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Friday, 5 August 2011

Not So Intrepid

I feel a little like Kupe this week - on a voyage of discovery, pointing intrepidly in an onwards and upwards direction. My expression is maybe a little less intense. Definitely less focussed. As I walked down Wellington's Lambton Quay, it was probably more one of someone lost, desperately seeking bookshops and coffee.

My brother tells me that the likelihood of running into someone you know on Lambton Quay is very high, even if you're from out of town. I haven't see anyone familiar. (Not that that means much, I am well known for 'not seeing' people. Once when I was out walking, I was about to walk right past one of my sons walking towards me, until he blocked my path). This afternoon, I may have seen a writer, but I'm not sure which one it was ... Kate Camp? Or Elizabeth Knox?

Yesterday just after I arrived in the capital city, the sun left. It just couldn't compete, you see, so it scarpered.

Central Wellington is full of mirror-glass high-rise buildings, but also has its fair share of splendid, wooden buildings, with attachments and decorative touches. The piece of heraldry in this photo is atop a building that has something to do with the government and history. A lot of the wooden buildings in the centre of Wellington seem to have something to do with the government and history.

 Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Bath. Three Dunedin poets will know what I mean - I took this for you. (You know who you are).

There are parts of Wellington that remind me of parts of Dunedin, but this isn't one of them. For me this is  Wellington and couldn't be anywhere else. If you asked me why, I couldn't tell you. It may have to do with the ridiculous (redundant?) yet at the same time strangely necessary, chimney. Or the way the building looks as if its ready for something to occur. Or the way the hills opposite are reflected in its windows.

Another historical Wellington building. It also happens to be where I will be reading poetry on Monday 15th August as guest reader for the New Zealand Poetry Society. When I saw a street-sign announcing they had a muffin and a coffee deal for $6, I stepped inside to partake, but the sight that greeted me of tables full of dark-suited men talking about money and not a poet in sight (maybe they come out at night) scared me. I quickly scuttled out again. Opening a varnished, wooden door that launches you into a place full of confident people is a horrifying experience for the shy.

So ends my short stay with my brother and his family and time spent tramping the streets of down-town Wellington, being greeted at every corner with this city's history and personality (so many statues!) Tomorrow I head off to Palmerston North (as opposed to Palmerston South, you understand) to spend time with my mother.

I shall return to Wellington though, to catch up with family again - and poetry. Also, I will do a little more historical research. A little more delving into archives and rifling among National Library CD Roms. Something tells me I have only just begun.


Catherine said...

I can't look at photos of Wellington buildings now without thinking about what might happen in an earthquake. At least the Thistle Inn is wooden so likely to survive better.
Searching for bookshops and coffee must be much easier there than in Christchurch just now. Although I can see how an abundance of dark suits might be off-putting if you're not used to it!

Claire Beynon said...

Happy to join you - momentarily - on your voyage of discovery, KupeKay. Of course, I esp; love the shot of the claw-footed baths ; ).
Have a lovely time with your Mum up in Palmerston North. L, C xo

Kay McKenzie Cooke said...

Catherine - A lot of what I blog is not to be taken seriously! ;) I am a bit tongue in cheek about thib=ngs ... however, I was like you thinking about an earthquake and then noting all the wooden buildings ...

Claire - Ah-ha! Yes, thought you might like the claw-footed baths! ;)

Helen Rickerby said...

Hi Kay! Cuba Street is where I generally run into people I know, and where poets are more likely to be I think - except during the day most of them (us) are at their public-service jobs. I'll be seeing you at your reading at the Thistle. It will be lovely to meet you.

Penelope said...

If you'd pop the black one into your luggage, Kay, I'll put it in the garden with a fire under it. Enjoy your time away.

McDinzie said...

They are not too unfriendly - the suits in the cafes ...Some are nerdy types discussing IT as well :O)

Kay McKenzie Cooke said...

Helen - Ah yes, Cuba Street - I am looking forward to 'doing' that end of Wellington Central next week. (My son introduced us to that haunt when he was living in Welly). I have a blind date with a funky coffee shop (or two)there!
I'm looking forward to meeting you too - yay!

Kay McKenzie Cooke said...

Penelope - And yes Pen - thought you would like the black one, even though it isn't on top of a roof!

Kay McKenzie Cooke said...

Jill - I dunno about them being nerdy suits ... didn't get that impression. Didn't hear any mention of megabytes ... :)

Joyce Ellen Davis said...

BLACKBIRDS. (And, at least 1 Slick City Utah poet).


'how this all harbours light'