Thursday, 31 March 2011


Autumn is here. It's been here for a while, but somehow I failed to notice until yesterday.

Things are very different on this side of town. People are better dressed, but more boring. The parks are prettier, but emptier.

The process involved with getting back into our house is slow and frustrating, and to date we have made no progress with getting into Matt's work. About half of the people we know here have been displaced - most are living with their parents. It is difficult to understand if you don't live here; the effects of the quake are everywhere, from the ridiculous traffic (as so many roads are inaccessible), to the lack of places to meet to have a coffee or a drink, not to mention the collapsed walls, piles of rubble on the street and stench of sewerage in certain parts of town.

Then every day there is the story of someone else we know (sometimes close friends, sometimes just acquaintances) whose homes or businesses have been declared irreparable. There is very little good news. Yesterday we heard that the home of someone we vaguely know was so badly damaged, they haven't been allowed back in since the quake and it has been demolished with all of their belongings inside. We mope around feeling sorry for ourselves then flip to feeling incredibly lucky.

Two words: Over It.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Where are they now?

Remember way back when I made some cushions for C1? Well, here's where they are now - huddled in the corner under a dusting of mortar.

The cafe is right in the thick of the Red Zone, so there is still no access.

The cups of coffee still sit half drunk, surrounded by the spillage that occurred during the quake, and newspapers no doubt dated February 22 2011.

Friday, 25 March 2011


Zoos are so last millennium. Now they are wildlife sanctuaries, and wildlife parks.

When I was a kid, we went to Orana Park in Christchurch - you could drive your car into the lion enclosure, and the keepers would put part of a carcass on your car bonnet so the lions would jump up and growl at you through the windscreen.

Unsurprisingly, this is no longer done.

Orana Park continues though, and although it has one of the worst websites ever, it still has cool animals.

We went this morning, and got up close and personal with the giraffes.

When two carrots love each other very much...

Sometimes when you haven't had home grown vegetables for a while, you forget that not all carrots are perfect.

I was reminded when I dug some carrots for dinner the other night.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Finally, a completed project.

Since The Big Earthquake, I have had real difficulty finishing projects. I'm okay with baking - today I stewed some fruit, made salmon with cream chive sauce for Clem's lunch, then made a salmon quiche (I made the short pastry too), then a cod pie for our dinner, with an apple and black-boy peach pie for dessert - phew!

Anyway, my reading has all but ended (I read about two pages each night before falling into a deep sleep), and my sewing is suffering as my machine and fabric etc is all at our house (which we won't be living in for some months yet).

Which leaves me with knitting. I have been knitting a vest for Clem for the past six weeks or so. And I finally finished it the other day - it should have only taken a few days, but I have had trouble finding time (I'm not sure why - I have practically nothing on right now).

It took me so long in fact, that ir only just fits him, and I'm sure he will have outgrown it in another couple of weeks.

But it's warm, and looks pretty cute.

He has discovered the big windows at our temporary accommodation, and likes to smoosh his face up against them.

It may have been cruel of me to take these photos, but they sure are funny.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Weekend getaway..

When I booked tickets for a weekend in Auckland, it was before the earthquake, and I was going to be enjoying my first days away from my two boys. Then we had the quake, so it changed into a weekend to escape all the destruction and madness that was going on around here.

Then, twelve hours before I left, a catastrophic quake and tsunami hit Japan, and my weekend away became something of a weekend of feeling in awe of mother nature, and feeling very lucky.

Looking at my photos, I think it is safe to say I sought solace in food.

Seriously, all my photos were food photos. Except for these ones (sorry about the light) of what looked like a cute commercial building, but actually seems to be someone's house.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The tomatillos...

As promised, I used the tomatillos I bought at the market to make a salad. They are weird little things (fruit? vegetables?). A bit like a green tomato, but with a thin papery outer skin.

And the flesh is much more dense than a tomato, almost crunchy.

I mixed them with some heirloom cherry tomatoes, and a crazy variety of cucumber I picked up from the same stall.

Added a few salad leaves, and some balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and...voila!

Matt declared it delicious.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Trying to keep sane

There is a farmer's market at Riccarton Bush every Saturday, and a twilight market there on Wednesday evenings. Tonight I got on my bike, with Boo running behind, and went and checked it out.

There was an amazing selection of vegetables - I even bought my first tomatillos which are apparently great in a salsa.

I'm thinking steak and fries with a tomatillo and heirloom tomato salad. Yum.

Attempt at a date night

On Saturday we left the baby with my folks and attempted to bring back some normality by going out for dinner.

With the CBD still in lock-down and many inner suburban restaurants damaged or unopened due to water/sewerage issues, our options were limited. Turns out we weren't alone either - everyone on the "untouched" side of town seemed to want to leave their cares behind for an evening and head out for something to eat.

The result? Mayhem. All the restaurants in the outer suburbs (mainly Chinese or Vietnamese) were packed. We had to drive around a bit to find somewhere that could fit us in, and when we did we were squeezed into the corner of a Chinese place at Church Corner. For those who are unfamiliar with Christchurch, this is unheard of. These places usually tick along nicely, but never reach capacity. The staff were obviously totally overwhelmed. Orders were being screamed back and forth to the kitchen, dishes were coming out thick and fast. We sat down and prepared for a long wait.

And no sooner had we opened the menu (and I took the photo above) when a mother or an aftershock hit. Matt and I stared at each other, frozen as we usually are in these situations (you'd think after so much practice we'd get quite adept at leaping for cover, but no). Nothing broke, but there was a decent amount of movement, and someone screamed which was unnerving. Afterwards I saw a middle-aged woman outside the window crying and being hugged by a family member. Then both of our phones went as family checked to see we were ok.

Not exactly the date we'd hoped for. All part of the 'new normal' we have going on around here.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Keep on ticking..

Although things are far from normal here, we are starting to do things which point towards recovery. We cleaned up the house last weekend. Check out our shelves - nearly everything came off:

We're concentrating now on trying to get Matt working again, and seeing what options we have in terms of insurance and financial help. Provided it's given the all-clear, our house may become a temporary office (his premises are right in the thick of things in the CBD and it doesn't look as if they will be able to get back into them any time in the next few months, if at all).

I have been doing a bit of work - a welcome distraction, and will try and get more over the next week or so.

We have strong ties to Christchurch - a house and business, so we aren't going anywhere for a while, but so many of our friends have fled - some will return, but many won't. Especially those with children who need to find schools and some sense of normality.

It is so weird right now, and hard to imagine what things will be like in six months, twelve months or three years time. Sigh.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

A little bit of good news:

Pot came back last night - we had been visiting the house daily, shaking her food and calling her name and yesterday while I was retrieving a few things from the study, she walked up behind me and said "wassup?". She was all cool and like, "that earthquake was so totally no big deal, I just wanted a bit of time to myself, y'know?".

Anyway, very glad to have her with us. I couldn't get a photo of her without her head stuck in the food bowl.

On Sunday we had a few people over, for company. I managed to do some cathartic and distracting baking, but it definitely wasn't as enjoyable as normal.

...and every time we visit the house, we look out to the CBD and marvel at how the Hotel Grand Chancellor is still standing:

It is so weird seeing it leaning like that. About fifteen minutes ago we had a 4.3 aftershock - each time we get a big one I think of that building falling down in a cloud of dust.

In other post-earthquake news, last night I got called in to the after hours clinic - they were a bit overwhelmed. As well as the usual sick cats and dogs, there were exhausted dogs from the USAR teams. Some had cut feet. They are such brave dogs, I hope they know how special they are.