Christchurch has some unique places of interest. One that stands out one is the Johnson’s Grocery in Colombo Street. To enter their Emporium is to take a large step back in time. In the past one hundred years they have resisted all progress made in grocery retailing. The proprietors still serve every customer personally, tightly wrapped up in spotless white aprons, riding up and down the isles, on their side of the counter on ladders fastened to the walls on roller rails, grabbing items from shelves floor to ceiling to make up your order as they pass by. They also carry a surprisingly extensive stock. An example, after being introduced to Turkish Apple Tea that Lynn and Mark had brought back from their holiday abroad for us to taste. We really liked it, seeking more we hunted around Christchurch stores without success, We found in one shop, a packet of Turkish Delight made by the same manufacturer, but alas they carried no tea. No demand they cried. But surprise, surprise, Johnson’s had it in stock. While completing the purchase another women customer inquired what was it and went out of the shop with us clutching a packet as well. So there is a demand. It’s well worth anyone making a visit to Christchurch to also make a visit to Johnson’s, just for the trip back in time, their prices are close to what you would expect to pay elsewhere.


Another surprise here, children’s Playgrounds. I can remember a time back and all that these consisted of, was a swing fixed to a tree. The first organised playgrounds started to arrive when our children were young, then they consisted of a simple merry go round, slides, swings, and monkey bars. That was until the safety people OSH got into the act. They reworked everything. Each piece of apparatus now has to be ‘Safe’, and as well, the ground underneath made soft. But here now, it all has moved indoors and turned unto a modern day ‘Amusement Barn’. Chock full of everything a kid could wish for, providing you can afford the nominal entry fee. It has Pumped up castles to play in, these are about the size of a small house, and are included. However according to the yellow pages you can hire about a dozen similar Castles and even have them bought to your home for the day.

Our town has probably one of the best water reticulation systems in the world. What a difference to makes to the taste of your hot drinks. The water is ‘Old’ and has travelled underground from the main mountain range in flows at different depths all heading for the sea. It requires no treatment, but is loaded with minerals which do effect your electric kettles or jugs when boiled, leaving a white deposit. The water can also etch window glass if you leave it on after a cleaning.


However after living for many years in Queenstown where it was surrounded by many square miles of pure water, but the Council unfortunately found it necessary to chlorinate that water because they kept on having accidents with sewerage. The chlorine taint was so bad I just gave up drinking tea being so heavily chlorinated it tainted everything. For me it was so bad, I just gave up hot drinks made with reticulated water and brought our own in from outside the area. On arrival here the change was unbelievable, I can’t describe the pleasure derived from a simple thing such as the cup of tea made with local tap water. This is the same water this city has enjoyed for over a hundred years, the only difference is the City no longer runs a continuous supply down the street gutters just to flush, and keep them clean. In spite of this wonderful water supply, the Supermarkets and specialistic stores still sell bottled water from the four corners of the world. The youth of the city as well as carrying their cell phone, they wouldn’t be seen dead without their bottle of water. There is a snob value to this bottled water as well and some will only imbibe exotic water from France or the USA. So naturally there are shops catering for this demand and import water from the four corners of the earth. This is unbelievable when the best water is available from their tap and free.


New Zealand could make a killing here to take advantage of this demand for pure drinking water. We have several Large pristine rivers on the West Coast, miles from any habitation that could be exploited, and would effect no one and greatly benefit our Nation. Even the mention of this brings out the rabid ‘Green Brigade’ with their ‘Dog in the Manger’ attitude, and one hundred reasons why it shouldn’t be done. I suppose we should be grateful that they are in a minority in Parliament and they have no influence how we live. Could you ever manage to think what it would be like to be married to one?


I will now close this letter off, go and take a hot shower, free of chlorine, with water I can even drink should I want.


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