Friday 10 September 2010

Tremor-ndously sad

In sympathy with the Canterbury earthquake, we've had a sinkhole of our own open up in the henrun, quite big enough to swallow a dozen chickens.This one's caused by stormwater and is, so far, a mystery to the three separate contingents of Council workmen who've come to look at it and suck their teeth before going back to the depot and passing the buck to yet another department. It looks like being a saga that will run and run.

Auckland isn't much bothered by earthquakes, not being near a fault-line (though, it must be said, the one under Christchurch was a surprise to all the experts) - our threat is the arguably more dramatic possibility of a volcanic eruption. Further down the North Island, they've had a bit of seismic action this week, raising the eyebrows of the general population though the geologists are unexcited. Down in Canterbury, they've had more than 300 after-shocks up to 5.4 on the Richter scale, which are prolonging the agony for the people who are tired and edgy, and pushing some buildings into the next category of damage: green to yellow to red.

News footage of big diggers biting away at old friends on the streets has been upsetting: architects have said, "Pah, they were thrown up in the first place and had no great aesthetic merit" - but we ordinary people liked them, they were part of our daily lives and it's sad to see them go. It's hard not to suspect the demolition people of a certain gung-ho enthusiasm, and the architects of salivating over all those opportunities to make their own mark on Christchurch.

It's such a pretty place, with its brick and stone buildings, green parks and big trees, with the Avon gliding through the centre of the city edged by weeping willows and busy with bossy Mallard ducks. It's the Garden City.

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