A trip to Christchurch

I’ve just come back from 5 days in Christchurch, attending the LIANZA 2017 conference. I was able to have dinner out with my brother-in-law Roger one evening as part of a larger group, and pop in to see my stepdaughter Yasmine, her partner Adam and our grandson Rory – it’s just a pity time was so short.

I hadn’t been to Christchurch since pre-quake. It was weird looking round because I can see the damage but, in many ways, can’t identify the changes as I didn’t know the city beforehand. We took a taxi a couple of times and it was interesting to note how careful the taxi drivers are to explain why they have to take the long way round sometimes; I suspect they occasionally get abused about detours which are not their fault.

This was the first time I’ve flown since my surgery. No seat belt extender needed this time. It was also my first test of eating ‘normally’ away from home; not totally successful but not a disaster either. I only felt really sick once, and lost a few hundred grams so the odd food choices did no harm. The worst moment that’s food related? I was sitting with the “cool kids” from Auckland Libraries – a really lovely bunch – and managed to throw my entire lunch down my jeans, over my sneakers and across the floor. They were so nice, they got me to sit still while they cleaned up, then got me some more food…

So, travel post-surgery is perfectly manageable – that’s another thing ticked off the “hmmm, I wonder…” list.

Photos are Lis & I ready for the gala dinner; Sumner Beach, Rory, Roger and I; Rory with his junior dragster; my seat belt on the plane.

Christchurch earthquake – no art this week

Last Tuesday a 6.3 earthquake hit Christchurch, following on from the September 4 and December 26th quakes of last year. Unlike the first two, where the only damage was to property, this time the quake has taken people’s lives. My heart goes out to those in Christchurch,their family and friends, my colleagues in librarianship and art, and everyone working to save lives and get services back up and running. Tony is waiting/hoping to be deployed as a relief worker somewhere down south. I hope he gets to go, he so wants to feel he is helping.

We have family in Christchurch. Our daughter Yasmine, her partner Adam and 4-year-old grandson Rory. Also Tony’s brother Roger and cousin Barry. They are all, physically anyway, unharmed. Mentally I am not so sure. Rory is fine – he has the resilience of youth and also the last two quakes and literally thousands of aftershocks have taught him there is nothing to worry about. Their properties are fairly unscathed this time except for some liquefaction, where the liquid earth underneath rises to the surface in a stinking puddle that sets like concrete.  Adam’s work has not fared well…

What does this have to do with art? Everything. My eyes have been fixed on the tv, my mind on Christchurch and my heart on family. I have been doing extra hours due to a special project at work and between that and the quake, I have nothing left over once I have taken care of the day-to-day of our lives. I have cut back drastically on the tv news I watch. I can’t change what has happened and, whilst I need to know in general terms how things are, me feeling sad and sick and tired achieves nothing. A little judicious editing is called for..

I hope to try for a little normality this week. Let me end with some family photos. Love and concern for these people are the reason my heart is sore and my mind elsewhere…