Ah Russell, arohanui to you and yours. I had not put together how hard the year has been overall for you. I was rapt to see a Newsroom piece praising you this week: it’s much deserved and well overdue.
And the music: The Beths! Marlon Williams geeking on the beach at South Brighton!
Excellent work Russell. Everything about moral panic you say rings true from my own experience. Last year family were clearing ancient parents’ house after they had lived there for 30 years and readying it to rent on their behalf. It was very habitable and comfortable. We got the local letting agent around for a chat.
Within five minutes he was getting more and more exercised about the need for P testing: “You never know who’s been in here!!! Half of [upscale suburb] is on P!!!! We test EVERY house for P!! It’s essential.”. At which point I pointed out that two 90-year-olds had lived there for 30 years and that it was not going to happen.
He changed tack to: “Well when the new tenants move out, it will HAVE to be tested. We (the rental agency) require it.”
Partner and I inserted fleas in both his ears and told him to go. We were very much left with the impression he had a stake in the testing business.
In comparison, the next - reputable. - letting manager found no need to mention P, other than to ask an obligatory question on the form.
It was more about the effect of the 7.1: it hit Christchurch city, and we sure felt it, but it was centred out at Greendale and fortunately given the magnitude and shallow depth the damage to people and buildings was much more limited.
Many of us regarded that shake as a fortunate escape, for Christchurch when we saw how many of the unreinforced old brick buildings were badly damaged. (It seems incredible now that demolishing the old insurance firm building in Manchester Street caused much protest.)
It was clear we had dodged a bullet. Of course five months later that all changed.
When February 22 hit Christchurch had had a rehearsal, and it saved many of us. We had emergency kits, we had the local well piped to the street, we knew the drill, and the emergency services and CDEM and government had much more concrete plans how to respond.
It was even down to the level of my partner and I having a clear emergency plan and having scoped potentially dangerous buildings on his routes around town during his working day: not spending much time in the cafe across the road from his work may well have saved his life when that building crumbled at lunchtime.
It wasn’t a disaster, but it’s an inadvertent rehearsal for one. an opporunity to learn like hell, for everyone.
And it will be pretty much a disaster for those who have lost roofs and other calamities.
Comforted to see we’re not the few who were perturbed.
As an aside, were any of the local MPs visible throughout this? One thing I find odd is that often the parties with list MPs are near invisible. That needs to change.
Woodburner with cooktop, gives heat, cooking and even some light. And I see one of the Ultra-Low Emission Burners (ULEBs) has two USB charging ports.
Living in an actively earthquaking area, gas makes me nervous, but we’ve caved and bought a double-burner camping stove for cooking outside (lighting the woodburner to cook with or heat water on hot summer days was not the best). Adequate drinkable water seems the key with simply-prepped or ready-made food and coffee and the means to assemble. Make sure the food is things you like, not just baked beans, because it’s no fun eating things you dislike when you’re stressed, scared and need a lot of energy.
‘So then we went to the cafe and had a coffee’ wasn’t my disaster experience – more ‘so then we were trapped at home by the broken bridges and roads’. For others there was no home because it was gone. . It’s impossible to plan for every scenario, and for a long time I went spare trying to foresee all doomy possibilities.
However coffee! Friend gave me one of these … https://m.catchoftheday.co.nz/product/wacaco-minipresso-gr-portable-espresso-machine-464352/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIlbCYgqK92gIVUyQrCh3U0grIEAQYASABEgIRpvD_BwE&offer_id=10095961
NME for me was late 70s Christchurch, and The Face and iD were early 80s Wellington. By the time I got to London in 1985 I was bored with them – all too blokey in-group and not enough good music. Or maybe I was getting too old.
Slightly related, three weeks ago I happened to be helping son track down an arcane textbook at the Unversity of Canterbury Bookshop before term started, and I headed upstairs to the Law and Commerce section. Halfway up the stairs I looked down at the stair tread and 40 years disappeared.
By the time I got to the top I was expecting to see Tony Peake grinning at me over a few heads and his record bins.
Just so happens that Finn started at UC 40 years to the week from the start of my unillustrious but life-changing student years there. Another circle closes.