Christmas banners, or tea towels?
Last year, our mayor apparently 'forgot' about Christmas and didn't allocate a budget for civic decorations – something that got her into water of a Quite Warm temperature. This year she was on the ball, and allocated a Very Large budget - $100,000 no less! Local artist and personality, and sometime Green MP, Mike Ward, headed up a team of local artists to produce something that was 'uniquely Nelson.' A 14m wilding pine tree was erected on the Cathedral steps in place of the awful thing that we used to have – but apparently it's not lit (I haven't actually seen it at night yet).
These banners, featuring Mike Ward's illustrations, festoon Trafalgar Street. Opinion about them is hugely divided, though I have to say that the people who hate them are more vociferous. 'Faded tea towels hung out to dry' seems to be a recurring opinion. It seems The People would have preferred baubles, reindeer and Father Christmas – the usual stuff – and LOTS OF LIGHTS. Given that it doesn't get properly dark till 9.30-10pm at the moment, I feel that Christmas lights would be a waste here, though possibly not on the tree itself. It's summer, and people flock to Nelson for their summer holidays – not just Christmas (some of Immy's friends were round this evening and were saying they'd already taken down their Christmas trees!)
The illustrations on the banners are great (close-up here) and portray Nelson in the summer. I like them…. But then I've always liked Mike Ward's work, and Christina owns lots of pieces of his jewellery, including a specially-commissioned pendant. I can see that perhaps the banners could have been more colourful - $100,000 is a lot of money!
I was in and out of town a lot today – firstly taking Gran to the doctor at 9.30am (he had no idea what the 'twang' in her brain might have been, except that it definitely wasn’t a stroke!) and then to the pharmacy to pick up her prescriptions. Whilst we were there, she very kindly asked me to pick out a Christmas present for myself, as of course she hadn't expected me to be here, so I found a lovely scented candle in a jar, similar to one she gave me a couple of years ago and which we've been trying to replace ever since.
Naani got two walks, in two different parks, and then I went to the courier office to despatch a package to Christina. She managed to go off on a holiday to the beach, leaving her bikini bottoms and one-piece swimsuit behind (I suppose she could have gone skinny-dipping, like the couple on one of the banners!) The rest of the – gloriously sunny - day seemed to be taken up with endless cycles of both dishwasher and washing machine. In the afternoon, I had a VERY excited text from Christina, to say she was at Hobbiton – somewhere she has always wanted to visit. Apparently it was Ryan's Christmas present to her – and an absolutely amazing experience. So much detail, which of course never showed up in the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit movies. They finished off with cider and ale at The Green Dragon, beautifully thatched – she sent squillions of photos.
Immy invited friends around for a movie night; they watched Casablanca and some of the boys (young men, now) wolfed down Christmas ham sandwiches - which was rather a relief, as I don't know how the two of us are going to get through it all – and sampled brandy butter…..