Sunday, 28 September 2014


I went to Christchurch last week.

This was the first time I've been there for about seven years, long before the devastating earthquake.

My family came from the South Island and I spent many school holidays in and around Christchurch so have fond memories of the cathedral city with its parochial rugby supporters, punting on the Avon river, its crisp, clear winter days and where everyone used bicycles for all sorts of reasons.

I lived in Christchurch for 5 years in the mid to late 1990's and thoroughly enjoyed my stay there. We had a wonderful house with a very large garden which made weekends a pure pleasure even with having to mow so much lawn.

I loved Christchurch with its old stone buildings, parks and a feeling of tranquillity so it was a shock seeing it in its current state of disarray.

Sure I'd seen all the images on TV and in newspapers post the two earthquakes, but its not until you see things first hand that you realise how bad things are. If I'd seen it just after the quakes maybe it wouldn't have seemed so bad. Fallen masonry and broken things would look like they just needed to be picked up and replaced or fixed.

Now, nearly four years later, after all of the procrastination, lies, ineptitude and disagreement, what's left is just sad.

The injuries to the city haven't been cured. A lot of them are still weeping sores and at best, scabs. There are vacant lots where buildings once stood. There are new buildings that have replaced those that fell down or were condemned and pulled down. There are, unfortunately those still in limbo.

My overall impression was of a city that has lost its core being, its soul.

I don't think I'll return to Christchurch or not until it has been totally rebuilt (or relocated - Northland with its stable geology would make sense).

Saturday, 27 September 2014


We followed Uncle Joe's directions to the Haney place, turning left at Sam Drucker's store and catching the Hooterville Express for the last 5 miles.

There it was. Good friends' Tony and Alisons pied-a-terre (literally) in the country.

Tiger country

"Miles from nowhere
I guess I'll take my time
Oh yeah, to reach there

Look up at the mountain
I have to climb
Oh yeah, to reach there. "

Well we made it, Mike and I and found Tony in his temporary accommodation he's installed while the house gets built.

Alison wasn't there as she's overseas at present (probably waiting until the house is built if she has any sense).

Tony took us on a tour of the property It's huge - over 20 hectares of farm, bush, forest, wetland and hills.

Lots of hills.

I liked it and would like something similar but I know that The Old Girl would veto the idea. It will be a magnificent property when they fully develop it. This should take about 20 years so when they're in their 80's they can sit back and enjoy it.