Sunday, January 25, 2015

In Christchurch With Katrina

After the trip down it was nice to now be able to spend just on a week with Katrina but I hadn’t thought it would be filled so much with shifting her from one flat to another.

Fortunately one of the flatmates had left already, bagging up all his things but not taking them with him yet. So I had a bed that Katrina made up in his old room on my own, so that was pleasant.

I knew that the flat she and a few others were in had to have some EQC repairs on it and they had to vacate it by the end of the week.
It seems to be an on-going shift around the city. As one home is fixed another somewhere eles has to be vacated for its new repairs. Just down the road from the new flat Katrina was moving into, the repairs were in full force. CERA (pronounced Sarah) is still at work helping and sorting all the issues that still exist after the devastating earthquakes February 22nd 2011, and one in September 2010.

Katrina had a room in her new flat but even that was just for a short time as it too was being vacated. It was a place for her to live at until she found somewhere else more permanent, knowing with the new University year looming there would be places available.

Unfortunately it turned out that in the end it would just be her and another guy at the first flat to do the entire final clean up and organisation of getting rid of stuff. 
There were plenty of things to be done before the bond would be repaid and as Katrina wants that it seemed to be that she would have to work for it even if the others would get it too without putting anything towards it.

I spent a lot of my time cleaning a 'flat' oven, fridge, washing machine and a few windows, walls etc.

The young lady who was renting out her room at the new flat for Katrina (at a reduced rate because she had had to find someone to help pay it as she had already found and moved into her new place) had to fly out of town for a few days, so she let me use her car.

She asked if I would be able to drop her off at the airport and I said that I was the least I could do seeing as how she was lending me her car. I dropped her at the airport feeling happy God saw our plight and blessed us with a set of wheels.(Thank you Jo)

In fact I don’t know how we would have coped without them. We took stuff to the dump and boxes of other things left behind around to the garage of the new flat. We also had to find a Post office to have mail redirected and other errands. I was even able to pick Katrina up from work one late night and we were able to just get a lot more things done. Katrina was able to stride around places (well she calls it walking with me literally trotting along beside her on my shorter legs - so I call her gait "striding") but although the walking was good for me within time my dodgy knee was starting to play up.

I had spent the day before shifting day looking for boxes at one of the supermarkets (One of Katrina’s friends had suggested this – thanks Gini) and the guy in the flat helped me pick them up. I did wonder if we would get everything boxed up and sorted but somehow we did. Well Katrina did, in between working at Overland and telling me she could do it.
For the day Katrina had to move out I had phoned and asked my cousin if he knew of a car and trailer we could borrow as I couldn’t use Thelma’s especially after the accident or even ask if it was available. Clive got back to me and offered his truck and I said yes knowing we would get a lot more on.

Little did I know it was going to be a beautiful old 1940s Chevy flat deck truck.

It was a beautiful day and we started to load up all her belongings.

Finally some of the friends who said they would help turned up and also loaded boxes etc into their car. It took two truckloads (well one and half really) and the car and it was all done. We farewelled Clive and thanked him for the truck and all his help.

Katrina and some of the guys had a beer – as you do - Katrina's first and last so she tells me. I must admit she agreed with me "Why would you drink something you don't like the taste of just because everyone else does?" I mean really, Why?

I was happy with my water but joined in the fun and laughter.

So then there is all the unpacking to do again.

This time it seemed Katrina and I would have to share a bed but Jo also said I could use her mattress and shifted it in from the garage. So once again God blessed us. I am not sure where Jo was sleeping as she wasn't at the flat and wasn't using her bed but then that's not my business or for me to reason. If God wanted to supply me with a bed I was not to try and 'work it out'.

I encouraged Katrina not to unpack too much as she would have to be repacking it all again in less than a month.  I also suggested that the boxes she did unpack she flattened and slid under her bed.

The new flat has a pool and seemed to get uninvited visitors like any place with a pool does!

The water was quite green to start with so I wasn’t keen for a dip even though it was pretty hot.

In between all the shifting Katrina worked and I manage to have a bit of fun, not much resting and reading but I had hot chocolates and coffee with her at the mall.

I even dreamed of a new pair of shoes. Funnily enough Katrina said she had thought they were 'Mumsey's kind of shoe' when she first saw them in the shop.

The morning after we were in the new flat we were woken just before 7.00am with a rocking and noise and I knew even though I had not experienced Christchurch's previous shakes that once again it was being rocked by a size 6 earthquake. The thing about a quake is that you are completely at the mercy of it and your surroundings. You can not stop it or even control it - it controls you.

How long will it last?
Will it get bigger?
At what stage do I get under something safe?
Fortunately this one was actually centered a far way away from Christchurch itself even though it was quite strong.

So of course to recover from something like that one needs a little cake!

On the last night we managed a trip into the CBD.

It is still bare in places where the buildings have been pulled down and not as yet rebuilt, some places still with piles of rubble and a sense still that one isn't quite sure where you are. I did notice that the fences around the Cathedral had closed in further around it so things must be improving there too.

But there are places coming alive with a “new” Christchurch, one that is evolving into the city that has survived.

Here we looked around the tram station and restaurant area.

Once again I thought there is so much of Christchurch that I havn't discovered or expereinced.

Next time maybe...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Driving with Thelma... To Christchurch and Back. (Part 3)

Continuing with our trip from part 1 and part 2...
I know but some did what to know when the book was coming out!!

Saturday dawned with the alarm going off at 6.30am. I did my bible reading and showered and we packed up the car. Then Thelma walked Pepper and sorted her out in the back. (a complex routine I was beginning to get used to) I thought we would leave at 7.00am to get down to the ferry terminal where we were catching the early morning Interislander by 7.30am but no - it wasn't until 7.15am that we left.

Even though we took a wrong turn we were down to the ferry terminal in plenty of time. I think because I over estimated how long it would take from my parents home. We were booked on the Kaitaki for the 8.30am sailing and it was fully booked so with plenty of cars waiting to get on, if you were late who would know! Thelma took Pepper out for another walk and I drove down to pick her up as we edged closer in the queue.

The weather didn’t look too nice with light rain falling and the sea in the harbour looking grey and a little choppy. Just as well I had my sea legs tablets to take!

But once we pulled out of the harbour the clouds parted and the sun shone.

In fact the whole trip was pretty smooth really with just a gentle rocking.

We were positioned on the open deck and Thelma was not too happy with that; she couldn’t leave the windows open for Pepper and the salt was going to end up all over the car from sea spray. Somehow she managed to get a kennel for the trip for Pepper so the dog was going to be safe and watched by some of the crew.
There is a fee of $15 for that but Thelma didn't pay. You can take a dog or animal in your car for the journey but it must be properly set up before the journey as you are not allowed down to the
vehicles after we set sail. Do you call it "set sail" if its not a sailing ship? In the pic we are in the middle line at the back just in front of the yellow painted strip (where pedestrians walk to get on and off) in front of the yellow car.

I ventured out on deck for some pics, as we all do, but the wind was quite cold so I soon went back inside.
I mean why wouldn’t you when you travel like we did?

We were booked in the premium lounge, Kaitaki Plus, which has an extra $45 booking fee but it is certainly a nice way to travel.
There is free food, (we had a cooked breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, potato croquettes and toast but there was also muesli) drinks, (both hot and cold, alcoholic and non) free wifi, the daily paper and magazines to read.

Later we had free morning tea with hot savouries, scones with jam and cream and rocky-road, peppermint slice and afghans as much as you could eat - if you really wanted to.

You are waited on with the clearing of you plates etc and there are cushions and blankets.
The seating is all two seater couches and very comfortable.
Even the toilets are separate from the rest of the passengers.

What is funny is that you have windows that look out on the sea as you travel but they are one-way glass so the other people can't see in. The funny part was to see some looking at themselves using it as a mirror - certainly some sights! So could I say it comes with free entertainment? There is a large screen TV too but it seemed to be stuck on the sports channel - not that I tried to change it - it was just sport both ways we traveled.
It’s almost like a mini cruise really.

Once on the other side we stopped just out of Picton for Thelma to have a good talk with someone from the AA re all the issues with the car, the accident and the service we had had. It was also time for Pepper to have another walk and comfort stop.

After yesterday’s accident I was able to drive a lot more and in fact as we got closer to Christchurch Thelma had overwhelming moments when she just had to stop and let me drive.

We made our way down the Island to Christchurch stopping often for Pepper and just to catch some of the sights. I had to laugh as the first rest area was a place we had stopped at when we were coming back from my nieces wedding in 2012. Katrina had noticed the water was a strange colour of green but the thing that reminds us the most about this stop is the toilet had the biggest 'poo' we had ever seen. So I will now call that spot “the place with the biggest poo” and believe me it had been big. In fact for some time I have wondered who in the world could produce such a thing. The water still wasn’t very nice and clear but it wasn’t the strange green colour it had been. Looking now at the two pictures the trees have either died or been cut down from around the viewing platform.

It wasn’t long before we reached the coast line and so found a nice spot on the beach to let Pepper have another romp. Someone else had been there before us and left their mark. It is interesting to see what people leave behind. I wonder when it was made, by who and who else was going to find it. It wasn't a very busy spot and we had to climb a bank on both sides to get down to the beach, so who knows really.

When we turned over a log I had been taking photos of there was a skink. It was a common skink found in most places around New Zealand.

Just before Kaikoura we stopped to see the seals and watch some of their antics.

There was also a pied shag watching for fish on the rocks.

We also took pics of the numerous road and railway tunnels that are part of the winding coast line around Kaikoura.

One of these photos has three tunnels; rail, road and sea!

Finally we reached Christchurch and with the help of the GPS I was dropped safely off at Katrina’s flat.

It was good to see her and just know I was going to have a good five days with her.