August 30, 2013

Friday at last

I love turning off my alarm clock on a Friday morning knowing it wont go off again tomorrow. I might not get to sleep in much later but at least I don't have to rush out the door early. To be fair even that hasn't been quite as hard lately since it is now daylight, at least until the clocks change.

I had to race back for my phone yesterday - been gone two minutes and Jess had made herself at home...

If we leave them both at home, this is the usual view...

The daffodils and early blossom are out and this week I noticed the first green fuzz on the trees too. I know we only get the privilege of seeing so many springs in one lifetime, and as the hourglass is well past halfway now, I intend to appreciate every one I have left.
Spring is officially here on Sunday, along with Father's Day and my parents Wedding Anniversary. Lots to celebrate.
Thinking of daffodils - It is Daffodil Day - do read Jaz's post on this. 

Driving to work is not a particularly scenic trip - mainly road works and cranes, which pretty much sums up Eastern Christchurch these days.  Here are some of the city demolitions I have driven past in the last two weeks - the tall place in Hereford St opposite the Joe's Garage site and the Canterbury Brewery. All gone now.

To be fair, there are also a lot of buildings going up but the city still looks incredibly empty.
BeckerFraser photos took this recently.
August 2013- View over city from hospital to the beach - many remaining tall buildings are due for demolition. The bottom right empty part was the Brewery.

Walking the dogs along the lake
 The weather has been sunny but the nights are cold and there was snow on the hills this week.

It does lift the spirits to sit in the sun. Simple pleasures. Poppy always enjoys it too.

Have a great weekend :)

August 23, 2013

Shot Christchurch Police Dog Honoured for Bravery

 For many years we have enjoyed demonstrations to our classes of the police dogs at work.  It was a very say day when Gage was killed on duty protecting his handler. really pleased to see this recognition for it
A Christchurch police dog shot dead while on duty has been awarded an international honour dubbed the ''animals' George Cross''.

The PDSA Gold Medal, established in 2001, honours outstanding animal bravery or exceptional devotion to duty outside of military conflict.

German shepherd Gage was killed during a drug raid in Christchurch in 2010.

His handler, Senior Constable Bruce Lamb, was emotional today during the ceremony commemorating his fallen canine partner.

He thanked the PDSA for honouring Gage, but saved his final thanks for the dog. ''Without him I simply wouldn't be here."

August 19, 2013

Seddon earthquakes contine

If you want to know how it is affecting the people there, watch this video.
I know Christchurch people understand this perfectly - but it might help those of you who don;t live here to understand it a bit better.
I can't embed the video - but should be at this link

August 18, 2013

Still standing here in Christchurch

Having a quiet, wet weekend and feeling a lot of sympathy for the residents of Seddon who have had their second large earthquake and many more aftershocks. The first was in July, and then another one hit on Friday. I didn't feel the July one, but our office on the fourth floor swayed for a very long time on Friday, making many people feel dizzy and sick. It is like sitting on wobbling jelly. No noise, fairly calm, but the length of it was a worry. I cant say I was thinking of Seddon at the time; just what an unusual earthquake it was.  All made sense when the reports came out on twitter and facebook shortly after.

Summary from the Geonet Blog(this is a great site for more information too)
The Lake Grassmere earthquake has a magnitude of 6.6. It occurred just after 2:30 pm on Friday afternoon, and was centred 8 km under the north-east of the South Island. The focal mechanism shows it to be a strike-slip earthquake, similar to the M6.5 earthquake in July. We have now had two similarly-sized earthquakes with the same sort of characteristics - they are termed a "doublet". This is not what we would usually expect.
There will be an aftershock sequence to follow this earthquake, and we already have had one of magnitude 6 and several over magnitude 5. The latest revised forecast for a further magnitude 6 or greater, for the 24 hours from 2:30 pm 17 August, is 7%
I think officially, as the July earthquake was a 6.5, and Fridays has been reported as a 6.9, 6.2, and now a 6.6, that if it lands up at a higher level, the July one will be considered a foreshock to the main event. 
Either way, it is a terrifying , disruptive event and has put all of the nearby city of Wellington on alert.  The high rises and density of the city will make the damage so much worse if the string of quakes moves further north. Having been there myself a week ago, I am just glad we all got home.  Counting fingers how many more days I will be spending up there for work before Xmas and I suspect 4, all in high rises and old buildings in the CBD.  Not happy at the prospect at all .....  
Still - after a stressful work week, there are some other things I am enjoying...
Alex got me some daffodils.... they make me feel like the sun is shining. They are everywhere now and making us all feel better because Spring is not far away. The garden is full of Rhododendron and Camellia flowering, blossom is coming out on the trees and the Daphne bush is in full flower, which means the house smells heavenly. 

Alex and Nicole made Green lipped mussels in white wine and chilli with basil leaves and fresh bread for dinner last night. Theres a good bottle of Sauvignon in the bottom of that bowl... the leftover liquid is in the fridge while I work out how to use it in something else!
3kg of mussels
Heaven in a bowl
One of my colleagues is celebrating her father's 80th birthday this weekend and the other children ( there are 7 in total) have flown in from all over the world to be here.  She has made an amazing movie of old photos of his very interesting life and I watched it in fascination on Friday. What struck me the most was how often I could see the face structure and eyes of her parents and grandparents reflected in the children as the pictures flashed through. The recurring sense of recognition as I picked out the wider family in group photos.  A complete novelty for me... I can't do it for myself or even much for the children.  
Last week I watched The Deep End of the Ocean again on television.... I have read the book too. It is about a kidnapped boy who is reunited with his family 9 years later.  Not easy for anyone....

While I was researching it, I found a full copy of the Kimberley May/ Arlena Twigg story, "Switched at Birth".  and because it was a dreary wet Saturday, I watched it  As a mother I can quite understand the need for the Twiggs' to find and get to know their own child after Arlena died. I can understand how Kimberley must have been terrified at the thought of being torn away from the life she knew but she had a right to know who she was and she should at least meet them. As an adoptee, the long court battle annoyed me for the hypocrisy. This is something that millions of adopted children can identify with and yet, all over the world, many courts will not open the birth records to allow people to find out their history, ethnicity and ancestors.  Birth mothers may well have signed away their babies, but the choice was usually because of the judgement of society, not rejection. At one point in the film, Kimberley's real father shows a picture of a very large family reunion of many branches of his family.  This is what it is all about he says - family.   
I have been privileged to grow up as part of a wonderful family who have always made me feel one of them and they are the most important people in my world.  Now, I am also slowly learning about another two families that I owe my genetics too, the ginger hair and freckles.... This has certainly answered some of the questions I had, like I really am English. not Irish or Scottish....
It is time that society recognises that adoption is a great way to make sure children are raised in a loving home, but that they still have a right to know where they came from and stop denying adult adoptees the right to search for their past.

August 13, 2013

Adrienne Rewi Online: A City's Scars

Yesterday I wrote about Horseshoe Lake and the new aerial pictures.
I really cannot capture it in words better than Adrienne has - so please, go and see her post to understand the impact this has on the people of Christchurch who are losing their homes.

Adrienne Rewi Online: A City's Scars: There's a haunted, almost ghostly feeling to parts of east Christchurch now. Almost three years on from the first  7.1 magnitude ea...

August 12, 2013

Horseshoe Lake - yesterday and today

Ross and Moira Becker have put up some new aerial pictures of the area around our home on Horseshoe Lake. They show the inner red-zoned area of the loop, surrounded by the water, the golf course and reserve where I walk the dogs. 

You can see them all on Facebook at

I know it is changing rapidly now by the steady noise of the diggers, and the occasional drive arounds I have done while there is anything left to see.
We live on the right hand side near the river.
So how has it changed as a result of the earthquakes? See for yourselves....
View towards the sea December 2011 (taken from their Picasa Web albums- follow link for more)
View towards the sea, Aug 2013
Aerial view December 2011 - we live bottom of the picture
and now?
We live bottom left of picture - August 2013
I guess it wont be long before there are no houses left at all in the middle.  We had a notice this week to warn us the police are using the area for training again soon.  Last time it was surreal to hear sub machine gun noise so close.  Apparently they will sound an air horn three times before any really loud noises so thinking explosives will be used this time. That should calm our frazzled nerves!

August 11, 2013

Cardboard Cathedral

Took my parents to visit the new Cathedral.  Not at all what I expected. Light,  airy,  sustainable and interesting.

The cardboard beams are covered with clear lite roofing. 

Interesting chairs.....

We were treated to some organ music while we looked. 

The Trinity Window at the entrance features photographs of the old Rose Window printed on the glass. 

Be good to see it used and enjoyed by a wide range of people :)

August 9, 2013

A great week and some birthdays

Looking forward to two days off this weekend after a long six day week the week before.  It has been busy, but fun.

Early start for a day trip to Wellington this morning.... the girls were not impressed.

We had a huge a Vietnamese Banquet to celebrate Marks's Birthday this week, followed by Coffee Culture for real coffee and dessert. The girls loved the noodles, and the cakes...

Jaz put some more pics up too -

Poppy got a bath yesterday... and a brush. Luxury. She smells a lot better now.

We got a new assessment tool at work...
"Belle"... She is a very good patient

James got to try out Google Glasses - he said they were amazing. Only two pairs in the country. I am jealous! To quite him - It has a "bone-conduction speaker" -- you can hear sound in your head (and still hear ambient sound through your ears), but nobody else can hear. It's all about "augmented reality" -- seeing and hearing with technology, while still being able to actually see and hear!

I would also like to say Happy Birthday to my brother Alistair over in Vancouver who hit another milestone birthday this week.  Hope to skype him soon.

There are so many things I would love to write about here but I can't, or won't.   I can say that life goes on, things are ok, and I have seen some wonderful photos of my first mother and family which has been an amazing journey.  Although he doesn't want any contact, I am looking forward to finding out some more too about my fathers side and perhaps some photos too.   So amazing to have the chance to do this.  Life has been a little turbulent but totally rewarding this year.


Quake Dogs Trailer

Dogs of all shapes and sizes. remembered against the backdrop of the earthquakes.  A new book to remember them by.

Fabulous day in Wellington


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