Monday, February 28, 2011

Earthquake II

Because I just do, I get emails every time an earthquake happens. In the last week Christchurch got 191 of them. Norm'lly there are two or three a day, scattered about all over the country (well all under the country of course) but this last week there have been none elsewhere, just zillions of them in Christchurch and Christchurch alone. But today there was a 4.2 under the sea 800km to the north. So I, amateur earthquakeologist that I am, divine that Christchurch relieved a lot of tectonic pressure or something.

My spies send me both good and bad news. Mr Dunlop's good news is that he got a ride in a police car. His bad news he's lost all his belongings. All of them. The whole lot. Everything.

Hello Richard
On Sunday I was given permission to enter the Christchurch Central Business District exclusion zone in order to check on the flat. The police and the army are maintaining a tight control around the cordoned-off area. CBD residents, like myself, are only being let in one person at a time, and only then with a police escort. Got my very first ride in a police car.
Over the last few days, I've had growing concerns about not getting an opportunity to retrieve items from the flat. Unfortunately these concerns have turned out to be valid, as when I'd checked on my home, I'd found that it had been "red-stickered" (ie scheduled for demolition). Access to the building is strictly forbidden. Most of the material things in the house I won't particularly miss, but there were a number of personal mementos which I do regret losing.

Mr Knight's good news is that his daughter was eight yesterday. Remember that sweet little baby that Mrs Knight lugged off to the Leicester Space Centre wot my good friend Her Majesty opened back in whenever it was? And when she came back from the Space Centre with her sweet little baby there lay Mr Knight covered in bandages in the rump department, fretfully examining his Ratracer to see if it had sustained more scratches than he did when it playfully flung him into the air at thirty miles an hour on that diabolically dull track in Abbey Park in Leicester that we swore we'd never ever use again and never ever did. - 'She' refers of course to Mrs Knight, not the Queen. Mr Knight's newly skinned and bloodied rump was of limited interest to the Queen, even back then. - Well anyway now she's 8. - Miss Knight, not Her Majesty. - My this is getting confusing, so we shall resort once more to quoting other people's emails:

I spent Saturday helping Rob and Viv clear up their place. Well half of the time anyway because we'd all run outside whenever there was an aftershock. Which was all day. It is interesting to watch the waves run down a street - you can actually see them and the effect on the buildings. We all puzzled over some deep scores on the wall of the building behind Rob's place. After some investigation we found the cause - it was the steel capping on the roof of the building next to Rob's making contact with the building behind - the building is approximately 8 meters high - and it's separated from the building behind by just under 1 meter. Hard to believe that a concrete structure could flex that much I know but I'll take some photos next time I'm there if it is still standing (the engineer said it was *ucked, mate). Only two bikes downstairs were severely munted. Unfortunately only one belonged to Rob. The others have none or only superficial damage. We managed to right the big lathe but the mill is just too heavy. We'll need to get a large hoist in to do that. Its fall was broken by an office chair, a c1910 childs bicycle and two large glass storage jars. The two jars are unbroken. A large rack of small bicycle spares fell over and scattered everywhere. These all needed picking up and sorting before we could get to the machine tools. Still no water or power. Rob and Viv have been staying with us since Tuesday night when we got back from our tour.
Sunday was Claudia's birthday; she is 8 going on 16. She was 2 when we emigrated, where did that go eh? She got a new bike... We had intended to organise a baby cheetah encounter at the local zoo which she would have *loved* but all the cheetahs are undergoing counselling and don't want to play at the moment. Buying a bike in Christchurch at short notice is difficult at present and I thank the staff at Papanui Cycles for helping out enormously. Keith's bike shop (that one I took you to) is no more I'm afraid. Sadly Keith also lost his house at Redcliffs. I hope he is OK. His mother who lives with him is also a survivor of the devastating 1931 Napier quake. Claudia rode 17km on her new bike and wanted to carry on, we rode on a favourite mtb track and spent most of the time dodging large cracks, she will be an expert before long.
A new difficulty for everybody in Christchurch is dust. When the liquefaction dries out it turns to dust. We have an estimated 180,000 tonnes of dust and strong winds forecast for this afternoon. I rode to work this morning wearing a dust mask. It was truly horrible. I got snot *everywhere*. We have had a series of large aftershocks this morning that had my sphincter all puckering up in a most unseemly manner. I'm going for a walk at lunchtime, in a field.

And because this blog lacks pictures I shall direct readers to here where they may see Mr Knight's boss's house with its new rock.


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