Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Christchurch and Darfield

I had a few days in Christchurch before it was time to head home to the North Island. I must admit to some nervousness about this, as my local friends and family were clearly anxious about aftershocks still happening after the major 7.1 earthquake centred near Darfield.

I headed off downtown to see the sights and the Ron Mueck exhibition that my friends had recommended. There was a building being demolished beside the carpark I found.

But the city has done very well clearing up so much of the damage from the earthquake. Roads have been patched, and many dangerous buildings have been demolished and removed. In a few places in town you could see where buildings had been 'propped up' pending repairs, and on this historic building someone had taken advantage of the props to install some sculpture.

 After seeing the damage in the Akaroa cemetery, I decided that I wanted to check out the group of four family headstones in the Darfield Catholic cemetery in case they were in need of repair, and I must admit I was expecting to see some damage. However, despite being only kilometres away from the eathquake epicentre, I could see as soon as I reached the gate, that they were fine.

Yes, my great-grandmother was only 29 when she died, as many did at the time, of 'consumption'.
 I drove home via what was the family land at Charing Cross, where my great-grandfather used to run sheep.  This year the present-day farmer has planted crops here to feed the sheep over summer, as this land gets very dry. The epicentre of the earthquake lies very close to this old family land.

I returned to my friends' house. I love some of the glass and pottery ornaments they have in their home, and took some time to photograph a few bits and pieces. Soon it was time for farewells, but not before a party was held. Usually I keep 'people' private and out of this blog, but in this case I will make an exception for an exceptional event. It was the eleventh birthday of the eleventh grandchild, on a date filled with 1s. So the camera had to be switched to mark the date on each shot!

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