Monday, March 02, 2015

Close Call

New Zealand and Australia met in a one day international cricket match at Eden Park,Auckland for the first time in around four years on Saturday.I wandered down to Victoria Square to watch proceedings on the big screen having worked that morning.
New Zealand had bowled out Australia in their innings for a modest 152 runs after the Aussies had won the toss and got off to a flyer before slumping against the bowling of spin bowler Vettori and fast bowler Boult who picked up 5 wickets for 27 runs,a career best performance.
New Zealand also started well with captain McCullum scoring a quick 24 ball 50 runs despite being hit on the left arm by pace bowler Mitchell Johnson.New Zealand was cruising along to victory with a fifth wicket partnership of 52 runs before Aussie bowler Mitchell Starc took five wickets for 15 runs and nearly turned the match with a career best performance of 6 wickets for 28 runs.

The earlier jovial atmosphere at Victoria Square grew tenser as each dismissal led to groans and gasps of exasperation.Was it possible Australia could grab victory from the jaws of defeat?It finally came down to New Zealand being nine wickets down requiring 6 runs to win with number 11 batsmen Boult facing two balls.He successfully navigated those.Thankfully first ball of the next over batsman Kane Williamson came down the pitch and hit a six to post an edge of the seat victory much to the delight of the 40,000 spectators at Eden Park and the relieved crowd at Victoria Square.The shot above shows the cheering crowd after Williamson's winning stroke. The fanzone will be back for the semi finals later in the month and I'll be there with my cushion and wallet to buy some liquid refreshment and food from the assembled food trucks and tents.

C.P.I.T Gardens

I spent most of last week moving soil and bark at the newly built buildings at Christchurch Polytechnic.The shot below shows one of the garden plots we were working on.With the digger in the background we moved about 80 cubic meters of screened soil.This was raked,levelled and stamped down to provide the basis of the gardens.

This shot below shows the planted tree ferns,(cyathea dealbata), also known as the silver tree fern or silver fern, also known as ponga or punga.The bark layer is around 100mm in depth and covers an irrigation system that provides the necessary moisture for the plants.

As the pungas like growing in free draining soil rich in organic matter,we added some natural compost to the soil when they were planted to aid their growth.

A final shot of the main garden bed.The pungas have been underplanted with a few native grasses that should clump up and cover the bare bark expanses in a matter of months.The windows of the gym/recreation area overlook the garden which should provide a peaceful,relaxing view out of the building.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Time to dust off and reboot this blog

Been a while.A long while.Fitting then I begin blogging again on the fourth anniversary of the February 22 2011 earthquake back here in Christchurch,New Zealand.Four years ago the city was hit by a 6.3 magnitude quake that killed 185 people and levelled many buildings.Much has changed in those four years since the quake. For one thing Ive changed occupations and hemispheres.I'm no longer teaching in Shanghai and instead work outside as a landscaper for a large firm here in Christchurch.I'll write more about my career change in later blogs.

As for Christchurch's landscape and the rebuild in some places such as the end of High Street (pictured above) there is little sign of any movement.In this once vibrant area near the local polytechnic college ( CPIT ) there were a number of cafes and alternative clothing shops.Now its very quiet,deserted and decaying.

Meanwhile,in the Square,the Anglican Cathedral continues to moulder and provide a refuge for pigeons as various groups decide its fate.Four years on it is not looking any the better for its exposure to the elements.

On a more positive note, the 2015 Cricket World Cup has started with some games being played at the newly opened Hagley Oval cricket ground - a so-called 'boutique cricket ground'.Theres an area set up for fans in nearby Victoria Park which includes a stage, a large screen for viewing games and various food trucks and vending stalls.Bring on the Australia-New Zealand game this coming weekend.