Thursday, September 30, 2010

Leaving - finally

After a false start, 24 hours later we were on the plane & leaving Christchurch.

The view from the airplane of the Canterbury Plains.

From the air you can see why they call the Waimakariri River the braided river.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Goodbye Spring Blossoms

I'll see you again in a week or so if you are still around!

In 4 hours this will be me....winging my way to Australia! Can't wait - can't sleep either, but I need to.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Yesterday evening the sun was rapidly disappearing from the sky at 6.20pm according to the time stamp on this photo. Tonight it got to this stage 2 hours later - daylight saving has begun!!

I adore the longer, lighter evenings & I'm an extremely happy camper when daylight saving arrives. The fact that today dawned spectacularly clear & warm is just the icing on the cake.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mask Revamp

The 'after' shot (not to be confused with after shocks, which we are still having) of the poor plain Mask Pendant. No etched domed pieces of copper were harmed in the experimentation or revamp of this necklace.
I've used every bit of copper I've played with to date, as well as a few odd beads while just trying to get a feel for things metal.

It's an unplanned & eclectic assortment to say the least - but I couldn't be more pleased with it had I designed & planned it!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Yellow Spring Blooms

Here in Christchurch, spring blooms appearing in yellow aren't just limited to daffodils.

One of New Zealand's iconic native species would have to be the Kowhai tree (pronounced ko - fai). I say iconic as a lot of people think it is NZ's national flower, but we don't actually have a national flower.

The blooms always appear in spring, often before the leaves emerge, yellow & cheerful. It is nice to see one this close to home when I am more used to seeing them outside of the city proper in this part of the country.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish

Today's Photo of the Day was going to be a tree. But as anyone can see, it's not a tree it's a fish...a Blue Gourami to be precise.

A brief drive up the road earlier in the day, sans camera of course, led to much excitement on my part when I discovered a particular NZ native that I would love to get a photo of in full bloom. I had intended to go back later on with camera in hand, but instead ended up taking delivery of Mum's fish tank & it's inhabitants. They now live at my place, in their very small tank, along with two very interested kitties.

We'll see how that goes...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Sometimes it's just better than a blank wall.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Blissed Out!

Hercules is gradually settling back in - as only he can!

It's funny as I thought I had both of the cats personalities pegged. Bizkit  was always 'Psycho Kitty' aka 'Scatty Cat'... jumpy & grumpy, would flee at the slightest thing. Hercules was the beach bum, stoner  dude,  totally chilled out, just hanging around for the next wave...of food!

What he hasn't hung around for is each aftershock. Over the last weeks he's made himself scarce at the slightest tremor, much to my distress, often disappearing for days.

I think he may finally be relaxing. Either that or he has found a good crop (of catnip) somewhere.


is looking for the blue between the clouds - & finding it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Sunday, a day for putzing around trying to sort things out & tidy up a bit. In the course of the day I found this old piece of costume jewelry that I just 'had to have' twelve years or so ago.
I loved it, I bought it - simple as that. The only problem is that I have never worn it, possibly because I don't wear pendants that often, but more likely because it was on a long chain & just always seemed to be in need of something else.

I have a feeling that I may just have found that 'something else' by way of my early attempts of etched  copper disks. Watch this space :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Good things come in three's


Spring is my favourite time of year with good reason. Aside from the days starting to stretch out into lighter evenings & the weather warming up, nothing quite beats watching plants that have remained dormant through winter come into bud then bloom.

I was thrilled to come home after work tonight & on a wander around the back of the house, notice that this trillium. It's all the more special to me right now as it has survived the last 6 years in a planter bag since being uplifted from my last real garden. 
I had planted it in a tub with a hosta & a few other mixed perennials back in April, not long after we moved here, & the silly thing started sprouting away out of season only to get hit hard by the frosts over winter.   The last time I saw it, it looked frosted & dead with brown growth emerging through the soil. Not any more!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Wind Sprites

Only slightly ruffled

A drive around the City today ended at the beach. New discoveries were made in an area where there are lime stone carvings being done along with sculptures in other mediums. I'm pleased we made the effort to get out in the fresh air for a while - it was needed.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Photo of the Day

I've decided to try something suggested by Andrea Guarino-Slemmons in her wonderful blog; each day trying to post a photo of something I have seen or am doing in the course of my day.

Lets face it we are all over hearing about earthquakes. Well I am at least, although I have loads more that I'd like to say ;)

No doubt as I travel around the city, hopefully with my camera in tow, I will capture a few shots of various things that catch my attention & they may have something to do with the earthquake but overall I'd like to use this challenge as a distraction rather than a reminder.

Prior to that rude awakening from Mother Nature, I was looking forward to her far more gentle & subtle awakening by way of Spring. I have almost missed all of the early signs in the wake of the quake....but it's not too late to try & capture some of what is left as the season finishes awakening, warming & progressing towards summer.

Unknown Tree

This is one that fascinated me in the back garden, as it is the one of only four deciduous trees on the property. I missed the early buds that preceded these pink drooping blooms & now it is busy pushing forth a colour coordinated new leaf growth.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Boom boom goes my heart....

Earthquakes and a heart attack, all within days of each other. There is nothing quite like someone close to you suffering a heart attack to put a little old earthquake into perspective, among other things...

While Christchurch was facing the aftermath & aftershocks of the earthquake, I found myself face to face with mortality.

At around 12.30am last Wednesday morning I found myself with an Ambulance in my driveway & paramedics in my lounge. My partner Allan (known to some of you as the mailleman) was, very calmly, in the throes of having a heart attack. It's not really possible to describe how someone can 'calmly' have a heart attack, but he did. His controlled manner, even when I could see & hear he was in considerable pain, kept me calm & thinking clear enough to do everything I needed to do quickly & efficiently without giving way to the panic that was quickly rising in every fibre of  my body.
To be honest I didn't need to do much apart from make the choice of not listening to his request of 'dropping him off at Accident & Emergency because he had a chest pain' & instead dial 111.

I can't praise the manner & actions of the emergency operator & the paramedics highly enough.Thanks to everyone concerned he was in hospital & being treated within 30 minutes of the first pain which had woken him from sleep. Within 12 hours he had undergone an angioplasty & had a stent placed in the left anterior descending artery to his heart. 
He's recovered so well from this that he came home on Friday, with a new lease of life.....

Why am I writing about this here, you may ask. Simply because I have been somewhat preoccupied, inconsistent in responding to emails & answering questions, remembering to publish blog comments & pretty much everything in between. My mind it seems has turned into mush, I have the concentration span of a gnat & less focus than a blindfolded bat. I know that I'm in a state of serious forgetfulness when I forget one of the first dances I learned at dancing & fail to notice red lights!!  
My apologies in advance for any vagueness people may encounter .
I'm hoping it's temporary :)

"Boom Boom Goes My Heart" - or as line dancers know it,  "Chica Boom Boom"

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Breathe Deb - this is normal

It's weird when what once was a normal thing suddenly becomes something that elicits a response of surprise.
A parcel on the doorstep Monday morning did exactly that. I wondered how it could be that the courier would be delivering parcels 48 hours after an earthquake. Yet what else would a courier be doing?

The week has pretty much gone on like that. Spring is still bringing a wealth of flowers & blossom, the sun is shining & it all just seems not to fit somehow.

Daffodils in Hagley Park

In this relatively unaffected suburb that I live in it is very easy to believe that things are normal. Then you leave for one reason or another & everything hits you. It takes your breath away in many instances. I'm trying to remain positive, but every day I discover a new reminder that things will never be the same again.

I carry my camera everywhere but haven't taken photo's as I just can't bring myself to photograph the damage. While to me it is wreckage to someone else it is heartbreak, signifying in some instances the loss of livelihood & in others damage to all they have worked for. While some damage can be repaired or replaced I wonder how safe people will feel in their homes from now on.

I've lived in more or less the same suburb, certainly in the same area of the city, for 13 years. Apart from a 10 year break close to the central city I also lived here 10 years here before. What can I say - I'm a creature of habit. Anyone who has followed this blog for any period of time will know how I feel about all of the lovely old buildings being bowled & rows of ugly new town houses/apartments being put in their place.

Although complete loss isn't huge in the St Albans/Edgeware/Mairehau/Shirely area's - there are still very significant signs of damage.

This is why the normal things that continue to happen seem so strange right now. 
A lot of the landmarks that have been a part of my day to day existance for the best part of my adult life are gone. I'm not talking about big impressive city landmarks (although some of them have been affected), rather the neighbourhood shops & buildings.

A drive along many of  the streets in St Albans & you will find almost every home that had a chimney no longer has one. It's fixable & no doubt they will all be repaired quite soon, but irrespective of that it has caused every one of those home owners stress.
I can easily imagine the terror caused & fear felt when not only is the earth shaking but you hear the thud of bricks & mortar landing on your roof or in some cases falling through it.

St Albans/Edgeware is quite an old area. A lot of the buildings that have been lost were old brick structures, in most instances not particularly pretty - but still very much a part of my life. They have always just been there.

Winton St - Winter 2006

In one case in particular I have even lived there. 53 Winton Street. This will most likely be the one of the first residential property's that ends up being demolished as a result of the earthquake.
From May 2004 until October 2007 we called this house home. She was big, she was cold, she was old & expensive to run, but it was such a privilege to have lived there. 
She really was the grand old lady of the area. While in recent years the property had been sub-divided by developers & the original stables had been demolished to make way for town houses, she had so much character & history that she was worth preserving.  She dates back to the late 1860's when she was the original farmhouse on a holding that is now occupied by 3 suburbs.

I recall her from before her more recent sub divisions, surrounded by a fabulous overgrown garden. Back then she was my dream home & I would have visions of what I could do with a huge house & garden such as that. Later she suffered her first subdivision but was left with her stables & about half the amount of land - she went on the market for a mere $189,000. A developer brought her & bowled the stables, built two town houses on the back of the section & flicked her on. Unfortunately she got owners that were only interested in making some money from her as a rental, & not restoring & strengthening her as she deserved. It was shortly after that that we rented her.
I may not have occupied much in the way of her long & interesting history, but she is certainly part of mine.
I discovered & started lampworking whilst living there. I rediscovered gardening while there too. Some of the English roses & such that I put in are still there.

The earthquake saw her suffer substantial damage, much of which had been tidied by the time these photo's were taken. She lost all of her chimneys & the top of her stair well. Since these photo's were taken she has been taped off with yellow danger tape & declared a No Go area.

 The Stairwell

Monday, September 06, 2010

Some days you just have to chip off the surface & see what lays beneath...

Christchurch Earthquake - Part 2

Where to start? I'm not really sure. There seems to be so much to say, so many contradictions I guess. That is what makes it surreal.

After a couple of hours sleep on & off I got up on Saturday morning to (reluctantly) get ready to go to work. It was then that the impact of the earthquake really hit home. I wanted a shower & a coffee, but of course there was no water or power.

It was then I realised how dreadfully unprepared we were for any sort of disaster & promptly added to my want list; a generator, a small radio, an unlimited supply of rechargeable batteries (all fully charged of course),  a decent cell phone (you know the sort, one with internet access), space to store non perishable goods & bottled water.....& a swimming pool, or in the very least a handy river ;)
Most importantly I realised how absolutely useless it is to have most of your money in one bank account that isn't accessible with your EFTPOS/ATM card ..& that relying on the technology of electronic funds when there is no electricity is somewhat moot anyway!
Add cold hard cash to the list.
Also add an old keypad/dial telephone - not the cordless type handset that requires power to run the docking base.
We do have one of those older phones & although we couldn't dial out for some reason I discovered that people could call us when my boss rang to tell me that there wasn't going to be any work.

My cell phone was flat & had no credit on it anyway & the car needed petrol. Fortunately Gabriela's cell phone was working (when the network wasn't overloaded) & we contacted people that way.

 Gabriela gets innovative trying to get cell phone reception

The neighbourhood I live in looked fine as I walked down to my Aunts house to check on her.It didn't seem real somehow as it was just like any other Saturday except that I wasn't at work & no one had any power... but kids were kicking balls around & people were out walking dogs even though there were still regular aftershocks occurring.

One upside to being a lampworker is that I have a good supply of propane & my tanks also fit our BBQ. Soon enough we were boiling water to make cups of tea & coffee. My Mum was here by that stage & told us of the damage over in her suburb. Listening to the radio at my Aunts house the enormity of  the damage to the city started to become apparent. But it still didn't seem real.

Later when we took Mum back to her house it was some distance before we started seeing signs of damage. There was the usual amount of Saturday traffic on the roads....that seemed normal enough. During the drive over there we passed a golf course & there were people playing golf!! I recall wondering why things appeared so normal - why were people acting as if it was just another Saturday, as if nothing had happened.
Perhaps I had dreamed the earthquake & everything up until that point.

As we got closer to Mums house I knew it was no dream. Roads were covered in silt, the river was muddy & damage to roads footpaths & fences started becoming apparent. Both Mum & her neighbours 3 year old homes have moved & are now on an angle. The house next door to them has cracked right through the middle & will have to be demolished. It is only 8 years old. Two older houses in the lower front sections have been damaged & may have to be demolished also. There is a lot of damage in her area & the other area's along side the Avon River, both to homes & roads. It was quite disheartening to see.

In my travels around the city since yesterday what has hit me the most is the fact that there seem to be concentrated area's of damage in the middle of bigger area's where there is no damage at all. 
 A lot of it has to do with the type of soil any given area is on. We are close to the coast & aside from the coastline itself there are area's scattered through Christchurch that sit on  a substrate of sand that was once (thousands of years ago) old coastline.
Under normal circumstances a sandy substrate is no problem, but when an earthquake occurs it affects the pressure of the groundwater forcing it up between the sand/silt particles causing liquefaction. In some of the residential area's this is what has occurred & what has caused the damage.

But really the important thing to remember, in my opinion, is that we are a city that is under a state of emergency, not one in utter devastation. For every image you see of destruction & damage, there would be 100 images that show buildings untouched. Lets face it the media aren't interested in showing the buildings that are intact when covering something like this.

I don't say the above lightly & I'm not attempting to trivialise what has happened, I'm simply putting it into perspective as it stands at this point. 
I realise that this city, the city of my birth, wont ever be the same again but only time will tell to what extent that change will go. It's early days yet.
The aftershocks continue, but I'm just telling myself that they are the earth trying to settle itself back down.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Some Days are Diamonds, Some Days are Stones

Christchurch Earthquake - Part 1

On Friday I had my weekend all mapped out. Work Saturday & on Sunday a linedance social celebrating Spring. It was easy, relaxed & unhurried.
This time on Friday night I was out for dinner with some friends at a fabulous Greek Restaurant, eating wonderful food, listening to great music played on the Bouzouki &, in between laughing until my throat was raw at the witty repartee that was constantly flowing at our table, thinking nostalgically of how very much hearing the Bouzouki reminded me of my Papa playing his Mandolin.

Then overnight the world shifted somewhat. At least my little corner of it did, both physically & literally.
I wont bore you with all of the details of what it felt like to be soundly sleeping one second & the next almost physically thrown out of bed, apart from saying that I have never been so terrified in my entire life.
Somewhere between becoming conscious that everything was shaking & the house was banging all around us the world went from the usual amount of night time light to being pitch black.

I found my torch easily as it has a special light for instances just as this. I have never been so thankful for spending far more than I should have on that torch a few years back than I was in the early hours of Saturday morning. After the initial quake was over, people checked upon , damage taken stock of & things moved & secured in case of aftershocks I just stood outside trying to regroup my thoughts & slow my heart down a bit.

It was a freezing cold but crystal clear night & with most of the city in darkness the heavens were absolutely spectacular. I have never seen anything of such amazing beauty from within the city boundaries..... & more than anything else that is what struck me. A velvet black sky full of all of the stars that we normally see on a clear night, but with thousands upon thousands more tiny little twinkles that are usually invisible to us against the reflection of the city lights. In that instant I knew that everything was going to be alright.

When I finally went back to bed I had no idea what the earthquake had measured nor the ensuing aftershocks. I'd realised that we were abysmally unprepared for this sort of thing & with all power out there wasn't anything to be done about it at that point anyway.

All I could think about as I lay down was Haiti & their earthquake in January this year. In those wee small hours I formed an even deeper understanding, empathy, admiration & respect for the people of Haiti.

Here in Christchurch, everything is alright. Buildings have been damaged, some irreparably, & possessions  have been damaged & broken. But they are just 'things'. People have not been killed. Injuries have been few & relatively minor, with only two serious injuries in a city that has a population of 386,000 people - how miraculous is that?
Christchurch, whether most realise it or not right now, is indeed blessed.

A lot of this still seems surreal  & in blog posts over the next few days I will attempt to explain why, as well as document my thoughts & observations.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


A sigh on the breeze,
Some warmth in the sun,
Doors thrown open,
Spring has begun!

My beautiful new scarf, a gift from a wonderful friend.
She knows me well.
Thank You Rose :)