Last week I flew to Christchurch for some training, a city I haven't spent more than a couple of hours in since the earthquakes started three years ago, so I decided to take a couple of days' leave.
On the first day I forgot my camera and phone but had a fruitful time nonetheless.
Did somebody mention obligatory blogger deer?
I've always wanted to start a collection of paint-by-numbers and I hit the jackpot in the City Mission!
It's been lovingly framed behind glass.
It was totally worth lugging back to the motel and as hand luggage on the plane.
Talking of paint-by-numbers I picked this Scream by Munch kit up from Whitcoulls for $10:
I'm hoping I can paint my masterpiece next week when I'm on holiday.
As someone with no artistic talent this is my only hope!
The magnificent Helga had kindly furnished me with a list of her favourite op shops but most of them will have to wait for my next trip in September when I will have my car.
My first stop was Madame Butterfly's, who had some beautiful vintage fabric and frocks, on sale but not cheap, but I wasn't in the mood for it.
I'm a fickle creature.
Next stop was St. Vincent's, who had some great linen but nothing floated my boat.
Then Retropolitan, where I bought a beautiful 70s curtain as I have a mind to create some curtain couture.
Then the aforementioned City Mission and the deer painting.
The next day I spent some time in libraries researching my latest passion - Scandinavian design.
Then I bought a gorgeous new plastic deer brooch:
New brooch from The General Store.
Seventies dress from Toffs.
My old Zieras were on their last legs so I got these in their sale.
My feet have "issues" and this Kiwi brand is my favourite.
I love this optometrist's window display, complete with foxy lady and Crown Lynn swans.
I saw some new swans in Ballantynes, which I am contemplating buying.
They aren't fakes, as the makers own the copyright, but I don't know if I should wait until I can afford an original one.
I might be waiting a while!
I adore the art deco New Regent Street, which seems to be largely intact after the quakes:
Not so lucky were the cathedral and square, which have only recently had the cordons lifted:
Amazingly, the gates weren't locked, and people were going into the forecourt.
They have made the best of a tragic situation but putting up some temporary artworks on the fences but it looks like the architectural centrepiece of Christchurch will be demolished.
I lost the plot after I took that last photo because that spot behind the cathedral is my favourite part of the city.
This is the hotel in the square where I stayed when I went to the Pixies concert a few years ago, and we met the All Blacks in the bar.
It's re-opening this month.
I love the rust streaks on the building and the fluro yellow of the coffee caravan and hi-vis jackets.
Virtually everyone in the city centre seems to be wearing one.
The silhouette of a demolished building.
A ruined church.
This building has a supremely optimistic "for lease" sign on it.
On top of the centre building is a statue of a man pointing to the sky.
Presumably the original city council building.
This child care centre has "forced clear... 26/2" painted on the door by rescue personnel.
I think that was after the worst aftershock on 22/2/2011.
It must have taken a long time to check all the buildings.
The roof of this church is still standing.
A couple of days after I photographed this church in Merivale, there was outrage over its demolition on the front page of the newspaper.
They need to take a look at this amazing book, which is chock-full of restored heritage buildings.
I can't speak for Christchurch and Canterbury people, but if I were in their boots I'd be in shock at the amount of demolition that's gone on.
I know they're only buildings though, and the loss of life was far more devastating.
I can only speak from a visitor's perspective, and I have a great deal of respect for people living in the area, they have gone through a lot of trauma.
There are already a lot of 1970s buildings, like the motel I stayed in:
with its glorious winter sunset.
But I hate to see most of the heritage buildings destroyed.
The earthquakes were a major disaster for Canterbury, and people from all over the country are helping with the rebuild.
I was really touched when the shop manager who sold me the deer brooch said it was great that I was spending my holiday in Christchurch.