Joy and Woe are woven fine

Man was made for Joy & Woe,

And when this we rightly know,

Thro’ the world we safely go.

Joy and Woe are woven fine,

A clothing for the Soul divine;

Under every grief and pine

Runs a joy with silken twine.

I don’t like to dwell in Woe. I prefer to seek the  silken run  in the cloth; the run of Joy . But, sometimes, the woe is like a shroud over one’s face and it’s hard  to see through it; hard not to feel overwhelmed.

Our cheer-leading public service campaign, All Right?, says that, as we approach the third anniversary of the  earthquake of 2011, it’s all right to feel overwhelmed some days.

It's all right to be overwhelmed some days

It’s all right to be overwhelmed some days

So I was, yesterday. Very. I am not alone in my whelmedness.

The experts are worried by our numbers: ‘The initial trauma may be over but experts say earthquake-weary Christchurch residents will endure at least six years of “man-made” stressors as the region battles bureaucracy.’ (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11197956 ) The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority  has even produced a draft document on its psychosocial plan for the city. It “says anxiety and stress will continue to dog the population due to ongoing battles with insurance, land issues, changes to schooling and problems rebuilding homes and businesses.” 

So, three years on……my house is repaired, but my insurance claim for the external areas of  my  property has yet to be settled. I contacted my insurance company, AGAIN, 10 days ago, and, although they have not once forgotten, in the past 3 years, to send out an invoice for my steadily increasing insurance premiums, they admitted that they had forgotten about my outstanding claim. I was assured that the matter would be  resolved, speedily.

Ho-hum, twiddle my thumbs, nothing has happened yet. What’s another 10 days added to 3 years, especially when my claim is  minor compared to those of some other claimants. And getting the financial settlement is but the first step in the process.  Finding someone to do the repair work will be  extraordinarily difficult. I could be waiting another 3 or 4 years for that to be done.

Is it important? Does it matter? Not really, in the overall scheme of life, but it’s all so unavoidably in your face; an ever-present reminder of altered states; altered dreams.

I  live in one of Christchurch’s  least badly damaged suburbs, yet these photos are all  taken within a two-minute walking distance of my home.  They represent only a sample of what I see on a daily basis in my immediate neighbourhood.

Take a look….

Homes, untouched,  untended, and unoccupied, since February 2011 and being slowly overwhelmed by nature.

Overwhelmed

Overwhelmed

Homes erased,

Erased

Erased

and properties exposed to man-made post earthquake stress disorder.

There are some small signs of progress, of normalcy.

Homes are being repaired,

Signs of Progress

Signs of Progress

and some have been repaired.

Recovered

Recovered

But there remain many abnormalities, some of which are intriguing and require us to restructure our thought processes to new levels,

Raised to new  heights

Raised to another level

and give us something upon which to ponder  (with a giggle and a smile ),

Another level

Another level

as well as a precious  moment, to be still, to refocus on holding fast to the silken twine of joy,

Entwined hydrangeas

Entwined hydrangeas

the Heaven in a Wild Flower.

Heaven in a Flower

Heaven in a Flower

Hold fast…that’s as much as I can do for now.  None of this excitement business…All Right? Maybe :)

Not yet 🙂

© silkannthreades
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119 thoughts on “Joy and Woe are woven fine

  1. Playamart - Zeebra Designs

    finished with the tour group, i dashed home yesterday and attended a meeting about the coastal erosion crisis (we have hope!)

    i walked to my friends’ home after the meeting. each wave that crashed during high tide reverberated way too close, and i asked – if with each wave, did they have a sense of foreboding – were they ever able to just look out at the beautiful view with a sense of calm. no.

    i felt it as well, and i fought a strong urge to weep..

    there was a coastal specialist at the meeting, and he warned that may’s natural aguaji would not affect them much, but there were other variables, like strong winds…. the mayor does not seem to be too concerned and basically dismissed this specialist… after the meeting another person forced the mayor to listen to this man’s advice… i think/hope that the lightbulb clicked on in his head.

    as i looked at your photos and read this beautiful post, i suspect that you too are wondering if the other shoe will drop, and it’s hard to just resume a normal life.

    thanks, as always, for your support and empathy for my friends’ plight.
    z

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Lisa, I think the other shoe does eventually drop but sometimes it is an awfully long fall. In our Christchurch, we speak of this strange time as the new normal. But, like new shoes that don’t fit too well, we feel blisters from time to time. I am glad there is an expert on your side.

      Reply
  2. sheridegrom - From the literary and legislative trenches.

    Gallivanta: Memories of devastation and loss stay with some of us longer than others. You have visual reminders around you everyday and that continues to shape your memories and consequently how you feel.

    The purple and white vine you show at the bottom of your post, we call Passion Flower. I had no idea it was so invasive when I first bought the one gallon plant. Naively I planted it in my front rose garden and not only did it cover the entire front of the house but I had to work really hard to save my roses. I’ve since made 30 or so large starts for family plus have relocated the original plant to a side fence in the back yard. It wants to climb our willow tree but I refuse?

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I can imagine, based on childhood memories of passionfruit vines, how vigorously your passion flower vine grows. The passion flower in my photo is the first one I have seen in Christchurch. It was almost smothered by a vigorous grape vine. Grape vines along suburban fences are a common sight, unlike the passion flower.

      Reply
  3. Ralph

    Wow. What a lot of comments Gallivanta !! I hope your insurance pays up soon or you could send me around 😉 The only things that are really safe from these earthquakes are the flowers. Hugs. Ralph xox 😀

    Reply
  4. Juliet

    I am reminded of the heart-break of Christchurch, and the long struggle to recovery, as I read this post. I feel for you all; it must be so hard. Sending you an extra wave of love at this time.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      All love and support greatly welcomed, Juliet. We are making our way through our trials but, as you know, there are always ups and downs. Recovery is never a straight line!

      Reply
  5. Pingback: For the love which from our birth…. | silkannthreades

  6. shoreacres

    After all this time of seeing you at Z’s, I’ve never come by to visit. The posts I’ve read just tear at my heart – I had no idea where you lived, or what kind of blogging you were doing. Now, I see.

    The bane of our existence is hurricanes. The last one though, Ike, didn’t destroy my house, but it disrupted my work for a year and wiped out whole communities. Today, it’s been….six years? I can’t remember. Isn’t that strange? But recovery is continuing on, and some things actually are better.

    One of the most ironic things of all is that Galveston lost nearly all of its live oak trees – trees which had been planted as replacements after the hurricane of 1900 wiped out their ancestors! Now, the soil’s been washed or replaced, new trees are growing, and in another hundred years? Who knows?

    I wrote a good bit about the aftermath of Ike, but one you might really enjoy looking at is this one. It has some photos of Galveston rebuilding after the 1900 storm. They literally raised the whole city! People can do the most amazing things – as you and your fellow citizens are demonstrating.

    I’m anxious to come back and just browse around a bit. Your blog is lovely, and any friend of William Blake is a friend of mine!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I was absolutely uplifted and delighted to read your post “Raise high the floor beam Islanders.” From my Pacific childhood I know the troubles caused by hurricanes but my knowledge of US hurricanes is sketchy. I wish the story of your resilience and recovery was more widely known….well, my wish may come true. The posts on my blog which relate to the earthquakes are part of CEISMIC http://www.ceismic.org.nz/, our country’s digital archive of the earthquakes. One day, our discussions, our common experience of disasters, may be of interest to researchers and historians. In the meantime, I will add this video clip to my comment….I found it very moving…and my heart skipped a beat when I saw the date 1866..if you read my next post you will see why

      Reply
  7. teamgloria

    gosh. great post (and that exposed loo gave us a giggle)

    and how painful an experience to live through, let alone survive and try to pick up the pieces, such as they are.

    while we are always swift to run-to-the-positive – when it comes to bureaucracy (grrrrrr insurance claims people in NZ *raises_fist*) – we recommend smashing stuff. just to get the RAGE out.

    for instance, we saw this movie recently and it was Grand (said with an Irish lilt for tis an Irish movie)!! and there’s a scene where one woman expresses her grief by smashing something and another wordlessly joins in and it’s so LIBERATING and ASTONISHING because women are never meant to express their (dark) feelings but you know what – sometimes you just have to. especially when the world literally crumbled around you.

    http://www.fandango.com/movie-trailer/runandjump-trailer/164220

    if you can’t see this ask mr. (nz) google for “Run and Jump Trailer”.

    sending much love from here to there to you.

    _tg xx

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Oh thank you tg and Mr Google NZ. That does look grand. Run, Jump and Rage. I think I could, if I could follow it up by taking to my bed in satin pjs. Because rage is so exhausting :(, if satisfying.

      Reply
  8. coulda shoulda woulda

    I must say that New Zealand has always compared to other countries had an advanced public message system and they do it well. I haven’t obviously been affected by it but it sinked in and made sense when I read it. The aftermath and trauma is natural and I think people jsut expect things to be just as they always were. I went to New Orleans 6 years after the hurricane and there were still signs of it…I hope it works out – it usually does and hope the city gets stronger than ever.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It will eventually work out and we should be a stronger, safer city. Disasters and accepting radical change are part of maturing as a city and a people. Not always pleasant but there’s no rule in life that says everything must be pleasant. London (or the outskirts) are experiencing extreme unpleasantness at the moment, too, aren’t they? I am finding comfort in these lines by Elizabeth Bishop” I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
      some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
      I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.”
      Hope you are well away from the water’s edge 🙂

      Reply
  9. Pride in Photos Photography

    Oh my friend, it is heartbreaking for me to read how you are STILL dealing with this trial!!!!! I know first hand, that the length of a tribulation is almost more than one can bare than the first initial shock of the tragedy. As I read your story, it brought me back to 2004 when my town was hit by Hurricane Charlie, after he left, all the homes were affected. You saw thousands of blue tarps on every roof, well if there was still a roof left. But I can say with confidence, that our city is better than ever now…hang on to that thought.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Laurie, it is comforting to hear your experience of a natural disaster and to know that ,10 years on, your city is better than ever. Earthquakes are, of course, not the only forces of nature that send us reeling; we can all learn from each others’ stories. Thank you.

      Reply
  10. Brenda

    I do feel now I have flown there, and I am sad that things are still unresolved. That makes it hard to move on. I do hope things will go back to a semblance of normal soon for you. Think about all that money leaving the pockets of the insurance and providing income to the workers, who will make Christchurch shine again. That part is heart-warming. I also like to look for the glimmer of the sun behind the clouds, rather than focusing on the clouds themselves. I like your poetry very much.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Brenda. Yes the insurance money has definitely been a boost to the economy and provided much needed income to many, including migrant workers. Mmmm…in my woeful state, I forgot to attribute the poetry in a proper fashion. I am quoting from William Blake’s Auguries of Innocence which I read in 2012. The poem prompted me to start a blog.

      Reply
      1. Brenda

        And a good decision that was, to start a blog. William Blake made ordinary words extraordinary with such subtle brilliance. I didn’t recognize that it was him, but I recognized quality! 🙂

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Yay! Half the time I don’t understand him, but, even the editor of a book of Blake’s poems, Peter Butter, says I am not to worry if I do not fully understand: “the learned commentators don’t either.” So we are set free to simply enjoy the words and their quality and dwell in their beauty 🙂

  11. ordinarygood

    I saw the “sign” campaign mentioned in our paper and thought it useful, in part. Finding a safe, healing space to process overwhelm can be another thing for many people. I think I had also read some time ago that Christchurch people were the first to experience so many, many earthquakes in a modern city setting in a first world country for a long time. I think studies were being undertaken about the toll on people so that learning takes place from it all.
    Another expert I heard on the radio a good while ago said that rebuilding houses and buildings is a very expensive business here in NZ with the high quality of materials we are required to use, the high cost of labour and transport and the rigorous standards we aspire to and the red tape and regulations that bind all these challenges together. She said it was much easier to rebuild mud huts and I could see her point.

    I love the photo you have taken through the tree branches. Just a wee peep at what is possible:-)

    I would have to confess to having a scout around our section after the recent size 6 earthquakes we have to had to locate a private and suitable spot for a long drop…..there were many wonderfully creative outdoor loos fashioned up in ChCh…..for the users the humour was very short-lived I imagine.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Always wise to have an idea of where a long-drop could be sited! Our land is not very suitable, for a long drop, so I have a portable commode thingie that was on sale at the hospice shop. I hope I never have to use it, but I feel better knowing we have it, plus a supply of plastic bags and bleach.
      And, yes, our city and our rebuild are keeping researchers busy. I do hope some useful learning comes from our experience.
      Yes our rebuilding is expensive. Today came the news that the cost of building consents is to rise dramatically to cater for the real cost of consenting in the new post earthquake environment. I am happy we have to build to certain standards but, sometimes, a simpler house seems like a more cost-effective and sensible idea! By the way, I hardly ever watch TV these days, but I am enjoying George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces. All of those little houses seem to sit lightly on the land.

      Reply
      1. ordinarygood

        I like the idea of a commode thingie. We pay huge prices for things here especially local body consents which are ridiculous. I’m not a great TV watcher either but I have seen bits of Amazing Spaces and remark that a lack of seismic activity in a country offers a great palette to work off.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          I also kept an old, but still good, toilet seat which I thought could be placed on a bucket or container if necessary. And if all this planning comes to naught, we have a spade and can dig a trench 😀 Gosh, this seems to indicate that I don’t have much faith in the resilience of our strengthened sewage and water services! Shame on me 😉

        2. ordinarygood

          I think the Scouts motto “Be prepared” applies throughout our fair land.
          There was an idea mooted here recently about putting a large water supply pipe under the harbour to the Hutt Valley to assist in an emergency should one arise. Then the most recent nasty earthquake happened and that idea was dismissed very quickly….I did have to wonder why the idea got any traction in the first instance given our precarious location re seismic possibilities. All the more reason for being well prepared ourselves.

  12. Clanmother

    Ah, my dear friend! When we cannot trust the earth beneath our feet, what can we trust? That the sun continues to shine, the world continues to revolve on its axis, the rain continues to wash away the dust – we hold these as absolutes. We seek security, but recognize that we live in a world that cannot grant us this assurance.

    What is assured, absolute, affirmed is the love and compassion we have for each other, which has been demonstrated over and over and over again by the wonderful comments on this post. It has been an honour to be a part of the conversation.

    “You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.” Thomas Merton

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Ah, bless you my dear friend for your comment and the wonderful words from Thomas Merton, one of my favourite people. Thinking now about how lovely a retreat would be at the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani 🙂 Although my little dog, Jack, seems to think he has found a perfect retreat on the bean bag ,at my feet, on the kitchen floor. Perhaps he is right.The quote you selected may be just the one I need for my next post….are you curious?

      Reply
  13. KerryCan

    Silkannthreads, silken twine–both strong under pressure. And, in terms of recovering, one just needs to keep on keeping on–many drops will turn the mill, eventually.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      The process by which silk is made is rather icky but silk is incredibly strong 😀 and durable. I hope I can live up to my name 😉 Many drops will turn the mill…. a new expression for me. I love it.

      Reply
  14. Just Add Attitude

    I like the sense behind the cheer leading public service poster. I am sorry to hear that you are still trying to sort out your insurance claim – that’s stressful enough in the normal run of things but I am sure much more so after a catastrophic event. I wish you lots of luck in finding the right workpeople to do the last of your repairs. 😉

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It is an excellent public service campaign. And I enjoy seeing their cheery messages all over the place. Thanks for wishing me luck. Funnily enough, when I do find a work person, he/she is more than likely to be Irish 🙂

      Reply
  15. Leya

    I know you are reacting exactly in the right way. There isn’t much else to do…Ups and downs but trying to keep calm and balance. Things will get better, somehow.

    When we visited Christchurch we experienced a shaky 4.0 something – at least our landlords estimated it so. That little shake almost turned the stomach upside down. And, we were thinking of what had happened before. Happened to you living there. When out walking we saw the disasters, in the fenced in area – horrible. It is not possible to imagine the fear and the horror when this happened.

    You are a master of finding life, beauty and interesting facts about many things, and the little things…It’s always magic to read your posts, to learn about. life the way you present it. .

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Leya, it’s good to have your perspective. I walk through those central areas and still shake my head in disbelief. In my own area of the city, it’s possible to block out the slight strangeness of the landscape, most days. However, when anniversaries loom, emotions seem to surface. But that’s fine.

      Reply
  16. Tiny

    I’m sorry to learn that there’s still so much woe around you, but at the same time I’m happy to see that you’re seeking the silken joy. Sending more of that in your way with warm thoughts!

    Reply
  17. womanseyeview

    I cannot imagine the terror of having the earth literally crack beneath your feet and can offer only my sympathy as you continue to come to terms with it. In reading your posts over the past year you seem to find such joy in the beauty of the moment and of learning new things and you help many of us to find that elusive peace too. I admire how quick you are to see the absurd side of life and I thoroughly enjoyed your link to the Dickens piece on circumlocution! Take care, make tea and have a little weep if needed…more virtual hugs coming your way.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Oh, I am enjoying those virtual hugs 🙂 and the warmth of your comment. Thank you. The Office of Circumlocution never fails to bring a smile…I am sure you know it well via your trade union experience. I should add that, in general, most people who work in such offices or bureaucracies are ever so nice but they are as trapped as we are by the systems that employ them. Who dreams up the systems? Well…..that is the question. A committee perhaps? 😉 Look what happened to the duck when a committee got hold of it… http://www.convictcreations.com/animals/platypus.htm
      😀

      Reply
  18. Joanne Jamis Cain

    A tornado hit an area west of mine 29 years ago this May. I remember because I was pregnant with my son and it demolished my father’s used car business. Because it was an ACT of GOD, my Dad received nothing from his insurance company- a sad, sad state of affairs.
    Thankfully, he was 62 so he retired but I believe he dealt with depression for a good while after all of that.
    It is traumatic to witness, then have to overcome the aftermath of violent natural disasters. I remember looking at the landscape behind the destruction and it was as if a GIANT walked a path down the hill to the area that was hit hardest. Buildings and landscape to the left and right were completely untouched. But everything in that tornado’s path was gone.
    It is remarkable to me that your country acknowledges the stress and is trying to keep spirits up. Amazing….

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      What a terrifying experience, and how tremendously sad for your father (and the rest of the family too.) When these things happen there is a profound sense of disbelief and a feeling of shock that lingers and lingers. Part of that is related to the sheer physical force of the event. It literally knocks us about.
      Disaster management and disaster studies are making progress all the time, so hopefully we become better equipped to deal with these crises each time they happen..hopefully. In New Zealand, we have an Earthquake Commission which provides us with insurance for natural disasters. Thank goodness!

      Reply
      1. Joanne Jamis Cain

        Yes, thank goodness your country provides the insurance!
        It was a very sad situation for my father but after a lifetime of work, he finally did retire and get some rest.
        Perhaps that is the irony in all of it. God’s way of giving my Dad some well deserved time off.

        Reply
  19. Virginia Duran

    I am really sad to read that. It must have been a traumatic experience beyond what anyone can imagine from the pictures your show. Having to repair your home to the point of the foundations seems like a tough thing. Hope yours is completely repaired now and that the insurance company takes care of the last details. I am happy that you have a positive attitude anyways, that’s good. On the other hand, I am thinking that architecture should be done differently (just a thought). Happy Sunday 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Virginia, the architecture needs to be very different and many of us worry that the same pre-earthquake mistakes are being repeated all over again. Many foundations do need to be repaired, or strengthened, and builders/engineers are working on different techniques to find the best and most efficient way to do this.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, the evidence is a constant reminder. I don’t want those terrible days to be obliterated but…..sometimes, just sometimes,I wish it would all just vanish and we could go back to the way we were. I now have enormous empathy for people who live, or have lived, in battle zones. Our sorrow is only a fraction of theirs.

      Reply
  20. dadirri7

    all this bureaucracy stuff takes so endlessly long, what is their excuse for that I wonder? How to be patient and live with uncertainty as days turn into months and years, takes such courage, seeing things change around you, knowing they can never be the same … I like your answer, look for the thread of joy, easily seen in plants and animals who know how to live in the moment … a lovely post thank you Gallivanta 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I would feel truly lost without the plants and the animals. They keep us steady, bring us joy. When I have to phone people working in bureaucracies, I usually have my little dog next to me on the sofa. If I pat him whilst I talk, I find everything much easier to deal with. Consequently his tail goes in to hyper drive when he sees me pick up the phone 😀

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Very sweet 🙂 Your Stuart has a point. Our insurance companies and our Earthquake Commission really weren’t prepared for the scale of the destruction. Rethinking of policies and levies is necessary and is already happening. For example the excess on our policy for the external portions of our property, pre-earthquake, was only $250. The insurance company has fixed that at $5000 now! I think insurance companies could be more pro-active with earthquake insurance eg offer discounts for properties that meet certain earthquake proof standards. Oops, I think I need to sit down with my dog before I get too carried away here 😉

  21. greenlightlady

    I love the poem at the beginning, appreciate your honesty in the middle, and admire your hopeful spirit throughout. The white porcelain “chair” gave me a good giggle. Our island is in an earthquake zone, and so far I’ve only felt and heard smallish ones compared to what you’ve experienced. I can’t even imagine how it must have been.

    Healing Blessings ~ Wendy

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you for your blessings Wendy. Yes the ‘chair’ made me giggle too. Toiletting problems feature very prominently when disaster strikes. It’s a harsh way to learn not to take the basics for granted I hope your shakes remain gentle 🙂

      Reply
      1. melodylowes

        It’s all a part of the restoration process. It sneaks up on us and makes us forget temporarily that we are on the right road, we just need to stop and catch our breath once in a while. Hang in there…

        Reply
        1. melodylowes

          I walked through a maze once. I remember so clearly at one point feeling as though I were right back to the beginning – but then I saw that I wasn’t. It was an illusion; I would never be at the beginning ever again, but always, always, closer to the end than I had been before. That’s you! You may feel as though you are having a setback, when in actuality you are just gearing up to go somewhere completely new. One step forward at a time!

  22. BEAUTYCALYPSE

    I’ve never experienced an earthquake like you have, only have been thrown out of my bed once in 92 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1992_Roermond_earthquake), and while this has been terrifying enough, I can’t but imagine what you’ve been through.
    lame insurances, on the other hand, are something I’m familiar with, and all I can say: wish you stamina. it’s important to own the process. never leave anything to them, and know your rights, and know their duties, and keep pressing, well – politely so.
    it might feel tiring and unnerving sometimes, but the results will come much faster. oh, and I’m here to provide beauty and smiles and to cheer you up 😉
    sending love&light

    Reply
      1. BEAUTYCALYPSE

        it was significant, but we lived 100 km away from the epicentre. poor cologne cathedral though…

        circumlocution, yes! and for the visual type, the monty python’s silly walks 😉

        Reply
        1. BEAUTYCALYPSE

          a whole different story, but another brit humour fave of mine would be “a bit of fry and laurie”. especially mr laurie’s music numbers, like “mystery” and “kicking ass”, priceless.

  23. jennyredhen

    The only thing to do is get away for small ( or big ) breaks and realise there is another world out there where people aren’t going through all this. We could be like those Ugandan Cricketers and ask for earthquake asylum in another country (or town). Throw ourselves on the mercy of the population!!! I might go to the quake memorial this year and have a good old cry.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      A good old cry seems a good idea. I will probably have one at home 😦 . I am not sure I can face a quake memorial service yet, but I was very soothed, the other day, by looking at this information on the Napier earthquake memorial http://www.napier.govt.nz/index.php?pid=419 , although the quote …’their sun has gone done while it is yet day’ brought forth a tear.

      Reply
  24. jennyredhen

    Thank you for your post I was feeling like that yesterday too. I have seen the most ugly new building built on corner of Madras and Peterborough Streets. It seems Christchurch CBD area will be full of glass chrome and grey composite ugly buildings.. Then I saw Shooters Bar in Manchester St where 2 small trees that used to flank the entrance have grown to the height of the building and were waving in the wind!.. Its unbelievable that the CBD is still so abandoned and derelict. Whenever I go in there it is always a reminder of that day February 22 2011 and everything that has happened since.. What suburb do you live in. I live in Richmond.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Dear Jennyredhen (what a lovely name!)
      I haven’t been in to the CBD since before Christmas; just circumstance rather than choice. However, I know what you mean about ugly….it’s scary and depressing and, somehow, disempowering. We thought that we could make the horror of the earthquake matter by creating a beautiful new city…yet that dream seems to be floundering. To some extent, I would say that insurance payouts dictate what can be built on old sites but……
      I rarely post earthquake photos on my blog in case family members, in Australia, find them too upsetting. My mother, who lives in Cairns, was a Shirley/Richmond girl….her built history is gone. She would hate it.
      As for my suburb..your question gives me a giggle. I am often very confused about where I live. When I vote, I discover that I belong in Fendalton. Telecom and the NZ Post tell me I belong to Strowan. Other entities insist I dwell in Papanui. When we bought our house, we were told we were in Bryndwr, but apparently Real Estate these days prefers Strowan. So perhaps I should say Strowan, but I really like the sound of Bryndwr, and it creates delicious confusion with customer service representatives on the phone, especially if one uses the Welsh pronunciation 😀

      Reply
  25. utesmile

    I can’t believe it takes all that long to repair everything, and 3 years with your insurance. I guess some feel overwhelmed in a different sense not as the government means it. Are your houses build with wood or bricks?
    You could always get the last of the 3 little pigs in to built a good house, it did withstand the bad wolf…. (sorry that just came into my mind when I asked about your houses.)
    Seriously it is hard when everything takes so long. Never give up.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Ute, thanks for your encouragement. I love your idea of the last of the three little pigs helping out with the rebuild. Just so long as the big bad wolf stays out of the picture 😀 Our houses are a mixture of materials; some are brick, some wood, some concrete block. Our house has a wooden frame with a brick veneer finish.

      Reply
  26. Mrs. P

    This does seem to be an extraordinarily long period of time for repairs to happen? I’m just wondering about two things with the abandoned and erased properties. If perhaps the owners were not insured and also did NZ also have problems financial in their own economy at the time.

    I know with the US, when we hit our economic low, houses were abandoned right and left. Even now, almost six years later, there are still a few vacant houses…though most have finally been sold cheaply to investors.

    I hope one day you can look forward to having this whole thing be part of the past…as in done deal, over finis!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Mrs P 🙂 Most houses were/are insured but the disaster was on such an unprecedented scale for our small country, and threw up so many difficulties, that insurance companies and Government and city authorities have struggled to cope. They were/are dealing with issues that had not been encountered before. Money is tight and was particularly tight at the time of the earthquakes. Ironically the rebuild of the city is now starting to create an economic boom.
      I am not sure the rebuild will be finis in my life time, not completely anyway.

      Reply
  27. Sheryl @ Flowery Prose

    I can’t imagine the emotional toil on everyone who has ever suffered in this way. The only thing really to do is to help each other in any way we can. I hope you’ll have resolution soon…you’ve waited a long time.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      There will be resolution …sometime 🙂 The people of your city are learning how to cope in the aftermath of the floods. There will be heartache there too.

      Reply
  28. jaggh53163

    Gallivanta – You said the most important thing with these words: “a precious moment, to be still, to refocus on holding fast to the silken twine of joy,” May you continue to focus on the JOY.

    Reply
  29. lensandpensbysally

    This intersection between nature and human nature has mostly wondrous results. But your community and you have experienced some of Mother Nature’s wrath. I notice that you are continually surrounding yourself with beauty in its small and larger manifestations. I hope that helps to pull you through the harder days. Think about you.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Beauty certainly does help but it did take me awhile to find those little spots of beauty, those flowers, on my walk. They were there all along, of course, but I didn’t notice them the first time I walked by.

      Reply
  30. YellowCable

    3 years later and repairing works remain pending! That is horrible but I can understand it. Your view about the insurance company does not forget a beat to collect your payment but drops your claim is a good humor (I know it is not funny). arrr…

    I am glad you find some joy among these. The laying down hydrangeas represent it well. I hope all are taken care for you soon 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thanks YC. Things will improve eventually, I am sure. I think recovery from natural disasters anywhere in the world is always slower than people expect. The trouble is that once the media have finished with a disaster story it gives the impression that the problems are over.

      Reply
  31. Miss Lou

    I have watched on with interest and despair – during the immediate aftermath of the quake and the subsequent ones and I would honestly feel overwhelmed most days if I lived where you do. The collection of photographs you have displayed are unique to your experience and those of the people around you and I had to smile when I saw the snap of the loo (toilet) because it demonstrated such a resilience #LoveIt

    If it were not for people such as yourself, I would not have the opportunity to share in this event in the way I do, being privy to honest accounts and emotions rather than media chopped soundbites aimed to grab attention and not much else!

    I reckon it’s okay to feel overwhelmed some times, and hopeful and optimistic at others. There is no rule book on emotions, they just are. I think we can do our best to seek the hope and positive in any situation. That is not necessarily easy!

    Thank you for sharing.

    ML
    xx

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      ‘Emotions just are’; exactly so, Miss Lou. Which is why I can be wandering about feeling overwhelmed one minute and laughing the next at the absurdity of a house in the air, with a loo (privy 🙂 ) left stranded in the garden. And, as you can see, now you have reminded me that a privy is also a loo. During the worst of the earthquakes, many people became very familiar with that very old fashioned concept~ the outhouse, the privy; it was a learning curve for a new generation.

      Reply
      1. Miss Lou

        I’m sure I would find myself sleeping outside, in a tent with a really ruggy sleeping bag and thermal underwear if I was there. I can’t imagine the fear you must experience.

        Did you ever consider moving?

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          I am sure you would be fine now. No need for a tent (fingers crossed 😉 ) although I do have one in our emergency kit. We did think about moving but it really isn’t a practical option for many reasons. Besides every place has a risk of some sort.

  32. gpcox

    I have never experienced an earthquake, so I can only try to imagine what you go thru during and after. Your claim may be small, but they owe it to you.

    Reply
  33. Heather in Arles

    Thank you for the beauty and honesty. We are all linked by such moments of fear with a shining Hope.
    Bon Weekend…

    Reply

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