Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Favourite Lines


... window frame-lines - looking out on to the Octagon, Dunedin ...

Yesterday I met a friend in town for coffee. I was running early, so I had a pre-coffee coffee at a place on the corner of the Octagon that in the old days, was known as the Tiptop (TipTop Tearooms).

The Tip-Top's (even the name!) down-beat ordinary, scruffy, was cheap (and yes, okay, a little nasty,  a little smelly - that smell of stale cigarettes, old lard, stained carpet and instant coffee) but it was comfortable and familair; a bit like an aunty wearing rolled-down nylons, plaid slippers with pom-poms and a paisley pinny over her Osti frock. It was historical. The Savoy's poor cousin.

It was good for milkshakes and for taking kids to for a chips and a hot-dog. It was great for good, plain kiwi tucker. But towards the end of the 20th century,  it was where other people went for a coffee - not you and your friend, who preferred Nova.

And it closed at 5.30. when the birds in the Octagon's bare winter trees start up their hopeless and mad dusk chorus, triggering a dismal panic as you wait for a bus running late and the Town Hall clock chimes low threats into frosting air.

That was back when the council's brain-wave was to position in the trees sprinklers on a timer, in a vain attempt to scatter the flocks of tree-settlers with their bad habits, such as dropping guano on to any hapless / hatless people walking underneath. It never worked. Eventually the council came up with the idea of  building state-of-the-art metal canopies over the footpaths.

The Tip Top, much like an old steam-train, has been replaced by an all-nighter, wooden-floored, designer-bar and cafe, the name of which escapes me, except I know it starts with a stylish A.

The bar does its job - it shines with tiles and bright steel, wide-screen TVs and robust imitation fires that emit a cheerfulnerss bordering on the misleading.

However, the Tip-Top with its naff ice cream cone will take a while to fade from my memory. It seems to me that the 'Tip-Top Corner' will be haunted for some time to come by a persistent, tea-rooms ghost.  


 ... Octagon sky-line ...

Winter view of Dunedin's Octagon - an eight-sided 'town square'  surrounded by shops, cafes, theatres, City art gallery, St Pauls church - a statue of the Scottish poet Robbie Burns sits in the centre. You can see the metal canopies to protect the footpaths and citizens from roosting birds.


 ... a line that bears repeating ...

 I met my friend at the Cinnamon - on St Andrew Street. This used to be Cowell's Coffee-Shop back in the day. Cowell's became famous for their pavlovas , so much so that that is what they make exclusively now. Their lace-curtained little cafe with table-cloths and steamed-up windows is long gone.

At Cinnamon, they serve a mean corn-and-cheese roll. I would go back for one of those in a flash. They open the window out on to the street so that the sun pours in.

After a good old natter with my friend, it was time to head home, taking photos on the way.

I've taken a photo before of the view above and posted it, I think ... but it does bear repeating.

It's taken from the middle of the Octagon (where the Fountain used to be - now there's another story for another time ...) looking down Lower Stuart Street towards the Railway Station.

Undoctored sky by the way - it really was that blue. Winter blue.


... out of line ...

Breaking formation, a splatter, a smattering, a smudge of pansies outside the railway station ...



... broken-heart line ... 

These counters glued on to the steps (both sides) of the railway overbridge, have been there since 2000 ... their heart-shape is a bit worse for wear now, but they have been here long enough to be numbered as a Dunedin trademark of sorts ... I always look out for them and they're always there ... so far.  This is the High Street side heart ...


... stony lines ...

Detail of the bluestone and granite railway station ...


... lines heading south ...

A photo taken from the over-bridge (which was broken by a goods train bearing a high load, a few years back - which is yet another story for another time).



... lines heading north ...


... favourite lines ...

... and this is the other heart, on the steps on the Portsmouth Drive side of the railway bridge.


 ... lovely lines ... Otago Harbourside ...



 ... idle fishing line.

Look closely and you can see the fisherman texting his catch result home ...


... slope-line ...


... showing its lines ...


... lamp-post line-up ...

It wasn't until I got home and downloaded the photos that I realised there was a theme.

Lines, how they form and where they lead - to and from. What line was I following yesterday and what line today?

Are there lines of writing in the impressions forming? Are they lines of prose or lines of poetry? (My internal battle continues to wage).

Straight lines and heart-shaped lines, fishing lines and curved slope-lines, wavering waterlines and skudding skylines.

Spoilt for choice.

5 comments:

Sue McMillan said...

Wonderful shots of our awesome city! I remember the Tip-Top too, and I still refer to that corner as the tip-top corner. You brought back so many memories - the scungy carpet - how could I have forgotten?

Dona Bogart said...

I love all your lines! Beautiful photography as always. I really loved the town center. I would love to sit with you in that now long gone tea room and shoot the breeze. Thank you.

Kay McKenzie Cooke said...

Sue - Aww ... the dear old Tip-Top eh. ;)

Dona - Me too! Thanks Dona.

Lydia said...

What an exquisite post, Kay! Makes me so strongly want to travel there!

Kay McKenzie Cooke said...

Lydia - I do hope that you make it here one day.

Harbour

Harbour
'how this all harbours light'