Christchurch Rebuilding at Last!

Dave and I were reunited in Christchurch, and caught up with Lee and his family, who are living there at the moment.

It was  good to see that most of the damaged houses have now been knocked down, and rebuilding has started, at last .Some of the empty areas have been planted as mini parks, others are car parks.

Yes you all know that Christchurch had a series of devastating earthquakes, but you probably don’t know the true extent of the heartbreak afterwards. The frustration with the government and builders, the broken promises, the failed marriages, the sheer stress the inhabitants have been through.

People have just given up fighting and moved on, but some people have made a hell of a lot of money out of this disaster!!

Our families properties have suffered only minimal damage, so we have been very lucky indeed.

This was the road leading up to where we used to live. Every house on the left has been so badly damaged it had to be knocked down. The area has been grassed over now, and looks very bare.

It was very strange driving down Colombo street and seeing tall new glass and steel buildings, then a pile of rubble, then an empty section, then a new car park [a bit like the bomb sites of London all those yeas ago] then Ballentynes [the iconic Christchurch department store],then not recognising where I was because all my landmarks had gone!!

This was such a lovely city, many lovely old buildings full of character and diversity.

We are five years on, and no cohesive plan seems to have been decided on as to what the new city should look like.

There is an over supply of houses, rents have dropped, and who wants to move here???

We were sitting on the coach with Lee, when we had a quake , a short sharp 4.7 shock. I was under the overhead projector. Lee’s reactions were amazingly fast, in the time I had looked up and seen the projector vibrating and wondered should I move to the left or right before it fell on my head and killed me, Lee was out the door and half way up the stairs to comfort his children!!

I was impressed with his speed, and equally concerned with my lack of survival instinct!!!

The weather has been sunny and warm, but it was a surprise to see it is autumn here, because it is still so hot in Townsville it feels like summer.

Driving beside the river I was overcome with the beauty of the autumn leaves, the green, golds, browns and reds glowing in the sun against a clear blue sky; the sun reflecting on the water; ducks taking flight. The nor’westerly started blowing and gold leaves fell all around me , crunching under my tyres.

The sheer beauty of it after the desolation I have just witnessed in the city overcame me.

And I my eyes fill with tears for my poor Christchurch.

Our  little grandchildren are amazing as ever, and so funny! Hazzie is only just two but pretends I am Papa! She is very sweet and generous, sharing her food with Reuben, who isn’t quite so good at sharing.

They are playing the card game Uno, which is good for learning colours and numbers, and also for learning to accept frustration, when you miss a turn, not easy for young children.

They love playing hide and seek, but Hazzie hasn’t quite got the hang of it! As they others are looking for her, saying

‘I wonder where Hazel is?’

she jumps out of her hiding place and shouts

‘Here I are!!’

We took them to Oriana park to see the animals, Hazzie got close to a gibbon.

Reuben had fun on the trampoline.