25 February 2011

Its the little things......

Two years ago I took my eldest son down to Christchurch to start University. I thought we would spend a couple of days together exploring the city before I left him behind to get on with his life. He had other ideas, it was a bye Mum, and he was off into the scrum of freshers week. Leaving me to explore the city for myself, which was great, I had a wonderful time going to all the things I would enjoy, and felt so proud of him. The pic above is one I took on that trip. Since leaving him there, in what I thought was a safe city. He has gone through two major earthquakes, with out a scratch on him, thankfully.

The beautiful, garden city of Christchurch and a lot of its people have not been so lucky. The devastation of last Tuesdays' earthquake is still difficult to understand. Much has been said all over the world's press about it, about all the big things that have happened. I would like to mention some of the little things that made me proud to live in this country.

A big thumbs up to the large companies that have bent over backwards to do something.

Air New Zealand - They almost immediately increased the flights in and out of Christchurch and lowered their fares. Also made it possible to move flights either to get out of Christchurch earlier or to get back to Christchurch without any extra charges, for the next few weeks.
The Warehouse - Giving out free food and water to anyone that could go and collect it.
Fisher and Pykal - Setting up three free laundries in the city. A very little thing, but a very important thing.
Sanitarium (the breakfast cereal company) - Giving out water from its factory.
Telecom - Free phone calls from all phone boxes that they have got working in Christchurch, so people can let family know they are ok. Telecom are also collecting up old type house phone,s that can be plugged in with out any electricity, from all over the country and shipping them down to Christchurch residents.
Five of the large banks - Suspending payments and interest on loans for Christchurch residents.
The local health board - All visits to Doctors and all prescriptions are free in Christchurch.

These are just a few of the amazing helpful things I remember hearing about. I do not know if this would have happened anywhere else. Then there are all the little small businesses helping out. Like the bike shop that was offering free repairs to bikes, to make it easier for people to get around a city where the roads are mostly torn up. The people who were giving away water from their bore hole. All the thousands of students that volunteered to help. The people all over the country that are offering their homes to the people who have been made homeless by the quake. The people of Wellington who opened their homes to the displaced tourists who lost all their documents and luggage.

On the flip side I have got to say a big thumbs down to the idiots who are taking advantage of the situation. The looters, need I say more. The store that was charging $15 for a two litre bottle of milk that should have been just over $2. The individual who went to the queues for water and tried to sell water containers for $20 each, while others were giving theirs away for free. The petrol station in a town 2hrs away from Christchurch that hiked the price of petrol up by an extra 25%. And especially to the looters, who seeing the teenage children getting the news that their Mother would not be coming out of the wreckage of the CTV building alive, calmly went to their house and burgled it.

For all this gloom, it is very, very heartening to know that the good massively out ways the bad. For every idiot there seems to be hundreds of people who want to help, and who want to make a difference.

One idea that was suggested to me yesterday, sounded really good to me. It is not something that will help now, but something that could be done in the future when the people of Christchurch are starting to rebuild their lives and their city. In every community it is the small businesses that help gell the community together. The hairdressers where you can go for a gossip, the local corner shop, the drycleaners, the bakers, the local chippy and takeaway shop. Even if their buildings are not damaged I would imagine that their fixtures and fittings are. How long does it take for them to get new from the insurance? Small businesses don't have the capital to refurnish from their own funds. And without an income, will these businesses be able to continue? Wouldn't it be good if other small traders, from all over the country, could get their spare items to them. I don't know if its possible? I don't know how you would go about doing it? But if you or somebody you know has the expertise to do this, pass the idea on, maybe there is somebody out there with the knowledge.

20 February 2011

Napier Cathedral

On many occasions I have walked past the Napier Cathedral and thought I should really look in there some time. So I did, dragging Peter with me.
It is very much a monument to concrete and in comparison to other cathedrals I have visited it is not really pretty. But in its own way it has a certain style. I think it is the proportions that give it that awe inspiring feeling of magnitude that you get in cathedrals. In no other building do you get that sense of all surrounding space. In my personal opinion I think the combination of the huge floating cross and the tiny rose window, emphasize the enormity of the height of the ceiling.
For me the main attraction of church buildings is the stain glass lead lights.
Some of which are very, very new.

An almost perfect day

The last few weeks and weekends have been very busy. Today at last there was a day with nothing much to do. The grass was cut, the ironing was done, there was nowhere I needed to be and nobody I needed to take anywhere. I did not need to get up early. I was able to laze in bed for a bit after having had the best nights sleep in a long time. My youngest and I had breakfast at a cafe in the village, I had a very, very tasty Almond Croissant and he had a very, very large slice of chocolate cake. We then had a little browse around the junk shop together, the first time he has been old enough to be trusted in a cluttered shop full of china. It was very pleasant being able to rummage around with him. He would now like for his birthday a Cash Register, a silver goblet and a picture of a black panther. Hmmm. I spent the rest of the day in the garden sewing and listening to radio 4 over the internet. I started of on the veranda but had to move down where there was more breeze to keep me cool.
I was still out there sewing when Peter came home for tea. He took this sneaky snap while I wasn't looking. As usual catching me from a very unflattering angle.
Buffy was enjoying the breeze and the cooler weather too.

Did I really agree to this.......

In a few weeks time I am going to take part in a triathlon as part of a team. I have been volunteered for the swimming part, a swim of 600m. I am prepared I have all the gear - hat, togs, goggles and rashie top. I decided that a wet suit would not be a good idea at all. The distance did not bother me, I swim between 1000m and 800m in the pool at least a couple of times a week. That was until last week when one of the other members of the team accompanied me down to Pandora Ponds to take a look at the course, to have a go at swimming in the cold sea and against the current. Now the distance bothers me. I have to swim out to that far off distant white dot on the horizon and back over to the other side and then down to the shore. That seems to be a very long way! Then there is the other bit I had totally forgotten about. The clambering out of the water and running up the pebbley shore, dripping wet in my togs to tag the next member of my team. If anyone dares take any pictures of that bit they will be in very big trouble.

Its that weekend again ....

Its that time of year again and Art Deco madness has hit Napier once again. The city is full of old vehicles of every shape, colour, size and era and the feather boas are out in force. Its quite a spectacle.

Today's Daisy

While rushing to an appointment at the ophthalmologists the other day, I noticed this daisy on the door of the council buildings. I have past them lots of times and failed to notice it before. Either they have changed their logo recently or on the past occasions I was too busy looking at something else, or perhaps the door was open. I don't know. What I do know is that I should look around more often instead of being wrapped up in rushing to get everything done.

17 February 2011

Today's Daisies

Remember that ice cream I ate among the daisies, here are some more of those daisies.

Study Makeover - Good to know everything fits

We needed to use the study as a spare room for a couple of days. It was good to know with a minimum of fuss the bed did fit. One day it will be finished.

14 February 2011

Supriseing things you find on the compost heap.....

A couple of days ago I was lolling about in the garden, as you do on hot days. When a white rabbit hopped on past. After checking it did not have a pocket watch, I realised I was not asleep and dreaming of Alice in Wonderland. There really was a large white rabbit hopping around the garden. The next place I found the rabbit was sitting happily on top of the compost heap. Apparently, our next door neighbours have decided to allow their rabbits to free range. Which is very nice having them in the garden, but I just hope they keep safe. So far our cats are very wary of them. The white one brought his friend over to visit too.

Lunch time walk in Napier

When I walk to the shops from work, at lunch time, I pass these steps. I wondered where they led too. Thought you might like to see too.
They led up to this path past some lovely Napier Hill villas.
To this amazing view of the County Hotel and out to Cape Kidnappers and Te Mata Peak.

Or back down the path through the Norfolk Pines to the Pacific.

Spotted a daisy shape on the trim of one of the beautiful villas.
There were more steps to attract my attention, these ones lead up to somebodies garage, a bit of a dead end.
I was tempted to keep exploring, but I don't have a watch and was worried I would get lost and be late back to work. I thought the best idea was to head down the hill.
Very much attracted by these lovely pink flowers.
And there I was back in the centre of town.

Getting back to work was a short walk past the cathedral, more about that building later.
Looking back up that hill towards the houses I had walked in front off, you can not tell the path and steps are there at all.

Round the corner past the museum.
Across the road to the park with the interesting sign. Is passive recreation like passive smoking. If you just hang about in the park are you affected by others recreation?
Lingered for a while among the daisies.
Enjoying an ice lolly, imagining I look like the girl in the Kapati ice cream ad. You can watch it here.
Then noticing myself in the window of the War Memorial Conference Centre - and remembering I am not a young, slim, floaty girl - but actually a short, dumpy, middle aged, unfloaty woman.
And finally back across the street, past the actual war memorial,
round to the steps - a hop, skip and jump back to work all within my lunch hour.


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