Meyricke Serjeantson


February 25

I had a very quiet morning, collecting emails, writing my diary and keeping watch over the rabbit, who was having one of her periods of recreation in the house.

After a good night’s sleep, my feet felt a lot better and I managed to book a ferry ticket for Monday and a motel for Sunday night in Hanmer Springs.

John and I wandered down to the local shops in Beckenham - a much easier task than it would have been for me last night - and bought some bread and a couple of cakes at the local patisserie. This is a surprising find in a relatively quiet suburb. We carried our booty home for lunch.



Right: John & Anne's


John & Cupid


Leaving John at home, working, I returned to the shops in order to explore and to attempt a photographic portrait of the area. The main road through Beckenham is one of Christchurch’s main arterial routes, leading from the city centre in the East to the Port Hills in the West. The hills are the remains of an exploded volcanic crater and they separate the city from Lyttelton, its port. A lot of the property in these parts is reasonably old, the traditional wooden villas which can be seen all over the country. John and Anne’s is typical, with their recent renovations enhancing the wonderful wooden panelling which is a feature of the house.


John & Anne's house

Colombo Street & the Port Hills

Beckenham Pharmacy

Beckenham shops

On the corner is a pharmacy, where I sought advice on how to protect my feet so that I could wear shoes and abandon my sandals. This seemed a cheaper option than going to the shoe shop next door and buying a better pair of sandals. It was, but only just. Tubi-grip and cotton wool don’t come cheap in these parts.

The shops are a mixed bunch of old & new, including a butcher and a baker but no candlestick maker.

Several restaurants ...

... and a flower shop

Instead, there are several restaurants and bars, a very large estate agents’ and a bike shop. The mixture is surprising for a small suburb and offers a far greater range of shops than most similar areas in Wellington. The only building with any great architectural merit is the Baptist Church, which has splendid art deco touches. It is well masked by trees so that photography is difficult.

Beckenham Baptist Church

After venturing into one of the bars for a coffee and a diary writing session, I set off on my mission to buy tomatoes from a house which sold them.

I passed one of the smarter houses, now the veterinary surgery, and went down a side street, which is beautifully lined with trees and with some very smart property. I found the house advertising fruit & veg, walked a short way up the drive, bought the tomatoes, putting my money in an honesty box, and took a photo of the produce. I was then pursued along the road by the owner who presumably, like most Kiwis, was trading without tax, insurance, planning consent or the knowledge of the food hygiene department.

The local vet














Fruit & veg stall

Posh house on Fisher Ave

Fisher Ave, a posh street

In the late afternoon, I found the Holy Grail, a pub in New Zealand selling decent beer - real ale through hand pumps. The Twisted Hop was opened a few months ago by a couple of Englishmen. It is in an area of old industrial warehouses, which are now being converted into smart shops, cafes and housing. The beer was good, the surroundings convivial, and they were doing a roaring trade. It is to be hoped that their success continues.

The Twisted Hop

We returned home after a couple of pints for a quiet evening in, with lots of cheese, wine and port.


Next Day