December 28, 2011

Everything banana....



Taken at The George Hotel

The final dessert with the meringues...
OMG!

I see this is my 700th post..... a fitting number for an outstanding evening.

Pescatore Resturant - fine dining. Making banana meringue in liquid nitrogen



Taken at The George Hotel


We had the 10 ( although I lost count and thanks to some extra chef wizardry I think we landed up with 12) course Evolution dinner at Pescatore Restaurant at The George Hotel  tonight. You can see the menu on the first ink - but the reading does not prepare you for the myriad of beautiful ways they present the food. Months of Masterchef watching has made me familiar with the foams, gels, pearls, whips, infusions but it was wonderful to see some of the amazing ways they can combine foods to delight the senses and palate. It was amazing.

My son has been working there all year since his previous work was destroyed in the February earthquake.  He is planning on travelling in 2012 and has given in his notice at work, so tonight we took the chance to eat there before he left; he was our waiter.
What a meal.
And he made us meringues at the table by cooking them in liquid nitrogen. It finishes with the throwing of the remaining nitrogen on the floor and creating a mystical dry ice feel. 

Thank you for a wonderful evening. 
The final cherry.... he paid the bill!
xx

December 26, 2011

Great Christmas

We had a wonderful Xmas ... Early breakfast at my son's house, skyping with Mark and Jaz, the afternoon at my parents, joined by the children as they finished work and so on. A day of great presents and food with just a mild shake really early in the morning, and another just after midnight; none of us checked Richter Scales, or faultlines all day. If they happened, we didn't notice them - but enjoyed a great day catching up with the family.  I hope that even the people who had fresh liquefaction were able to get out for the day to drier areas. It sounds like many people were able to pitch in and help with the shovelling.  Again we sit on the fringes of the wet area - and are grateful beyond words to be safe and unaffected again.
The Boxing Day sales are in full swing, but we have had a few good aftershocks already this morning so the malls might be a scary place to be right now.
Poppy had a lovely Xmas - lots of new people to meet as she came to Carols by Candlelight in Hagley Park on Xmas Eve and had a busy Xmas Day.

Some further footage on the quakes can be seen here - narrated by Mike McRoberts who is originally from Christchurch .

There was an interesting picture on the Daily Mail site today - the one that proclaimed 1 in 10 people will leave Canterbury.  I wish them all well because ultimately you have to do what feels right for your lifestyle, and so many have been hit particularly hard by the impact of the quakes. Looking at the fault lines on this picture below, I hope they are heading north.... imagine heading anywhere along the Alpine Fault line as it snakes it's way up the country.  Meanwile, we look forward to meeting the 30,000 workers needed for the rebuild, from other parts of New Zealand, or other countries. I have already met some that have moved here because of their needed skills, bringing families with them. When we were living in Whangarei, during the Marsden Point Refinery Expansion, the injection of so many fresh views and cultures was a breath of fresh air for the area. Recently, I was pleased to find I have a number of students starting in February who are coming from overseas to study here; so don't believe everything you read. I guess the media always make it sound worse.
Article-2077804-0f434c8300000578-866_634x906

I cant put Xmas photos on here... our day involved a lot of toys and balloons and colourful wigs and my life would be in jeopardy if I publish the pictures.... my wig was long silver ringlets and I am not publishing that either !!!
Hope you all had a wonderful Xmas too.

December 24, 2011

Christmas images

Thank you to Chch Eq photos on facebook for these images of Xmas in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Merry Xmas everyone xx

Christmas Eve in Shaky Wonderland of Christchurch

Thank you for the lovely comments - we have been lucky the internet has stayed up and we can still text.  Oh and we have power and water - all things to be grateful for today.

An unsettled night - we were tired enough to sleep intermittently, but the house was moving too often for it to be restful.     I have been checking the Canterbury Quake page and took some snapshots... 66 in the last 24 hours....



The next one shows details of the last individual quakes -  doesn't show yesterday's ones as there have been too many since then, but the whole city was woken to a good 5.1 at 6.37 am ... which I see was actually over in the Port Hills Fault line....the rest have come from the Pegasus Bay Fault line out to sea.  It is a known fault line, so I guess it is not unexpected that it has gone off.


The next picture shows the earthquake swarms that follow each major quake -  colour coded for Sept, Feb, June and Dec as it spreads across the region.  We are basically in the area Burwood shown on this map.



The dogs know the drill... thanks Mark for this pic and an update on the quakes at NZRaw



Last week photos were published by Ross Becker showing aerial shots of our area...


I can see our house on the bottom left area of the screen. We are on the outer rim of the old offshoot loop of river that is created from all the stormwater drains, then feeds back into the Avon River that you can see running out to sea. Ours is one of the original farmhouses for the area, and appears to be on higher sand dunes.  All the inner area is red zoned and will be totally demolished. The area has been another victim of liquefaction after yesterday and many people will be desperate to get out once the insurance hassles are sorted. Sadly, paying rent somewhere else, while still responsible for a mortgage there, is not an option for many, while sorting out the fine print on their government buyouts, which is often well below the purchase price of the house or what a new place will cost.  While we all struggle with the fear and reaction to the shaking, the emotional toll on these people is beyond comprehension.

Same place - looking the other way - this time we are just above the blue lake area to the top right of the photo.

Meanwhile, it is Xmas but our priorities for today have changed a bit.  We are both tired and I have rearranged the plans. Our carefully ordered Xmas presents will not arrive now as the mail centre is closed and all the flights have been delayed. Our local malls are shut.  Those that are open across town are already teeming with people brave, or desperate, enough to re enter the concrete monstrosities for Xmas presents or survival supplies. It won't be us...  but we will try and find a vege place open and get some fresh produce, and of course cream for the pav tomorrow. Thanks to the new tow ball on my car we borrowed my parents trailer, and had planned to get rid of all the mounds of branches in the garden today - but this might become an after Boxing Day activity instead.  More importantly, we are meeting up for drinks with friends who are back over from Sydney for Xmas ( great timing huh), and then maybe try the carol service in Hagley Park tonight... Tomorrow an early Xmas breakfast across town with my son, Skype with the soon to be returning here Auckland family ( and message for them, Rangiora is still ok ....)  and then the afternoon and dinner with all my children at my parents.  These simple pleasures are really all that matters. People, friendship, sharing time together at Xmas.

Thanks to whoever wrote this for spreading a smile :)


Sirens ring; are you listening?
In the lane liquefaction's glistening
A terrible sight
But we are alright
Living in a shaky wonderland


Wishing you all a safe and happy day.



December 23, 2011

Large Aftershocks Rock Canterbury | Stuff.co.nz


Lost track of the quakes today but there were 24 today at one point. Rolling regularly.
House was messy but no major losses.... Small mercy. Power back, fans on to dry carpets, again.
Had a family celebration for Mum's birthday on the west side of the city before heading home to clean up after the 6.0. Good to see all of us there and safe.
There is a video of the 6.0 quake on this page... Worth watching to hear it!!
All I can really say is I am tired. We all are. Resilience is draining!
Grateful for no deaths, but sad for the other eastern suburbs who are flooded yet again. Spare thoughts for them tonight.

Large earthquake hits Christchurch - national | Stuff.co.nz


Some strong shocks today.... 5.8 offshore and a few good ones to follow.
Damn!
All ok no problem here, no obvious damage at home, but a few places will be damaged.
Have come across the city to celebrate my Mum's birthday ... Clogged traffic!
Nice to get the family altogether safely though.
Xx

December 22, 2011

ABC from EQ City - QuakeStories

ABC from EQ CITY

Dear Whoever, I write this in May, 2011. Some people here in Christchurch are talking about things “getting back to normal” after the earthquakes. But I think we are adapting to a new kind of normality. A lot of things have become normal here that never used to be. Read this and see what you think.

A is for
Aftershocks. It is normal to feel aftershocks, in other words new earthquakes smaller than the big ones. There are thousands of these, according to the guys who measure their size (the “size-mologists”). Dozens of them are easily felt. An aftershock is certainly an earthquake. The earth moves! And a respectable earthquake doesn’t come alone.

B is for
Bricks. It is normal to see piles of broken bricks and other rubble at or near people’s gates. It is not uncommon to see a huge pile spread across a whole section where a shop used to be.

B is also for
Barriers and Boulders and Bricks and Buildings and Bumps and Buttresses (see appendix)

C is for
Chimneys. It is normal to see no chimneys on houses. Often you see the gap where the chimney used to be. Sometimes you see an oblong of plastic on the roof, or a pile of bricks on the ground, or a vertical strip of wall made of plywood. Sometimes one sees a brick thing projecting more than 10cm above a roof, and says: “Look, that house has a chimney!”

C is also for
Chemical Toilets, Churches, CBD and Cracks

D is for
Dust. It is normal to see dust. On dry windy days it blows about. On other days we mightn’t see it, but it’s still present in smaller quantities. We still breathe it in, it still collects on our windows, on our cars, even on the bookshelves which we have yet to restock with dusty books. It gets in our eyes.

You can read more by clicking on http://www.quakestories.govt.nz/298/story/#

Been thinking about a Thankful Thursday post.... And as we lead up to Xmas I do feel grateful to be on holiday, to be walking better after my knee surgery last Friday, that I have finished shopping, and making plans for a great family weekend. Tonight is Summer Solstice, the weather is lovely, the Xmas tree lights are going, inside and out, and the garden tidying is going well.

I know that we are lucky; that there are many families in Christchurch who are facing sadness, upheaval, uncertainty and loss. It makes for frustration and despair.

We all know it will be many years before the rebuild is finished but gradually people are developing things to do; music, arts, comedy, shopping. We are learning to live in the new normal. There are many things to adapt to.... Sometimes it takes reading a list like this to realise again how much.

Posted via email from Four Paws and Whiskers

December 11, 2011

The Twelve Days of Christmas...


I had a lovely evening at the CBS Arena watching the Elves and the children celebrate Xmas music with the orchestra. Scott was busy working on stage so I took a friend along. It was the first time I have sung carols this year and it was delightful, particularly fter our day of looking at the ruins of the city.

The stage was gorgeous - only got a photo before the performance...


The children thoroughly enjoyed Craig Smith performing Wonkey Donkey. We got a copy of this for Phoebe - in fact, the toy, the book and the cd, so great to see him perform it with the orchestra and the children up dancing to it. If you don't know it, you can see the song here ..





One of the sing-alongs perfectly captured the Christchurch experience and we all enjoyed it... 


A great night - that restored some of the festive spirit to our lives.

UC app helps see CBD as it used to be | CEISMIC

Just wish we had this yesterday!
Will still try it around town...

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Kia Kaha Christchurch: Cathedral Square


This excellent blog post, written by Elizabeth from http://kiakahachristchurch.blogspot.com/2011/12/cathedral-square.html captures anything I could say about doing the Cathedral Walkway yesterday.
Our biggest and saddest problem was trying to remember what we used to be able to see.
Another issue is that many of the high rises still in the square are going to be deconstructed so we saw yesterday's walk as a way to sit quietly and see them from this context for the last time.
I am no stranger to the devastation. I drive to work around the cordoned red zone. My office looks over the Catholic Basilica and my classroom over the Grand Chancellor. They have been demolishing the Christchurch School of Music next to the Basilica all week - the digger greedily pulling down the bricks. A true demolition compared to the careful deconstruction of many other places.
The square, a place filled with memories, felt empty and eerie, despite the people milling around in our little caged areas. This is the last weekend we can go, so I am glad I made the effort despite hobbling in with my crutch, ID on my body not my bag, as instructed. The 360 angle, the fine detail you miss in the photos, and the more immediate reality of it all is I guess, another step in the healing process.
Mainly I am just numb; I see it but I don't believe it. I just want to wake up.
We grabbed Souvlaki in the container mall and listened to children mechanically playing Fur Elise on keyboards, people ranting about how Jesus is real and pondered how people had died in that area in February.
Surreal.
Do go and read more from Elizabeth - she captures Christchurch well.
http://kiakahachristchurch.blogspot.com/

December 8, 2011

No Fracking Canterbury

Fracking.....
If you haven't already heard about it, wherever you live, then you need to read this.
If it is happening in your area, you need to sit up and take notice even faster.
Canterbury's turn is now.

Posted via email from Four Paws and Whiskers

December 4, 2011

The Beauty of Pollination

Thank you to another Fiona, posting on facebook all the way from France, for making me aware of this :)

We are home from a great night at the Speedway after a glorious and very hot day. Hope the 5.7 quake near Picton and Wellington tonight has not done too much damage. My daughter has been home for a week from an amazing three weeks at Outward Bound in Picton . I flew back from a day in Wellington as she travelled home on the train, so we have both been up in that quake zone recently. I used to really enjoy my visits there but now I worry more about the buildings and being trapped.... although to date all my experiences of being trapped in Wellington have involved fog!

http://www.wcl.govt.nz/heritage/earthquakes.html

"Wellington is prone to earthquakes because it rests on the point where two tectonic plates meet. Kilometres beneath Wellington the light, thick Australian plate rides over the heavier, but thinner Pacific plate. These plate movements have resulted in three major fault-lines running either through or very close to Wellington City - the Ohariu Fault, the Wairarapa Fault, and the Wellington Fault. It is when one of these faults shifts suddenly that earthquakes occur. The number of earthquakes which occur in Wellington has led to our city becoming one of the world's leading centres for the study and research of earthquake activity and for the development of seismic strengthening techniques in buildings."

I am off to research bat breeding... I had not realised until I saw this video that they carried there young around and suckled them. Learn something new every day.

and ACC approved my surgery - all go in two weeks :)

Posted via email from Four Paws and Whiskers

November 24, 2011

Cathedral Square walkway - YouTube

There is another section of the central city reopening for viewing -for a limited period and you have to carry ID ( so reassuring) ... and I don't imagine walking with my crutch would be well accepted when we are not even allowed to do the bus tours.. but at least i can watch the video.

Speaking of crutches, the archived reports from 15 years ago have been discovered and so, I now have a proposed surgery date for my knee next month so I can be "done" before Xmas :) Whether it is covered by ACC or Insurance - the surgeon has pencilled me in and I am hugely relieved. Just a day surgery, scary, but worth it.

Had a lovely sunny day at Peacock Springs with the students today - and we are off to see the "When a City Falls" movie about the earthquake that opens to the public tonight. Packing the tissues.....

Tomorrow I fly to Wellington for the day - bracing myself to travel around all the close up, high rise buildings without fear. I would really prefer to stay here in shaky Christchurch. Despite the earthquakes, I prefer the familiar territory to the unknown.

Posted via email from Four Paws and Whiskers

Simon's Cat in 'Catnap' - YouTube

November 8, 2011

The Copthorne Durham deconstruction....




http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/christchurch-earthquake-2011/5936690/Copthorne-to-be-gone-by-months-end


The demolition of central Christchurch's quake-damaged Copthorne Hotel is expected to be complete by the end of the month.
More than $5 million of repairs had been planned for the Copthorne Hotel Christchurch City, on Durham St, after the September 4 earthquake.
However, the 11-storey hotel suffered further damage in the February 22 earthquake and Leighs Engineering was awarded the contract to demolish the building on July 21.
The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) had initially considered using explosives to bring down the hotel, but the risk of damage to other buildings meant conventional demolition using cranes and excavators had been chosen instead.




November 5, 2011

Murmuration - an amazing natural phenomenon

You learn something new everyday.

 

Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.

Posted via email from Four Paws and Whiskers

CBD red zone with Warwick Isaacs, General Manager Demolitions. 4 November 2011. - YouTube

Tomorrow the CBD bus tours start.
For those of you who know the city - here is what you would see, or will see.
I have to keep replaying parts to figure out where I am, what I am seeing and what should have been there!!

Very sad for us all and incredibly hard to watch. I won't be doing a bus tour as I can't walk out if there is an earthquake and the buses can't drive out. It is still a dangerous area, and we still get enough aftershocks to leave risks for people working on the demolitions. Sorry, deconstructions.

One positive is how sunny and light town is with so many buildings gone - new views and perspectives have certainly changed the outer cordon so I can only imagine how this tour is going to "feel" to people on the buses.

The headlines this week tell us there could be a few more earthquakes ahead of us - http://www.stuff.co.nz/science/5913474/Rare-aftershock-cluster-a-possibility.
Canterbury could get stuck in a rare "cluster" of aftershocks, increasing the probability of quakes for decades, scientists say.

GNS Science natural hazards research manager Dr Kelvin Berryman said yesterday that aftershock probabilities had been revised to consider the possibility of Canterbury being at the start of a quake "cluster".

After most major earthquakes, the probability of aftershocks usually decays at a predictable rate, but in rare cases earthquakes can trigger fresh activity in nearby faults, setting off unpredictable clusters of aftershocks for decades.

Berryman stressed there was only a low probability Canterbury was in a "cluster", but the possibility had to be acknowledged when modelling the chances of future earthquakes.

Meanwhile, the sun is shining and it is Guy Fawkes - watch your pets please. Stressful night ahead for them.

Posted via email from Four Paws and Whiskers

Outward Bound




Early start to get my daughter to the train. She is nearly up at Picton as I write, for a challenging and fun three weeks of outdoor experience.
Soon the ferry will cross them all to Anikiwa and the adventure will begin,,, the texts will stop and a new way of life will start. So excited for her!
She has been helped by Riccarton Rotary and the YWCA and some kind benefactor who donated money to make sure Christchurch people got a chance to go. I think she has everything, except enough insect repellant which she forgot to get more of and might live to regret.. The sand flies are ferocious. She is allowed parcels from home.....
Outward Bound has a web site and her course is here:
http://www.outwardbound.co.nz/courses/classic/
Wishing her all the best for her journey up there....Had her final text to say the train has arrived. Soon she will be doing stuff like this :)

October 30, 2011

Adrienne Rewi Online: Postcards From Memory - Christchurch As it Used to Be

Adrienne Rewi Online: Postcards From Memory - Christchurch As it Used to Be

While we celebrate Container City, I can also relate to this article from Adrienne... do go and read it.
Felt so good to see some of these buildings in their previous and glorious state... Somehow the reality of the loss is getting harder with each month as more spaces appear; as more land decisions are made. I want to play ostrich and pretend it isn't happening, but the evidence is everywhere and reality has to be faced, again and again.
Grief takes time.

October 29, 2011

Halloween....



Engagement party with a view! Heaven...




Taken at Addington Raceway

Container City

The container shops open in Cashel Mall today - not sure I will get there until the crowds get smaller, but in many ways this is a milestone for the shrinking city.
Pictures are from
From http://getlocal.co.nz/2011/jump-start-the-heart-a-village-in-the-red-zone/
They also have a Facebook Album -




http://lockerz.com/s/150932005

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.192931564115948.46456.132340030175102&type=1

We are more used to seeing containers used this way... holding back cliff faces!



I saw this on Facebook this morning - perhaps it helps explain why the container shops are a reason for excitement!




It is a gorgeous sunny day here, the colours of the blossom and flowers are beautiful out of the window,  - and tonight I have an engagement party to go to, followed by a Halloween Party.. off to enjoy it all :)

October 24, 2011

Captain RIchie McCaw and Teacher Ted



http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/all-blacks/5838440/Relief-and-glory-McCaws-defining-moment



After an adrenaline filled night, a week of anticipation and trepidation that the French passion and unpredictability would steal the moment away again for four more years,  the boys played their hearts out and in a nerve wracking, prolonged and terrifying game, brought the Webb Ellis up back to New Zealand.  By one point! They had to dig deep into the reserves as the injuries landed up scattered across the field, but at last, the years of build up and training; the depth and maturity and solidarity of the team meant they stepped up to the mark, gave away no penalties, let through no last minute drop kicks, and made the whole country very happy.

Today the sun is shining, and I can feel a measure of calm. Not euphoria, but huge relief at the wind up of a great tournament;  a wonderful few weeks of great rugby.  Christchurch missed the party  and the realisation over a year ago that we were not going to get all the matches we should have, to learn that our recently renovated stadium was now toast, was a bitter blow to a rugby mad province, home of many of the All Blacks. The taxi drivers and hospitality workers left town to follow the work up north, and our bars, night life and gathering spots closed down.  It has been a subdued version of what should have been, but like the rest of the world, we have watched it from afar, celebrated as best we can and felt huge emotion at seeing a Crusader jersey carry out the trophies last night.


Why is Canterbury feeling so proud?
http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/5838109/Nations-rugby-incubator-can-take-its-share-of-credit
It isn't drawing too long a bow to trumpet that the All Blacks' long-awaited World Cup victory was made in Canterbury.
Thirteen of the winning squad play their provincial footy for Canterbury or the Crusaders – skipper Richie McCaw, front rowers Corey Flynn, Owen Franks and Ben Franks, locks Brad Thorn and Sam Whitelock, No8 Kieran Read, halfback Andy Ellis, backline utility Sonny Bill Williams, fullback Israel Dagg, wing Zac Guildford and injured first five-eighths Daniel Carter and Colin Slade.
Of that baker's dozen, only Ellis, Carter and Slade are Cantabrians born and bred, but the others would attest their careers have been advanced by their exposure to the Canterbury rugby philosophy.

The whole game has been as much about the people as each match. The NZ reputation for choking hangs over the tournament - despite the depth of talent, and to overcome this, the team had to be stronger, with maturity, leadership and the right mental attitude, so I enjoyed the article on Graham Henry's evolution as a coach. 
He has always been a teacher first and a coach second, but ironically he found his inner peace by becoming a student again.


After their last defeat at the World Cup: 



Maybe as he surveyed the devastation Henry realised the journey was more important than the result?
His past four years have been marked by his empathy and you get the feeling his current players will talk largely in fond tones as they limp about on arthritic knees.
Henry took time to get to know them, found out what made each one tick.
He made it as much about how they wanted to play as how he wanted them to play.
“If I can convince them it’s a good idea then half the battle is won,” he said recently. “If I can’t then I’m wasting my time.”
Henry could still deliver a tongue-lashing, but more often it was an arm round the shoulder, a word of encouragement, or a subtle suggestion.
He found foils in the analytical detail, thoughtfulness and passion of Wayne Smith and the no-nonsense approach of Steve Hansen. They were the three wise men.
And he enlisted Brian Lochore who termed the phrases “better people make better All Blacks”.

So glad we have today off for a National Holiday!

Thinking of the 1000 who have died in the 7.2 earthquake in Turkey too.    I hope the world rallies behind them and the international USAR teams can help them, the way they helped us, to save as many as they can from their rubble before it is too late. 


Off to enjoy the sunshine, James and Jess' housewarming and a day of inner calm.



October 23, 2011

The Changing Face of Christchurch


In the first picture, this was the view down High St... towards the hills, and just out of sight to the far left, is my office.  This street is full of little fashion shops and cafes, places we would head for, to do lunch, window shop, and have a bevy or two at the end of the day.   On the right is the Excelsior Hotel.  It sits on the corner of High St, made recently famous for the extensive damage done to it on the day of the quake. (see video below)



Here is the video - the hotel is behind all the colourful orange flowers of its garden - but it gives you an idea of the damage to the area.


Recently we have been treated to the publicity photos of all the containers used in the city to protect buildings, and workers! 
Photos are from
http://www.facebook.com/CHCH.EQ.Photos





Then today - I saw this photo in the news today and for the first time I realised that the destruction included this hotel and it was not going to be saved.  




So I did some reading at ...
http://www.chcheqjournal.com/2011/excelsior-hotel-rise-heritage-style/


Heritage advocates have rescued the earthquake-hit Excelsior Hotel and will spend $8 million restoring the site to its former glory.
Christchurch Heritage Trust chairman Derek Anderson said the 128-year-old building was bought on Friday, returning to the trust company four years after it was sold to a property firm.
The central-city hotel had taken a battering in the quakes.
Anderson said only the Manchester St wall would be retained, with the north-facing wall and interior to be rebuilt almost from scratch.
“It was unthinkable that it should come down,” he said.
The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority had planned to demolish the building but the trust had successfully argued parts of the facade could be saved, he said.

This is just one example of one building, one loss, and we have numerous examples of this across the city.  Try having a look at Ross Beckers album of the photos according to street - crisscrossing all over the inner city recording the destruction.


But the next article does capture some of the emotion.  The loss of our memories, and I will take a quote from it - but do click on the link and read it all.
Fabric of Memory Falling to Pieces


Buses are being re-routed through the city, with a temporary exchange in Tuam St. Cera is planning bus tours of the red zone. The Re:Start project reopens Cashel St between the Bridge of Remembrance and Colombo St as a retail zone from October 29.
Besides shoppers, expect rubberneckers - or rubbleneckers. Most of us will be both. We will be nervous, shocked and curious. We have seen the videos and photos in The Press of desert-like landscapes that would be unrecognisable were it not for the shape of the Bridge of Remembrance or perhaps Alice in Videoland in the background. 
If it is a shock to see pictures of those spaces, how will it feel to stand in them?
Earlier this month, The Press ran a perspective piece by Islay McLeod, headlined "Be ready, citizens, for stark reality". After going on a tour of the red zone with a film crew, McLeod warned: "The wasteland that Christchurch central city has already become is a sight so shocking, so disorienting. It's an emotional reaction to loss so profound but without precedent. Sooner or later, we all have to see it and go through our own extraordinary grief reaction." 
McLeod drew on a Mainlander story I wrote last month, on the Scape festival's The City as Memory panel. I was pleased to see that some comments made by Lyttelton sound artist and academic Bruce Russell were getting a wider airing, as they seemed to summarise a feeling that many had but few articulated, especially at an official level.
"I'm really interested in what's going to happen when we do get back into what used to be the CBD of Christchurch," Russell said.
"I think there's going to be a huge shock. I think a lot of people are going to be psychically damaged by the experience.
"I'm really worried about antisepsis. One thing that's happening very quickly is that everything's getting cleaned up. We don't know what the memorials will be, but I'm sure at least one of them will be a ruin. If we've got no ruins left, we've got no memory.
The impossible ideal would have been to have lived with the ruins for a while, to have got used to them, before each was replaced - one at a time - by something new.
In recent months, I've been collecting comments like Russell's and Edmond's and watching how they take on a communal life.
These emotional responses are earthquake descriptions that fall outside the fields of seismology, architecture or engineering, that are about the tricks of time and memory in the post-quake city. 
This week I came across another very good summary of the strangeness of life here, in a blog by Christchurch writer and photographer Adrienne Rewi.
Rewi went to Australia for two months and then came back home a couple of weeks ago. She toured the perimeter of the cordon with her camera. She stopped at the point where Re:Start will soon re- open the city. She wrote, "When I saw the teetering form of the Grand Chancellor Hotel glimpsed through the Bridge of Remembrance, I was overwhelmed by the irony of the situation. Almost the entire lower section of Cashel Mall just beyond the bridge has been demolished. It's all gone and as I stood there, I couldn't remember what had even been there. And soon - well, in a few months - the Grand Chancellor will also be gone," Rewi wrote.
"It's that relentless erasing of my memories that strikes me the most about Christchurch in the aftermath of the September earthquake. Whole parts of my own, 20-year memory of Christchurch have slipped away. We get on with our daily business here because we have to and it's easy to lose touch with 'that other reality'.
"It's not until you wander around the inner-city cordons, or drive through the worst-hit suburbs, that you realise it's not just a city being demolished, it's the fabric of your own history."
So true Adrienne... The Hotel Excelsior is just one tiny part of this fabric, and the rebuild might replace the structure, give us somewhere else to drink in the evenings, but the memories will not be the same. The history of our memories will be gone.

October 21, 2011

Christchurch Earthquake Red-Zone Footage | Stuff.co.nz


For any of you watching, I see this as a record of the deconstruction of a city. A place I can look back and compare the changes...
For those of you from the area, you can probably identify with the feeling of bewilderment, and difficulty working out what you are looking at.
Thank you Adrian for your kind email yesterday - I am not sure why Blogger is not letting you post comments!

October 19, 2011

Cone art


This one is for Adrian - who has a "thing" about cones... as you can read in a recent blog entry.- http://kiwiscots.blogspot.com/2011/07/snow-cones-plague-continues.html
We might live in an ever decreasing pile of rubble ( although we know a massive pile is being accumulated elsewhere instead), but a sense of humour is being maintained. There are other examples of cone use in this facebook album, and I have seen pictures of strange mannequins posing around the city too :)

Christchurch City Mall Pop-Up Container Precinct... | Stuff.co.nz


Life in post earthquake Christchurch is strangely the same, but different. A year of it has found us living a similar lifestyle - same house, job, friends - so far anyway, but in this lotto city, many are not so lucky and the inevitable changes are happening everywhere. People moving away, moving house, moving into or back to the city ... we are coping with new roads, rough surfaces, flooding in the pot holes, job insecurities, changes in social lives, on top of the usual niggles of life that we always have to face anyway - and surgical waiting lists is currently my problem - or more accurately, waiting to hear from ACC.
Anyway - as we bask in the pleasure of an All Blacks win and huddle round the fire again in the storm hitting Christchurch today, this article reminded me that Canterbury Show Weekend is creeping up fast and they are building a new shopping precinct specially for us - perhaps the world's first pop up container one! We do have a large number of perfectly normal malls here - we are not actually starved of shopping experience, but this might be a novelty to help people want to re-enter the inner city.... it looks more interesting than I thought it would!
Stay warm and go the All Blacks :)

October 14, 2011

Christchurch Earthquake: Latest Red Zone Footage

Fresh footage of life from the earthquake zone... it is getting almost impossible to know where we are looking amongst the demolitions, or whether a building is being put up, or pulled down. I hope that people from all over the world watch this - as a reminder of the progress we have made in clearing up the rubble, making the area safer, but also as a nudge to show what could happen in many other places in the world and ask - Are you ready if it is your turn?

The bus tours of the red zone will start next month, apparently, but meanwhile, the deconstruction continues. How quiet the streets look when empty of people, but the noise of the diggers is ever present. Nice to see the trees showing their new leaves. Some hope remains for the future.

Meanwhile, as the World Cup continues and the eyes of the world swing this way to watch, the oil spill from Rena and the containers tipping off the boat are creating an ecological disaster for the Bay of Plenty. This time we get to watch the news in growing disbelief at the plight of the sea birds, the locals, as a beautiful area, renowned for its perfect beaches, comes under threat. I know that Christchurch people will understand their pain and loss.
Kia Kaha Tauranga.

Posted via email from Four Paws and Whiskers

October 12, 2011

SPCA Rescue | Television New Zealand | Television | TV One, TV2, U, TVNZ 7

Not sure if this will work for overseas readers, but here is the first episode of the new series of SPCA Rescue and it covers the rescue of the animals after the feb earthquake. It is of special interest to me because one of their duties was rescuing the pet animals from the polytech. It was an emotional time - and seeing them bring the animals downstairs was very moving for us all. Our wonderful animal room technician Steph was featured in the programme, while we hovered around helping.... she had actually been up there two days after the quake, and then the building was closed so we were pleased to get them out.
Nice to see Bridget and Ian and Ross on there too - many thanks to all the local vets and vet nurses, the Council Dog Pound and the team at the SPCA for an amazing job. Also to all the companies and people that donated food and supplies to feed all the lost pets.

Posted via email from Four Paws and Whiskers

October 10, 2011

Rugby World Cup | Christchurch Rocking For All Blacks... | Stuff.co.nz

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After another large quake last night (number 7668) we were pleased the power remained on so we could watch the All Black game... A decent 5.5 and we all watched the tv and the fish tank slopping next to it in mesmerized fascination... once upon a time we would have reacted more, but now we all wait to see what it will do!
Almost as soon as Christchurch settled down to watch the All Blacks last night, a magnitude-5.5 aftershock rolled through the city – a rumbling 5.5-pointer felt as far away as Dunedin and Greymouth.
The shock at 8.34pm was the eighth largest since the earthquakes started on September 4 last year and the biggest in magnitude since a 6.3 rumble on June 13.
It was a reminder, as if the city needed it, of exactly why Christchurch lost the Rugby World Cup quarterfinal being played between New Zealand and Argentina at Eden Park in Auckland, which the All Blacks won 33-10.
Prime Minister John Key, with thousands of other rugby-watchers at the Hagley Park fanzone, said it was a "stark reminder" of what Christchurch had experienced.
As the city continues to be demolished, reading articles like this one below about salvaged goods being sold adds to the feeling of frustration.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/christchurch-earthquake-2011/5757572/De...

When people, particularly the central businesses, cannot get access to possessions and are told it is too dangerous to salvage them, of course they are upset at finding them being sold and in good condition. The city has enough to cope with already.... I am sure there are two sides to this story, but with the reports of major looting by those with permission to be in the Red Zone, it is increasingly hard to know what to believe. Rumours will always circulate.

Some aerial photos doing the rounds from an unknown photographer show the increasing bare land in the CBD - and there are more to be deconstructed yet!  This process is strange - you watch the diggers at work and the action on the top of a building and wonder if it is going up or down - for a while it looks like up, and then the arm of the digger strikes out and smashes something....

Square on left leading up diagonally to Polytech and to AMI Stadium on top right.

Rotunda lower right - with Town Hall  and Crown Plaza along right edge. 

Meanwhile I am on holiday and loving it :)

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