjoy it. I’ve had those two geraniums in hanging baskets for years – as long as I’ve been in the house, which is over thirty years. The baskets are new, and the proliferation of flowers must be their cheerful response to being in fresh potting mix. The fox gloves beyond come up wherever they like each year, as do the aquilegias and geums, and are full of bees.

Usually on Sunday morning, a friend and I walk on the beach. Today was a little wet for that, so we opted to walk the new city promenade which opened today.

I took no photos. There was so much to look at, I didn’t know where to stop for a photo. I just had to keep looking at everything: the  sculptures, buildings, gardens, people…it was overwhelming and joyful, tinged with a little sadness and nostalgia. Every time I’m in the central city there is more to take in, more to hope for, more to farewell.

We walked from the Margaret Mahy Playground to the Pegasus Arms, pausing to fill in answers on the quiz cards handed out by volunteers to celebrate the opening of the promenade. We admired eight part-grown Paradise ducklings, the Tree Houses for Swamp Dwellers, and the Pou Whenua in Victoria Square. I contemplated ways of removing the duck-poo which was all about, looked for Ada Wells among the women on the Kate Sheppard memorial, and touched the greenstone by Oi Manawa, Canterbury Earthquake Memorial. 

My friend left me at Turanga, the new central library, and I explored all four levels. I found it very moving; a wonderful building built for people  – and it was full of people of all ages, notably parents or grandparents, and probably aunts, with children. I took one very inadequate photo, and that was of part of the children’s section.

Children can sit on cushions on the roots of the tree sculpture. This section, on the first level, looks wonderful from outside too, through the floor-to-ceiling windows. The circular lamps are magical features and there were many cheerful children beneath them.

There are a great many books of all kinds, and play areas, reading areas, interactive areas, relaxing spaces, working spaces, discovery spaces – with people looking at home in all of them. This is a place with heart.

The view of the city from the upper levels is breath-taking, even when it is of the wrecked cathedral, and fenced-off spaces yet to be developed. I was drawn to the view of the cathedral, framed by a huge crane, with the hill suburbs in the distance and moody, misty skies above the hills. Below, opposite the other side of the library, there was a young girl dancing joyfully on the Gap Filler Dance-o-Mat and children playing on the giant green chairs beyond that.

And so, fully cheerful, I headed home for lunch. By the playground, I photographed the real roots of a poplar tree. There’s something magical about them too.


It’s a week since Cosmo died. It doesn’t seem that long. 

The things I have, at times, looked forward to without him seem a little hollow, as if part of the heart of our home has gone.

I can walk into the living room without looking for puddles  – or worse – on the wood floor. I have put away the bucket and mop. We can keep the warmth in the house now we don’t have to leave the back door open. I can get to my computer without taking a large, sometimes perilous, step across Cosmo’s bed.

I have stored his bed in the rafters of the garage. The towel we kept by the back door to dry him off if he had come in from the rain is on the line (in the rain). 

His blankets have been washed and stacked in a corner.

His bowls have been washed, but sit empty (for when Jock comes to stay again).

His treats are still in a basket on top of the fridge.

His collar and lead are by the front door.

The bag holder is also ready by the door, convenient for setting out on a walk.

And this is on the back door:

Cosmo had soft little dark ears and nose like that, a ginger tinge to his rough coat, a white patch on his chest, and deep brown eyes, but never an expression which was quite so malicious – although a hedgehog or rabbit might disagree. 

We miss him.