My Favourite Window

February 22, 2013


The Christchurch Rebuild: it's an interesting concept.  While the words summon up a grand plan for a major international construction project and a beautiful 21st Century city, for many people it means reaching resolution with insurance companies, the Earthquake Commission, and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority before eventually getting back into a safe, habitable home.

Alongside the need for housing stability there is also strong motivation to get commercial areas back into business. The block above is in the central city, while the site below - in Merivale - will gradually render the shipping container, street fa├žade obsolete.

The small shopping precinct below, replaces a 1930s brick building housing a set of suburban 'corner' shops. 

Across town, on the corner of Rossall St and Holmwood Rd, is another rebuilt corner precinct. Both of these new shopping centres were buzzing with activity when I stopped to photograph them.

Whether or not a distinct post-earthquake look will emerge (as happened with Napier during the flowering of Art Deco sensitivity), is uncertain. The arcade of shops above, certainly relates more to similar recent development, than buildings further along the street that were renewed before the earthquakes, during a faux-Mediterranean fervour. 

This building (also in Merivale) clad in copper, is certainly one of the most avant-garde rebuilds that I have seen, but will probably remain one-of-a-kind.

As will, I suspect the temporary Anglican cathedral, being constructed of cardboard tubing to a design by Japanese architect, Shigeru Ban.

February 14, 2013


It seems more like a grand illusion than major progress on a grand design.  

Just when I had decided that some balance was returning to my Life, it seems that Fate, the Universe and all that, decided to deliver me major systems' failure. And how odd - except that it is the nature of coincidence - that when equipment goes wrong, it goes wrong in more ways than one at the same time.

A telephone crackles into its death throes. That's okay. We have another new one tucked away (everything you could ever need is secreted somewhere here). Oh. No. It's dead before it's alive. Aha, what about that trusty old Pert phone sitting lonely in an empty room down at the Skudder House? 

It works there, seducing tea time salesmen with its listed number and then ignoring them. But it won't perform in my kitchen, which is helpful - sort of - because now I know it's not the original phone (well it is, though that's a different matter). But the internet is still working? I don't understand this stuff. I just use it.

I have to stand out on the road to get a signal with my cellphone (that's what comes of living in a Secret Garden). The young man from Telecom wants to give me instructions for an equipment check. I'll lose him if I go inside, but a helpful visitor has already done the check, so what's next? 

A technician. He comes next day - four hours before the appointed time. Good job it's Sunday morning. Nice man; he finds the problem and fixes it. The problem goes back to a water pipe that burst just before Christmas.  No, actually, it goes back to when someone (Elwin, was that you?) damaged the wiring while installing underfloor insulation  Water must have flowed between floor and insulating layer and found entry into damaged wiring, affecting only the telephone signal, not Broadband.

Nice to have the phone line working again...
By Tuesday I have a sneaking suspicion that I am not receiving emails (though I am online). My subscription has been suspended!  A call to the Yahoo help number - it's Telecom really that I talk to - reveals that I have had two notices alerting me to the fact that my account has seen no activity for some time and it will be discontinued unless I respond.

This is where computers need a human brain - to notice that the secondary account operates as a primary account. Only because when I changed email addresses after Elwin died, I wanted to retain access to our old account. Over time I stopped checking it as eventually personal mail stopped coming through on it, and when I bought my new computer I didn't even have a tab open for it any more. Which is why I missed those crucial alerts (I have to say they look just look so many scam alerts). I was offered a new account but that means changing my email address. I was asked for money to set things right. Red rag to a bull, that last one. "Fix it," I demanded, "and ring me back when you have."  They did.

So maybe now I can get on with the rather pressing business of organising the 2013 Lammas Tour of NZ Morris Dancers to England. I can focus my thoughts and allot my time...

If only the sparkly new phone, which worked after the damaged line was fixed on Sunday, hadn't started disconnecting when calls come in. The old phone really is worn out so I can't re-commission that. The new phone was a free gift - a bribe no less - for changing power companies. What do I expect?  Time for more standing on the road with my cellphone, and waiting for a resolution... or maybe I should just install that lonely Pert phone.

Some of you will have noticed that what I have actually been doing with my time is playing around with my camera, and writing inane prose. Just tentatively, I am wondering whether my photo upload facility is back for good. I'll make the most of it while I can. 

February 8, 2013

New Beginnings

At the beginning of this week my youngest child became a fully-fledged secondary school student at Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti. For the school, now entirely sited at the College of Education campus at Canterbury University, this is a beginning or at least a moving forward, as the whole school regroups on one site - the Wairarapa Campus - until the Wairarapa Stream leads us metaphorically to the Avon River and back into the central city.

It seemed ironical on Monday morning to be back in a demolition zone even though the school had moved well away from the city centre after the February 2011 earthquake. The building behind Kitty is part of the old Teacher's College and deemed unsafe, it will make way for a grassed area for the school student's use. 

The week ends with the incredible lightness of being of having my earthquake repairs and re-decorating completed. After two years, I can begin to reclaim our personal space! If my January photo upload problem hadn't returned, since I set the photo of Kitty up, I would post another progress photo... 

February 1, 2013

Back to Blogging

Tonight I'm celebrating - with a large bag of double chocolate fudge - the return of the Upload facility for photographs to my blog. Ah joy. Picking a single photo to celebrate with (not being prepared for a post) I offer you a progress shot of the lounge room. Since the room is finished now I am very happy. This has been a busy, not to mention sweltering month. There has been a lot going on in many different ways and right now all of it feels good!