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February 25, 2011

Hearth and Home

I have felt strongly that I do not want to leave the tranquility of this village.  For the time being it feels that everything I need is here. We have food in abundance, good company, less intense aftershocks, and with rain today, an excuse to light the fire and set the kettle on the hob.  But I am aware that the dread that accompanied the immediate aftermath of the Earthquake has introverted me too much, and I must try to break away from home comforts: from baked pears with blue cheese and walnuts, ice-cream, stewed blackberries and cream, glasses of wine... and become part of the greater support network.  I realised today that just because someone may have texted after the Earthquake to say All safe, this did not mean they were untouched.
Today my step-daughter, Tina unburdened to me, her narrow escape from falling masonry as she left a restaurant to return to her office next to the CTV building: her son Paul, pulled her to safety just in time. My brother-in-law Simon working in one of Christchurch's venerable furnishing stores, experienced the building collapsing around him, watched a fellow worker plummet with her entire floor from above and then helped extricate her from the rubble.  On Tuesday my great relief was that Bryony had left her school in the central city less than an hour earlier.  Her teachers were due to hold a stop-work meeting in the afternoon and the students had been released.  Bryony's secondary school, Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti, is within the Cashel/Lichfield/High St precinct of colonial buildings which have been shown crumbling, in the news footage.  If the school is ever re-established there (the campus has escaped relatively unscathed) can I ever let her return to study on that site?  Kitty, here in Ashley was skipping in the school playground and never felt the earthquake at all!  Unlike me, Bryony is out with friends: digging the silt left from liquefaction or composing heart-aching three part harmonies about the experience.
This morning I idly picked up a local newspaper that had been delivered on Tuesday, but lain unread. It reported new accomodation assistance funding for Sept 4 Earthquake victims; it reported the repair of the 35mm projector and imminent re-opening of the Rangiora Regent Theatre after earthquake damage closed the Town Hall; it reported the approaching International Ellerslie Flower Show...  The preparation of the site in Hagley Park was well under way, but this is where the refugees were mustered on that first damp night huddled amongst the marquees and the liquefaction.

Most of my NZ readers are likely to be familiar with the  websites that show the intensity of the earthquakes and the aftershocks.  My favourite is listed in a side bar of this blog, but I'll mention it again because it gives a very good visual idea of where and how the quakes are occuring.
A little guidance is in order: for me the site takes about 50 seconds to load to the point where it begins playing the 4 September quakes. Once it has reached that point you can click on 3/6/12/24 hours or the 7 day option. It takes 30 seconds or so to begin playing these readings.  When the selected period of quakes has loaded you can use your cursor to run through the list of magnitudes, depths and times again.
For a different perspective you can go to Select the Earthquake Drums tab and then the MacQueens Valley reading for the Canterbury quakes.

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