Strands drawn together

So, last weekend was my 50th birthday.  My partner and I flew to Christchurch on Thursday night.

I had much to celebrate and contemplate as a few strands of life had all pulled together to form a rope on the weekend of my birthday.
Last month, mum and dad finally found a house to purchase after hunting for nearly 9 months and dealing with EQC & insurance stress for a year before that.  This means they can leave the 'red zone' in Christchurch which has become a scary place to be with unsavoury types hanging around and arsons.  Finding a place has been a stressing and tiresome job.  House hunting at anytime is full on let alone being forced to do it due to your present home being earmarked for demolition.  The whole situation in Christchurch has forced property prices up and availability of suitable properties is at a premium with so many people in the same situation.  This weekend would be the last time I am to step inside the house I was raised in from the age of two and which has seen all the highs and lows of my life.  It has been my parents home for 48 years.  I had time to walk around, gather my thoughts and say goodbye internally. I took a piece of fern from round by the fishpond [albeit it now is a liquefaction pond] and have pressed it to place in my diary.  I took final photos and remembered the good and bad times i've been though in my life here at this house.

We could celebrate mum and dad finally being able to move on.

Street pre quake

Street 16 hrs post 22 Feb 2012 quake
Tons of liquefaction; sink holes and lakes of muddy sewerage water
Third lot of major liquefaction. Area was hit hard by previous quakes also.
A photograph of the liquefaction lifted from this event

Street September 2012.
Many houses now demolished, some with fences around showing prep for demolition.  The road has been graded several times and although looks flat, is full of pot and sink holes and floods across in the rain.

This weekend also saw me saying goodbye to my son the day after my birthday when he left for Perth where he'll be living for at least a couple of years. He's already secured his employment there before leaving New Zealand and started last week. He's an awesome fitter and welder and I KNOW he'll do so well over there - he's very talented!  Thanks go to my brother who now also lives in Perth, for helping his nephew out so much the first couple of days and ongoing support over there if needed.  Update February 2013: He's just bought a beautiful house in Perth!  WOOO GO THAT MAN!

Grandson Joe on our trip back from Temuka on Friday after helping pack up his uncles house before moving to Perth. The day was so hot so Grammy [me] tipped water on his head and played 'make a mohawk' with his hair LOL! Poor kiddy was so tired!

 My son and I a couple of hours before he flew out of Christchurch

I celebrated my birthday with an intimate dinner with immediate family, my partner and a close friend at Rossendale Winery at Tai Tapu.  It was superb!  It is so hard to find a quality restaurant in Christchurch that has an historic feel to it since the quakes.  The food and service was to die for.  We had a lovely evening and it was a shame my daughter became ill and had to leave early :(    [The reason for this became clearer later on in the year]

Table for all the lovelies

My birthday Brownie & Kapiti Raspberry sorbet.  This packed a punch! So rich I couldn't eat it all

My mum and dad gave me the most beautiful gold heart locket - a lovely gift, I shall place their photographs in it.  A most unexpected gift was the 106 year old bible that belonged to my great grandmother Emma.  It had been with my aunt for many years.  I was very humbled to be entrusted with something so precious in the family.  Great gran had written a note in it with the birthdates [and some death dates] of her siblings and herself.  It was given to her by her employer when she was in her early 20's [1906]. 
My cousin brought me the most amazing little handbook  'The Burial Service'  from 1916.  It formerly belonged to George Denham Chapman, late vicar of Whittlesea in Australia, 3 beautiful vintage postcards , [a lot of thought had gone in to the cards - they all had meaning within my life. - 1 of early Christchurch [I was born and bred here], 1 for a birthday specifically and another depicting a soldier leaving for WW1 [I work in a War memorial museum] .  To go with them was a lovely postcard album [I collect certain ones]. 
Sunday we had a quick jaunt out to visit a friend at McQueens Valley.  We had beautiful weather for our time in Christchurch and it is the first time in two years that i've not felt a quake whilst visiting.  All too soon it was time to head to the airport and home.  I did feel rather melancholy during the flight home.

View of Christchurch on the flight back to Auckland.
CBD centre right - you can see the white areas of cleared space where buildings once used to be.



  1. Hello Sandy,
    Happy Birthday! i hope it brings you great luck and much happiness! I'm glad your parents found a new house after such a long search, and I hope it was not too difficult to see the house one last time.
    Big hug,

  2. Awww well thank you Giac :) That is so lovely of you!
    Yes it's been all very stressing this past couple of years but hopefully we can all move forward now :)

    I LOVE your 1/12 talents! Absolutely fantastic!!!

    Cheers and wave from NZ

  3. thank you for the interesting read. your birthday went off very well. bless you and your family.

    1. Well thank you very much! :o) That's sweet of you. I appreciate that.



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