There is a brilliant definition of news, though I apologise in advance to forgetting whom to attribute it to. "News is something, that someone, somewhere, doesn't want known. Everything else is advertising." We could say the same for gossip, witness the rise of the gossip magazines and televised infortainment.

Whatever definition you give it news/gossip/information is widely sought and avidly devoured. Its dissemination is one of the pillars of democracy for those who hoard information, for whatever mistaken idea, should be rejected by all fencers who believe a bout is a free and frank conversation between two equals - a conversation of the blades!

So this column encourages the spreading of information/news/gossip as long as it can pass the basic tests for slander - truth or reasonable personal belief!

If you have something to say about anything to do with fencing, earthquakes (since the Great Catastrophe of February 22, 2011, this page has been recording the trials and tribulations of the citizens of Christchurch in the rebuilding of their city.) or what is posted on this site then this is the place to say it.

You can engage blades by e-mail at: En guard!

Like Letters to the Editor, submissions should be concise, pertinent and may be subject to editing.

Archived Gossip and Photos: 2013, 2012

2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007

23/4/2014: DRUGS!!

Legal or illegal highs - can anyone differentiate tween them??

These? Spotted in a central city industrial area.


Or these? Seen a few metres away from Christchurch Hospital.


More about drugs: Did you know that the most commonly prescribed drug at Christchurch Hospital is aspirin? Followed by a common painkiller and then a laxative!! Did you know that the most commonly bought drugs at the local chemist shop are to stop running noses, yes, and sore eyes?

Now you can win a giant chocolate fish ... answer this: What drug does Christchurch Hospital spend most money on??? First correct answer wins - cept you Nursey!



21/4/2014: LAST RITES?

Still standing after September's shake - the spire of the Christchurch Anglican cathedral .

The nation's top newspaper has an interesting article today about about our God-botherers and their buildings ... have a read ..

It tells the story dozens of churches flattened or damaged by the earthquakes and the hassles many God-botherer groups are having to recover, repair or rebuild even with God on their side.

Yesterday - The Christchurch Anglican cathedral, not aspiring to much.


Now this fellow, Knox Presbyterian church, on the corner of Beatle Avenue and Victoria Street was inspiring - less than a year after it got flattened! See posting of 13/1/2012.



17/4/2014: DEEDS, NOT WORDS.

Long-time Sydenham identities Hitesh, left, and Dale.

After nearly half-a-century in Sydenham Dale Ravji and his son Hitesh are moving, but not far, just up the road. The pair will spend this weekend shifting from the site where their pre-quake dairy and fruit shop once stood to a new container shop next to the popular outdoor café to make way for the re-building of their Colombo Street premises.

After the earthquakes, one of the first container shops in Christchurch opens on the site of the former brick, two-storey dairy.

The new building should be built and in action by the end of the year and in time to welcome the new homes planned for the old Sydenham School site. NEW HONES FOR SYDENHAM??



Thanks to Lizzie for the pic.


Visiting Royalty quell earthquakes?

Yep, more than 13,000 earthquakes have shaken Christchurch since September 2010, that’s about ten per day, but on Rubbish Monday (see previous posting), when British Royals William and Kate were in town, there were none!

On the Sunday, the day before, there were quakes up to 4.2 in magnitude and others up to 3.1 on the Tuesday, but none on Monday!! Most unusual.


Visiting Royalty?

You think us quake-raddled Kiwis are making it up? Have a look here ….The quake count.

Quick, bring the buggers back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The royalty, not the quakes.



It was rubbish day yesterday in the former central business district, now a wasteland, and Barbadoes and other streets were stacked with yellow bins and, Royalty.

Yes, Christchurch must be the only place in the Commonwealth to host royalty and rubbish at the same time? Perhaps it is another indication of a dysfunctional organisation?

In the old days of galvanised rubbish tins Dutchy, and his trusty Morris Minor ute, would have had the central city cleared and the bins binned and the streets cleaned, but perhaps our current lot were trying to make a point??

Up the Republic!!

Now see the nice pix of William and Kate the nation’s top newspaper snapped - THE PRESS! - they had all their photographers in action yesterday!

And have a squizz at these, alternative, pix:

Go Royally through the Wasteland!


Wizard escape!


A CTV memorial after the earthquakes.


Same site with the addition of Royalty!



11/4/2014: OH! Bit touchy over yesterday's posting are we.

Yes Russell, Bob and Roger did great jobs in the aftermath of the quakes, but now it seems like John Key, Gerry and the Wastemakers and recycled bureaucrats are in control.

Here's a pic of the Wasteland former CBD and you want people to return??


Here's wot they are doing in New Brighton - something tangible.

Gerry, John and Lianne would look good posturing on this wee stage. It would be good for locals too - as all three would be limited to 30-minutes posturing so to speak.


Now Bob, from the shop across the road, would love it!!




Manchester Street, near Tuam Street, February 22nd 2012.

Read what the nation's top newspaper says about rebuilding the rubble above: Christchurch CBD


Prime Minister John Key, left, Sideshow Bob's Dragon, Bob and Roger days after February's quakes.

Now read wot John and Roger have in mind for the THE FORMER CBD.


Wot's needed - a bit of wizardry!


New homes as promoted by this Lyttelton shop.


Like these brand new fellows on Opawa Road


But the CBD's empty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And even our Former Railway Worker, now retired, won't go and visit it.



8/4/2014: Back on Campus at Last!!

Some ucfc members jumping for joy.

The country’s oldest fencing club is back on Campus thanks to the University of Canterbury’s Student Association. The University of Canterbury Fencing Club started at the university’s former town site, now the Arts Centre, about ninety years ago and was never off-campus until the dreaded February Earthqukes brutally attacked the Garden City and closed the Student Association’s building at Ilam in 2011.

Man Mountain and Josh prepare for a duel.

First the tiny Waltham Primary School provided refuge for the club until it moved back on campus in late 2011. Then suddenly, part way through last year, the gymnasium complex at the Dovedale campus were the club had relocated, was closed - more earthquake damage - leaving the club with nowhere to go. The club re-located to Christchurch Boys High School where the UCFC coach also coaches, but now, thanks to the UCSA, the club is back on campus at the UCSA Events Centre, just across the car parks from the former Ballroom at the now closed UCSA building where it once was based.



OLGA JEYKLL, QSM, 8/10/1918 – 11/2/2014. Aged 95.


A Christchurch fencer and coach who taught thousands our noble art and modern sport. Her influence on fencing in Christchurch and the country is still felt today and a recent dinner held a couple of weeks ago in her memory attracted fencers and former pupils from as far away as Canada!



Olga, right, in action against Diane at a competition in Christchurch in the 1970's




A bottle of sweet fizzy wine (name withheld for copyright reasons) sits in pride-of-place, on the centre table, at the dinner - Olga's wine making skills were the stuff of legends with many United Fencing Club and the local Canterbury Fencing organisation meetings ending with a sip or two.

More memories to come ..... soon!


3/4/2014: Afternoon all, normal service has resumed ........... and here is a real gem for you.

The last but one posting was of a nice new, very tall, fence on Waltham Road and here it is this morning still towering over everyone but sadly the fence and its signs were tagged! After all, this is Swamp City and tagging central .....!!!!!

A big fence in Waltham.


What the fence is hiding has interested the neighbours and got Garry, at the local dairy, excited.

High-density housing in Waltham.

Now, what will come first? The repair of the nearby Waltham Pool damaged in the Earthquakes or the high-density housing??

Any bets??


20/3/2014: TWEET TWEET!!

Sorry for not updating this site over the last few weeks, normal service will resume shortly.






If you or I built a fence this high round our properties we'd have the City Council breathing down our necks, but Canterbury Cricket, gangs and the knock-it-downs seem to be able to build em as high as they want. What is it hiding??


Does it hide these golden sunflowers?


A partially deconstructed house??

Or its remains??

Come and look, it is on the right after the Waltham Primary School, Christchurch's top primary school, and before the Waltham Park. Wonder how long afore it gets tagged? Watch this space.


5/2/2014: BREAKING NEWS!

In 2012 this site broke the news of high-rise graffiti/tagging in central Christchurch. Recently our main-stream media, including the nation's top newspaper, have been breathlessly ranting about it. Why the delay? They are well behind the eight ball, so to speak, for the latest crapola is UNDERGROUND!


Now can our main-stream media find the under-ground crapola in the central city?? Any bets? Giant chocolate fish accepted.




In the immediate aftermath of the earthquakes City Care kept caring for our central city even though it was fenced-off and nobody allowed access, but not this site where so many died.

Who remembers this?


Or this?


Or this - as it was last week.

Now see and read wot our Bureaucrats have done three years after in ... THE NATION'S TOP NEWSPAPER.

Things move slow in Quake City, but we shall remember them.

(Now for something completely different, some things do move fast in Quake City - washing machines. The one in the posting below was gone by the next morning!! The couch and barbeque are still there!)



You could be forgiven for thinking that this big truck is delivering/rescuing a washing machine.



Sadly you would be wrong. Like this car, it was scooting past a washing machine dumped in the middle of the busy road by fuckwits.


Another hassle for our pressured Christchurch City Council staff to deal with - good on em - Down with the dumb dumpers!!!!!!!

Now I also know where a lovely couch and gas barbecue has been dumped if you'd like em??



If you had conjoined twins each slightly injured in February’s Big Quake, but still joined together, would you bring in experts and expensive machinery to heal/repair them and only heal or fix one??

Of course not.

But wait, if you were AMI insurance and their fix-it-uppers Southern Response you would.

And they have.

These two wee garages have been best mates for yonks, ever since their birth together years ago. Like the wee units their owners live in they have existed together cheek-by-jowl since birth and happily sharing the same driveway and insurance company.


So why would you repair one cracked driveway and not the one right next to it??


And a cash settlement is being proffered.



31/1/2014: WOT'S THIS?

It has a handle, makes whirring and clicking noises and stamps its feet!

It was once used by our Former Railway Worker, now retired, and his mates at New Zealand Railways. It still works!

As usual, the first correct answer garners a giant chocolate fish and TWO sugar snakes ......




Despite the Auckland-centric media and geographically illiterate journalists/fronts-people and weather-folks who think the wee Manawatu town lives in the South Island, just north of Dunedin, it has its humorous side.

They use their HiVis fences and horrible orange road cones to protect .... a broken tv! Pix by "M".


In Christchurch/Swamp City also known as Quake City (13,000 and counting) the cones are used for more mundane activities - pissing-off the local drivers!!






"The Corgis are planned, if all goes well, to return just before Christmas. It is likely they will return to their original position on High Street", said the Christchurch City Council in October last year..


Still waiting!!!!


The Pembroke Corgi sculptures were a permanent display on High Street in front of Alice’s Videoland before the earthquakes.

The life-sized dogs are made of bronze and cost the City $24,000 to help celebrate the Queen’s 50th Jubilee. There are no others like them anywhere in the world.

Anyone seen any stray corgis?



27/1/2014: WHERE ARE THEY NOW??

The where are they now rant a couple of weeks ago shows there is always someone that knows. Only three of the 12 fencers named have not been tracked down - Evan Swale, Richard Hamill and John Upfold so keep hunting.

Thanks to all who responded.

Here is another pic for you to identify - who, what, where and when?

One from the days when Fenz sent large groups of fencers away, after qualifying of course. Have made this pix nice and big so's you can see them better!

Talking of identity, six years ago (28/8/2009) I published an old black-and-white pic from 1970 of a lonely cross on the side of the main road just north of Palmerston honouring a First World War soldier and asking if anyone knew anything about him. A few hours ago I received an e-mail from the soldier's great-nephew!!

More soon.



"... we are assisting to put in place more comprehensive, end-to-end dispute resolution vehicles."

More gibberish and management spin from the poor buggers at SOUTHERN RESPONSE who are having to deal with Christchurch home-owners once insured with AMI.

Forlorn and forgotten - the former Lancaster Park renamed AMI Stadium.

Read this Rose'y review of what the poor buggers are up to!

I'll take the Morris Minor thank you!

They say the steel they were built from came from captured German battleships!? Plus the van has more room in the back for gibberish.



22/1/2014: RUN FOR COVER!

A famous thugby player runs for safety in Palmerston North during Monday's big quake near EKETAHUNA . Pix by 'M'.

The 6.2 magnitude grumble shook up much of the south of the North Island on Monday, unless you read the top freeby paper in Christchurch (The Star) which tells you it happened on Tuesday, and many in Swamp City waited for the worst that, thankfully, never came.

Many in the north are gleeful that they are now part of the 'Quakers' those that have survived a big un! Apparently Manawatu City now has a genuine rumpled road (like the roads in Swamp City) out in Milson which was happily inspected by locals.

Let them be thankful it was a public holiday and they were not sitting here ........

The show must go on.

The thugby museum was not damaged and the fences were to keep the interlopers out coz they are revamping the Globe Theatre (on the right) to include ".. a new café bar which will encourage and support the creative and cultural heart of the City". Sounds a bit like the spin produced here in Swamp City.


21/1/2014: BALLS!

He has done it again!

As usual our Former Railway Worker, now retired, is an endless fount of knowledge.

I am much nicer than the scrawls on the walls.


Llew Summers, the fellow who did the SCULPTURE above, is also a carpenter and a jolly good one according to our Former Railway Worker, now retired.

"He lived in Tancred Street, in Linwood, and worked on my house in England Street many years ago when he was a struggling artist."

Now there!! More about Llew.




19/1/2014: LITTLE TIN BOXES!!

In the three years since the Great Disaster that struck Swamp City the majority of moans have been about the performance, or lack of it, of the Insurance Companies, the Earthquake Commission (EQC) the Christchurch City Council, Sayrah, Seedo and the likes of Skirt, even the poor old road cones have been victimized, but nobody has hurruumphed much about the plethora of LITTLE TIN BOXES. They are everywhere

Stacked up in Waltham - look, there is even one on the right galloping over the Waltham road bridge! The buggers are everywhere.


Even the Wasteland in the, former, city centre is not free ....

They comfort one the few remaining real buildings!


They became homes to businesses flattened by the earthquakes - this one in Sydenham, one of the first, Oh, it is still there!


They even turned up at thousands of damaged houses, this one on Fitzgerald Avenue, so folks could keep their possessions dry and safe.





See, if I jump in the air you miss the valid sabre target, which is above the waist, and then you hit me in the crotch - OOOUCH!


See, if I withdraw my foil (sword) so you cannot parry, you don't have a defence, and I kick you in the crotch. OOUCH!


More great FENCING shots here!

Remember, fencing is an exciting, action-packed individual fight between two duelists, and the ever-popular sport has been in the Olympics since the start of the modern version. Have a look in the LEARN TO FENCE header, at the top of the page, if YOU would like to learn more.


17/1/2014: BAH!

Nobody commented on my back-handed rant yesterday about the feminisation of Media Manipulation and the Fourth Estate - 'do they have the balls to carry it off?'?? Not a grumble or tweet.

Even readers of the nation's top newspaper are worried about the rise of the Media Manipulators and SPIN DOCTORS. Male or female.


Might as well start praying at the Cardboard Cathedral in the Wasteland for the death of hands-on LEADERSHIP in Swamp City??




16/1/2014: BIG BALLS??

A Llew Summers' work on Colombo Street in Sydenham. Pix by 'M'.

That was the concensus at coffee this morning on the positive rants via radio, TV and print, that the Christchurch rebuild is beginning to "hit its straps." The term 'bullshit' in various languages echoed round the leafy suburb of St Martins as numerous examples of nothing being done after three years were given.

It seems that the Spin Meisters at CCC, Sayrah and the Fourth Estate have decided that 2014 is going to be different!

Do they have the balls to carry it off???

Or have the city's ratepayers heard it all before?



Compare this pix with some in the link below!

The old Millers department store and former civic offices on Tuam Street in the Quake City Wasteland. READ MORE HERE!


Wonder wots in here?


Bye, bye Christchurch, will you miss me??






...... And now the Census ....

Have you read about the poor fellow castigated by a Christchurch Judge for not filling out his Census form?

Can you blame him? The fellow who didn’t fill the census form, not the judge, when those who set the form do not consider those who smoke cigarillos, cigars or pipes as smokers??? Wonder how that skews the results? And invalidates the statistics used by anti-smokers showing how THEIR anti-smoking programmes are successful?

Next time you have a medical check or apply for health insurance and they ask you if you smoke or not; say no, I only smoke a pipe, cigar or cigarillos – bet they tick the smoking box! I know the nurse at my recent annual medical check did!

There is THE OLD SAYING ; “There are lies, damned lies and statistics  

Now we can add the Census!?!!


And for something completely different - Can NZPost handle this package??

All wrapped-up and going ........... come back termorra to find out,


13/1/2014: Further to yesterday's rant - WHERE ARE THEY NOW!

Al Sharfe is hunkered-down in Auckland. Gavin McLean is lawyering in London as, it seems, is Fraser Stephen-Smith - slaving in London that is.

Thanks for that Mr Ben - can anyone else tell us where they are now? Still five, Haywood, Hamill, Swale, Upfold and Bowles to go!


12/1/2014: WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

The University of Canterbury Fencing Club's current fencing trophy with a tarnished NZ Universities one from the past.

Fencers are a mobile bunch in more ways than one and university fencers more so. Here’s snapshot from thirty-odd years ago, any idea where they are?



1981 Tore Haywood.
1982 Evan Swale
1983 Richard Hamill
1984 John Upfold
1985 Not held
1986 Gavin McLean
1987 Gavin McLean
1988 Alistair Sharfe
1989 Paul Wilson
1990 Steven Peterson
1991 Richard Bowles
1992 Andrew Kell
1993 Fraser Stephen-Smith
(There-after not held or not recorded!?)

Andrew Kell is in Auckland, Paul Wilson in Christchurch Steven Peterson is camped in the Capital City any ideas ‘bout the rest??


10/1/2014: LOOK AT THIS .....

Pot holes full of water.

Before you start whining, "he's at it again moaning about the roads in Swamp City," the pix was taken by 'M' in Palmerston North on Sunday.

Yes, that North Island village that has more cafes and take-aways per head than any other and that muddy place that TV3 and Prime TV call Palmerston N or just plain Palmerston much to the disgust of the georaphically literate.

'M' had spent a week cycling round our quake-riven roads and wanted to show solidarity with stressed-out Quake City residents!

So there! We Swamp City folks should be thankful we are not living there.




Still a hundred or so buildings in the central wasteland. Armagh Street and the Centennial swimming pool are on the right.




A cell-phone tower in Redcliffs next to the RED HOUSE one of the few old buildings left in Quake City. Though soon to be joined by a former central-city Wasteland survivor .....




A part of Quake City's history in Phillipstown.

The (brass) band became a symbol of civic pride, and even private bands like Jupp's, Grey's, Jenkin's, and DERRY'S – once almost household names – show the general enthusiasm for such music. As R. J. Estall, M.B.E., one of New Zealand's outstanding authorities on brass bands once said, “The Brass Band is the working man's Symphony Orchestra”.





A dressed-up road cone in the Christchurch Wasteland.

Oh, no giant chocolate fish has been claimed - yet!



About the copyright - contact me if you would like to use one - photographs on this website.

GOSSIP PAGE: The Front Page of The Press, Christchurch and the South Island's largest newspaper, goes to bed in the good old days of hot metal type; Montage at the bottom of this page, Australian foilist Franki Bartolilo; Three-times world veteran foil champion Maurizio Galvan fronts up for New Zealand television; Epee action from Challenge Australia; More epee action from the 02 Commonwealth Fencing Championships; A famous French fencer captured in Seoul; Attendees at a training camp in Christchurch run by Maitre Galvan in 2007.

ABOUT ME PAGE: Two top epee coaches at the Giardino Club in Milan. Oleg Putzanov, left, and Gianni Muzio, right. Montage; Kiwi fencer, Andrew Kell, demonstrates the new sabre mask - 2004 A Space Oddity - in Madrid; Top Kiwi womens' sabreur Katherine Taylor; Australian Olympian, Bill Ronald, relaxes on Lygon Street, Melbourne; Hot Man - an interesting portrait from the Commonwealth Fencing Championships in Shah Alam; Christchurch fencing physiotherapist Scott Suen bounds in for a hit against a luckless Australian fencer; Kiwi sabreur, Robert Snoep watches the action at the CFC in Shah Alam; A polite discussion takes place among University fencers at the Uni Games circa 1969. Last but not least, a tidy black Morris Minor photographed in Melbourne. A famous Italian Fencing Master and three-times world vets foil champion used my Morris Minor van for his afternoon siestas while running a training camp in Christchurch in 2007. The fact that he went on to win his third title on the trot is no indication of the efficacy, or otherwise, of sleeping in the back of a Morris Minor van named Corrie the Morrie!

LEARN TO FENCE PAGE: Youngsters, barely taller than the epees they wield, duel it out in the fencing club at Toledo, Spain; Hitting actions - from beginner to Olympic champion - some example of how to hit your opponent; Kiwi epeeist Natalie Fraser fights into fifth place at a national womens epee competition in Vallalodid, Spain. What every competititve fencer needs - an FIE international fencing license - this one from 1973. A promising young sabreur is given a lesson by one of Spain's top coaches, Luis Jiminez, at the Royal Spanish Fencing Federation's national training centre in Madrid. Aussie coach Mathieu at work; A fencing tournament underway in Adelaide, South Australia.

BOOKS TO READ PAGE: Olympic epee champion Marcel Fischer (Switzerland), Rangi de Abaffy and Willie Upritchard (New Zealand) pose against the ivy after a training session in my backyard in Christchurch. The Montage: Aussie Fencer Sarah Osvath recovers from a tumble; The teams line-up at the Commonwealth Fencing Championships in Malaysia; Top Kiwi women fencers Jess and Les fight it out at the New Zealand National Fencing Championships; Remember when? Kiwi sabreur Keith Mann shows how to fleche during a sabre bout in the 60's! Mann, twice President of New Zealand Fencing and who still competes in local tournaments, received an award for his services to the sport in 2007. Bottom, Hamish McCracken limbers up while some tired Spaniards watch Challenge Australia action and Waimaria and Karita think about what book to read!

FENCING BUSINESSES PAGE : Top. A New Brighton resident enjoys the nation's top newspaper (The Press) in a local cafe; University Students march through Cathedral Square as part of Capping Day celebrations in the 1960's; A view of the Tagus River near Toledo in Spain; Another shot of University of Canterbury students celebrating Capping Day with a float highlighting Government funding cuts to universities; Chris, the head Reader at The Press, scans reporters copy for mistakes before it is sent for setting in the days before computerisation of the newspaper. Bottom: A Kiwi fencer begs for mercy after being disarmed; Top epeeist and coach David Eccleston at a training camp in Wellington; The last page for the next day's paper is sent to the platers; Ioan Pop, The FIE's Technical Director, captured at the World Champs in Seoul; A photographer from the Otago Daily Times captures the action at the 2006 nationals.

LINKS PAGE: Corps a corps or head to head - you decide. The power of acting - Christchurch actor and fencer, Simon Young, attracts the attention of a young admirer during a production in the Botanic Gardens. You need a good sense of balance for inline skating as Christchurch sabreur William Cowper found out. They might look like two grumpy old men, but three-times world foil champion Maurizio Galvan and local coach Rob Sheard were focusing on the actions of fencers at a training camp at the Fencing Institute. Kiwi fencers love beating up their big brothers in Australia and this shot shows Christchurch epeeist Hassan Kamel with the medal he won in Sydney; Gruff young Kiwi fencers ham it up at the Fencing Institute in Christchurch. Action in the mens epee at the 2007 New Zealand Nationals in Wellington where 14-year-old sabreur Alex Chan stole a seven-hit lead on former National champion Chris Nokes. Nokes came back to win 14-7 proving that a good Old Un can beat an uppity Young Un. Aussie and Kiwi coaches who took part in a training camp taken by Ioan Pop, the FIE's Technical Director. Action in the womens epee event at the World Champs in Seoul. Two members of the University of Canterbury Fencing Club fight off in the Duel at Dawn which marks the end of the fencing season. The duel is held at different venues each year, in this case it was the Christchurch Botanic Gardens!

Archived Gossip and Photos: 2013, 2012

2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007