Thanks for dropping by.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

It's Christmas Eve already - with all that's been going on here in Golden Bay, we missed quite a bit of that lead up to Christmas.  However, the road workers, contractors, volunteers and generally everybody in our wonderful community has worked togerher to get everything cleaned up and ready for the summer visitors.
I noticed last night that there were campers back in the Pohara Motor Camp which means that they have solved their water issues and are up and running.
There have been people working every single daylight hour cleaning up - we've had every kind of contractor up and down the street from road repairers to carpet cleaning companies.
When I woke this morning I couldn't hear machinery running, and that's the first morning since the floods and slips that that has happened.
Our workroom was untouched during the floods and we will here seven days a week over January.  Please drop by and say "Gidday" if you're around.
We were all devastated to hear that Christchurch has had another nasty swarm of earthquakes and it seems that they are now predicting that it may continue for some time again.
As I walked through the Takaka Market this morning on my way to the workroom I asked what we would wish for Christchurch for Christmas?  Still ground, peace and freedom from the stress were some of the replies.
Can we gather our collective energies and wish these things for those poor folk suffering there?
Wishing you all peace, love and light for the holiday season.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Weather Bomb

It seems to me that this is a newish expression, but one that describes perfectly what has been happening here. 
We live in a lush green valley - we get a lot of rain compared to many places in New Zealand and we have a flourishing dairy industry because of that.  But this week we had exceptional downpours up in our hills that lasted for days which have caused us some serious problems.
Our little settlement is nestled against the hills overlooking the beach on the eastern side of the Bay and we normally have a more moderate amount of rain than some areas here.  However on Wednesday we had rain of epic proportions which caused drastic damage.
I closed the shop early and was surprised by the amount of surface water on the road as I drove home, but this happens occasionally here, so while it was an inconvenience it wasn't a huge surprise.
The first we knew of the real trouble to come was when the Toy Boy went to the gate to collect the mail and came back saying that there was a river of mud going down our road and that he would collect the mail later, once it had subsided a bit.  I went back with him to take a look and in that short time the river had become a torrent of filthy mud laden water carrying tree branches, fence posts and rocks. The smell of it was incredible - the smell of mud!
We watched in amazement as the water gouged out the seal on the road and coursed a path  down through our neighbours properties, sweeping through over and around everything in its path.  It was truly frightening, especially as it didn't let up for hours.
Soon after this the slips started all around the neighbouring hillside properties with huge slices laden with bush falling onto the properties beneath them.  Our property is up on a rise with a sheer cliff face, just like a lot of our neighbours properties, and we watched in terrified fascination and waited for ours to go!
Night fell and we reluctantly went to bed, but we had learnt some lessons from friends who had gone through the Christchurch earthquakes and left clothes and shoes laid out and a bag with torches etc, ready to flee if we should need to.  We lay there and listened to the roar of the torrent on the road and wondered if those thundering noises we could hear were slips and where were they?
Daylight brought the opportunity to go out and take another look and we were shocked to see that our road looked like a river bed with water and  mud everywhere.  Our poor neighbours whose homes were in the path of the torrent had mud right through their houses and properties.  The whole area looks like a war zone.

We've had a couple of days to process all of this - the council and kind locals have all pitched in to help with the clean up - or what cleaning up can be done - it is still raining, though rather more gently, and we had a period of sunshine yesterday morning.
The hillsides are still slipping occasionally. 
From what we hear from neighbouring bays we may have gotten off lightly.  Nearby Pohara Valley is very badly affected and one of my good walking friends is still stranded on her property with no vehicle access and no obvious solution in sight.  They have craters in their road the size of large buildings.  The next bay around, Ligar Bay is also very badly affected and only now incredible stories and pictures are emerging.  A whole dairy farm in Wainui Bay is apparently covered in mud.  Houses and vehicles are gone and displaced.
I was speaking to a shocked friend yesterday who told of her elderly neighbour who was sitting in his lounge talking to her on the phone when the line went dead.  She called and went outside to see a lahar of mud enveloping his home and her studio and workshop.  The poor old fellow was found out in the paddock in the wreckage and taken to hospital where he is recovering.
 The entire western end of Golden Bay is isolated due to an enormous slip in the only road link to that area and we are waiting for a temporary bridge to be built, maybe today, so they can get through.  Food and supplies have been shipped into there by sea!  Ironically we believe there is little storm damage there.
There is talk of debris being left by logging work being the cause - who knows?  I guess the causes and blame game will begin once we are past the stage of being shocked and the state of emergency has come to an end.
I just found this video on YouTube taken by Heather, one of our neighbours.  There has been incredible footage taken by lots of people around the Bay, but these are all taken just around our home.
For now, our house is undamaged and we are safe, though we are carefully watching a small slip on our bank.
We feel so fortunate to have come through this relatively unscathed when so many of our friends and neighbours have lost so much.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Take a Walk With Me

We leave home, walk down the hill and onto the beach.

We'll walk west with the dawn sun on our backs picking out the detail on the Wakamarama Range.
The tide has tossed lots of debris onto the beach this week.
  About ten minutes along there's evidence of the previous day's fun with a couple of stick huts
At the big lucerne tree we turn off the beach and go across the golf course.
Over the creek and through the arcade heading back east now - we're almost half way.
We're walking back east into the morning sun.
There's a new walkway through the bush and part way through we can look South into the mountains - there's still a little snow on the tops this morning.
Back out beside the golf course and past the house that Orlando Bloom is said to have stayed in with his family during the filming of The Hobbit last month.
And back out onto the manicured walkway in front of the homes along the beach.  The Tarakohe headland and Tata Islands are in the distance.
The sea is in a gentle mood this morning.
Back down towards the motor camp where the bottlebrush is in full bloom - it must almost be Christmas!
And home - that took us an hour. It's the calmest part of my day and I love it!