Sue Wells – The New Canterbury Tales

October 8, 2011

Central city plan day 6 #eqnz #Chch #CCC

Today’s hearing, in marked contrast to the wintry weather conditions, was largely upbeat and positive. Our new venue is the damaged Beckenham Service Centre. The earthquake attacked its lovely green heating system so we freeze or fry while we’re there. It’s only 3km from my home, so the bike ride there in the pouring rain warmed me up nicely. (I have yet to see a report on the building which won the National Architects Award when it was constructed. I hope ease of repair formed part of its sustainability indicators – not that anyone could have predicted the ferocity of February’s underground bomb.)
Today’s high point was the self described Japanese immigrant who urged us to build a city reflecting our identity, to paint it as the people we are. She wore vibrant yellow and her enthusiasm for living here was made doubly meaningful by her residential address – a red zone resident, not that she mentioned it in her submission.
The most poignant submission today was by Heidi Berg’s mum, Julie. Julie suggested that as part of the memorial, families be invited to choose a tree. They could be grown in time for the Ellerslie Flower show next year. Families of Japanese students might be offered a cherry, she suggested. For Heidi, whose memorial sheet sat in front of her throughout the presentation, a New Zealand native would perhaps be a good choice. Julie asked us to think about including volunteer gardeners in the development of our new city. She presented to us, she said, because she knew had Heidi not been lost in the CTV building, she would certainly have been having her say on the city’s future shape. (Rest assured Julie – she is.)
As it’s Saturday, Kim popped in at lunchtime and we shared the break together. A quick snack was followed by half an hour trying to rescue a mother duck and her brood from the despair of the near empty moat.
We finished around 4, and I biked home just in time to be in the garage for the first of a series of gnarly little shocks rumbling across from the peninsula – the first a 4.8 had me hoping the garage window wasn’t going to fall in again as it did in February.
We have walked the pooch, Kim’s cooking salmon for tea, and there are superb Rugby World Cup games on today. Wales/Ireland, England/France. Not a bad backdrop for another big evening’s reading.



July 7, 2011

If you’re going through hell, keep going. #eqnz #chch

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sue Wells @ 9:40 pm
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“You’ve been very quiet lately,” one of my tweeps said today. “Is everything all right?”

EQ blues like everybody else, I replied, and work has been chaos. And it’s tax time. And I’ve got a rotten stupid headcold. I need some cheese with this whine, except I think I’ve eaten everything in the fridge. Three kilos of quake weight in as many months and I feel like calling Greenpeace for help every time I roll over in bed.

Life at  the moment feels like it normally does in the week before Christmas when everyone is totally knackered and past the point of being nice to each other. At Christmas though the weather is warm and there’s at least a hope of Santa sticking something pretty under the tree (even if Santa’s handwriting looks remarkably like your own).

It’s not that I’m without hope here – it’s just been such a long haul since September 4th 2010. That’s over 10 months ago. I think I speak for more than just myself when I say I’m currently a tiny bit over it.

I’m not despondent, don’t get me wrong. I know that things will improve. We have things to look forward to. We have the Crusaders game on the weekend, and a welcome home for the boys at the airport on Sunday afternoon. We have the entertainment zone gearing up in Hagley Park. That’s lovely too. There is a ton of good stuff being done for the city’s future by any number of strong, enthusiastic, energetic people and organisations. But sometimes you just run a bit low on puff.

I was asked to write a piece for a book that’s being published about “things I love about Christchurch”. I wrote it. The author edited it because they didn’t think it was upbeat enough. I pulled out of the book, because I’m not going to sugar coat how hard things are for a whole lot of people right now. We’re all missing things. It’s part of a grief process and I’m not embarrassed to admit that.

But it feels really shallow and selfish in the light of so many greater hardships to admit the particular things I’m missing. Still, if we don’t acknowledge them, how do we get past it?

I miss roaming on the hills, I miss letting my dog swim in the river, I miss the easy access we had to town. I miss the traffic jam free roads, I miss my local supermarket. I miss my friends who’ve moved away. I’m not even going to begin to talk about buildings and people, we all carry that burden every day. I miss the security of knowing when I wake up in the morning the contents of the pantry will be in the same place they were when I went to bed (teenagers aside, of course). I am sick of waiting for the next shoe to fall.

This is one of the hard points along the way. When you think about it, and you reflect on the series of physically exhausting events we have been through, and then some people get the extra trauma of losing their home or their family member, and you put the time frame into the mix, it’s no wonder there are many brave faced Cantabrians who are part of a weary grouchy mob at the moment.

Some of the challenges people are facing are homes which are still cold, still occasionally surrounded by piles of liquefaction (and then dust if it isn’t removed). Getting insurance is a real problem, and for people currently living in the red zone who are being offered their Crown Offer of Purchase, that is a worry as they look to a new property for the future, if they can afford to buy one at all. Some people don’t want to be living here but their houses are keeping them tied here. Others don’t want to leave but their jobs have gone. Schools are still a big cross town journey for many, our thriving business community has largely shifted to the north western suburbs with all the consequent impost on their resources –  oh, and did I mention it’s winter so you can probably chuck a lump of seasonal affected disorder into the mix as well.

So many problems. One simple solution. Winston Churchill put it well, I think, when he said “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

So as we all will, I am.

I filed my tax return today, on time, if down to the wire. The staff at the IRD were just lovely over the past three days as I first failed to remember my user name, then subsequently my password, then I deleted the emails with the all the information in and had to start again (I emptied the trash too – no half measures.) The login information they gave me then didn’t work – it turned out to be a browser problem. And now it’s fixed.

I read a novel this week – the first I’ve read all year. Dave Marshall’s truly lovely book, “Shaggy Dogs and other stories.” I laughed so hard the family discussed calling the men in the white coats until I read them the section on the exploding budgie and we all wet ourselves together. I’m now embarking on reading another novel. It’s called “Paul Henry, what was I thinking”. I have no idea how it will end but so far it involves more explosives than the ether that blew up the bird.

The gardener has been and the vege garden is weed free.

I went for a 10km run yesterday over Ramahana Rd and Aotea Tce. When I told them this at the dinner table last night I  was asked if I had tailored my run to suit Maori language week.

Pepper has had a visit to Splash & Dash and no longer smells of pre-loved duck – as she has taken to sleeping on the floor of the bedroom that is certainly a plus. The cat has started stalking her now. We were woken in the dead of last night by an enormous growl and bark and what can only be described as a cat tittering behind her paw. (This makes up for the moment earlier in the week where Pepper was running for the door, barking violently at a knock, only to accidentally stand on the cat who was lying innocently in the sun. Yelp, hiss, scrabble, slash, yike yike yike.)The once timid Fang now waits malevolently until I put food in Pepper’s dish, and then saunters off and very slowly hoes into the biscuits. Pepper sits patiently and waits until she’s done, a little like a white zone resident waiting for the Tonkin and Taylor report.

And tonight, after a late afternoon nap, my gorgeous Chef fed me a delicious home made red Thai curry which is guaranteed to make my rotten cold run for the hills before dawn breaks. Just as well, because I’m filming a week’s worth of shows at CTV tomorrow and there’s nothing sexy about a drippy nosed on camera performance. I am well looked after, I am well loved, I am a very lucky woman.

Downs, yes. Ups, yes. As the IRD knows, you need to look at both sides of the ledger in order to reconcile where you’re at.

And where I’m at – is I’m keeping going.

June 29, 2011

News on White Zone repairs, CCC insurance, Annual Plan, Building Design #eqnz #chch

There’s something funny going on with the seasons. I still have roses in bloom in my garden. The lemons have turned bright yellow with the first frosts. There are sol d’ors and earlicheer in the planter boxes, and most oddly, the daphne is out a full two months early.

Its fragrance always spoke to me of spring and the end of winter. I have it in our lounge now as winter starts. The last time I smelt it was the week of September 4th. One of the casualties of the Darfield earthquake was an enormous vase of daphne in the hallway which ended up on the floor. Like so many other things at the moment, the fragrance of daphne triggers little pictures in my head, little memories which I suspect may never fully leave me.

Running helps. I’ve been slack lately and it shows in my lack of blogging. The more I run, the easier it is to write. Running, like writing, is sensitive to the pressures of light and time. All last week I went to work in the dark, came home in the dark, and the chance for exercise was almost nil. Over the weekend I gritted my teeth and Pepper and I launched an infantry assault on the Victoria Park dog park. Uphill hurts at the time. Downhill hurts the next day. We ran again. And the following day. And the day after that. Snuck in runs before work and between meetings. We both needed it.

Work-wise, it’s one of the weeks from hell. They’re relatively common – every couple of months you get phases where meetings are so frequent and so long that reading and preparation for them can eat into sleep time if you let them.

There is so much happening all over the city too that I could be at meetings every second of every day, and it would be very easy to drown under the weight of everybody’s individual circumstances. There is so much hurt and heartbreak at the moment, so many stresses and unanswered questions that some days the sun just never seems to shine.

This is a time of change, and challenge, and choices. For the residents in the suburbs designated “red zone”, the choices that the government has provided will start to open up a new reality to them in the next little while. Some will stay, some will go. Some have left already. The offer is too generous, not generous enough – there is much to debate and no right or wrong answers. Often there seem to be no answers at all.

When will the tremors stop? When can we rebuild? On Monday, Fletcher Building’s CEO Johnathan Ling is reported by the Herald as saying

“We prefer to fix things once and do it properly and be done with it but while the aftershocks continue, and continue to do more damage, it’s very difficult to really get going.” … “Every time you start to rebuild something and we have an aftershock, it has got to be inspected again and evaluated to see if there are cracks in foundations and all those sorts of things. The last thing anyone wants to do is rebuild twice or three, or four or five times. I think the reality is that the rebuild in proper won’t really start until the aftershocks really cease.”

(Source NZ Herald )

Last week, before the coloured zone announcements I had dealings with a family who live on the hills. They had all their EQC assessments in hand, had been visited by their insurer’s loss adjuster, and were all systems go waiting for repairs – only to be told they weren’t going to happen. I rang their insurer. Wasn’t satisfied with the response. Went higher up the food chain and got similar messages about “on hold until aftershocks stop/cease/diminish”. Those varied throughout the phone call. I’m completely unclear about what insurance companies are waiting for in order to start repairs – although perhaps a little more reassured today with this latest piece from EQC.

EQC Update – White Zone Information, Port Hills
June 29EQC response in the Port Hills
*            EQC is continuing to repair dwellings in the Port Hills where work has already begun
*            It has a team of 20 dealing with landslip issues
*            Another team is doing full assessment on severely damaged properties
*            EQC is not starting new repair work on houses and is waiting for information from Tonkin and Taylor about land stability, which is expected in the next 10 days
*            Once the Tonkin and Taylor work is completed than EQC can determine what new repair work can occur
*            The land issues in the Port Hills are different from other parts of Christchurch.   The major issue is the danger of rock fall on to houses
*            The 5.7 magnitude and 6.3 magnitude earthquakes on 13 June 2011 caused further land damage in the  Port Hills area (including Lyttelton). This requires rapid mapping so EQC can triage appropriate areas and deal  with urgent claims appropriately
*            Rapid mapping involves geotechnical engineers physically observing land damage and recording it on maps of the area. It gives an overall picture of area-wide land damage and identifies properties that require urgent attention. It will be followed by individual property assessments for properties with EQC claims.
*         Christchurch City Council teams are also continuing to work in these areas assessing lifelines and life safety issues from rock falls and loose rocks. The information gathered by these teams will also inform the assessments made by Tonkin & Taylor for EQC, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) and the Government.
*           Tonkin and Taylor has advised EQC its land assessments in the Port Hills are about 70 per cent completeMeanwhile, the Royal Society of New Zealand and IPENZ (I’m a major fan of that organisation – I think I’m their token arts grad fanbase) have released a brilliant, easy read publication on building design in the wake of the Canterbury earthquakes. You can download it here:’s not the report of the Royal Commission into the collapse of CTV and PGC – that’s yet to happen. There is more information too on the Department of Building and Housing’s website if you’re really keen – codes changed as of May 19 this year. they will change again after June 13 is anybody’s guess. That nasty little earthquake changed the city for a lot of people. Whether it’s changed perspectives permanently or temporarily remains to be seen. Another of the things that is hanging over us at the moment is the lack of reinsurance we are able to access as a community. This, today, from our Mayor Bob Parker.

” Tomorrow is D-day for the Council as we continue to try to secure insurance for the city’s $4.7 billion assets, which includes our underground pipes as well as facilities.

If the Council fails to get insurance cover by Thursday then our assets are uninsured – and that’s a very serious situation, particularly given the times we are in when there is always the possibility of further aftershocks.

Our predicament is because the Local Government-owned Civic Assurance will not take on the risk of insuring the assets of the Council and the Waimakariri District Council past Thursday. It in turn can not get the reinsurance it needs to protect itself. The International Monetary Fund has estimated that the Canterbury earthquake could cost about $15 billion which would make it one of the most expensive quakes for global insurers. Recent earthquakes in Japan and Haiti and floods in Australia, Pakistan and China have also hit insurers hard.

Council staff are looking at all possible avenues to get reinsurance, including talking to the Government. Even if we can secure reinsurance, it is very unlikely it will be at the same price and coverage as before the earthquake. And there is possibility we could have to self insure and rely on the strength of our balance sheet and the support of central government

We received a glimmer of hope for a solution on Monday when the Finance Minister Bill English announced that if our roads and sewers were damaged in another aftershock, then they would still get fixed. In Mr English’s view the question was where the balance of costs fell between ratepayers and taxpayers.

While that is some comfort, the ideal would be for us to secure insurance.

The Council is intent on absorbing as much of the extra cost of the earthquakes as possible, but it is inevitable that ballooning insurance costs would be passed onto our ratepayers.  Our situation also raises yet another question about insurance cover in our region.

I’ve been out and about at community meetings organised by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority this week and insurance cover has been one of  the most frequently raised issues. Homeowners are concerned that even though their homes are in the red zones, if insurance companies deem that their house can be repaired then the reimbursement they are being offered is the cost of those repairs. Individual property owners will be taking this up with their insurers, just as we as a Council are also try to get the best possible insurance outcome for our ratepayers.”

That nasty little insurance issue is one of the things yet to vex us as we go through our Annual Plan process. As I write we are at the end of day 1 of 2 of the most unusual process I’ve ever seen. If you can wade through a few pages of the agenda, I’d commend it to you. Our staff have put a huge amount of work into it and so have the submitters who wrote in, and the community boards who came and spoke to it in person.

What I would say to you is do not take it as gospel. We all know the thing we are most certain of is we don’t know what we don’t know. Rather than our nice polite three yearly major budget process followed by polite annual tidy ups, we are likely to see major revisions every year (perhaps more frequently) for the foreseeable future.

Add to that our continued work on the Central City Plan, all the regular business of council, the CEO review process, the occasional interview and a bit of filming and the reason for my dismal lack of blogging perhaps becomes apparent.

Let’s be clear. This may sound like a litany of woes – it’s not meant to be. I’ve taken to heart the Stockdale paradox. Accept the world in which you live. Acknowledge the challenges that lie ahead. Identify what success looks like. Find ways to overcome the obstacles. And understand that this is not a sprint.

I’ve said all the way along this event is more like a marathon. Community Board Chair and all around great guy Chris Mene said something even better today. “It’s an Iron Man,” he said, and gave me one of his great big hugs. I needed one at work today – no complaints about the ones at home, I hasten to add!

We’ll all be getting hugs tomorrow – the last day of June 2011 is a massive day. Not only is it The Alasdair Thompson Women’s Monthly Day Off (\) – it is Hug a Cantab Day.

If you’re a Cantab by residence, by birth, by association, by your passion or compassion or your generous donation – then feel free to put your little red and black paw up baby and tell your world it would be a much better place with a pair of arms wrapped around it.

Ka kite my friends – stay warm.

June 5, 2011

It’s a long race #eqnz #chch

Her name was Margy. She was either Canadian or American. I was too wound up to ask. She lived near the university in Lincoln, and had googled information on how to tie a transponder chip into her shoelaces. She knew a lot more than I did about anything. I was running my first half marathon today – she was doing her first 10km. I followed her to the start line. I don’t know what I’d have done without her.

I’ve been running properly since January. It’s been a great outlet for me, kept me fit, decreased my stress. It’s one of the places where my energy comes from. I was training for the St Clair half marathon last month, but never managed to get there. I had planned on doing the SBS last year, right up until I had a big row a  couple of days before about access to it for wheelchair athletes. They were allowed in it this year, so I felt good about running it too.

I’m officially a “veteran woman”. There should be another category, as they have in childbirth where they call you an “elderly primagravida” if you dare to breed over the age of about 25. I’d like to suggest “ancient novice” for those of us (and we seemed to be legion) who were doing this for the first time, Margy being a great example. (I could name another in the 10km division but the red head might hurt me 🙂

John, on the other hand, knew what he was doing. I ran beside him for three kms or so before we exchanged names and stats. He was from Cambridge. Wasn’t feeling so good about this run. Had been feeling good when he ran the Huntly half a wee while back and came second in his age group. What was that, I enquired politely? “75,” he said. He was aiming for a 2.03 finish time. Mine was a little different. I was gunning for 2.30.

He set the pace for me for about 10km altogether, until the southerly headwind got the better of him and I found my legs. It was a lovely run after that – got a bit hard about 17km, but I had it back in place at 19 and I know now I can take another 10 minutes at least off my time without it hurting much more than it does tonight. My time was 2.07.10, it seems. Next year – look out. I’ll catch those green balloons!

It was lovely being a part of it today – 3700 people all traipsing around the back of Lincoln. The traffic was so big they delayed the start for 15 minutes.

Getting out at the end was a nightmare – I made it home at 12.45, just in time to get back in the shower so I could go to what I hope is our final CTV farewell.

We sent off Matty Beaumont today. The Silks Room at Addington Raceway was full to the gunwales. I thought I’d be used to them by now, that all tears would be gone. Famous last words. It was really hard today.

Matty’s Dad spoke about being the parent of an adopted child, about bonding with that child, the magic of falling in love with a baby. His Mum spoke about Matty’s love of the “born story” – how he loved hearing about where he came from. That was Greymouth – the place I was conceived. My adoption took place from a different hospital, a few years earlier.

Matty grew up in the neighbourhood I live in today, went to the kindy my kids went to, wanted to marry a teacher at the primary school they went to, and as well as my CTV colleagues there today I saw my neighbours from up and down the street. It’s been a long race for all of us.

If the world were fair, you’d have to assume that today’s was our last collective farewell. In the last hundred days, we’ve shed so many tears together. In one way that chronic grieving is incredibly hard. In another there is enormous understanding for the losses we’ve felt which extends across that broader community beyond our station and into our neighbourhoods. There is a huge depth of compassion, and also I think a great fatigue. We need a rest from it all, and at the conclusion of Matty’s beautiful memorial today, that rest (unofficially) began.

Tomorrow is a public holiday. I’m spending the afternoon with friends – the morning is for council papers. Annual plan documents are sitting in my bag, needing to be read ahead of Tuesday’s meeting. There are big decisions awaiting those of us who are elected to represent this city, the kind you know will never please everybody – but no decision ever does.

While it might be over for this year’s  SBS marathon, and funeral season may be over those of us at CTV – for the council, the hard yards of the budget and the city plan are just beginning. Still, as Bruce Hornsby said, it’s a long race – and if I try, I will surely finish.



May 8, 2011

Susan Sells 301 #eqnz #christchurch

In June 1991, I was promotions manager at Sydenham Mall. I’d been there for just on a year, after Radio Avon was taken over by C93 and the radio job I loved disappeared overnight.

A friend of mine was offered a job at the soon to be launched CTV, reviewing videos. He declined, Press reporters being very busy people, and asked me if I’d be interested in auditioning for it. He warned me the pay was rubbish. I said I didn’t care. I’d do it for nothing, just to get a taste of working in telly.

I auditioned for a chap by the name of Larry Podmore. Got back to the mall management office and the phone rang. “Do you know anything about sports?” “Yes,” I replied, shaking my head vigorously.

And that’s how on June 17 1991, Wayne Smith (yes, the All Blacks’ Wayne Smith) and I ended up hosting DB Sport at 7pm, just a couple of hours after I opened the channel. I still have the jersey. It has a bit of paint on the sleeve, but it’s lovely and warm, if a little big. We went to air from TVNZ House in Gloucester Street (now demolished due to the earthquake).

About 6 weeks further in, it was apparent that the station wasn’t working. We had very little local content, and the format was derived from radio, with continuity announcers teasing the next show and back announcing what had obviously just screened.

It was also very expensive. Imported programming costs a fortune. The channel was struggling.

Joanna McMenamin, the founder of the station called me into her office on the top floor of the next door brick house (now demolished due to the earthquake). She explained a programme she’d seen when she was in the States. It was called an infomercial. (I’d never seen one.) She asked if I could sell things. Yes, I replied, but I don’t want to sell advertising.

Joanna threw me a matchbox. “Sell me that,” she said.

So I did.

In August 1991, “Susan Sells” (it rhymed with Wells) went to air. Guests paid $100 + GST cash on the night, for 3 minutes of live unedited airtime. I’d ring them up during the day, discuss what they wanted to promote, gossip, write the graphics, gossip, get my hair and makeup done, sort out wardrobe, gossip, create a little bit of mayhem, and then come 5pm we’d be away.

It never did resemble the show Joanna was trying to explain. Instead it became a showcase for Canterbury businesses, and the people who came in every night were the undisputed stars.

We had huge fun. The product range in the studio was extraordinary. The products were all set up live, off camera, and every now and again enormous crashes and bangs would cause raised eyebrows during someone else’s slot, or a wallaby from Willowbank would have a wee poo, or someone would play with a chainsaw and things would go a bit wrong. At the end there was a mad hurtle out of the studio so the news could proceed. Live local television, in the raw, unplugged. Awesome, with a capital “O”.

I did it for about 4 years, then had a break when my second baby was due. A couple of other “Susans” followed, and the show never stopped working.

The station did. It folded in 1997. George Balani, who was presenting a show, picked up the cudgels and the next CTV launched as CHTV on 4/11/97.

For the second time, I hosted “Susan Sells”. George asked me to come back and get the show on the road.

How could I refuse?

Jo Giles was my sales rep. She took it over hosting “Susan Sells” from me when I moved into doing the Current Affairs show, Canterbury Today.

Jo’s role became that of Donna Manning.

Both of them were lost on February 22, 2011, when the CTV building on Madras and Cashel fell to the ground during the earthquake.

There were various discussions after that about relaunching the station. Rob Cope-Williams shoulder tapped me. Could I help?

How could I refuse?

So today, Mother’s Day, Sunday May the 8th 2011, exactly 18 years to the day since we raised over $624,000 with our telethon, we have spent the day shooting the first week’s episodes of “Susan Sells” at CTV’s new premises at 540 Wairakei Road. It’s co-located with Mainland Press. An old warehouse room has been converted into a teeny tiny little studio.

The makeup room is also office space. There is no green room. There aren’t many lights, the deaf aids aren’t working yet, but we have a monitor and two cameras and foldback in the studio.

The staff is minimal and there’s a lot of volunteering, myself included. We have to rebuild this baby, and we will.

Forty clients passed through the set today. I have to say it was a hard day.

There were lots of tears. There was not a lot of smiling. The mood was sombre. The grief at the loss of Donna and Jo and all the rest of the CTV crew broke through a number of times. It was a hard day on set. It will get easier as the weeks go by. For today, getting people through the first batch of programmes was the goal – showcasing business is still the proposition, and it works like a charm.

It will work even better for the clients now because of the generosity of Maori Television. They’ve allowed CTV to use their Sky platform for a few hours a day. From tomorrow, “Susan Sells” will screen at 1pm weekdays on Maori TV Freeview and Sky, as well as screening four times on local CTV UHF44 and Youtube is coming too.

I’m not quite sure yet what time our regular filming slot will be. The CTV management have been very good in understanding that I will have to make my council commitments. We’ll either be shooting at sparrow o’clock, or perhaps locking off an afternoon, or perhaps doing both. It will sort itself out. It always does.

We will have good times. We will have fun. We will never forget or replace the people who were lost on February 22nd. None of us would want to. But like them all, we are broadcasters, and we have a job to do which is more necessary now than it ever was before. We will honour them going forward. We will not let them or their families, their friends, their loved ones down.

We have the eyes of the world on us now. The Japanese Channel HKNTV was with us today. I don’t know quite what they thought of our cobbled together gear, or our homespun programme, but what they will not have mistaken is how real the channel’s commitment to Canterbury is, nor how real is the region’s commitment to CTV.

This iteration, the station’s third, comes with its own new brand. We’ll all have to work hard to honour that together.

CTV – The Recovery Channel.

Back to the future

May 7, 2011

Beginning. #eqnz

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sue Wells @ 11:18 pm
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Sister Brenda and I have spent the evening here at home preparing for tomorrow.

I’l be shooting a week’s shows, doing “Susan Sells” for CTV.

That’s a reiteration of a show, which I started in 1991.

It’s 14 years since Jo Giles took it over from me.

Donna Manning hosted it after her.

April 27, 2011

Eqc IPENZ CTV and other big words #eqnz

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sue Wells @ 6:01 pm
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At coffee culture Beckenham. Today:
Eqc phone calls (2)
Eqc land evaluation site visit (1) and I was in my dressing gown wielding a toothbrush as they arrived
Promos at CTV (2) Malcolm does a great impression of a mike stand
Lunch at Clearwater (1) yum. Nice to drink water that you can’t smell!
IPENZ teleconference (1) – what a great bunch of smart people all keen to get involved and help rebuild our city
Tweetup coffee (1) – you meet such interesting and interested people there
Runs (0) paperwork same
Imogen Heap concerts – SQUEE! On my way and I now have a spare ticket so if you’re going tweet or text me and I might see you there. 🙂

April 26, 2011

Food, fire, filming #eqnz @CollChris @ImogenHeap

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sue Wells @ 9:01 pm
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By the end of the day I’m feeling a little better about the things that made me so blue yesterday. I’m well fed (that quick weekend delve into Julia Child’s cookbook has sparked a revolution in the kitchen – we’re now out of butter cheese and garlic and the boys are saying things like ‘no Mum – that actually tasted good – what did you do?’), well watered (herbal tea only tonight after my diligent “round both bits of Hagley Park” running companion pushed my AFD button) and toasty warm.

I’ve been warm all day – too much so in fact. I have two A4 crates of paper work to read and it isn’t the easiest thing to do that while sitting in front of a logburner, gazing into it, wishing for just that one tiny change that would make life so much nicer. I’ve managed to stop day dreaming long enough to have finished reading my council agenda for Thursday, have my diary up to date (it is the bane of my life that thing) and tomorrow is organised.

I’m going out to CTV in the morning to shoot a trailer for Susan Sells. In case I haven’t explained – I’m going to be working at the station as a volunteer, reprising my old marketing show. It screens for the first time on May 9. At this stage I’m not entirely sure how the time management is going to go, but I will be well backstopped with other volunteers, and I will be making the point of taking time off so I can grab a few nights away here and there as well as keep my council work up to date. That’s going to matter I think. Important to make time for friends and family, the people you love. At the end of it all, that’s all that life is about.

The trailer we are shooting tomorrow is currently unwritten. Hair and makeup will be BYO. Wardrobe – ditto. Set – don’t have one yet. Lights and cameras are unconfirmed. So it should be absolutely brilliant, proper telly.

It’s going to be hard filming it. I’ll be doing it with a lump in my throat. The whole show’s going to be a hard ask for the first little while, because I know every time I look at that camera I’ll be looking straight into the eyes of family and friends who will be looking at a space their loved one used to occupy. I know from the time I spend in the CTV family group on Facebook that there is no debate about it being right to do this. We’re in it together, and that makes it not quite so awful, but there’s a really horrid knot in my stomach that only time is going to take away.

Perhaps tomorrow’s lunch will help. I’m being taken to a nice restaurant and it will do me the world of good. After that, I’ve somehow managed to get myself onto a governance group for IPENZ (they’ll see through me as an Arts grad soon enough – I think tomorrow’s teleconference could be a oncer) and then to coffee with a tweep. I’m loving Twitter. Today’s high spots have included having one of my “we’re open for business” messages retweeted by @CollChris in Thailand, who has nearly 135,000 followers. Thanks for that Chris, you’re a scholar and a gentleman, and that’s the power of social media, right there.

It was social media that connected me with @ImogenHeap. If I play my cards right, my stupidity will be corrected tomorrow and Cinderella may yet end up getting to go to the ball. Tim Hill was right – I should have made a point of buying my own ticket before I squeed to the world that she was coming to town. Online sales – none left. Sigh. Where’s my fairy godmother when I need her? (Also that Karma fairy – could use a bit of pixie dust from you anytime soon please – you know what for.) So a little piece of tomorrow remains a mystery, as it always should.

I have planned ahead a little though. I’ve organised my TedX tickets for May 21. That doesn’t alter the fact I have neglected yet again to pay my bills (groan, tomorrow’s job), I’ve yet to do my tax return, haven’t lodged my latest EQC claim or done my contents or rung IAG about my driveway, and my laundry is stone faced and unamused in the bedroom. The dishes are however done, this evening not by my hand. I love you, my boys.

Chris and Nick have spent the day (again) burning through the bandwith. For those of you reading this in a few years time, bandwith is a term you won’t understand anymore. It refers to the volume of stuff you can easily upload and download on the internet. Yes – that truly is a constraint here in 2011 – we do really have issues with sharing the load on our fibres. (Most of the issues arise from the ability of the major players to charge like wounded bulls for the privilege – but as you know there in future space, those issues are long gone).

Throughout, we’ve had shakes and jiggles today and I must say, as much as I love my Zorro, she doesn’t anchor down the other half of the bed in a decent jolt in a way that is really adequate. Burying your face in a cat is a fairly unsatisfactory sort of thing to do at the best of times, particularly when they have been sleeping. I might try not doing that tonight. Don’t think I have enough concealer to hide the consequences from the unforgiving lights of a television studio.

And tomorrow, I will need to squeeze in another run, perhaps before breakfast. I can feel those hot cross buns and contentment meals now sitting a little too firmly around my tummy. A bit like my gorgeous puppy, I have a tiny touch of a winter coat. As it’s only autumn, this is perhaps not the best idea. Mind you, a bit of extra insulation won’t do any of us any harm this year. That’s what Pepper’s trying to tell us, isn’t it darling?

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