Sue Wells – The New Canterbury Tales

April 5, 2011

Little blue pills and black rubber pipe #eqnz

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sue Wells @ 8:55 pm

Some days I can’t remember a thing. It’s tied up with good quality sleep – or the lack thereof. I took sleeping pills last night and the night before, but I still didn’t get the rest I needed. Two nights in a row is all I will do – I’m not running the risk of developing a nasty little addiction to those blue pills.

I did struggle a bit to get up this morning. It was pouring with rain, not overly tropical, and my 9am briefing at the Beckenham Service Centre, while very interesting, didn’t promise any particularly happy news.

It over-delivered. We had Vbase, our venues company, updating us on the status of their buildings  – they will make public announcements about them as and where they can over the next little while. Mark Christison, our amazing Water and Waste Manager, debunking the article that was in the Press on the weekend. We’re not about to drown in a sea of brown, people – but there is a very simple message for every single person whose waste ends up at Bromley. Please reduce your household water use. What you put into your sinks goes to Bromley, just like what you put in your loo does. We need all water reduced. If you’re on the eastern side of town and you have a portaloo or a chemical toilet – use them. More on why in a minute.

Mark talked to us about the type of work his team are doing. Can you imagine being a diver working in the tanks at Bromley? Seriously – people are doing that to clear the machinery. People are working every day, clearing silt out of pipes. It’s the most extraordinary effort. The scale of the destruction to our sewers is surpassed only by the commitment and skill of the people who will fix it.

There is no doubt in my mind that winter rains are going to cause problems – nor any doubt that we will respond to those challenges.

And then a briefing from Calvin Berryman of GNS Science, and our own Steve Bensberg. They gave us Seismic Events 101 – it was comprehensible, human scale, and it’s always good when you leave a meeting feeling like you knew more than when you went in. (Probably there’s a ratio about how much talking about how much listening you do!)

I didn’t talk much today. I’m tired, and I’m feeling sad about a friend. I’m trying not to, because it won’t help them – but the biggest battle I fight is coming to terms with the fact that I can’t make everything better for everybody I care about. It’s just so hard watching people suffer. (This is my fatigue speaking – it’s an early night for me tonight.)

I chose to cycle to work this morning. By the time I had all my high vis waterproof layers on I looked like a yellow and pink igloo. Even so, I still arrived wet and cold and the room had no heating. It rained all the way home too. I had a piping hot shower. After Mark’s talk, I made it a small one.

Then I sat here in my dressing gown for the afternoon, waiting to see what the weather was going to do so I could decide how I was going to go to my 5pm meeting, again at the Beckenham Service Centre. There’s a definite upside to working from home. If the lawyers and planners and various souls knew what I wasn’t wearing while I was talking firmly to them do you think they would behave any differently towards me?

It fined up enough for me to run. I’ve not done that before. Took Pepper, ran the short way there – it’s not quite 3k. Two hours of community board informal meeting, and ran home again.

Our board discussion was chatty and productive. We’re all pulling together for the one common cause, as we should be. Another earthquake upside.

As Pepper and I ran back over the Beckford Road bridge, the tide in the river was full. We stopped and I watched the pump in the middle of the road doing its thing. It’s a big metal box, maybe five feet square, with a rubber fire hose buried in the road under a pile of shingle. It’s usually silent, but it was hammering away, pumping an evil looking discharge into the Heathcote. The pipe was amazing to watch – an almost peristaltic motion, like a big snake regurgitating its breakfast.

So that’s the day almost done, the exercise taken care of – 10k on the bike, 6 on foot with the dog. I’ve eaten the rest of the soup, and I am so full I could split.

Tomorrow I have a 9.15 briefing at the EOC (that’s flash speak for Emergency Operations Centre – the place formerly known as the Christchurch Art Gallery) and then at 1030 another appointment elsewhere. Then in the afternoon I need a monstrously long run. I’m going to beat this sleepless demon the old fashioned way. With diet – and – (wait for it) – exorcise.

Sigh. If the puns are that bad, it’s definitely time for bed.

Sweet dreams all, wherever you are. xxx

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