Monday 5 March 2012: Fred & Myrtle Flutey's Paua Shell House
Sadly our last day in NZ, made even more sad by the sight of the devastation caused by last year's earthquake in the City centre. It had a real ghost town feel with few people around and a strangely silent atmosphere. On a positive note, there were signs of regeneration such as the Cashell Street Container Shopping Precinct and the indomitable Kiwi spirit. We've really enjoyed our time here: the wonderful natural scenery, the relaxed way of life and, more than anything, the friendly hospitality, kindness and hospitality of everyone we've met. That's why I chose this shot of the re-creation of Fred and Myrtle Flutey's House in The Christchurch Museum for today's blip. Fred collected and polished these paua (abalone) shells himself and decorated the house with them (as the assistant in the museum said "Whatever tickles your pickle"); they then welcomed all comers to their ordinary, extraordinary home and just enjoyed the company of people who came from all over the place, becoming unassuming celebrities in the process. They just seemed to me to typify so much of the friendliness and hospitality we've enjoyed here and that's why we're determined that we'll be back.