Posts Tagged ‘postaday2011’

Floral Friday

My oriental lilies, planted in 1998, have opened their buds:

Oriental lilies

The lilies of the field are well-known because they toil not, neither do they spin. In my “field” they also require no maintenance, except the occasional stake to ensure they face the path. They are watered only occasionally, but every year they re-appear with a beautiful scent that assails us as we walk past.

Another newcomer this week is a tiny viola which has appeared between the bricks on the patio.

Volunteer Viola

I regularly weed between the bricks, but if I recognise a volunteer viola I leave it, and am delighted if it produces a flower.

These Friday flowers large and small
give pleasure whether short or tall

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On Thursday night I was twice woken by a quake of 4.3.  Smaller shakes don’t usually wake me, but ones this strong do.  The significant shakes just before Christmas have definitely raised my quake awareness levels again.  I don’t consciously worry about quakes to come (despite GNS predictions that we are likely to get another large one within the next year), but whenever I feel a shake there’s a quick thought: “Is this going to be a big one?”.  I’m sure most people in Christchurch have similar thoughts, and such continual thoughts are wearying.

When I’m out among buildings (the ones that are left) I now again find myself thinking, which way would I run if a big one came?  This is silly, because there probably wouldn’t be time to run anywhere.  My experience of the large quake on 23rd December showed that the best I’m likely to be able to do is to get down, to avoid being knocked down.  In February I was able to get under a desk, but if you’re out on the street there aren’t usually any desks handy.

I’ve booked to go to Wellington in January, and am looking forward to some restorative time there.  However there’s part of me that would rather be at home with Stephen.  The quakes definitely encourage a longing for home and family.

I go for a daily walk before breakfast, and am conscious of being away from home without any form of identification.    Pre-quakes I never took i.d. with me on my early walks. and I’m not prepared to let Ruaumoko change my “normal” life any more than he’s done already.

“Reasonable care is good to take
but I won’t live in fear of quake.”

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By the site of St Luke’s Church (now demolished due to earthquakes) I came across a seat which is a memorial to street workers, many of whom ply their trade nearby in Manchester Street.

Seat which is memorial for street workers


The plaque reads “”In memory of the women who have worked, lived, and died on the streets of Christchurch”.  This seems to me a very tactful way of acknowledging the fact that several street workers have been brutally killed in recent years.

“Street workers have precarious lives
I’m glad this tribute seat survives.”

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Littered Library

Yesterday I walked down to the Central Library in Peterborough Street to return a book which was four days overdue. 

Earthquake mess in library

Some books had come off the shelves during the recent quakes.   (I took the photo through the window which reflected my shadow.)  The Library website tells me there’s repair work required and issues with neighbouring buildings, but they should be open again today.   I’m very sorry to learn this and also a little relieved that it might mean a smaller fine for my overdues.  I’m still reading one that should have gone back last Friday.
“It is an ill wind, so they say
that may have blown some good my way.”

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This excellent novel tells the story of women of Masada, a Jewish desert fortress which was besieged by the Romans in 70AD.  Josephus tells us that two women and five children survived the siege, and Alice Hoffman has brought their stories to life, based on archeological remains, and including a touch of magic.  The scene is set with a gruelling journey through the desert, and an understanding of the Jewish world-to-come. 

While I’d heard a little of Masada, I didn’t know of its history as one of Herod’s palaces, and reading this book has inspired me to watch the dvd of the mini-series “Masada”, starring Peter O’Toole.  Stephen, as a student of Roman history, conveniently has this in his collection.  I’m interested to see how the mini-series ties in with Hoffman’s book.

“These women tended to the doves,
and practised magic for their loves.”

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After the 6.0 hit yesterday afternoon a friend phoned to say she’d heard on the radio that a building on the corner of Kilmore and Barbadoes Street (OUR corner) had collapsed.  We’d just walked past that corner without noticing anything amiss.  After her call we walked down, and still couldn’t see any new damage.  Apart from the half of Piko’s still standing there’s only one building left on the corner, and that’s the hairdresser’s.

Later that evening a daughter in London told us she’d also seen news that a building on our corner had collapsed.  I then googled, and found this on Yahoo and Stuff: “A partly demolished building on the corner of Barbadoes and Kilmore streets has collapsed”.  We’ve been down for another look this morning, but still can’t see any sign of this.

Our Xmas Eve plan had been to go to the Supermarket early for last minute grocery shopping.  At 7.30am we headed to South City New World which is usually open then.  We could see people inside, but doors all around the Mall were locked.  Eventually someone came out to tell us and a number of other hopeful shoppers that they were waiting for engineers to come and check the buidling and it would open “sometime later”.  We went on to Countdown in Moorhouse, where we heard that won’t be open until 9.30am.  New World Stanmore had a large “closed” sign.  Luckily, Gordon Smith in Victoria Street was open and we were able to get fruit, vegetables, milk, bread, and eggs.  We’d still like cooking cheese (planning cheese puffs for Xmas lunch), so may brave the supermarket crowds later.  Otherwise we won’t be venturing far from home today (well, maybe a drink at Pomeroy’s if they’re open again). 

This morning’s chores are re-shelving books, and resetting the answerphone and other devices which went offline during yesterday’s power outage.  We are SO lucky not to have liquefaction or flooding.

“Reports our corner fell in quake
appear to be a news mistake.”


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Any complacent feelings that the serious earthquakes are over were shattered this afternoon.    At 1.58pm the earth shook again, with a quake of 5.8 (VI on Mercalli).  Stephen and I were relieved to both be at home together.   In the kitchen a glass jar filled with bran flakes crashed to the floor, books came out of shelves, cupboards and drawers flew open, and once more everything was in disarray.  Amid aftershocks we cleaned up, spoke to neighbours, and generally got over it.

An hour later I asked Stephen to walk down with me to check on the VolCan office.  We were on the corner of Gloucester and Barbadoes Streets when the next big one struck (6.0, VII Mercalli).  This is the fourth biggest quake we’ve had since 4 September 2010.  We clung together to a traffic light pole, without which we might have fallen.  A police car had stopped nearby and the man checked we were okay.  By now I was regretting my impulse to check the office, but we were almost there.  I found many things had fallen over and out of shelves, and my computer monitor had fallen over.  The power was still on, the monitor still worked, and I left it lying down – there seemed to be no point in cleaning up the mess.

On our way home we passed a couple who had water pouring from their second storey unit where pipes had broken.  The Cottage was a worse mess than earlier.  Containers of lentils, barley, split peas, and beans had fallen out and made a glorious mix on the kitchen floor.  At least these were all post-February plastic containers, so no glass this time.  We swept it all up and added it to the compost bin.  There were several breakages – a bowl and a platter I was fond of, and one china teapot.  No point in making an insurance claim, but I kept some bits in case they might go on a future mosaic.

Heavy books had fallen on to Bentley’s basket.  He had fled under the house, but was soon coaxed out and comforted.    We’d seen one dog flying down the road, and wondered when/if he would return home.

All the Malls and Ballantyne’s are shut again.  The airport’s closed.  This is so hard for people right on Christmas.  Personally I just want to stay close to home.  At just after 5pm we are still having aftershocks.  Enough!

“It’s hard to know just what to say
as couplets seem too trite today.”

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Two banks have moved into containers in the Restart Mall. 

Westpac Mobile Branch

 Westpac calls this the Mobile Branch, although it’s not actually moving.  It’s very handy for me because Stephen can do the VolCan banking there rather than one of our staff having to take a car to the Eastgate Branch.

ASB Temporary Bank

ASB calls their branch a Temporary Bank, more logical in my opinion.

Inside Ballantyne’s door there’s this strange Xmas figure.

Strangest Santa

 It’s advertising Kiehl’s cosmetics which have been around since 1851.  Maybe this is supposed to be one of their original employees?  I wonder what small children make of it.

Out in the Mall was a trio of young buskers playing Christmas carols.

Tiny Trio


The one on the right, playing a small-sized cello couldn’t have been more than six years old.  She was struggling with the music, but winning lots of admiring comments.

‘There’s lots to see at Restart Mall
with Christmas crowds enjoying it all.”

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These ‘dispatches from the Christchurch Earthquake’ first appeared in Wellington’s ‘Dominion Post’.  At the time I was indignant that they chose not to publish them on their website.  I would hear about them but couldn’t read them, and I’m glad to now have that opportunity.  I’m fortunate to have two neighbours who have each documented the earthquake experience from a home very near my own.  Jane lives a block away up Kilmore Street, in the opposite direction from Gerard Smyth (director of ‘When a City Falls’).  Her dispatches often focus on ‘our’ corner, and much of what she writes about I also experienced.  Jane was released from the cordon much earlier than we were, and her observations are wider-ranging than those on my blog.

Her writing is colourful and amusing, yet totally real and honest.  I love the way she weaves in the personality of her cat Benecio.  Maybe Bentley, who also has a strong personality, deserves more publicity?  Like the film, this book will be a record to hand on to future generations to help them appreciate what we’ve all been through.

“Us neighbours feel that we are lucky
to have Jane’s record of Old Bucky.”

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December 22 is the Summer Solstice, the longest day, when nature is in full bloom.  It’s a time to celebrate our achievements and give thanks for what’s been completed.  In Christchurch this year we feel it’s been an amazing achievement simply to have survived, and to have managed to continue with many “normal” actitivites despite all the disruptions.  When our ritual group met recently we shared the gifts that this season has brought us.  For me, the opportunity to have five weeks free of work responsibilities is a tremendous and much-needed gift.  My end of year tasks are done, and I look forward to enjoying sunshine, rest, and time with good friends.

“It’s good to know the tasks are done.
Now I can relax in the sun.’




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