I sent through a photo earlier showing the mass of USAR people there. As my friend Libby and I sat waiting in the shade, keeping cool, a journalist from Radio Live, Simon, appeared with microphones. He is cycling his way along the Avon river, and stopped to record us when he saw the pile of cages. No sooner had he finished, Matt, from TVNZ came to record the process for Animal Rescue. Gotta love being televised at these moments when you have not been able to shower, but they faithfully filmed us transferring the cages and taking them home to Steph's in Lincoln Rd. We have both often been filmed with the animals at the now collapsed CTV building.... but this was very different!
After a hurrily munched Hot Cross Bun provided by Tina, another workmate, we went back to Animates for a bird cage. The store in Moorhouse Ave is awash with silt and is also being evacuated but they were happy to lend us one. Back to Steph's to deliver it, collect Shelton the turtle and the small travel tropical fish tank, and set off to the north side to Animates in Papanui Rd, who are kindly going to care for Shelton. Finally we set off back to the west side of the city, where I was able to get more candles, make Libby a coffee on the gas stove, and then she headed off to the far end of the spit at New Brighton. A long day of heavy driving for her. Thank you :) The tropical tank, including a huge Plecostomus, are now safely in our tropical tank; the one that is hooked to the generator... the one taking the power while we still have no fridge.
Sadly, we saw many destroyed parts of town, collapsed shops and endless silt. "Liquifudge" is the best name I have heard to describe it. The police and army are everywhere with fire engines and ambulances weaving in and out. We felt bad being on the roads!
By the end of it all I was tired and hot and dusty. Nothing like a good baby wipe wash at moments like this. Duly freshened my partner, son and I headed back up North to get petrol for the car and generator, eat at Subway and race round the supermarket. I started down one aisle, looked at the impressive wine bottle collection, and retreated to a safer spot. I have seen the footage of what happens when the earth moves in those places and it did actually shake as we queued at the checkout. Although the roads are busy there was no queue for petrol or the shops. Was hard to know what to buy when you are avoiding all the meat and dairy and frozen sections - but pasta, tinned fish etc will be on the menu for a while. They think power to our area will be out for at least another week if we are lucky. Sigh.
So our routine is to boil three pans at a time. A small coffee one. A medium one to wash with and a large one for dishes. Usually any left is saved for drinking water - for us and the pets. At least we have running water and are not trekking out to the tankers now.
Was good to see so many of my friends today. Our workplace is closed until at least the 14th March. I really don't know any more yet but we have no access to work emails, our stuff, our files, and can do almost nothing. In my department, one staff member has a badly damaged house and is camping in one room with no real facilities. Another has no power, water or sewage. One has been evacuated from her home, another is safe with her Mother and the other has left town. We need to get our own lives in order first.
So I am sitting writing this by candlelight, finally at home after a long day. Tomorrow we will observe two minutes silence at 12.51 pm NZ time for the many people who have died. I know 4 of them.
And so it continues....