June 30, 2013

Final Cordon Lifted in Christchurch



http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/christchurch-earthquake-2011/8859909/Defence-staff-farewelled-from-central-city

The final fences blocking accessto the inner city have been removed and the defence forces have left the city after years of help since the Feb earthquake. We have got used to the sight of tanks and camo uniforms at street corners everywhere... keeping the people out of the danger zones. A ceremony was held to thank them for their help, particularly through many long dark nights, in all weathers for two and a half years.


Soldiers remove fences around the CBD


The soldiers who have watched over Christchurch's inner city red zone for the last two-and-a-half years clocked off for the last time today, ahead of Sunday's official lifting of the entire cordon.
And for two soldiers, it is the end of the longest deployment of their careers.
It's not the front line, but for nearly two and a half years these soldiers have held the line.
Deployed in the wake of the February quake, these territorial soldiers have been the gatekeepers of the red zone ever since.
In 12-hour shifts, day and night, 365 days a year - with just a hut for shelter - they've checked the red zone pass of every person who's come and gone.
Corporal Rahera Falwasa was one of the first to be deployed - she was also amongst the last to leave.
"Our city broke, and it's about being here watching it get put back together again and to be in place to make sure that happens safely."
In the early days the soldiers hunted for looters and kept the city on lockdown.
But as time marched on their role changed, almost becoming tour guides.
"I know some of them carry maps with them and show people where to go, give people to directions to nearest cafe or to the bus exchange or library," Corporal Pete Seddon says.
Ms Falwasa says aside from the official lists they kept, the soldiers also developed their own categories of sightseers that tried to breach the cordon.
"There are vampires - they're the ones that come out at night. There are ghouls, they're the ones that there are photos of where the bad things happened, and there are ghosts, you know they're there but you can't see them."
But she says in the last few months she noticed just how much the public wanted their city back.
"When the fences come down, it's going to happen like any deployment - you know you're there for a purpose and once the job's done you move on."
At 3pm today the soldiers knocked off for the last time. They'll be thanked for their efforts at a parade in the city on Sunday.See video and read more: http://www.3news.co.nz/Cordon-lifts-on-Christchurch-CBD/tabid/423/articleID/303107/Default.aspx#ixzz2Xgs5uTAV


This weekend, people could finally get up close and see the buildings clearly.  Perhaps what is worse is all the gaps between the damaged buildings.
From the pictures I have seen so far, it was a sad time for most who ventured in.  I struggle to drive through some of the newly opened areas, let alone walk them. The disorientation is enormous. The sense of loss for locals very hard to bear.  I guess it is easier for vistors - they dont really know what it was like before.

My friend Lisa took these pix today.







There are some more great shots at http://www.christchurchdailyphoto.com/2013/06/30/no-more-cordon-in-the-central-city/

Perhaps I can get in there next weekend. It will be strange to actually walk across the square agin!


June 27, 2013

Veterinary Bloggers for 2013

I was reading Chris Bern's vet blog, as I usually do, and he has been listed on the Top 50 Veterinary Bloggers for 2013. A well deserved no 5 too!  So of course i went for a look to see what other blogs I can follow, and was surprised to see my own name on there.
A much lower no 37, but still nice to be mentioned...
Hope you can find some other great veterinary blogs to read.

We survived the "storm" - it was devastating for many other places in New Zealand but Christchurch was spared the worst.  The biggest problem was the earthquake damaged infrastructure meant the heavy rain created flooding for many parts of the city. Sewage also contaminates the flood waters in the river areas. Many people are now dealing with damaged houses and flooded cars, often wading through waist deep water to get to their stuff.  It also made driving interesting for a few days, and although the snow was minimal here ( but incredibly heavy further south), the hard frosts this week have left a lot of black ice. The waters have mainly receded; the pot holes have returned.  I really need my shock absorbers looked at. I think that comes under first world problems so it will keep.

At least the sun has been shining this week and we have been able to dry out the massive pile of towels we landed up with trying to protect our ceilings from the rain leaking though the roof.  Urgent repairs the next step. A new roof completely to follow when we can.

I tried to get a picture of the supersized moon as I drove to work this week - so it is the bright light on the left hovering over the polytech towers where my office is... .  Was impressive in real life - the picture can't do it justice.


Poppy came long to help the class design a transport crate that would be suitable to use to fly her overseas.  They measured her carefully to make sure her cage would fit in the IATA transport rules. Of course she had plenty of dry bed and toys included in the design....



I hope she takes me if she really decides to go anywhere.









June 20, 2013

Storm passing across New Zealand

It has been a stormy, cold sleety day here. but we have been spared the snow that has covered the outer Canterbury area and much of the lower South Island.  The winds are gusting up to 140 kmh in Wellington tonight.  One of Alex's friends managed to land but they refused to unload the bags as it was too dangerous. Very glad I wasn't on that flight.


James and Jess are due to fly out to Sydney early tomorrow morning. Hope the weather settles overnight.

Some canine ways of dealing with the cold weather....









Check out South Pacific Animal Welfares latest idea. They would love it if people make these to sell and donate the funds for them. Great pet beds :)

 or their website 





One of our past students has started a new website
http://www.petmemories.co.nz/

or visit the facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/PetMemoriesnz?ref=stream

I loved this post today.


June 18, 2013

Veterinary Inspired Cakes

Always nice to see vets displaying a creative side to their skills.
Thanks to Meg for putting me onto these!

These are all cakes.
The Nottingham Veterinary School created a whole series of odd and gory cakes, based on their profession, as a fundraiser for Red Nose Day. Here is one student’s confectionary take on the superficial facial muscles of a canine.







A testicle






You can see them all here
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nottinghamvets/with/8692550192/

There are also some really good scientific cakes...

http://mentalfloss.com/article/51207/14-cakes-inspired-scientific-concepts




And there are some more disturbing ones here: http://mentalfloss.com/article/12748/11-disturbing-cakes-look-body-parts
Certainly might struggle to eat most of these...

This one is from Conjurers Kitchen - it has removable truffles
'Failed abdominal surgery' cake. Life-size, with removable truffle intestines. Made for a company that makes the computer game 'Surgeon Simulator 2013'
They have a facebook page if you are on there..



I always did fancy the idea of cake decorating !


Last one for the vets who might read this... and know what they see. No prizes but feel free to comment....




June 17, 2013

Canterbury could be hit by the worst snowfall in 20 years

Such a fun drive to work this morning. Threee deep sets of flooding on the way. The first one made me glad I had a higher car as it lurched into a nice sink hole half way through.

Back road behind The Palms

Stanmore Rd
Nearly at my car park....
Drowned rat.

Might have been a good day to leave her at home!
Oooh errr.
Going to be a long week... mopping up the floors and hoping the roof doesnt collapse! The roof trusses are already soaked and getting mouldy :(

We are planning changing our classes to try and avoid the snow days, but our planned Open Day here on Thursday might be interesting.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/8803839/Big-snow-set-to-follow-the-rain
Blue Skies weather forecaster Tony Trewinnard said up to 20 centimetres of snow could fall to sea level in Canterbury on Thursday and Friday, with up to 40cm above 200 metres and up to 60cm above 400m.
Rain in Canterbury today is expected to ease this afternoon and tomorrow should be dry.
The ground will not have a chance to dry out before more rain hits the region on Wednesday, turning to snow about dawn on Thursday and with ''frequent showers of periods of snow'' continuing through to Friday night.

''We're not so unused to having snow in Christchurch ... but it usually only lasts for six hours or so,'' Trewinnard said.

''To have it potentially last two days is quite unusual and could potentially become quite hazardous.''
Oh well - fingers crossed the power stays on.
This is a real challenge for the people struggling in leaky homes that are so badly earthquake damaged.

 Just heard from friends that they have an inch of water in their house now. Thinking of you both :(


 

June 16, 2013

Home again, celebrating with rain, rain and more rain


After five weeks of earthquake repairs, packing, moving, rentals and motels, we have returned home. It looks cleaner and fresher but otherwise the same; just a lot of gardening to catch up on.  Of course nothing runs smoothly. The builder and Fletchers didn't talk to each other well, so we have no flooring replaced through the bathroom and kitchen areas. Lovely blue tarpaulins instead.... The years of damp floor in the laundry needed major repairs and the leaking areas of bathroom ceiling had to be repaired. Mark was a huge help and has fitted me a shiny new laundry tub as they ripped the old one out.:)

Sadly,  heavy rain has been the main feature of today - which has meant a lot of work with plastic sheets and buckets and towels in the roof. The iron roof badly needs replacing and the water is pooling up in the attic and rotting the main roof beams. Although the bathroom ceiling has been repaired, there are more damaged areas of flooring now and the replacement floors can't happen until the damage is repaired. So we have covered the nails in the floor with towels and just get on with it until the repairs can be done. Will mean moving heaps of stuff out of the back of the house again - and we still have the garage floor repairs to go. Still beats the last motel and the cats are pleased to be home at last!



This week was Alex's birthday.  It was good to celebrate with him, as last year he was in Italy for his 21st.  He probably wished he was back there as it was a lot hotter over there!  His friends helped decorate his room.... and then they went to Tekapo for a soak in the hot pools and a night away.



Kirsty has been over in Hanmer Springs for the weekend - more hot pools soaking for them.  Still raining though.  I celebrated with a party at home (a great night -  thanks everyone)  and a long massage the next day. Bliss.

Liam, who is over in Motueka, north of Nelson.  He says it is raining hard there too - and they have mud slips and flooding in the area.  Sad to see someone has died in the mudslide.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/8802062/One-dead-in-Tasman-flooding

James and Jess have got the right idea - off to Sydney next week for a holiday.  Tempting but need the money here for the house and the lawyer.

Stay dry - keep warm. Seems snow is on the way this week.  What a surprise.



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