November 19, 2016

A difficult week

For those of you overseas or not on my facebook page, this thoughtful video will update you on what has been happening. It is sad to see but honest

Christchurch has certainly had a few long, slow wobbles since the large quake - but further north they have had three thousand...and floods. Many tourists have been evacuated this week.

The quake was upgraded to a 7.8 and has triggered off six fault lines.

We know what the people are going through... physical fear, the chemical toilets in Kaikoura, fear of what the future will be like....and the concerns for many about re-entering the high rise buildings in Wellington.

Ann was trapped in one of the buses during the february quake here:

On a bus in Colombo Street five years ago, I experienced first-hand the hazards of sacrificing safety in the cause of an urgent return to normal service in the city, writes Ann BrowerOn February 22 2011, everyone around me died when a red-stickered building collapsed on to a bus I was riding. I was crushed to within millimetres of my life, was dug out by strangers, spent months in hospital, and took the best part of the year off work. It cost over half a million dollars to save my left leg. For three years, I lived, worked and slept in a fog. Even now, I feel the earthquake in every step.
I hope Wellington learns from our mistakes...

Meanwhile, life is continuing fr me - exams/ marking/practical assessments/long days.
Bear with us all if we seem a little impatient or short tempered.... the broken sleep and memories and the worries are more straws on our backs, even though we are not currently in the direct earthquake zone.

I went to check our 20 litre water container and can't find it.... and I have no idea who has taken it - so back to the shops for water this week.   Food, gas, petrol - tick.  Middle of the night tsunami warnings remind you that it pays to check torches and batteries - and I have carried a transistor radio this week for the first time in a few years.  

Today the sun is shining and I can walk Poppy between assignment marking, and head out for dinner later.

For live EQ updates on Twitter.

If you would also like to help the people affected by the earthquakes, I found the Red Cross donation to be the best method. In New Zealand they have a paid text option or you can use their website.

November Earthquake Appeal - Red Cross

Red Cross Pictures Facebook:

Spokeswoman Gemma Snowdon said the best way to help was to give money so the Red Cross could use it to provide aid to people who have no power, no clean water, no homes, no food, or are simply stranded because of impassable roads.
"That's the best way to help out at the moment because we are still assessing what needs to be done and what people need. One hundred per cent of the funds goes straight to people affected by the earthquake."
Snowdon said the most urgent issue was clean water and Red the Cross will offer water bladders and tap stands for distribution.
Earthquake relief donations wanted
• Red Cross - Donate money here or text REDCROSS to 3181 make an instant $3 donation
• Givealittle - 2016 November earthquake appeal
• Givealittle - search Westpac Rescue Helicopter earthquake appeal
• Givealittle - search Kaikoura earthquake relief fund
• Givealittle - search Tapu Te Ranga Marae in Wellington
• Salvation Army - donations of non-perishable items to Blenheim office at 35 George St on weekdays between 9am and 2pm

Thank you

November 14, 2016

Shaky end to my birthday weekend...

We are ok - just saddened to be going through another major earthquake swarm here in New Zealand.

Just after midnight a 7.5 earthquake hit near Hanmer Springs/Culverden and then followed by a run of  aftershocks, extending a long way up and down both islands. Latest reports today say it was actually two quakes that hit simultaneously....the 7.5 is four times as powerful as the 7.1 that hit Darfield, Christchurch in 2010. That fault rupture was 30km long and last nights probably four times as long.

So a sleepless night with eastern tsunami alerts and many people evacuated from coastal areas. I managed some sleep from about 4 pm but it is no surprise that most people are not functioning very well today. There is a lot of damage around the island - roads and slips - and two people have died.

After 17,000 recorded quakes it really is no surprise to be having them - and we do have a plate / fault line running up and down both islands...sliding past and crashing into each other. Last night the quake was potentially on the plate boundary and it caused a slip one and an up/down thrust one.  Kaikoura was up down motion, and Seddon was clearly a side to side motion. The size and length of was an unwelcome return and the swarm that followed it brings back a lot of fears and memories we can all do without. There have been a few hundred aftershocks - one a 6.4 that sent us out of our 4th floor office today and a decision to work at home!

Many of the quakes were recorded as Severe on

and the Drums were busy.

It has made the top 100 quake list...

This man's house was sitting on top of one of the fault lines - which has always been one of my personal nightmares about earthquakes.

The tsunami sirens were going for a long time....we could faintly hear them on the beach.  I spent a bit of time checking the maps and wondering whether to get the kids up and head inland as we are on the borders of safety - but they put the evacuation centre closer than us so finally decided it was safe to sleep.  If you have facebook - here is a video of the sirens and the night scene:

There are major slips on State Highway one south of Kaikoura - blocking off the road and the railways. Taken from Rebuild Christchurch facebook page: -

 The Clarence River near Kaikoura is now blocked by a landslide...

The sky lit up at the time of the earthquake - This is a natural phenomenon, according to National Geographic.

Here is a page with latest news updates...
By 2.10pm, 382 aftershocks had struck the region. Of those, 216 were more than magnitude 4​.

There is a live quake map here- you can play the last week - look for Monday 14th Nov and play that....scary!

Still life goes on. I have had a really fabulous three day weekend and it has been over just minutes when the quake struck.  But it has been wonderful to have some great times with friends and family and my house is filled with wine and chocolates and flowers and things that smell purrrrfect.

Kia Kaha New Zealand- when you're not shaking, you are still a wonderful place to live :)

October 9, 2016

End of the holidays...

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It's been a busy two weeks. My brother was here from Vancouver, so lots of catching up to do.  It's been a long time since it was just us with Mum and Dad so we took the chance to take them over to Governor's Bay for lunch and have some laughs about family memories over a few days together.  We were very sad to see him leave.
I needed a new shower installed when it became obvious it was leaking - so in between all that I was getting materials together and getting the builder and plumber in -  but it's worth it - all shiny and new - managed to get it mainly finished before I flew over to Nelson last weekend and had my little Spring  break. The weather was unsettled but enough sun and a well stocked log burner took care of that and it was lovely to find some time to shop and talk and catch up with Libby and Davy and some other lovely Nelson friends... And of course wee Fergus.

Poppy had fun back here with Alex. 

Back to Christchurch in time to fit in choir, some dinners with friends, and celebrate some birthdays - Phoebe is 8 this week, where has the time gone!!!!, so took her present out yesterday... And never even took a photo. The girls are growing up so fast..

And James had a birthday dinner on Friday and today, we all went for afternoon tea at my parents to celebrate with them. 

Long phone chat with my other mother last night too - and regular facebook chats with my sister in Greece.  All in all, a fabulous time filled with family, friends and good times and the house is getting into shape for summer ahead. 

I don't take it for granted. I know it is a privilege to have a lovely home and so many wonderful people in my life and to share so may experiences with them.  
Much love to you all xxx

September 8, 2016

What is the future for the Christchurch Eastern Red Zone?

Life without Jessie is settling into a new routine; sad but different. Her ashes have returned and in time I will think about where I want to put her - with Saffy's ashes that I still have here too.

One silver lining has been the fact that Poppy and I can explore further afield again. Much as I miss seeing Jessie enjoy her walks, we had become restricted in where we could go! I often walk along Locksley Ave to the boat sheds on the River Avon, which runs along the end of our road. Lately Poppy and I have explored many different banks and stretches of the Avon as it runs towards the sea and they all have one thing in common; they are Red Zoned and all the residential housing has gone. It means we have acres and acres of green land with trees and roads....  and the question is what will be done with it.
There have been many ideas.  This video explores some of them.  I'm not sure what is the best solution, but the video gives you an idea of what I mean about the size of the green space and the land that surrounds where I live.

I have posted before on how the landscape around my house has changed since the earthquakes... the latest update was in June if you want to look back.

August 14, 2016


Jessie 1999-2016

Seventeen and a half is a ripe old age and Jess has certainly earned her rest. She leaves a big hole in all our hearts and many years of memories.

We got Jess in June 1999 at five months old when she came from the dog pound to be speyed as part of our student surgical training programme. Once she passed the hell years of ages 1-4, she settled into a great companion. Saffy joined the family in 2003 and later we moved back into town. Poppy arrived in 2010.

I think Jess grew more beautiful with age- her coat got thicker and her beautiful  plume of a tail was more luxuriant - it all brought out the side of her that must have been Spitz/Keeshond/Husky rather than the Border Collie/Foxie cross she has always been registered as.

Not sure how Poppy feels about being an only dog - just a bit clingy so far, but I miss my trusty guard dog and companion.

Run Free Jessie Puppy xxxxx

June 12, 2016

Horseshoe Lake Update

It has been a while since I put up a progress picture.
Today I see a new series of aerial pictures of Christchurch have been I checked up on the one for our area.

This is the view towards our house which is on the rights side of the empty red zone.
- I left the river in to the right to orientate myself!

I posted a similar drone shot a while ago - but to see how it looked in 2011 go to

You can look at all the areas of Christchurch as a 360 aerial panorama too.

Today is Alex's 25th Birthday.  How fast the quarter century has gone !  What a lovely young man he has become.  Love him to bits and we have had breakfast out and the cake is ready for this afternoon.  :)
And I found a safe picture to use off his facebook profile!!!

May 22, 2016

Christchurch from the Air

I still love seeing Christchurch in all her beautiful glory despite the scars the earthquakes have left on the buildings and landscape.  This footage has appeared this week and it made me smile.... I love that we get to explore all of this. Home.

May 13, 2016

A nine crane day

One thing about working in the central city is seeing the rebuild happening from the classroom windows every week.  Today the view to the mountains in the West, shows nine cranes. They have been a constant feature of the landscape for so long I hardly notice them but as a symbol of the rebuild their presence shows us the work going on. 


February 21, 2016

Reflections on Christchurch

It has been over five years since we started having earthquakes... and the milestone for the September 2010 quake passed uneventfully.  It might have been bigger at 7.1 and it might have been the start of it all, but Tuesday, February 22nd 2011 at 12.51pm was the one that finished us,  or started us. I guess it depends on your point of view.  Whatever view you take, whenever talk turns to where we were, that is the one we remember.  The fear and the damage and the journeys home, and of course the 185 people who weren't so lucky.

There is a new video to commemorate the quakes : Children of the Christchurch Earthquake....

It would be nice to say the land had settled - but a decent quake last week and all the aftershocks reminds us it is probably never going to end.

Screenshot today:

Senior Lecturer in Active Tectonics and Geomorphology, University of Melbourne Mark Quigley lived her for eight years and wrote this excellent article after the Valentine's Day quake last week...The earthquakes keep on coming for Christchurch

Another great article: another shake in Christchurch, five years on - and how they are cutting the Mental Health Funding here! 

Six things Cantabrians should do in the wake of the Valentine's Day quake

1. Reach out to people: Talk to your family, friends and neighbours.
2. Don't stop doing normal things like walking in the park, working in the garden and grocery shopping.
3. Focus on the immediate good things in your life, but at the same time respectfully acknowledge the bad and don't deny the past.
4. Remember we have gone through this before and survived physically as well as emotionally.
5. Keep your activity patterns healthy and watch your diet - don't take this as an opportunity to "binge on chocolate or hit the hard stuff."
6. If you are not coping, go and see your GP.

Five years I guess the city is a confusing mix of progress, cleared land and new buildings, but also surrounded by places that have not been touched and houses that are still damaged and broken.

Facebook aerial pictures of Christchurch by Feb 2016

Christchurch earthquake: Eerie images of city's red-zone, five years on

I have posted pictures regularly of the changes to the area near my house...taken by Becker Fraser Photos. Here are their Picasa albums of Christchurch 

Ours is just one area of the Residential Red Zone but this is repeated in many areas on the eastern side of the city. Thousands of people have been displaced.....and new subdivisions are everywhere around the city to create the homes that were required.   

Horseshoe Lake - 2012 - I live at the bottom of the picture - dog park top right
Horseshoe Lake 2016 - I live top left area - and walk the dogs in the foreground area regularly
 This one shows the central city -  the rebuild is well underway!

I guess people wonder why we stay. For me the reality is that there is no where else I want to be. My family, friends, work, home are all here.  My daily life is busy and I'm out most nights  exploring new places, meeting people and supporting the events going on.  I haven't posted on here much all summer - but we have had a lovely Xmas, visits from my brother, my nephew, Dad's 90th birthday,  family get togethers. dinners, quiz nights, movies, outdoor theatre at Hamlet and Wizard of Oz, Sparks in the Park, Cirque De Soleil, tubing at the Ashley Gorge, barbecues, get togethers.   And yes, the earth shook regularly at a lot of them!  

Tomorrow I will think about the start of our collective journey through the quakes at 12.51pm, and just carry on living with it all :) 

Kia Kaha Christchurch


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