Appalled at man defecating on the river bank

22:18, Dec 23 2012
Demolition worker in ChCh heat
HOT WORK: Workers oversee the final clearance of Clarendon Towers in Christchurch's blazing summer sun.

The recorded temperature for Monday was 29 degrees Celsius but everyone was boasting their temperature gauges had hit 32C and were inching up to 33C.

Why diddle us out of a few degrees, I thought watching the news at the end of a stinking hot day, irrationally imagining the temperature had been taken by a mean-spirited meteorologist (possibly on loan from Auckland), in a shady grotto at dawn rather than at the peak of the afternoon's swelter.

Am I alone in indulging in childish glee when weather reports bring tidings of comfort and joy that the province has yet again outstripped Auckland in the temperature department?

I feel so sorry for the demolition guys toiling away in the harshly exposed Christchurch central city.

You see them in their lunch breaks sitting on the side of flattened streets with no shade in sight, overheating in their safety clobber.

Surely temporary shade or mobile awnings could be arranged to give them respite from the relentless rays as the contents of their lunch boxes turn into toasted sandwiches.


Deep into the evening of Monday it was still very warm and, thinking a pedal might produce a cooling breeze, I got out the bike and was riding the smooth surface of the newly sealed road that runs alongside the graveyard and the river, when suddenly I looked right and spotted something pale gleaming in the moonlight.

To my astonishment I made out the form of a man crouched next to the bushy area surrounding the river, his britches flapping round his ankles.

He looked up and spotted me and motioned, if you'll excuse the pun, as if to get up but then brazenly resumed his position to carry on regardless with his filthy task.

Really - defecating on the river bank, the "dirty dog", as I yelled at him, furious that once spotted he had the temerity to continue on with his appalling business.

I suppose being caught bare buttocked, pooing in the undergrowth is not a hanging offence, but the offence was against the loveliness of the night, civilisation and the very raw memory of how post quake the local populace went to considerable lengths to dispose of their waste products in a hygienic manner.

Perhaps he had been caught short. If so, I think he could have made it further into the recesses of the undergrowth so he wouldn't be spotted. If I'd had my phone on me, I would have rung Poo Fighters, the hilariously named company whose van I saw parked in a street a few weeks ago. I wound down the car window to mock pump my fist at them, yelling out: "Fight those poos!" as they yelled back in kind.

To raise the tone, a couple of days ago I opened the door to a neighbour clutching coils of wire and bulbs, and asking me if I wanted any Christmas lights strung up.

"Er, yes," I responded, thinking how churlish it would be to say no. So as a result the windows are festooned with lights, as is the tree outside, and, combined with the glorious stench of Christmas lilies, for the first time in years it actually feels like Christmas.

In spite of portents - an enormous dead rat found on the back lawn, a small bathroom mirror that shattered in a wind gust, and a dawn breaking without a single chirp of a bird, the world has kept turning.

Christmas Day will come and go, the city will clear out, and all will be quiet again, leaving those of us who have elected to stay behind to perform the time-honoured task of "mercy cooking" and rehashing the Christmas leftovers in the fridge.

Sounds pretty good to me.

The Press