Tuesday, April 19, 2011

R&R from R&R*

There was a big aftershock in Christchurch on Saturday, a sharp, vicious 5.3, the biggest since 22 February. It cut the power, broke water mains and brought about the rapid demolition of another city building, but the main effect was on the nerves and resilience of the poor ChCh people, who have been hanging on for so long now in horrible conditions, with no end in sight.

Of course, Japan has had it much, much worse, but this isn't a competition, and now that the cold weather's moving in, things are going to be so grim in Christchurch for people living in cracked and draughty houses that aren't watertight, with no chimneys, with portaloos outside still for many, and surrounded by a lumpy, grey quagmire where once there were neat gardens. Winters in ChCh aren't much fun: it does get so cold, a raw, grey, bone-chilling cold; the wind is either a chilly easterly or an even chillier southerly; sometimes it snows; and they get cracking frosts - which, although they guarantee a clear sunny day afterwards, make for literally freezing nights.

Things seem to be moving slowly. The first temporary houses still aren't quite ready; home-owners don't know what's going to happen with their properties or suburbs; business people are frustrated by not being allowed enough time back into the CBD to retrieve items from their premises that they need. But it's heart-warming how people all over the rest of the country haven't forgotten: they're still raising money and offering holiday breaks to ChCh people. The latest was a big group invited to have a respite on Waiheke, and happily Auckland laid on one of its perfect days for their ferry trip across to that lovely place where they will be able to relax and sleep and stretch and breathe deeply with no grey in sight, just blue and green and gold.

Next month Genesis Energy is flying plane-loads of people from various centres to ChCh for the day to roll up their sleeves and pitch in with whatever needs doing. I would love to go and help, but I'll be in Germany. Drat.
*Rest and Recreation from Rocking and Rolling

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