The Valentine's Day earthquake has put a new twist on this review of the annual New Zealand Morris Tour. Two year's ago I put my hand up to organise the 2016 gathering of Morris dancers. I was particularly keen to draw on the post- earthquake recovery vibe around Canterbury as my theme, before the Rebuild was complete and the creative energy had been replaced by a new steel and glass Christchurch.
A month ago, two years of planning and five days of tripping around Christchurch and the Waimakariri district came to a satisifying end.
Some also expressed awe and dismay at the magnitude of land clearance, observing that they could only understand it once they were standing amongst it all.
But yesterday's 5.7 magnitude quake brings the safety fences, the barriers of shipping containers, and the fear back into sharp relief. These when will they be gone, features proved their worth yesterday, particularly around Sumner where cliffs and rock faces crumbled spectacularly.
A reminder of our frailty; a reminder to love well, to enjoy the life we lead; and not place too much value on tangible possessions.
Back to the Tour then!
Kitty made me proud - and wistful because Elwin wasn't here - to see her play melodeon for the Morris for the first time in public.
When she could get a break from work Bryony joined us
- as a groupie - delighted to see old friends from our years in Wellington.
We did indeed take an ex-London bus - for a night out at The Twisted Hop. The route the driver took from Kaiapoi to Woolston was an unexpected treat in itself. The sun was low and bathing the familiar countryside of pasture, market gardens, and Red Zoned riverside, with an evening glow. Even the sewerage ponds and estuary with all the water birds settling for the night looked beautiful with the back drop of the Port Hills sculpted by the light. I drive this route regularly but had never seen it from the top of double decker bus before!
Earlier in the day the group danced in Rangiora, meeting the maker of our badges, Caroline Travella of Bizzart, in Good St.
Dancing in Victoria Park had very little to do with the Rebuild but everything to do with showing off a place dear to me. From my earliest childhood visits to the playground, through my time as a gardener learning my craft there and any number of fairs, markets and picnics, this park is part of my being. But showing visitors around always opens up new awareness. People commented on the huge size of the two oak trees, something I take for granted. We were certainly grateful for their shade.
On our day in Christchurch we managed to see and dance at some of the best known features, not all of them at Rebuild stage...