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

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