Local Heart, Global Soul

November 20, 2018

The Breakwater And The Waves…

Next on our tour of Greymouth on the South Island’s West Coast, is a drive out to the breakwater. The wind was too stiff for me to be steady outside so I rolled down the window and took photographs from the car. The wind was even whipping the crests of the waves into fluffy plumes of spray and the sea was stunning in it’s windy whipped up state. I take photographs for my “arty inspirations files” as even the car gets buffeted by the wind.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 11, 2018

Library WiFi And Local Botanicals…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family Kiwidutch arrived in Hanmer Springs in January 2018 on some of the hottest days of the summer.

After dinner in the alpine village we tried once again to hook up to the internet at our accommodation.

As per our attempts in the afternoon we met with no success, much to the dismay of our offspring.

The little house we are staying in is supposed to have Wi-Fi (which by the way is pronounced a “Why Fy” in English but “Wee Fee” in Dutch and many other European countries) and not only is it a luxury, on this trip it is also a necessity.

Our kids are out of school (with special permission) during the school term, but one of the provisos is that, as much as is possible they need to not get behind with homework.

Kiwi Daughter in particular, nearing the end of her penultimate year, is anxious to not fall behind, none of us really realising how much work she covers in school in a week until she had to catch it up on her own during this trip.

Himself needs to keep an eye on clients and work emails for anything out of the ordinary, I have most of my blog ticking over on the WordPress Schedule, but some posts need fine tuning and I’m trying to not get too behind with replies to comments.

The luxury part is of course that kids today feel that even if they swim, walk, bike and what-ever during the day, that the world will probably collapse if they can not watch their favourite You Tuber’s latest post or movie in the evening.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Trust me, if you have a teenage and near teenage kid feeling this way then as parents you want to find Wi-Fi a.s.a.p. for the sake of your own sanity, especially if you have several rainy days in a row.

Of course kids should not be melded to their devices, but in reality going cold turkey does not make for a relaxing, peaceful holiday. 

Whilst Hanmer Holiday Homes were trying to sort out the source of the Wi-Fi problem at the house, we went in search of a place to log on.

The local library provides a free Wi-Fi hot-spot which is well advertised at various accommodation and information spots so we were not the only ones finding a spot to sit in front of the building.

I took photos when a family group left, but others quickly came to claim the empty seats. The temperatures have been above 30 C during the day so even at eight thirty the temperatures is a balmy 25 degrees or so.

After checking my stuff I turn my attention to a plant nearby, but not being botanically inclined, I can’t name it.  

I love the idea that whilst we sit in this heat, this plant has a pattern on it that makes it look the edges of its leaves are rimmed with ice crystals and frost. The silver under-sides of the leaves contrast wonderfully with the various shades of green on the top and the leaves have a lovely texture to them. These are beautiful examples of leaves that I may well like to draw so I’m saving these photos here on my blog for my arty reference library files. There is nothing icy about this beautiful plant, in fact it heats up many ideas about how I might draw these in the future.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 10, 2018

Voting Achieved Nothing Except A NZD 400,000 Blowout…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In recent years there has been much debate about the New Zealand flag.

Many kiwi’s wanted to see the removal of the Union Jack since ties with the United Kingdom have for decades not been as they were when New Zealand was part of the British “Empire’.

With the empire long gone it is only natural they we should loose this part of our flag since it is no longer relevant.

The biggest problem was deciding what to replace it with. submissions were made from across the nation, from everyone from commercial design companies to school children.

The thousands were whittled down to around one hundred, and from there down to around forty. The next problem was that those chosen few who decided on the last forty appeared to have decided on the flags that everyone hated the most.

The one flag that people did like (the long standing unofficial black flag with fern leaf) was not on the shortlist either. Who knows why not because it was popular with the people. The following problem was one of timing: Queen Elizabeth II still lives, and be you republican or loyalist, she has garnered a large amount of admiration and respect for her lifelong service as Head of State, so no one is really in the mood to change anything whilst she reigns.

Lastly the working on the voting paper was not clear for many people, if it had been better worded and given the options correctly there may have been hope. This campaign was therefore almost certain to fail from the outset and fail it did. The vote was inconclusive and no new flag was chosen, there was just a hole blown in the budget to the tune of 400,000.– New Zealand dollars to show for it.

That doesn’t mean that everyone remains happy with the current New Zealand flag though, so it was little surprise that I spotted one of the many “alternatives” on show in Hanmer Springs. Whilst it is not my favourite it is also far from the worst of the forty on the final shortlist. From an artistic point of view I’m interested in how the flag moves in the wind and how the image changes accordingly. At least my few photographs don’t blow the budget…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 20, 2018

Christchurch Normal School Survives…

As soon as you turn out of Cranmer Square on the Cranmer Street One Way system,  you can see the historic building of the “normal School” one block further up. As I explained in a previous post: https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/?s=cramner   Cramner Courts: The Wrecking Ball Becomes a Hot Potato…

“‘Normal’ or ‘model’ schools are schools that provide teacher trainees with the opportunity to observe teachers and classes in action in a normal school environment. Christchurch Normal School was the first of this type in Canterbury, opening in 1876,  just after one in Otago.”

This building seems to have had a lot of earthquake strengthening before the quakes and appears o have withstood them with little damage, That said, I am of course only a casual observer passing by and know nothing of what may or may not be extensive damage in this beautiful building. At least it’s not a pile of rubble or  vacant plot of land like it’s sister building the Cranmer Courts one block further down the road. These photographs are also for my arty reference files the line and textures beg to be drawn. Gothic architecture is stunning and this beautiful building in the style is no exception.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 17, 2018

Christ’s College, Museum Are The Real … Arts Centre!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Heading out of the Christchurch, New Zealand central city, you only have to go half a dozen blocks in the direction of Hagley Park before you hit some buildings that display some stunning architecture.

These are: The Arts Centre (formerly Christchurch’s first university: Rutherford, famous for splitting the atom studied here.), the Museum and next to it (diagonally across the road), Christ’s College, a private school for boys directly next to the museum.

Their late 1800’s – turn of the century architecture is stunning, and the 2010 /11 earthquakes that shook the city damaged them all severely.

The museum got off the lightest having been earthquake strengthened before the quakes, so recovered from it’s damage the fastest.

Christ’s College had a part of the inner quadrangle collapse, sadly it’s not visible from the road so there is no way to see how it is not, suffice to say that it has been repaired.

The Arts Centre however is having a tougher time. It receives no Government funding so relies entirely on public donations for the truly massive rebuild / restoration that needs to take place.

The Great Hall, famous for it’s amazing interior and wooden roof has been repaired, strengthened to a high standard and is open to the public once more.

The Great Hall is available for hire for large gatherings so I can but hope people in and around Christchurch are thinking of supporting this building when looking for a place for their next special event.

The turret that was laying on the ground on our last visit is back in place but other turrets, and other parts of the Arts Centre have to wait their turn until funds can be raised. This is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city, seeing it back to it’s former glory would be a proud moment for the people of Christchurch.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 26, 2018

The Cathedral’s Fate Yet Uncertain…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Visiting in the first days of January 2018, The Christchurch Cathedral seems completely unchanged from when we visited five years ago.

The building looks sad in it’s present state, and I know that there have been some court battles over it’s survival because one of the most favoured options by the Anglican church is to pull it down.

However it’s popularity is such that millions has been raised by the public for it’s restoration and even more some consider, is that the Cathedral is the number one icon of the city, the biggest focal point (Cathedral Square), as well as regional and international point of recognition.

In this piece: https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/339026/fate-of-christchurch-cathedral-being-decided “Fate of ChristChurch Cathedral being decided”

I read: “The head of the Christchurch Anglican diocese, and Christchurch’s Bishop, Victoria Matthews has strongly stated her support for demolition in the past. The government, city council and heritage groups all back restoring it.

At Synod people backed each of the three options – demolish and rebuild, reinstate, or gift the building to the government.

The option to reinstate came with a $25 million funding pledge from central government and a $10 million pledge from the Christchurch City Council (although this is subject to public consultation).

As part of the discussion, Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel said “there was no right or wrong decision, but if the call was made to demolish, it could face significant legal challenges”. National Party Christchurch Rebuild spokesperson Nicky Wagner reaffirmed her support for reinstatement and said she was “cautiously optimistic” that the Synod would choose to rebuild the cathedral.

How does the Synod come to a decision?”The Anglican Synod is a meeting of the Christchurch Diocese, which covers all of Canterbury, the Westland Coast and the Chatham Islands. It consists of three houses: the House of Bishops, the House of Clergy and the House of Laity.

In a similar way to a council meeting or AGM, there were a variety of motions that the Synod debate and vote on.This year, it includes the fate of the ChristChurch cathedral. To come to a decision, a motion has to gain a majority in each of the three houses. If there was no majority, the voting will continue.”

I personally feel tis this building is worth more than money, it’s loss would be like Paris losing the Eiffel Tower, Sydney it’s Opera House or New York the Statue of Liberty. As any Christchurch resident about their first trip up to the top of the tower pre-quakes, they all have a story and happy memory. Also pre-quake I am probably one of tens of thousands who over the years have walked through the Cathedral’s doors for the Christmas Eve Service after the Carols by Candlelight event on the banks of the Avon on balmy summers evenings. I hope this this building is saved and restored, it deserves more than to be just a sad figure of a building in the Square that bares it’s name and a giant birdhouse for the local winged residents.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 22, 2018

Letters and “Best” Handwriting…

Filed under: Architectural Detail,ART,Landmarks,My Reference Library,Stone carved — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Old Post Office in Cathedral Square is one of Christchurch’s most well known landmarks.

I remember the days when I was a teenager, lining up to get stamps for letters, with other people who where there to post letters, aerograms (my father used those for years!) cards and parcels.

Email has I think, done a huge blow to the art form of sending what we now call “snail mail”.

I try and make a habit of sending postcards from places we visit, and yes, it takes time to scribble out messages.

I try and make it easier by using pre-printed address labels but I find that as time goes on there is one major difficulty that I could never have envisioned possible all those years ago.

That is: I am getting less and less used to writing by hand. I have three handwriting styles: the first is my “ultra neat” style for special occasion stuff, the second is my “still-neat-but-far more casual” (most used) and then there is the style I used most during my student days: the flat out scrawl that only I could (mostly) read, born of the days when teachers revealed blackboards full of text that needed to be copied down before class ended or before it was wiped out of existence for the next lot of text that the teacher was writing.

My children looked in disbelief when I told them this once. I asked how they managed. My daughter laughingly pulled out her phone and showed me photograph after photograph of texts on whiteboards, all she had to do was point-and-click.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Gone are the days of serious cramp in your fingers as you tried to keep writing frantically before time or text was lost. Or going around your classmates asking “Anyone get the last four lines? Please can I get a copy? Yes? Cheers!” Vital instructions were often in those last four lines. Assignment details and the like.

Later this Post Office had a large philatelic section, where First Day Covers of stamps could be bought, and folders full of beautiful stamps could be viewed.

I have always viewed stamps as miniature works of art and loved a visit here to take a look.

The main work of the central city Post Office moved half a dozen blocks from here into a massive new building I (am guessing) somewhere in the 1980’s.

The Old Post Office here in the Square seems to have survived the earthquakes reasonably well. A lot of work has been done, and it’s clear that there is still a lot yet to do.

That said, I am relieved that it’s still here. With the historic Regent theatre, The Press Building, numerous other theatres now completely gone and the Cathedral damaged, it’s nice to see that one of Christchurch cities beautiful old landmarks has survived. Like our “best” handwriting, it hangs in there by a thread. I hope to one day return to look at folders of stamps and enjoy the interior.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I took close ups of this section because it’s a rare view: other buildings obscured it before so I have never seen these windows before.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 9, 2018

Finding My Way In The Transition Zone…

Visiting New Zealand at the end of 2017 after an almost five year hiatus, I was keen to photograph the central city and see how the rebuild after the City’s major earthquakes was going. Leaving our teenage kids to sleep in, Himself and I started out in Manchester Street and then drove randomly up and down as many streets as we could. At certain points we did “U” turns and went back on ourselves, partly because I forgot about the One Way Streets and partly because without the many landmark buildings to guide me, I lost my bearing a couple of times. I will detail as much information as I can because I am finding that as new buildings rise it become harder and harder to remember what was there before. (Below;) Manchester Street looking towards the Port Hills, corner St Asaph Street, the new buildings further along on the right hand side replace the set of old brick ones that included the famous Smiths Book shop.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Manchester Street turning right into Moorhouse Avenue. A little historical snippet for my non-New Zealand readers: The original Christchurch planners made four very wide Avenues to encompass the outer limits of the new city they were founding. These were: Moorhouse, Fitzgerald, Bealy Avenues and the fourth contentious one to the west: Rolleston, or if you count Hagley Park as part of the original plan, Deans Avenue. Rolleston Avenue certainly fits the “perfect square” model better but the Park was very much a planned part of the city so the opinions of the great and the good come down on both sides of the fence. The street plan of the city was made in London before the settlers left home and without any knowledge of the terrain. All of the streets were meant to be in a perfect grid pattern, but on arrival was annoyingly disrupted by the presence of the River Avon, which as rivers are want, did not flow in a straight line. In the rear of this photograph you can just make out the curved brown roof of the old Wool Stores buildings and in front of these the Moorhouse / Colombo Street overpass bridges.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Next) A “U” turn made, back up Manchester, this little triangular garden has been a well kept frontage to the Excelsior Hotel that stood behind it until the quakes damaged it beyond repair. Despite everything that’s being going on in the city it’s still beautifully kept. The front part of the space over the road behind it between here and the mural used to house the well known Majestic house, first a movie theatre but for more recent decades the site of very popular and thriving Church New Life Church, a Christian bookshop and a café downstairs. It was a massive four story building that took up a good part of the city block, not too much to look at from the outside but had some nice architectural features inside. It too was a landmark and I was a little confused about my whereabouts when I couldn’t find it. The entire block it stood on is now completely razed.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The tram is standing on High Street, looking towards the Square. Majestic House (The New Life Church) faced this view before it was demolished due to earthquake damage.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I will have to see if I can find an archive Google street view to remember what used to be on this corner. I do know that the shipping containers 6 tiers high are holding up the façade of the Assembly of God (AoG) Church, it used to be a picture theatre and was a beautiful grand building, It was notable for having an illuminated white cross on the front before the quakes.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I (think?) this used to be a small pub… now yet another historic building supported by shipping containers (also there to protect the public in case of further quakes)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It has character but needs some love…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Amazingly I never noticed this little gem before… or maybe I did, might it possibly have been a fabric shop before the quakes?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

At the back of the central city bus exchange, heading towards Colombo street…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

New build on Colombo street looking south towards the Port Hills, as we turn right (north) into Colombo heading towards the Square.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Work in progress…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Colombo street pedestrian over-bridge between what my mother used to call “D.I.C” (although I knew it as Arthus Barnett) on the right of this photograph and Ballantynes on the left. Both shops were Christchurch institutions but Ballantynes was where we always had to get school uniforms fitted. I adored their handcraft and embroidery section.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Robert Harris coffee / café used to be in the building in the background. They were amongst the first to serve “real” coffee in French presses from ground roasted beans instead of instant or the slow perk coffee pots.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Looking down Cashel mall as we go past, Ballantynes is on the left of the photograph below… I think the used to be a Hanafins Chemists on the right. I don’t think there was a tram on Cashel Street last time we visited New Zealand. This is a new edition since we were here Christmas 2013/2014.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Colombo street heading toward the Square, top of High Street to the right… there used to be a fountain there in shapes like dandelion tops, every now and again someone would put detergent in it and there would be soap suds foaming in an avalanche all over the pavement. They added dye too once…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

BNZ (Bank of New Zealand) have replaced their “high rise’ with a ‘low rise’ building.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This next photograph makes me sad… there was a photography shop around the corner here that I can’t place the name of but went to often to get my films developed (Hannifin’s? … or was that the one at the top of High street?) On this side, (on the left, about half way down) was a brilliant Greek kiosk selling delicious souvlakia. Since I walked to and from work, sometimes this was my takeaway dinner when I didn’t want to cook, especially on hot days during the summer. I’d sit on the steps in front of the Cathedral to eat it, watching the world go by. There was a jumble of small shops here… now everything is gone.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 1, 2018

The Rising Tide Provokes Thought…

The empty spaces left after demolition of buildings damaged in the Christchurch, New Zealand earthquakes have generated spaces for large scale artworks. These murals liven up the empty walls of the buildings that still stand. Some of these buildings are still due their date with the wrecking ball or “nibbler” cranes, others are probably in limbo due to Insurance issues. This one called “Rising Tide” provokes thought…so many questions about what exactly is going on here…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 16, 2018

The Houses Of Our Youth…

Filed under: ART,Kaikoura & Region,LIFE,My Reference Library,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Houses in the New Zealand of my childhood consisted of two main varieties. The first were brick, such as the house my grandparents lived in and the second was the wooden weather board home, often in the form of a villa.

There was a semi-standard form to the villa: a veranda at the front, a dining room, living room, on occasion in the larger ones a formal lounge, a long central hallway off which the rooms branched left and right, and a varying amount of bedrooms.

The size of each of the rooms often depended on the age of the villa, then a kitchen located at the rear, a laundry and shower often located off the kitchen.

These buildings were always for some strange reason rather poorly insulated so could be pretty cold in winter, but were cool in summer. In stark contrast with houses in Europe the roof was not tile, but painted corrugated iron.

I shared accommodation with other girls in several houses such as these when I first left home, and villas could be seen set back from the pavement with their surrounding gardens all along the street at the time.

One of these villas where I was “flatting” (sharing accommodation) in Colombo Street, Christchurch, New Zealand, the home dated from just after 1900, had belonged to a Doctor who had his practice at the front and his residence at the back. It had enormously high ceilings, large square rooms and a central hallway so wide and long that you could park two station wagons end to end in. It was an amazing space (usually- dance floor) for parties but a serious pig to vacuum.

The pipes in the kitchen threatened to freeze at the faintest hint of chill every winter but the back yard behind it had enough space for us to play volleyball in. Add to that, it was cheap. For two girls in employment and three university students it was perfect.

Five females in one residence was a balancing act when it came to the shower but we worked out a system and a cooking rota and it worked. One of the girls had a brother, who shared a house with three other guys about a half kilometer down Colombo Street from us. They were rather haphazard cooks so our cooking rota got torpedoed rather often when her brother would pop in rather conveniently just before dinnertime, and often several of his flat mates would be with him.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

They could clean out our fridge by standing in front of it with the door open and inhaling.

Many a weeks grocery shopping disappeared shortly after they arrived.

On the upside, they were all working and more cash than we did, so would often turn up with a fish and chip feed for everyone as a sort of Thank You.

Since I hung out with the girl who had the brother the most, we would often both be “shouted” (treated) extra’s like KFC when she and I were out together with them as well.

This girl and I were good friends and after habitual hassles with the students getting behind in rent, eventually went off together to a smaller “flat” nearby, where the fridge continued to be emptied by her brother and his mates, but they would also bring large volumes of ingredients if we would cook them roast dinners, so all in all it was a case of swings and roundabouts. Needless to say, the “boys’ flat was also a weatherboard villa, but one a lot smaller than ours. After more than a decade away from New Zealand I wanted to show my husband the place where I had spent several happy if chaotic years. To my shock, it was completely gone and in it’s place stood set of small modern brick retirement homes.The large parcel of land had obviously been too valuable for some developer to want to keep as a single residence. These weatherboard villas are either being done up to high spec, insulated and modernised inside, or, more often, being torn down.

The row of them in the central city, one of which was my home for several years too, also demolished. I think that only one stands today out of the entire row. In their places are modern concrete block and brick units, I am sure the heating bills are far reduced but so is the character and charm. In Kaikoura I happened upon one of these old villas, and it bought back a zillion memories. This one is in a rather run own state, it’s probably rented for a fairly low rent as the landlord gets the last mileage out of the place. Eventually it will meet the fate of thousands of other villas as the age of the “new build” takes over. In their heyday these were fabulous places, maybe not always the easiest of living but they were the places where thousands of students and kids with first jobs made their first forays away from the parental nests, and as fledglings learned together to make their way in the world. For this reason the villa will always be something special in my heart.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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