March 22, 2015

Avonside Then and Now - A Drone's Eye View

Some things just make you want to cry.
When we talk about the "red zone", we mean an area where the land is so badly damaged after the earthquake they buy out all the home owners. Just to the south of where I live many of the home owners have left the beautiful suburb of Avonside that runs along along the Avon river.
Seeing the land so bare just reminds me of how many people lost their homes and their community.
Just sad, sad, sad.

Tomorrow and all week the army are using the land next to us in the red zone of Horseshoe Lake for practice again - we have been warned to expect gunfire and pyrotechnics...
A fact of life after the quakes in suburban Christchurch!

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March 20, 2015

In which I try to practice mindfulness....

Went walking with the dogs along the river after work. A beautiful day but a cold wind.

There were swans with their babies...

After an exuberant run in the park ( the dogs, not me) I stopped on the way home to enjoy a peaceful part of the park where you can escape the wind and appreciate the warmth of the sun. Weeds swirled in the dark eddy near a culvert,  and Poppy stood watching the movement in fascination. I don't like her going in as the river is a potential sewage risk post earthquake.

I sat at the picnic table, enjoying the moment and capturing it, admittedly by taking photos of it all. ( I said I was trying to practice mindfulness, not that I had succeeded! )

Before long I heard strange noises nearby that sounded like a duck in trouble..... I followed the stream back up the culvert, and what should I find but Poppy.  I don't know if she slipped in or jumped but she chose the dirtiest, weediest part where the steep concrete walls were impossible to climb.
As you can imagine I was very distressed ... immediately pulling out my phone to take a few pictures while calling her back.

The little round black circle on the far wall is Poppy trying to climb the wall - the whole area is weed

I was hoping to get her close enough to haul her out by her collar - she was struggling to swim in the thick weeds.  Wading into the river seemed likely, but eventually she followed me along the river, through the swirling eddy area to a part she could scramble out on her own.

The splashing is a weed covered Poppy swimming along the river trying to find somewhere to get out


We headed home, only to narrowly miss being attacked by the male swan, who flew clean across the lake to have a go at us..... bit of an adrenaline moment. I took this photo when we were safely away and he had given up on us - there was a lot of swan cackling and "high fiving" as he returned to the missus....

Alex helped me bath the drowned rat. She was covered in strange blue goo, bits of weed, oil and grit....

She's drying off in the sun now. A little the worse for wear.

Perhaps I'll practice that mindfulness thing again another time. Preferably when I'm alone!

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March 12, 2015

Female Vets - Barbie style

I have been doing something wrong as a vet for thirty years... as in not wearing pink heels and treating Disney Princesses.

As the ratio of female to male vets increases round the world, we have become mainstream and finally arrived as Barbie. I'm really not sure what this message says to potential future vets, or girls, or boys....... kind of scary really. This Barbie doesn't have platinum blonde hair ... is this a sign of greater intelligence in Barbie's world?

Have a laugh, but don't watch it all - too nauseating... I did laugh at the Ariel section - taking the pets heartbeat at about 6.15 minutes and being told off for feeding her pet fish -"but I am a mermaid"!

To give them credit - they weighed the pets and used a stethoscope. They did get something right....

Now where's my little pink jacket with a bow...

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March 10, 2015

Protect your pet in a disaster- a shareable resource for pet owners

 As many residents of Christchurch discovered, pets get lost in disasters.

How prepared are you for needing to evacuate your home and set up in rescue shelters, strange houses....with your pets?

The New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) is endorsing and getting in behind a campaign to help pet owners protect their pets in the event of a disaster.
Protect your pet in a disaster. Make a disaster plan now with this free resource.
Published date: 18 February 2015

The 'Protect Your Pet' initiative, developed by World Animal Protection provides a free disaster planning pack, with simple and practical advice to help pet owners plan for their pet - whether they have dogs, cats, small animals (rats, mice and guinea pigs), rabbits, fish, birds, horses or Assistance/Guide Dogs. New Zealand pet owners can download this free resource by visiting

Dr Cath Watson, NZVA Companion Animal Society Branch President says “the Protect your Pet initiative provides the resources and planning needed to help ensure responsible pet ownership in an emergency. We urge every pet owner in the country to download a disaster pack and make a plan today; before it’s too late.”

Jenny-May Coffin with family and dog Jay. Image from World Animal Protection

The free online resource, has been developed by World Animal Protection in conjunction with the Ministry for Civil Defence & Emergency Management, Ministry for Primary Industries, Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, New Zealand Veterinary Association and other agencies in the National Animal Welfare Emergency Management Advisory Group (NAWEM).

 Certainly worth a read for the sake of the pet you love.

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February 22, 2015

Four Years on Feb 22

I went out in the rain and collected flowers for the road cone. It's our pet road cone that we were given when the earthquake repairs were done on our house... but I will take the flowers to find a public one when I go out to lunch today.

We have made so much progress as a city. and still have so far to go. Life alternates between sadness for what we have lost and the excitement of getting out into the city and discovering the new places. There are new people in town and change is everywhere. You can mourn or get into the challenge so today I am doing both. A quiet reflective morning and then a vibrant lunch, with a large group of people from all over the world,  many of whom have moved here because of the earthquakes. I'm sure we will pause to reflect at 12.51 pm and raise a glass.

Ross Becker from CHCH EQ Photos did another aerial flight on Feb 15th - you can see the pictures in the albums on here.

Here is our area....
Horseshoe Lake Feb 2015

We live across the river on bottom left of photo.  A full community of houses almost gone now. 

On their facebook page Ross recently put this picture up of the progress in the city over the last 19 months -

 look at all the new builds....

Some of them are amazing...

Some clever interactive photos are also available to look at to show the changes:

We are still deciding on earthquake memorial designs... you can check out the choices
Which would you choose?
I quite like 3 and 4...

Next week a new documentary is being released   "The Day That Changed My Life"
A powerful, uncensored, insightful and life-affirming one-hour documentary special built around raw, heartfelt, never-seen-before, interviews captured in the immediate aftermath of the February 22nd 2011 earthquake in Christchurch.
These moving accounts give us a uniquely personal perspective on what it was really like to be at the forefront of the tragedy on that fateful day.
Woven together with gritty, hard-hitting, archive and stylish dramatic reconstructions The Day That Changed My Life creates a confronting, compelling and poignant story of how the day unfolded for the trapped, the searchers, the rescuers, the hopeful and the grief-stricken.
You can see the trailer at:

Not sure what it will be like, but will give it a go. No matter how well prepared we think we are, are just watching the trailer has been hard enough. The sights and sounds take us back immediately and the feelings return. There are often tears. I usually record them so I can stop it and dip in and out. These things take time.

There have been some other good films made - you can see excerpts from them on this website:

Meanwhile we remember in our own ways.

Kia Kaha Christchurch

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