December 22, 2011

ABC from EQ City - QuakeStories


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

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


  1. I was thinking this evening (it's been a strange evening and I've done a lot of thinking whilst taking a few hours to do a very simple Thankful Thursday post which I'd written and re-written on a dozen subjects) about Jaz and you and Scott and others. I was also thinking about what my son had said about Christchurch. Then I started thinking about the devastation in Japan and the added complication of nuclear fallout. That made me try and play The Glad Game for Christchurch. Then, of course, I came to my senses because if you are living with all the problems that people in Christchurch have then it doesn't matter how much worse off others are. I rarely feel despair. But this evening I've come closer than usual. Writing a T T post was hard.

  2. Thanks GB.

    I think the scale of the events of 2011 are mind numbing in their magnitude. I cannot imagine what Japan is going through or what the ongoing impact will be from the radiation. Right now I feel for the flood victims in Nelson who are still in the early days of the whole process.

    Humans take many things for granted and assume life will go on the same way as usual.... natural disasters tend to turn all plans upside down.


Comments welcome....always love to hear what you think!


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