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Monday, September 13, 2010

Travelling South











When we heard that the Dunkley's Great NZ Craft Show was cancelled we were all packed and ready to leave - in fact we delayed our leaving because we were so sure that it could not go ahead.
So we decided to come ahead anyway, if only to take time to visit with elderly family living in Christchurch. It was an amazing experience, and one I'm not keen to repeat anytime soon.
I checked on this amazing website (you may have to install Google Earth to see it), and found that they have had in excess of 500 (yes, that's right) aftershocks since Saturday's huge quake. The ground is moving all the time, and even in the short time that we were there I began to wonder if my head was spinning or if the world really was moving constantly. A lot of the shakes were quite frightening, even then.
We had a brief drive around the city checking on old haunts and it seems that one of our old homes in the suburb of Dallington has probably gone - a victim of liquifaction. We could not get close enough to be sure, and it felt rather ghoulish to be viewing other people's misfortune quite so closely.
Liquifaction is where the earth is shaken so vigorously that the silt and fine sand comes to the surface with any groundwater - rather like shaking a container of wet cement.

The quaint old shop where I had my first after school job has totally gone - it is the gap in the photo at the top - there are so many of these lovely old heritage buildings disappearing and being demolished before they can do any harm.
We had a little essential shopping to do while we were in the city and found that when we asked shop assistants how they were coping they almost broke down - the whole city is in a state of shock and grief.
It's hard to convey just how hard this vibrant place has been hit - the damage goes much further than the eye can see - literally!
It has been a relief to move further South and sit in this gorgeous little fishing village on the coast. How fortunate we are to be able to do this! I will tell you more about this over the coming days.

3 comments:

Kim said...

Oh Lesley, what a horrible experience for you, but I hope you found your family coping okay. I did not know about this liquifaction thing. It sounds horrible, truly horrible. And over 500 aftershocks! How are these people doing it? How are they focusing? I suppose you are asking yourself the same question. I can surely imagine they would breakdown when asked. They are probably robotic. Oh, how these people are going to need to talk to get all of this out...it will take years of talk. I truly can't begin to imagine and wonder how the city can be rebuilt if this ground is so completely unstable now?

Thank you for updating us. I have been wondering and wondering as we are not getting a lot of news here or from the UK papers I read. I am thinking of you and of all the people of NZ.

Stitchbird said...

Hi Les hope all is going well. Is the shop Aysgarths? I can't quite picture where this is as the other buildings are new. So sorry to hear about your old home. Hope things are taking the turn for the better for you, what with the Southland Stadium roof collapsing as well, you must think you have a jinx. Just give us a little warning before you come to Wellington and we will make sure we are prepared for all natural disasters. Lots of love and hugs L

glitz said...

Hi Kim and Lyndy,
How lovely it is to be home again - that trip was rather like an obstacle course, or maybe a game of Snakes and Ladders - so good and so bad! More of that later though.
Kim, my family are OK, though the aftershocks are still ongoing which is very tiring for everyone there. Every time there is movement they wonder if this is another big one. There was another 4.5 quake this morning, but no reports of damage so far - but how would you tell, I wonder?
Lyndy, the shop is the old Convent Fruit & Veg Shop - where I had my very first after school job. The whole building is gone, and I see just yesterday that one of the buildings in that photo (the blue one) is being demolished as it must have been damaged beyond repair. Landy Street and the surrounding area is just an awful mess, with grey silt everywhere and houses on a lean, if not actually broken.
Houses that are occupiable must display a green form, houses that can be entered for removing possessions but are still condemned display a yellow form, and those that are condemned and unsafe to enter display a red form. I found myself anxiously looking into windows to see what was displayed.
So many houses around our old stomping grounds are destroyed, with the roads a jumble of drains thrown up into the air. Avonside Drive just round the corner from Banks Avenue School is just like a war zone. All along the river, through Evelyn Cousins Ave, and that whole area, St Pauls School/ Locksley Ave/ Landy Street and all around there, and Fleete Street, Birchfield Ave, Mundys Road...it just goes on and on.
I just don't see how the area can recover or ever be built on again?
I will admit to a wry smile at your comment - we do feel that we may have been a jinx for a while there. The Southland storms were certainly fierce and damaging, and the collapse of Stadium Southland is a real loss for the community.
We drove in through the blizzard past poor newborn lambs shivering and helpless. Surely there has to be some way of protecting these animals? Events like this happen somewhere, though not this severely, almost every year.
It makes me realise what a luxury it is to be safe and warm in our home!