Filling this space with impeccable taste

I’ve noticed that recently I’ve only been updating this if I’ve gone away on a trip, or have been doing some fieldwork, and not really writing anything about my day to day life. In some ways, I guess that’s fair enough – I’m sure it’s far more interesting to hear about trips than just what’s going on in the lab and around ChCh, but I figured I might as well put a short update on about some things that I’ve been up to recently.

In the last few weeks, the weather has definitely changed from ‘summer’ to ‘autumn’ – because of this I keep getting lines from a poem I learnt years ago stuck in my head. “Of yellow leaves and gossamer in autumns that there were, with morning mist an silver sun and wind upon my hair.” The yellow leaves, morning mist, and silver sun are definitely accurate. (For anyone who wants to know, the poem is from the Fellowship of the Ring). These past few weeks especially it has been very wet and windy as the remains of the ex-tropical storm (as it’s called in the news) cyclone Debbie passed through. I love how ‘driest’ is relative. I’d heard before that out of the three main cities in NZ, ChCh was the driest. While that’s hard to believe with about 2 weeks of rain, and massive puddles and small amounts of flooding near the river – relative to Auckland and Wellington, where there was considerably more rain and flooding, technically, ChCh is still the driest. We’ve got sunshine now, so even if the air temperature is much cooler, it’s warm in the sun!

A couple of weeks ago, I met up with Beth (who I met on my trip to Stewart Island) in ChCh. It was nice to see her again and chat – but she also told me about a restaurant in the city that sounded like a lot of fun. You order 3 sliders off a menu, sit at one of the indoor tables, and your food comes to you through a pneumatic tube!! All around the ceiling of this restaurant are the clear tubes, so you can see when your food is coming. It comes in a capsule (with your name on – mine was spelt wrong, of course ‘Rhiane’. I did spell it out for her, but still wrong…) that you have to twist to open. Inside, you’ve got your sliders and the remaining space is filled with curly fries! The food was very tasty. The pneumatic tubes weren’t the only fun part about this place. You got your water but turning the wheel on an old sewing machine, and if you needed to go to the toilet, you had to walk up to this bookcase and when you’re close enough the bookcase slides to the side. Instead of the normal signage, there were Star Wars figurines tied to the doors – Luke, Leia, Stormtrooper and R2D2. My favourite thing about the toilets (not a line I expected to be writing when I first decided to do this blog) was the ‘music’ playing over the speakers. It wasn’t music, but Stephen Fry reading the Harry Potter audiobooks! When I was in there, he was nearing the end of Order of the Phoenix. This restuarant, C1 Espresso, is near ChCh corgi statue, which I first went to a while ago. The statue was what the CCC (ChCh City Council) decided to put up to commemorate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. A statue of 3 corgis walking around, with trailing leads, sniffing at a fallen ice cream. Sadly, someone has stolen the ice cream.

For the past few weeks, Priscilla Queen of the Desert the musical has been in ChCh. One of my flatmates, Izzy, and I decided that it would be quite a lot of fun to go to. It was the first time Izzy went to see a live musical performance – and it was definitely a good first one! The show was so much fun, and the costumes were amazing and hilarious. Some of my favourite costumes were the more ridiculous ones – like people dressed up paintbrushes or bright green cupcakes. At one point, everyone’s in these platform, tight-fitting, tent-like outfits with giant flower wigs (which might make sense to people who have seen the film, but is sure to sound crazy to anyone who hasn’t). I don’t think I’ll ever be able to hear the song ‘I will survive’ without picturing drag queens dancing along to it again, and to be honest, I don’t really mind. It was so much fun, and amazing to see. We were right at the back, but the only disadvantage that had was that we couldn’t see too clearly when Priscilla (the bus) bumped into a kangaroo, koala and teletubbie (Tinky Winky) right after passing a sign for all of those. As crazy as a teletubbie in the middle of Australia sounds, the really is a bird that sounds like it’s singing the theme song there!! It’s one of my memories from going around Uluru quite a few years ago… In the musical, the three main characters all climb to the top of Uluru (in full drag) to sing a Kylie medley at the end – and that’s the part of the musical that my title for this blog post came. I liked that line, and it seemed slightly appropriate for this post?

My work here has been largely lab-based recently. My supervisor has been doing some oxygen depletion experiments on paua, so I’ve helped out a bit with that. Paua are surprisingly mobile animals. When they choose to be. I’ve also been analysing data, working on reports, drying sediment, weighing sediment, ashing sediment, re-weighing sediment (the usual, for me). Just after coming back from Stewart Island, I helped out with a 4th year practical on the estuary (something I found particularly funny, seeing as I’ve technically only completed 2 years of study and have one more to go after this year of work!). We had to collect seagrass control and impact samples and mud control and impact samples. This was part of an ongoing study of how the estuary is changing post-earthquake (the one in 2011). That also involved a lot of weighing and drying and re-weighing. Like I said, pretty standard for me. Recently, I’ve been trying to get back and do some more sieving – but I keep running into issues. Unclear instructions, sediment still needing defrosting, lack of bags for samples, etc… My most recent issue is also the most annoying one. To hold the samples down when they’re being sieved, there’s a plate with two screws to keep the plate in place. I’m missing one of those screws. Such a small thing… Hopefully we’ll get a new one soon! Anyway, there’s still quite a bit of work for me to be getting on with (which is good), and soon I’ll be going away for an short holiday, which is also good! I’ll probably update this again when I get back from that.

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