Christchurch is at its most lovely in Autumn, and - despite the rubble, demolition equipment and ubiquitous, appropriately-toned road cones - this year is no exception.
This time of year always makes me think of this understated, beautifully composed painting by British artist Charles Eastlake (1868-1940). For me, it captures perfectly that moment when the imminent approach of Winter seems to intensify the radiance of the autumn leaves. You'd be hard-pressed to find such traditional haystacks gracing the hill-line here, but in a paddock near my home, hay has been cut and tautly bound in a series of giant, gleaming white cubes that look more like an environmental art project than an agricultural one.
And speaking of fruitfulness... take a long lunch-break, or take the long way home, but don't miss (Christchurch born and trained) Saskia Leek's show of luminous still-life paintings at Jonathan Smart's England Street gallery, which closes on Saturday. Delicate, gleaming and playful in all the right ways, they're a shot in the arm against earthquake fatigue, and a life-affirming innoculation against the grey days to come.