Being in Christchurch

Last week I had a train-the-trainer course in Christchurch (on the new Library Management System we will be using in our libraries from June). I didn’t get anywhere near the Red Zone to see the damage in the central city, but the effects of the earthquakes are still obvious to the visitor. Nearly two years after the second quake, there are many homes with bracing where the porch should be, boarding over gaps created by falling chimney stacks and fractured picture windows, and gardens where ordered loveliness has been invaded by weeds and grasses. It is those houses that seem saddest to me, as it means the house isn’t occupied – or if it is, that the occupants have given up caring about the garden.

Taxi drivers – as ever great sources of local information – shared their own situations with us, telling us of the difficulties of getting resolution to their issues. One had been assured his home repairs would be completed this year – but was caught in the middle of the insurance sandwich as EQC and his insurance company argued over the value of those repairs ($50,000 vs $200,000 – a considerable mis-match). Another had been told his repairs would be made – in 2015!

Yet the spirit of Christchurch is strong. People smile at each other, help each other out and more-or-less cheerfully shrug their shoulders when they find the route they planned to take today is cut off by road closures (at least it means some much-needed infrastructure repairs have started there, right?).

Go Christchurch!

A tale of Hugh Sheeply-Wittingstall

Once upon a time there was a generally well-behaved sheep named Hugh Sheeply-Wittingstall. He lived on an olive grove in the country, and had a long rope tether to one of the trees. He could wander around the trees, out into the surrounding grass, drink from his water dish and generally have a good time – to the end of the rope but no further.

At the end of my ropeOne day Hugh discovered his rope had got a whole lot longer. At first he stayed close to his trees and ate the long grass near the water race, but when that stopped being interesting he started to venture further afield. He had a look at this, sampled a taste of that, and was wandering past the house when he heard a surprised voice say “Well hello Hugh! What are you doing here?”. Hugh was pleased to see one of the people as he was beginning to wonder just how long this rope was. It was nice to walk beside the woman, but he decided she wasn’t that nice after all when she put him in a pen. She took his collar off and Hugh felt decidedly uncomfortable without its familiar weight. When the woman came back with a bucket of water for him he played it cool and drank lots to lull her into a false sense of security. Then he charged at her!

Very wet!She obviously wasn’t thinking clearly because she held the bucket in front of her as a buffer. Ha, ha, she forgot it was half full, and the force of the charge meant the water ended up all over her!

However she had the last laugh, as the bucket was rather old and it broke – ending up jammed over Hugh’s head. The woman wasn’t any use at first, because she was almost helpless with laughter – but when she finally stopped laughing she took it off him. Hugh shook and shook to get all the water off his face, and then sulked in the corner of the pen, pretending that none of this had happened.

Ex-bucketHugh would like it known that he didn’t mean any harm, and asks that you join the “Free Hugh Sheeply-Wittingstall” campaign by leaving a comment.

I'm innocent, I tell you!

January review – and goals for February

On 14 January I posted some goals for the rest of the month. I am pleased to report the following:

  • I have finished my Photo-A-Day/Project Life album for 2012 – as reported here
  • I rode my bike on six days, varying my route. I’ve ridden into Greytown, around the block, and out to Woodside on the rail trail
  • I have restarted my yoga practice – and rediscovered some muscles; I managed six sessions (and bought a yoga mat)
  • Blog-4-2-Bestie-&-meI met up with my bestie last week, enjoying a lovely lunch with her and afterwards joining her in the air-conditioned coolness of Harvey Norman to print off some photos
  • I sent two thank you cards
  • Blog-4-2-QuartetI went to see Quartet and really enjoyed it – I love the gentle British sense of humour. Did you know this movie was directed by Dustin Hoffman (perhaps he yearns to be a Brit himself)?

With those goals achieved, it’s time to think about some goals for February:

  • continue with being active, riding my bike, walking briskly, doing aerobics or yoga on two days out of three
  • investigate a yoga class (I think there is one in Greytown, and there is a new fitness centre beginning operations in Carterton that might have a session as well)
  • send out four cards – to say hello, thank you, or ‘just because’
  • make four scrapbook layouts
  • go to the movies again – perhaps to see The Hobbit, if I haven’t missed it already
  • attempt to go for one week without sugar in my diet (I think this is going to be a big challenge, not least because sugar lurks in so many foods where it has no business – have you read your cornflakes packet recently?)

I know there are others out there setting goals on a monthly basis (it’s a manageable amount of time to tackle). If you decide to join in, please link to this post.