September 28, 2011

Singing for Christchurch

One of the downsides of living here has been the feeling of missing out on the things we used to take for granted. So when Luke Di Somma announced the creation of a new choir, Scott auditioned and has been enjoying the chance to get out and sing again.

The new Pops Choir performed recently in the "Telstra Clear " tent in Hagley Park, and will be back there next month to sing in the Rugby World Cup Fanzone. It has not been easy for us all to miss out on the chance to host some of the games here - but we are taking the chance to enjoy some cultural events!

Tonight the choir were featured on TV... just at rehearsal, but still nice to see them all having a good time.

Posted via email from Four Paws and Whiskers

September 20, 2011

Thalidomide trial on cancer in dogs |


A drug that has caused so much trouble when used in previous years is now being used to treat multiple myeloma in humans. More research will be sone to test it on soft tissue cancers in dogs...
Worth a read. Just click on the link.
Pleased to hear they are only going to use it on dogs with male owners because of the risk to any women who might be pregnant!
Will be interesting to see if it works.

Posted via email from Four Paws and Whiskers

September 18, 2011

Graduation, Rugby, Spring....

Been busy this week with marking exams,  the reunion dinner and finally, the graduation of last year's classes. The ceremony would normally have happened in March; in fact for some of them, it was delayed from last September, but finally, those that could make it got their chance to formally be recognised for all their hard work, and it was really lovely to see them there too. 

The Town Hall is unusable post February earthquake, so we used the local CBS Arena instead, and although it felt strange for the staff, I still felt the ceremony was the same. The hairs on my arms went up when the students from our NASDA group performed - so much talent on that stage! This time the visit to the arena was not accompanied by an earthquake! This venue is our main performing arts place now, so I have been there three times lately and felt quite at home collecting the robes and hoods and stoles earlier in the week. For the first time in 14 years I didn't have to worry about hat hair... the earthquake destroyed a lot of the hand made trenchers so they were saved for the students only. 

Some of the students get given Graduation Bears to remember their day .

It was great to have the All Blacks visiting here today.  We get to see all the games we want on television - but it is sad not to have the fans here cheering on their teams as everywhere else seems to. On the other hand, we haven't got the traffic hassles either.

Nice article in today's paper.... click the link to see it all.

Quake damage puts rugby in perspective for All
New Zealand All Black players inspect the devastation caused by the February 22 earthquake as they tour the affected areas, in Christchurch, on September 18.
Video of the day is here, including soem of the celebrations.

As I write we are all still recovering from last nights exciting encounter, with Ireland beating Australia - and today France have beaten Canada. The French game made me think of Angus and GB - Angus,  because he will be watching it from deepest rural France amongst the locals, and GB because he spends haf his year living In Napier and there was some lovely film on tv tonight of Napier celebrating having these two teams staying there. To top it all off GB is currently touring France too.
Next week France play New Zealand at Eden Park - one to be watched!

Spring has really arrived... ChCH EQ Photos Facebook

I will leave you with Ross Beckers latest photos of Christchurch, taken from the Port Hills, which I have copied from the ChCH Eq facebook site
It will be available on his Picasa web albums too ...
These lights will run every night from 4th Sept until 22nd February to commemorate the earthquakes.

Lights of Hope in Cathedral Square

September 12, 2011

Happy Feet's Could Have Been Eaten, Sirtack Says |

It was suggested he might get eaten before making it home.... So let's hope it is just that the transmitter has fallen off...

Surviving 9/11 rescue dogs that scoured Ground Zero for bodies are commemorated a decade after their most difficult mission | Mail Online

Guinness, 15, from Highland California, started working with Sheila McKee on the morning of the 13th and were deployed to the World Trade Center for 11 days
Guinness works at the 9/11 site shortly after the attacks

It has been a weekend of remembering where we were 10 years ago. Today is Sept 12th here in New Zealand, but we woke on this day, Arch's Birthday, to the horror unfolding on the news as it happened in New York.
So for us, now is the real anniversary, not the date, and watching the new footage of the firemen, the chaos, despair and the magnitude of the destruction, we are reminded of the loss afresh. This time I have earthquake eyes - and the picture seems even more real. Coping with natural disasters reminds you how very unprepared we all are when it actually happens - and the shock and dazed looks on faces spoke volumes.

I liked this article about the search dogs because it reminds me that people risked their lives to rescue others. They take the shock and do something with it. They train to be prepared for these occasions. We had reason to be thankful here in Christchurch for the search dogs and their handlers. Just a small reminder of the role they played then and continue to do so now.

A special service was held in New Plymouth yesterday to acknowledge the memories with the Eagles Rugby team as they play here at the World Cup.
We are all thinking of it in many ways too.

Posted via email from Four Paws and Whiskers

September 6, 2011

Christchurch changes - a picture says a thousand words

The Red Zone of the CBD is out of bounds to the public so we can only see what is happening through videos and photographs...

Just when you think you are getting used to it all you see something that reminds you of the enormity of it - like a slap in the face.

Cashel Mall - Bridge of Rememberance last summer - taken 22 December 2010 - after the Sept earthquake but before February..... 

More of Ross Beckers' pictures are at!/CHCH_EQ_Photos

He intends to upload them to the Picasa site in a couple of days - all the previous ones are here too.

You might also like to check out the Quake stories site - 
This one from the weekend sums up how many people have changed their habits this year... do go and read it all..

We now have got an old push button- plugged into the wall- home phone again. 
I have 3 emergency kits – one in each car and one at home. 
I continually carry cash in my wallet. 
I no longer spend time in shopping malls.

The city might have been split into areas depending on the impact the quakes have had, but the memories and needing to be prepared affects us all... 

Library #eqnz on Twitpic

September 3, 2011

Spring time!!!

While I hobble round on crutches, my children have weeded the vege garden.
I sat in the sun and watched - better than any video!!!! Huge thank you to you both :)

Yesterday I saw the first newly green tree seen in the outer CBD area that I have actually noticed - a real reminder of spring. The daffs and blossom are so confused they were out in the snow, but this felt right.

It is a glorious sunny day and I have been sitting in the son talking to my son's Mother in Law about life in the city post earthquake... the children are also buying a house so there was plenty to talk about.

Thanks to my lovely partner, the house is tidy, the shopping is done, and he helped me bring in the washing... and we got to eat more of the soup my Mum made for me yesterday - feel guilty being off my feet again and very grateful for the help.

I have a new respect for public toilets after being taken to the CBS Arena in a wheelchair. QUite a mission indeed. Life at that level is also very different - in terms of being seen, and what you see yourself. My kitchen got a spring clean today - all from below bench level, the part I can now see clearly!!!

On the plus side, Poppy loves the fact I sit around and take care of her. Her habit of sleeping on my sore knee is not so great... but at least I have managed to reduce the pain relief today.

September 2, 2011

A Week of Anniversaries

For me, this week has two anniversaries in it. The first, and for my family the most important one, is that my wonderful parents are celebrating 60 years of marriage (as of yesterday).  We have a family get together planned for Sunday, but in the meantime, many congratulations to them both. I have been around to celebrate nearly all of them...

Last night we were treated to the rumble of a long and rolling 4.9 aftershock at 3.29 am, from the fault line on the eastern side of the city. It hauled most of the city awake in heart thumping memory.  Two days before the anniversary of our first dawn awakening, to a 7.1 from the fault line on the west side of the city, and Twitter and Facebook still run red hot after an event, guesses are still made as to magnitude, direction, depth and which fault line it has come from based on behaviour, noise, length of shaking, how much falls off shelves and so on.  Unwilling seismic knowledge; this time a year ago we spent the day of Sept 3rd in blissful ignorance of the Mercalli scale, liquefaction, of children making a turtle under desks,  seismic gum, and how a city copes with death, fear, loss and living in a disaster zone.

Last night we went to the Arts Festival concert with Dave Dobbyn and the Symphony Orchestra, where he said we were the only city in the world with a virtual CBD. In fact, he said some lovely things, and at a time when we know there is probably little sympathy left for the city as it drains the coffers of New Zealand, it moved the large audience very much.  Staunch and surviving despite it all, it was nice to hear some genuine words. They are not always as nice.... for example:
The Dominion Post Editorial comments - New Zealand sympathises with Christchurch; it has endured an ordeal unlike any other in recent time. But bad things happen to good people and others suffer personal crises, too. Personal and financial loss is part of life. Usually, the state does not step in to help. On this occasion, it has – with the support of most Kiwis. But there has to be a limit.
There is of course some truth in the words - the truth always hurts, but the scale of the loss for so many and the impact it is having makes it hard to not fight for the best they can get to move on and rebuild their lives. I worry most about the people who will never get another mortgage.

There are many videos floating around of the central business district and the demolition of the red zone. I can't watch these videos without feeling that colonial Christchurch has returned - the empty land, the dirt streets. A stranger in a strange, but vaguely familiar land.... this one from that page was taken by a contractor using a camera on his van on August 11th.

We have also been deeply affected by the inquests into the people who have died in the earthquake.
These were initially happening earlier, but were eventually rescheduled after the two quakes on June 13th caused building evacuations. They make harrowing reading and are a reminder that although it might be a year since we first had an earthquake, the true memories, the real anniversary, will be for the people lost on 22/2.

As we struggle with some issues here, it puts everything into perspective.


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