Tag Archives: rebuilding

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.



Homes 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.



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

Designed to make me smile

Our city is in the process of a major rebuilding programme.  Travelling around the city requires great patience and perseverance  because of the rebuild.

At the weekend, we went to look for a new shopping development and, although we found the complex, in the process of the search, we also became hopelessly entangled in detours and blocked roads and had to venture into areas that we hadn’t visited in a very long time.

That is why we happened upon this delightful spot on the Heathcote River, on its way to the sea. (This is the view down river.)Christchurch Quay

In the very beginning, when Christchurch, the city, was more a plan on a piece of paper than a reality, this spot was known as Christchurch Quay or Radley Wharf. In the beginning

The new settlers from England, after months in cramped quarters at sea, arrived in the port of Lyttelton. The next part of the journey involved climbing  over the Port Hills via the Bridle Path, crossing the Heathcote River, at a place called Ferrymead, and proceeding to town along a muddy pot holed road. Their belongings, the ones they couldn’t carry, came the long way round, by sea from Lyttelton to Sumner and thence to Christchurch Quay.  From here their goods were taken by horse ,or dray, to Christchurch. Travelling to, and through, the city was a difficult and arduous process.

My great great grandparents, James and Amelia,  arrived in Lyttelton on 16 August 1855 aboard the Caroline Agnes.  They came with their three small children; Caroline, George and Fanny.  My great-grandmother, Fanny, was a year old. It is possible that where I stood, to take my photos of the old Christchurch Quay, was the very place where my forbears once stood. Perhaps it was here they paused, took a deep, weary and determined breath, and negotiated their way to a new and different life.  Not in Christchurch, as it turned out, because by 1856 the family was settled further north in the small settlement of Kaiapoi.

This is the view, up river, following the towpath. The Port Hills can be seen in the distance.

The towpath to the city

As I reflected on days past, Heathcote River Reflectionsthe path we are on today seemed not so hard; our ancestors trod it once before.  We can take courage from their successes and failures.  They travel with us as our companion  guides and let us know that we can tackle  present and future roads. That’s enough to make me smile.