Sunday, April 3, 2011

Now you see it, now you don't

There's a new game of hide & seek going on in Shakeytown these days... it's when you try and find where your local businesses are now trading from. It can be a hit & miss process that relies on phone calls, news items and advertisements to pin down new locations for old suppliers of goods and services. Take hubby's mechanic for example, he used to be just down the road...
Not any more! He's now operating out of a warehouse a few k's and a couple of suburbs over from his former location... but like many C-city residents we want to support our local firms and keep on giving them our business where possible. Last week hubby and I travelled in convoy over to the mechanic's new premises so the Beamer could get the attention it needed. I was grateful to be on my own during the 10minute journey because there was one stretch of road that made me go "Ohhhhhhhhhhhh" and "Awwwwwwww" many times in just a short distance.

This little section of Centaurus Road, from Aynsley Terrace up to the sharp bend on the top of the rise, contains many grand old houses (and some expensive new ones) that I've gazed at admiringly for years. Now many of these stately homes are in a very sorry state, with EQC red stickers, danger/warning tape and gaping holes where roofs and walls used to be. After dropping hubby back at the mechanic's the next day, I stopped on my way home to record another changing part of post-quake Christchurch.
This beautiful old mansion on the corner has been hit quite badly... this neighbourhood is reasonably close to the epicentre of Feb 22's quake.
I'm not sure that the scale of the devastation can be properly transmitted through pictures... seeing it in person, the damage to the houses on this street is both breath-taking and gut-wrenching.
The next house along Centaurus Road fared even worse... this is not the kind of 'indoor-outdoor flow' the owners would have planned or wanted.

I saw an older couple standing together on the driveway, watching the digger about to start work on demolishing what was probably their family home until recently... the house they raised children in, had many Christmas dinners and other family events in... now just another statistic in post-quake Chch. I didn't want to intrude on what must be a horrible time for them so I moved on up the street, knowing only too well that one day soon it would be my turn to watch the demolition of my former home.

Across the road, on the corner of Glenelg Spur, stood this house - also bearing many earthquake scars.

With any luck, this one being a more modern construction than the downhill houses, the damage may be dramatic but cosmetic. It's always hard to tell from the outside, or from pictures, and that is all most of us will ever see until the wreckers or renovators move in.

Evidence of the violent nature of February's shake can be seen in the road surface just in front of the orange brick house...
The owners of another house on the downhill side had obviously started remedying the damage done in September's quake... I have a feeling there will be more demolition than renovation done on the houses on this side of the street. I haven't snapped all of them but there are obvious signs of major damage on most of the formerly grand family homes...
This last house always seemed to be in a state of permanent renovation... but I'm not sure the massive displacement in the lower concrete block wall is fixable. Another possible addition to the growing tally of soon-to-be demolished homes.
I'm glad I obeyed the urge to stop and snap that day because as I was walking back downhill towards my car, a startlingly loud noise and a large cloud of dust signalled that demolition had begun. Arms around each other, the couple in the driveway watched silently as their home was torn down... a man in a digger finishing what Mother Nature and the earthquake had started.
When it's my turn, I'm having a party. Tomorrow marks 7 months since September's quake munted our little blue house... the house that our young family grew up in, that we were (constantly) renovating, and the venue for some pretty legendary parties over the years. So it seems only fitting to send her off in the same way we welcomed her into our lives... with friends, music and a damn good party. At least this time no-one can fall down the stairs...

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