Sue Wells – The New Canterbury Tales

March 12, 2011

Muntsbury #eqnz

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sue Wells @ 6:34 pm

Poor Japan. Poor, poor, poor Japan. It makes our tragedy look positively trivial.

Argued through the night with a variety of faceless people via twitter about whether CDEMG should put out a text alert to our Chch east residents to make it clear they did not need to attempt to evacuate as a result of the Japanese tsunami. The internet penetration in the east is much lower; socio economics as well as electricity lend to that. That was my concern. Meeting folk on my walk this morning who left last night made me think I should have worried earlier and slept more.

So sleep was fleeting. Woke at 3. Made the fatal mistake of looking at twitter. Eyes open, wide awake, texting (sleeping) friends – note to self: if you wake up, don’t go for social media. Read, write, make a cup of tea – avoid the distraction of the global city that never sleeps. It’s not your friend at this time.

And then I woke again around 9. Stayed in bed til 10.30, working from my home office (hot-pink i-phone). It goes everywhere with me, credit card slipped into its purpose built sleeve. That, my council id and a change of undies (mother always told me) and I’m good to go. I remember I used to worry about things like makeup and shoes and jewellery. I hope I will again.

Friend Chris came for lunch. Brought it, in fact. Helpful that as I was still in my dressing gown, reading the paper and diarising next week’s funerals. So far there are 6. I’ll have to choose between attending council and CCHL meetings and funerals of people I worked with. That may have contributed to my somewhat grumpy demeanour online today – that and the fact I am running out of patience because I need to take a break. That will be tomorrow. I think I’ll leave chemical toilet delivery to others and clean my own house instead. Can’t care for others unless you care for yourself.

Took Chris for a walk to whet the appetite. Chris hails from Northwood, in Old Christchurch. They didn’t lose power there, didn’t lose water. I’m not sure if a glass were broken, but if so, it wouldn’t be one that mattered. Fifield Tce was enough to make Chris marvel at the devestation. I pointed out we are Momma Bear in this fairy tale: it’s Brighton and South Shore and Avonside that are Poppa Bear. Poor Bexley, that’s a whole different animal again.

And then we walked up beautiful Ramahana Rd. I’ve been looking to buy up there. The view of the city peeping above the trees, the proximity to town – it’s a stunning part of our city. Ramahana, Aotea Tce, Parklands Drive – just gorgeous. It wasn’t entirely recreational. Pepper needed a walk, and I’d had a call the night before from a resident concerned at water coming (perhaps) from the Huntsbury Reservoir. I’ve actioned that call – engineers are looking at it, no doubt with furrowed brows.

There’s apparently a new name for the place I hoped to call home. They’re calling it Muntsbury. I can see why. The road at the bottom of the hill has a huge chasm in it. It’s leaning towards the east, towards the (thankfully closed) St Martins School playground. The higher you climb, the more cladding falls. Windows are broken, whole walls have sheared away.

Chris remarks, “there’s nobody here. It’s a ghost town”. That’s not entirely true. We meet parents of an absentee family. Like many others, they’ve shifted out of town. Mum and Dad left behind to sort out the mess. Dad doing fine – Mum in need of something stronger than the post lunch vino.

One of life’s truths is that water will always trickle down. And that’s what it’s doing on Muntsbury. It would be nice if a little more of it trickled into the running sewer that is the Heathcote. My beautiful river today was a stinking mass of condoms (maybe the lady from the Challenge Station got some work after all) and yesterday’s lunch. Bleargh. Use the portaloos people.

The high spot in all of this was the trip to my hairdresser. I found him. He’d relocated. He’s now near Mum and Dad – and everyone at his work is well. (We spent time discovering the fact that he was the hairdresser to the lady whose funeral I will be attending on Monday. I’ll see him again there.)

On the way there – I played spot the farmyard. Three weeks ago the Orion Site was to be redeveloped for a commercial/residential centre. Now there are cows there.

The city is moving – sideways, as well as down, like the water in Muntsbury. Our new normal is very simply change.



  1. I always wondered about the PM saying this would be the biggest insurance even this year – but the sheer scale of what’s happening in Japan is beyond staggering.

    But as always Sue, New Zealand is thinking of you guys even as we look at Japan. The disaster may be smaller, but it’s ours. Just yell if you need anything. Seriously.

    Comment by scrubone — March 12, 2011 @ 6:41 pm | Reply

  2. I met an old lady walking her dog this morning and her Twitter is the TV. She had her Tsunami bags packed and was ready to go. If the message had gone out that everything on the East coast was OK she could have been in a less worried state.

    My wife was up at 6am in Taranaki in case she had to do a runner, no car. She was staying on the first floor half way up a steep hill.

    Comment by Steve Taylor — March 12, 2011 @ 6:42 pm | Reply

  3. Ah, you live near me! I went to school at St Martins and have put off going to see it – I’m not sure I’m quite up to it yet, but maybe in a few days. Our house is by the Heathcote, though in one of the cul de sacs so we can at least avoid the smell for the most part.

    Comment by Kei — March 12, 2011 @ 7:00 pm | Reply

  4. I forgot what I was ACTUALLY going to say – my sister is less patient than some, she wanted to just point people to a map and ask if they thought the tidal wave was going to go over the Alps. I get the worry, but I’m pretty frazzled and impatient myself. Basic geography knowledge made it fairly clear to us there wasn’t anything to worry about…

    Comment by Kei — March 12, 2011 @ 7:17 pm | Reply

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