Local Heart, Global Soul

December 6, 2012

The Little Steps of Progress…

Filed under: Kids and Family,LIFE,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s time for a small update on the recovery process of my foot after my fall on stairs two years ago.

I now know that dystrophia is a long slow process, that pain is unfortunately one of the primary symptoms and that there is no fast-track to full recovery.

Whilst it may look like not much has been happening in the last year or so, in fact there has been very steady progress.

I started out with no movement at all from the top of my ankle downwards and not being allowed to stand on it at all, to being able to stand on the the heel and almost centre part of my foot, with only my toes and the area around the ball of my foot still  “stuck”. (the circled area in the photo)

Of course this means that the final part of the natural walking “step” can  still not be made, but I’ve  progressed to walking with one crutch instead of two, at least on flat surfaces.

I’ve included an edited photo to show you how things look at present. The red lines indicate the curve that the inside of the foot should take, clearly bits still stick out a bit too much on the left foot. When the ball of the foot becomes functional again the section just below it will start to support the bones as they should and then the idea is that the protruding bits should start to move back into place.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Specialist says that the bad news is that there is no fast route to this happening… and warned me it could take years.  Pain is one of the primary symptoms so physio is a very fine line between working though the pain but not ignoring the fact that pain is also a signal from the body that a limit has been reached and manipulation should stop.

I have a new respect for people with permanent disabilities, the hassle of constant niggling pain is more than annoying, sometimes it’s like a low level headache and sometimes it’s like sharp needles. Needless to say Physio is a tough workout and strong painkillers, rest (elevations) and ice packs are the order of the day afterwards.

A recent assessment puts things at 70% recovery and we are aiming for 90%. Once we reach this, then every percentage point after that will be a bonus. Predictions are also that I might be driving again around March some time, but in the meantime my company pays a taxi  to and from work and since a few weeks I’m also working part-time from home.

Life is literally about putting your best foot forward, it’s about counting our blessings too. One foot might present a lot of limitation at the moment, but there are some people who would give anything just to have legs.  I accept  the reality that I have good days and bad days, that if I push to physically do a lot on one day then I will have to suffer for it for up to three days afterwards: but is that an excuse to “not bother to do much”? No.

We each have an allotted “allocation” of days on this mortal coil, and no-one know how any days they will get. The wisest thing to do is to use these days as wisely as you can, making the best of the lumps and bumps that life gives you and appreciating and understanding that what might be one of life’s valley’s is at least…. not a crevasse.

September 27, 2012

Visible Reminders of the Days Life Changed Forever…

Filed under: HISTORY,LIFE,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

For all Christchurch homes and businesses, life changed forever on 4th September 2010 when an earthquake that measured 7.1 on the Richter scale hit just outside the city.

Luckily damage to the Sydenham Bakery was limited and they learned to live with the aftershocks that continued in the following months but nothing could have prepared anyone in the region for the horrific events of 22nd February 2011 when just after lunch a 6.3 quake hit the bulls-eye with an epicentre almost exactly on the city centre.

Although there were luckily no fatalities in the bakery and all staff and customers were safely evacuated, the building needed to be structurally checked and repaired and so baking was temporarily suspended whilst the building underwent emergency repairs. From what I understand a large part of Colombo Street was also cordoned off because of damage or collapse of many nearby buildings the the bakery was not publicly accessible by the front entrance.

The Sydenham Bakery was quickly back on it’s feet, trading from a temporary shop “front” from the rear of the premises and even with the problems of assess and constant aftershocks, I heard from friends and read on message boards from Christchurch residents that all businesses who managed to take this kind of action were hugely, massively and deeply appreciated.
It wasn’t just that fact that people were relieved that their favourite places were back trading and in business, it was also the underlying reassurance that these businesses were here to stay, that they were in it for the long haul and were not going to abandon the city.

It was also a sign that “normal life” might just be around the corner…  everywhere people looked, there was damage and destruction, seeing businesses working hard to bounce back as soon as possible meant people keeping their jobs, it meant hope and reassurance like a light at the end of the tunnel that “normal”  might be actually be possible again.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

For many in Christchurch and for Kiwi’s everywhere, these events signalled the days that life as we knew it changed forever. Like the Sydenham Bakery machinery, we all have scars of some sort or another, but we pick ourselves up and carry on.

That sentiment, and the gratitude for it has been a reoccurring theme that I’ve heard a lot when speaking to friends and family in Christchurch this trip, so clearly it means as much to them as it does to me.

Celia said that most of the quake damage is no longer visible, the bakery floor was completely re-done because of cracks and liquefaction damage,  but everyone worked long hours to make sure they were back on track as soon as possible.

She showed me their pastry rolling machine… it’s a massive piece of kit and clearly exceedingly heavy, but the February quake heaved it back and forward with ease, leaving scars where it hit the wall at one end and a large dent in the end of the roller bed where it connected repeatedly with a thick metal pipe at the other.

It’s a shocking reminder that even if we perceive our man-made machinery to be solid and strong,  they are  no match for the forces of Mother Nature.

Given too that the quake was big enough to push something this big around with ease,  it then becomes a wonder that more people were not killed or injured in that quake.  The strong New Zealand building code and a healthy dose of sheer luck all have a role to play there in my opinion.

And another thing… a machine that rolls pastry!!! Ooooh I soooooo want one!

Forget shoes and handbags, this is the kind of toy I’d have on my wish list! (sadly for me we live way too far away so I’ll have to stick to my humble wooden rolling pin… but  oh, a gal can dream !)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 23, 2012

The Pain of Just Doing What Needs to Be Done…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sometimes the discovery of a change is a shock that your were totally unprepared for.

Such is the case when we went a little further down Papanui Road and Rugby Street Church came into view.

I have been part of this church family and part of the youth group in years gone by.

Even more disturbing than the obvious damage to the Church was the almost complete absence of the church hall that once stood to the rear of it.

I was shocked to see that of the entire structure, only a remnant of the foundations remain. This was once a beautiful brick building, full of character, with very wide steps and heavy double wooden doors.

I have fond memories of meetings here, the musical we put on, parties and dances.  One such dance was a fancy dress ball, it was an eventful evening fron the start, with a flat tyre in the midst of Papanui Road weekend evening traffic, myself in costume standing on the pavement holding tools, whilst my friend tried to get the spare tyre  installed on the traffic side without getting his costume fouled up.

Passing cars tooted and passer-bys on the footpath made humourous comments so clearly we provided some laughs.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Later, at the end of the evening there was a strange tooting noise and in response we opened the double doors onto the wide steps to find headlights on full beam facing us just centimetres away.

My friend had driven the car  up the steps as far as it could go and we then proceeded to cram as many of us into the car as possible so that we could all be dropped off home.

It was an alchol free dance but we still had fun and we almost literally danced our feet off that night.

As was the usual routine, everyone bought a plate of food to share for supper and the evening was full of so much laughter that we were exhausted at the end of it.

We had a dinner there once that also had a little drama. Everything had been beautifully set out on trestle tables, there were flowers and candles… the  food was served and then one of the girls hair caught fire when she leaned over a little too close to a candle,  first there was an awful smell of burning hair for a few seconds  and  as we looked to see what was burning, we saw a bluish flame completely cover one side of her head …

…luckily the guy next to her reached out and ran his hand quickly over the flame and amazingly put it out in one swipe before she even realised that it was her hair that was burning.

He said later it was just an automatic raction that he didn’t even think about doing, he just instinctively did what needed to be done.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The girl however,  did freak out somewhat in the ladies loo’s later when she saw the singed damage but was very very thankful it wasn’t far worse.

Just doing what needs to be done seems to be the new theme for Christchurch citizen’s and their city… clearly the old hall was beyond repair and needed urgent demolition so it’s been done and it’s gone.

Murphy’s Law  struck and it appears that the Google Street View vehicle did of course make it’s way down the very busy thoroughfare of Papanui Road, but didn’t make it down the quieter Rugby Street from where there would have been a far better view of the old hall.

Oh well… just seeing a glimpse of it in the background has appropriate parallels to just seeing what’s left of the foundations now I suppose.

The church sits in it’s broken state with the spire braced on the ground in the front yard… a not too unfamiliar sight in Christchurch these days.

Oddly enough if Iook at the foundations of the old hall and then close my eyes, I can still see the building in all it’s glory in my mind’s eye. It’s as solid in my memory as it is absent in real life.

Writing about it helps with letting go, it lets me jot down the memories so that they don’t get lost in the jumble of all the other stuff that you have to cram into our brain on a daily basis. If one day my memory fails, at least the echo of what was before will remain.

(sigh) Ghosts of buildings and echo’s of memories past… sadly there will be all too many of those in Christchurch from now on.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The spire being on the ground gives me the  change to take in some of the detail I’d never noticed before…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Thank You Google Street View)

February 21, 2012

St Mary’s Tries to Stay Strong, But in Vain…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

St Mary’s Church in Church Lane, Merivale, Christchurch City, New Zealand is a beautiful stone (Church of England / Anglican church) that was built in the 1920’s.

I used to pass it  quite often when I lived in Christchurch because friends lived close by, and so I was keen to see how it had fared during the earthquakes and subsequent aftershocks.

Only a few days after I took these photographs, we were hit by a cluster of over 30 aftershocks, several of them very large indeed.

It was with great sadness that I learned on the local News that pre-Dec23rd it had been supposed that much of St Mary’s might be slavagable and that with appropriate strengthening it might be (mostly) saved, but now, the December earthquakes had dealt a lethal blow and that only a fraction of it is now repairable.

CERA (Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Agency) quickly assessed the building and made their decisions and since my photogrpahs were taken it’s appearance has changed completely (see link below for photos)

http://anglicantaonga.org.nz/News/Common-Life/Quake-memorial-service

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Google Street view vehicle doesn’t appear to have gone down Church Lane,  (probably because its a cul-de- sac) so the closest “before” shot I could get is this close up , taken from a side view from Papanui Road.

(photograph © Thank you Google Street View)

 

February 20, 2012

A Fate of the Church, The Hotel and Little Rows of Shops..

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The (Presbyterian) Knox Church of Christchurch is one of several landmark buildings on the intersection junction of Bealey Avenue, Victoria Street and Papanui Road.

It’s been standing diagonally opposite the equally well known and loved Carlton Hotel for at least 100 years.

Both buildings were severely damaged in the September 2010 and February 2011 Christchurch earthquakes and as a consequence of the later quake the Carlton Hotel was deemed beyond repair had to be demolished.

Knox Church stands looking a little forlorn, it’s outer skin of bricks have fallen away into the street, but on the brighter side it appears that the ornate timber structure that makes up the “bones” of the building are amazingly intact, and are now in this strange way revealed in all their glory.

I saw in the Christchurch Press Newspaper that someone associated with the church even rigged up a lighting display inside to show off the beautiful beams at night.

I’m delighted to see from the Knox Church website that it appears that this church can and will be saved…

…it’s outwards appearance may be changed from the old brick style to something that will be more resilient to the active seismic activity that Christcurch people are having to get used to living with these days, but they are literally rolling with the earth’s punches and getting on with life as a congregation regardless to the damage the building had sustained.

Buildings help make a community, but a community is more then the buildings they inhabit…

Knox Church may be down, or partly down, but it’s definiately not out. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how it rises up out of these quakes, and to documenting it’s progress on my future trips home to Christchurch.

Amazingly the Carlton Courts buildings (other side of the street from the Carlton Hotel ( a.k.a. The Carlton Corner Pub) appear to have survived undamaged…

Once again I’ve used Google Steet View to help you understand what this area looked like before… not just Knox Church but  also the lovely little row of shops that  once stood across the road on Victoria Street and the Carlton Hotel diagonally opposite.

(photograph © Thank you Google Street View)

(photograph © Thank you Google Street View)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Thank you Google Street View)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Thank you Google Street View)

(photograph © Thank you Google Street View)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Thank you Google Street View)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Thank you Google Street View)

http://www.knoxchurch.co.nz/news.php?newsletter_id=47#main

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlton_Hotel,_Christchurch

February 14, 2012

Broken Cathedrals and Heavy Hearts…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Of course I can’t leave Cathedral Square without showing you it’s centre-piece: the Christchurch Cathedral.

This building is one of the most recognised in all New Zealand.

Visitors and locals alike have clambered up the spiral tower steps and viewed the goings on in the Square from above.

I’ve seen it captured in the photographic phenomenon particular to Japanese tourists more times than I could count.

This phenomenon consists of the following: Her smiling at the camera with Cathedral in background (photo taken by him), Him smiling at the camera with Cathedral in background (photo taken by her) and then Them smiling at the camera with cathedral in background (photo taken by a helpful passer-by or someone else in their tour party).

Wiki has the Cathedral’s history in detail and “before” photo’s too, but for me today’s post is more about emotions than facts so I’ve posted links to those pages at the bottom of the page.

The Cathedral is on what seems like every second postcard of Christchurch, and they sell well. I know this, because I’ve often bought the cards to send back to family and friends with a little note attached about our travels.

It’s not only been a place to admire, it’s been a place of worship and a place to use as a meeting point, everyone knows it and no one can miss it.

It’s part of the background of everyday life in the centre of Christchurch and even if some people have never been in it, or maybe don’t  have faith, it’s so ingrained in the backdrop of the city that walking past here without seeing it in the landscape is almost unthinkable.

Sadly that’s the possibility that faces Christchurch as I type.

We saw the Cathedral in the distance as we entered the square, but the walkway has you facing the old Post Office for a little distance and then the high fences obscure it a little so it’s not until you get a little closer that it really come properly into view.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Since we are a decent distance away from it, CERA has seen fit to lower the barrier fence directly in front of the Cathedral, so we can get some good photos and even more importantly, get a really good look at the state it’s in now.

A massive metal frame holds up the West Front, and the tower is a shaddow of it’s fromer self. The top of the spire has been rescued, encased in a strong metal frame to keep what’s left of it intact and sits on the grass on the south side of the nave.

To my eyes the building has a mixture of dejection and defience about it, akin to someone who’s just received notice of a terminal illness and is still determined to stand strong, but who hasn’t yet gotten all the test results back so is unaware of how deep the damage to its vital bits is as yet.

We managed to see the Cathedral only one day before the walking tour is closed to the public… and then a few days later on the following Friday, December 23rd Christchurch was hit by a large cluster of aftershocks, that included a double whammy of a magnitude 5.8 followed by a magnitude 6.0 .

As we dealt with scared kids that night I was saddened to learn that much of what was left of the round Rose window on the West Front had collapsed, and that the hope of repair to restore the Cathedral were deminishing with every large aftershock.

At the moment there is still a very large question-mark on what might be possible to save and what not. This sight of a beloved building in such distress had me wiping away a few tears… and I was not alone pulling out a hanky… more people in the crowd around me were too.

There are two phrases that come to mind.. the first is Kia Kaha (stay strong) and the second is R.I.P.

My heart hopes for the first to be the Cathedral’s long term reality, but my head fears  that the second might be closer to the actual truth. This may well be my very last goodbye.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 13, 2012

Sad News about the “Press”…the Last Corner(stone) of the Square…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’ve almost finished my walking tour of Christchurch city centre…

I’ve been here close to two hours now, talking my time,  adsorbing the scenes and getting used to the rawness of the situation around me.

This area has been hard to photograph, we can’t get close, there are  many empty spaces, there is not a great line of sight.

The furthest corner away from us is the north eastern corner, where the beautiful Christchurch Press Newspaper used to stand.

The Christchurch Press is the ‘institution” of Christchurch newspapers, it’s been keeping the inhabitants of Christchurch, Canterbury and the South Island up to date with News since the first issue appeared in 1851.

In 1909 the paper moved into it’s new building in Cathedral Square and from then on as the decades passed, it’s only cemented it’s place as an iconic Christchurch building and a newspaper institution.

I regret never having taken a decent photo of the building because I always admired it, but fortunately other people did, because I found this stunning image on Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Christchurch_Press_Building_-_as_it_once_was.jpg

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now all that remains is an empty space, the paper itself lives on and I think they are working out of new premesis close to the airport.

One worker lost their life in the Press Building in the September 22nd 2011 quake, so it’s with mixed emotions that I view the old photo, I adore Heritage buildings and would love to save them whenever possible, but never at the cost of anyones life, that’s for me at least, too high a price to pay.

I look around this last corner of the Square… Warner’s Hotel used to be next door and was just as well known as the Press building but as I stand behind fences some distance away it’s now really hard to see what’s gone and what’s there and if it’s there, for how much longer.

I’m delighted to see that the War Memorial appears to have escaped unscathed, this has always been a favourite of mine, and I find myself smiling at the little Police station… it’s been a stock feature of the Square for decades and it’s reassuringly familiar.

From this corner of the Square comes the constant clatter of demolition noises, the fire engine is on hand to spray water and keep the dust down: there are noises of diggers and jackhammers. I made a small video clip but YouTube is being a bit weird about uploading stuff at the moment so I will add that on another day after I’ve summonded some technical assistance.

I’m almost ready to leave the Square… This little piece of “home” will never be the same, …emotions have been more than I expected, but then too, so has the scale of the damage. Just as it’s time to move on in a physical sense it’s time to move on in an emotional one too.

Easier said than done but you need to start somewhere. I wonder what the future holds for this piece of real-estate ? Someone has poked a little bouquet of flowers into the fence… they’ve long since wilted but the sentiment of eerie sadness that they exude is all around us.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The war memorial…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Little Police kiosk…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Little Mr. doesn’t quite get why there needs to be an engine if there is no fire?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Seemingly unscathed artwork (I love it too) on the other side of the Square…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Quake-scaped lamp-post from a different angle…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

BEFORE photos to compare… (white building in centre currently being demolished)…

(photograph © Thanks to Google Street View)

(photograph © Thanks to Google Street View)

(photograph © Thanks to Google Street View)

February 12, 2012

To The Toughest Graffiti Artists in the World… Respect.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

When disaster strikes and the situation is clearly too big for local specialist teams to handle on their own, it’s nice to have friends in other countries who are willing to come and lend a hand.

They have the necessary specialist training, they swing into action, loading  their gear onto planes and come as quickly as they can.

In the case of Christchurch on February 22nd 2011, USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) teams were needed from abroad.

New Zealand has six USAR  teams and they were already busy working around the clock looking for survivers in buildings that totally or partlally collapsed and checking buildings for people who might be trapped in specific places of damage, but six teams was clearly not going to be enough as the scale of the damage became apparent.

As the news of the earthquake rippled around the world, offers of assistace rippled back and were gratefully accepted, they arrived with urgency from around the globe and set to work.

They left behind the graffitti of their trade, an international shorthand that shows times, dates of inspections and other stuff like squares inside circles that I assume mean things too…

…maybe they put a square when they go into search and circle it afterwards to show they are safely out in case another aftershock hits whilst they are inside?

I’m just guessing because I don’t know… but whatever it is it makes sense to them and that’s what matters.

Japan sent USAR teams to assist in Christchurch too and two of the New Zealand teams had the sad job of returning the favour only two weeks later when a 9 magnitude quake and resulting tsunami hit the south eastern coast of Japan on 11th March 2011.

No doubt they recognised only too well the emotion that must inevitably be there when you have to do this job on home soil.

Considering that the aftershocks keep coming to the tune of about 30-40 a day after a “big one” , this is not a job for the feint-hearted.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In this line of work USAR teams  must surely see evidence of people and remains of people in building wreckage that must be a human-beings worst nightmere, but finding a survivor must also be one of the most amazing feelings in the world.

They are teams of  unsung heroes who’s work is deeply appreciated, and not applauded nearly enough.

Their graffiti leaves me with mixed feelings…

…sad to see it on one hand at all, but releived on the other that there are dedicated people who transverse the world to assist when someones darkest hour is upon them and  speed is of the essence.

I wish there was no need for their job, but sadly Mother Nature is a living creature of sorts and when she coughs our puny structures tremble and break.

It’s a reality we just have to live with on planet earth. This post is dedicated  to this group of individuals, those who came and helped … and all like them around the world.

To all USAR… Respect…and Bravo

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 11, 2012

You Wear Down Some of your Local Flagstones,and Leave a Little of Yourself Behind in the Process…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m still taking you on a virtual tour of our December 2011-January 2012 trip to New Zealand.

This is the walking tour that was set up shortly before Christmas and that allowed limited public access between the Cashel/Colombo street intersection and Cathedral Square… well a small slice of it at least, well away from fragile buildings and ongoing work.

I realise that taking photos of the “ghosts” and shells of buildings that I knew and loved might seem in some way morbid and depressing…

Yes it is emotional, but that’s because these places have meanings and memories. One night in the 80’s the leaders of our youth group divided us into four teams, handed each team a cassette tape recorder and an envelope that contained an identical  list.

Each team had some three hours to collect as many sounds on the list as possible.

One of the sounds was to capture special sound that the pedestrian buzzer made at certain central city intersections… it was special because it was a different tone, meant to alert sight impaired people that it was possible to walk diagonally across this crossing because traffic on all four sides was being stopped  whilst the buzzer sounded.

I remember the exact spot we were standing in Cathedral Square that balmy summer night when we summoned up the courage to ask a pair of uniformed policemen to say “állo, állo, … állo, állo, “ for the tape.

I can remember watching the “Wizard” (a local personality) in his favourite spot in the square taking on a bunch of hecklers and the war of words and quick quips that saw each of his opponents bow out in defeat and the gathered crowds enjoying the spectacle as he ran rings around them.

I remember going up the spiral steps of the cathedral tower, emerging on the little balcony high up and feeling dizzy as I looked below… not that that ever stopped me from repeating the experience every few years with friends or visitors.

I remember the first time I went to an evening movie (in place of a kids 2.00 p.m matinee) emerging out in the street in darkness, listening to the far older friday night crowds and feeling   “grown-up”for the very first time.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I remember the midnight service in the Cathedral that was held directly after the finish of the annual Carols by Candlelight Service around the river by the Bridge of Rememberance, and later in Victoria Square and the sound of the singing  as it rang out all around us as we sang together inside the Cathedral.

I remember walking in the cool of the Cathedral interior on a hot summers day, and taking a sad and quiet break in one of the pews and asking God why my school mate had had to die earlier that week from a brain tumour. She was only 16.

I remember running through the Square towards Chancery lane in winter hail on my way to the public library in Gloucester Street to study, or standing in a queue at the various food carts that came into the Square .. fried rice, …jacket potatoes with chili sauce.

There was a optitian in Chancery Lane where I had to go for my medical to become and Army officer… I don’t have binocular vision so I failed the eye test. Who knows what path my life may have taken had I passed since it was the only part of the medical that I failed.

I’ve waited for busses at countless bus- stops around the Square, I’ve walked these street with friends, commuted though on foot to and from work and partied there too.

Add to this that I’m a lover of detail, buildings fascinate me, especially old, ornate and interesting ones. I might not have been a customer of Hanafins but I always adored the building.

Any place where you have been a part of wearing down the local flagstones, leaves a little of you behind in the process.

You kind of rub off on your city, it rubs off on you and emotional bonds are made in the memories that are built up in microscopic layers over the years.

The building that CERA labels as the Grant Thornton building never had a name to me but it did mark the entrance to Chancery Lane… that I walked through frequently.

What’s the purpose of these photos you may well ask. Well, I guess that at this point in time they help for me to come to terms with the destruction of many of my old haunts.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Seeing them has released some tears and made feelings that I had in absentia, real in actual presence.

They provide a space for realising that the only way to deal with things now is to not just yearn for the past, but that we also have to move onwards.

The photos also give me a record of what was, what is …

…and later I will hopefully add photos to these locations of what they have become in the future.

My kids have been here and they have seen this too, but they are young and I know it’s too much to hope that they will really remember this moment as the “history” it is, so a photographic journal is a good way for them to understand in the future.

Yes, it’s painful right now, but this is the moment in time when we are staring at the open wound…

…It won’t always be like this…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

.. . quakes even upset the local lamp posts..

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Grant Thornton Building…  it’s days are numbered.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

What fate awaits these?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

What’s left of Chancery Lane…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 10, 2012

The Old Post Office, Regent Theatre …and the Clarendon Façade Doesn’t get a Third Chance…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Today’s post takes us into Christchurch’s Catherdral Square itself… the barriers are in the centre of the central open space of the Square as work is being done on a multitude of buildings close by.

To my amazment the Old Post Ofice building is still standing!

It hasn’t been a Post Office for years now… more recently it became a visitors centre and Starbucks and I have no idea if it is still structurally sound, or repairable if it has sustained damage, …but it’s a relief to see it here at all at this point.

A little further along the Regent Theatre building is now a sad vacant space… CERA have posted a few “then and now” posters on the fences, not for every building we can see, but for a few.

I remember well going to the “pictures” at the Regent during my years in Christchurch and the building too was a beauty inside and out that was much admired and will be sadly missed.

Further down this end of Worcester street that bends around the square and goes towards Oxford Terrace there are several other buildings that I’d like to know more about.

As a kid, I knew the building that’s now called the “Rydges Hotel” by it’s ‘old days” former name of “Noah’s Hotel” ..it sits on the northern side of the Oxford/Worcester corner. I have no idea what shape it’s in now.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

On the Oxford/Worcester south side corner stands the Clarendon Tower.

It’s a stange building because it was formerly the Clarendon Hotel, a grand three storey stone building that dated from around 1903.

Then, very contrivertically in the 1980’s they decided to make a tower block out of it and were going to knock down the hotel completely, but in the end they kept the origonal facade and them “grew” another 15 or so stories of modern building out of the top of it.

It was, and still is, the most bizzare juxtaposition of buildings I have ever seen and not quite a marriage made in heaven.

Yes, I was in the “camp” that said, “better some of it saved to live on in this bizzre fashion than all of it lost completely”,  but I still thought  “What were they thinking?” every time I passed it.

Wiki has more detail about it’s history and photos, here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarendon_Tower .

Since the rest of Worcester Street and Oxford Terrace are still cordoned off, I can only see the “town side” of the Clarendon and not the facade that can be more clearly seen from Oxford Terrace. The tower looks forelorn with it’s plywood panels covering  the broken windows.

I can’t see but am also wondering about the (Robert Falcon) Scott memorial statue (of South Pole fame) that sat on the grass on the river side opposite the Clarendon Tower, apparently it toppled in the February quake and was damaged…

…it’s a very special statue because it’s strikingly white in colour instead of the oft prefered bronze and because it was carved to an amazingly professional standard by none other than Scott’s widow, in memory of her husband and his efforts to reach the Pole.

Once again I’ve tried to use Google Street View to give you an idea of what these places were like before. The CERA  information leaflets were flapping around in the wind, so a passing walker volunteers to hold it whilst I take photos. (Thank you Lady, that was sweet of you)… or in Kiwi slang … “Sweet !!”.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Thanks to Google Street View)

(photograph © Thanks to Google Street View)

(photograph © Thanks to Google Street View)

(photograph © Thanks to Google Street View)

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