Peace and quiet would be mu­sic to the ears

Otago Daily Times - - GENERAL INSIDE ONE -

HOW were the cafes at the week­end? Plenty of nice, quiet cor­ners for those flat whites?

You’ll re­mem­ber Yvonne Cough­lan wrote last week, be­moan­ing the early clos­ing time of so many cafes around the re­gion.

He­len Ed­wards has emailed with an­other bug­bear of cafe­crawlers. Noise.

‘‘We are look­ing for Dunedin cafes where we can en­joy good cof­fee and con­ver­sa­tion with­out the ‘back­ground’ mu­sic dom­i­nat­ing the oc­ca­sion.

‘‘Our reg­u­lar has closed — I hope it was not be­cause other peo­ple found it too quiet and peace­ful!’’

He­len has a very good point. The trou­ble is, most cafes have hard fur­nish­ings. There’s very few with car­pet or wall­pa­per, so chairs make a lot of noise when they get scraped on the floor, and that ‘‘back­ground’’ (I use the word in an ironic sense) mu­sic does not get ab­sorbed by the walls.

If any­one has sug­ges­tions of Otago’s qui­etest cafes to visit, please pass them on.

Verg­ing on a bat­tle­field

There’s noth­ing like a nice bit of neigh­bour­hood gen­tri­fi­ca­tion.

Gary Cor­bish­ley emailed with a cau­tion­ary tale from Waver­ley.

‘‘It was pleas­ing to see the photo of the verge with the flow­ers in Lar­nach Rd. I live in the sub­urb and pass this on a daily ba­sis.

‘‘I try to keep the verge out­side my house look­ing good, too. Al­though I haven’t planted it out in flow­ers, I care­fully mow the grass, ap­ply fer­tiliser to it and reg­u­larly re­seed it. And it looked good — un­til THEY ar­rived.

‘‘‘They’ are a con­tract­ing firm that, for a few months last year, turned our street into a replica of the Somme bat­tle­field while they in­stalled fi­bre­op­tic ca­bling for the ul­trafast broad­band (UFB) project.

‘‘Of course, we don’t own the grass verges out­side our prop­er­ties. They are road­reserve con­trolled by the Dunedin City Coun­cil.

‘‘ Most have ser­vices run­ning un­der them — wa­ter, waste­water, elec­tric­ity, telecomms etc. So when work is re­quired on these things we just have to grit our teeth and see all our hard work ripped up.

‘‘But is it un­rea­son­able to ex­pect con­trac­tors to re­turn the verges to a good con­di­tion af­ter they have fin­ished work? I don’t think so.

‘‘Yet this firm left the verges in my street in a dis­gust­ing state — not level, strewn with stones, full of holes etc.

‘‘Re­quests to them and then the DCC for re­me­dial work all fell on deaf ears. So I pur­chased some soil and seed and did the nec­es­sary work my­self on the verge out­side my house. And af­ter a few months it was look­ing pretty good again. ‘‘Un­til THEY ar­rived.

‘‘This time, ‘they’ are the com­pany con­tracted to con­nect prop­er­ties to the afore­men­tioned fi­bre­op­tic ca­bling. It seems the neigh­bours wanted UFB and to con­nect them up meant the verge out­side my house had to be ripped open again.

‘‘Per­haps not sur­pris­ingly, once again, it was left in a dis­gust­ing con­di­tion. I col­lected a bucket full of small rocks left strewn across the grass, grass which the DCC ex­pects me to mow. I bet this lat­est com­pany and the DCC wouldn’t pay for re­pairs to my mower if I had hit one of these rocks.

‘‘Again, re­quests to the DCC to have them send the com­pany back to tidy up its mess were a waste of time.

This time round, I did what I could to tidy up the mess. But I won’t be spend­ing my money on it be­cause who knows how long it will be be­fore the next con­trac­tor ar­rives to carve it up.

‘‘These con­trac­tors al­ways seem to be in a great rush to get to the next job. It is also ob­vi­ous that the DCC never checks to see whether these con­trac­tors are re­in­stat­ing the verges prop­erly. So that is one rea­son, I be­lieve, why so few peo­ple make much ef­fort to keep the verges look­ing as good as the one in Lar­nach Rd.

‘‘The con­cept of ‘Keep Dunedin Beau­ti­ful’ seems to have com­pletely es­caped this DCC con­trac­tor.’’

Thanks Gary for sum­ming up the ut­ter frus­tra­tion many res­i­dents feel when it comes to con­trac­tors and the mess many of them leave be­hind.

Any other berm prob­lems any­one would like to share?

PHOTO: HEATHER MACLEOD

Lines of Al­tocu­mu­lus lentic­u­laris in a north­west­erly flow over the Wanaka area.

Elvi Voight has had this Gregg’s jelly al­bum since the 1960s. She says there are still a few cards miss­ing, ‘‘so I can’t have liked jelly all that much! I’m not sure why I stuck cards on the front — most likely be­cause they were dou­ble­ups.’’

PHO­TOS: ELVI VOIGHT

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