Sue Wells – The New Canterbury Tales

August 8, 2011

Shove over Gordon Ramsay – make way for the New Central City Plan #eqnz #chch

A courier delivered me a parcel tonight.

Wrapped (unusually) in crisp brown butcher’s paper, it contained the draft Christchurch Central City Plan, the first Council agenda I have ever seen protected by bubble wrap.

The culmination of months of work, the draft plan becomes public on Thursday and it’s embargoed until then. When we adopt it on Thursday, it doesn’t become the final version. It remains the draft and it is anticipated that it will change through the consultation phase. Here’s a website to keep an eye on:

I suspect it will be a love/hate document, because it deals with something so important to us all that I’m not expecting reactions to be other than visceral. I hope some of it will delight, inspire, enchant, I suspect that some may disappoint, annoy, offend.

Given all we’ve been through and what we’re trying to do, that’s the nature of the beast.

Here at home, we’re still recovering from a beast of a different kind.

On Saturday we became the beneficiaries of a piece of wild boar. After much research involving watching lashings of Food TV while sipping on a decent pinot noir, Kim fashioned a plan involving our piece of piggy, kumara, potato, carrots, brussel sprouts, crackling and gravy. Dessert was compliments of Gordon Ramsay. Pain Perdu with caramelized peaches, raspberry coulis and chantilly cream. Who knew dessert could involve basil?

In order for our dinner party to happen, we had to clean the house. Yesterday we cleared the lounge of the debris of February 22nd. The books are back on the shelves, the plaster dust is gone. It almost feels like a home again.

We were seven at the table last night and we counted it a roaring success. Rachel licked her dessert plate clean. Big Nick ate his brussel sprouts. I tried hard not to calculate the calories as the dishes were assembled – that proved easy because I soon ran out of clean fingers on which to count. There was great conversation, lots of laughter, and chop bones left for the dog.

It was a glorious confection of a meal and today we are all still groaning. Tonight’s dinner was a much simpler affair involving chicken, rice and a renewed commitment to burning off the flab that has settled over the long nights of winter. The prudent need to use up the left over raspberry coulis and the whipped cream meant we had to curtail our good behaviour long enough to hoover a couple of bowls of icecream. Each. No point in letting good food go to waste. (There’s still a brioche left in the fridge. If I’m going to eat it without wearing it, I have some cycle route planning to do.)

Today was gorgeous, a hard frost leading to an 18 degree day. The dog had an early run this morning, then I dusted off the mountain bike, Kim blew up my tyres, and I rode to work and beyond. The need to battle the winter bulge has been thoroughly kick started by last night’s epic gastronomic adventure.

Gordon Ramsay has a lot to answer for.



  1. Licking plates is a definite sign of appreciation. And I’m still annoyed at the brussels sprouts consumption.

    Comment by rachel_a — August 8, 2011 @ 10:05 pm | Reply

    • It was very flattering and entirely appropriate. Are you more annoyed at the consumption or the fact that he went back for seconds?

      Comment by Sue Wells — August 8, 2011 @ 10:07 pm | Reply

  2. I’ve just read the plan cover to cover. I had expected to be disappointed however it’s bold and visionary. Inspirational even. It makes me want to stay, to live and to invest. It gives me hope.

    What an incredible gift it is to this city.
    To those responsible – thank you.

    Comment by Suzy — August 11, 2011 @ 7:40 pm | Reply

    • Suzy – thank you so much. You’ve brought tears to my eyes. I know a number of the staff at council read this blog, and the comments, and I know that your comment will be round the building like wildfire. The staff and consultants who put the hours in, the community whose ideas we heard, the councillor team – it belongs to us all. Now let’s make it even better. 🙂

      Comment by Sue Wells — August 11, 2011 @ 7:48 pm | Reply

      • Until now I’ve been concerned about moving our businesses back into the CBD. Increased lease costs, staff uncertainty has all played a part in that.

        This plan gives us confidence. It’s first of many steps the city needs to take but it’s the most significant.

        It gives the talented people who make our businesses a success a reason to live and work here.

        Comment by Suzy — August 11, 2011 @ 8:18 pm

      • Sue – you rock. 🙂

        Comment by Sue Wells — August 11, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

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