Saturday, April 30, 2011

Reopenings and Reunions

The landscape is constantly changing here in Shakeytown, with the visual and economic aftershocks of February's quake. Just last week for example, I was buying my lunch at one of the area's landmark food joints - Sydenham Bakery.
They had only recently re-opened and, with access to the front of the building denied, they were trading from a temporary counter at the back of the bakery.

With the demolition of several buildings, Colombo Street through Sydenham has now been re-opened... but it looks a little different. This is the view across the road from the Sydenham Bakery, the site of the former Churchill's bar and a few small retailers.

Other people's reopening plans are (like our house claim!) not progressing as fast as they would like... the frustration of these local cafe owners evident in their sign:

Another shop that used to operate just around the corner from the Good Life Cafe is Whare, run by my friend Adele and her husband, Andrew. They also had an outlet in the CBD so have suffered a double whammy with one shop still behind the cordon and the other deemed unsafe. Today, Whare went home and opened up in a converted single garage at Adele & Andrew's house in Beckenham.

It was a glorious, sunny late-Autumn day here in C-city today... perfect for a meandering afternoon chat about life in general and the challenges of running a business in a post-quake town.
You can see why one of the rules is 'no swinging cats in the garage' - there simply isn't room! There were so many pretty things that it really was hard to reign in that spending impulse. Must. wait. for. new. house.
So many funky kitchen & household goodies!! Soooo hard to resist! You can visit Whare in their pretty little garage location at 18 Birdwood Ave on Saturdays from 10am til 5pm... or check out their website or  facebook page.

Last night hubby and I attended a re-opening of an altogether noiser kind... the rebirth of the Wunderbar in Lyttelton and the Harbour Union album release party. In a peverse way, the September earthquake was beneficial to this quirky watering hole, as subsequent strengthening saw the building in a much better state to stand up to February's more violent shake. With some care and attention, this local favourite was brought back to life with the perfect shindig, packed with people who were ready to celebrate.
Looking in from the Wunderbar balcony, early evening

After purchasing a few copies of the Harbour Union CD we nipped out to put them in the car, then ducked into The Loons to catch up with the crew. It was meant to be a quick visit but we ended up staying for a drink and some food too. While we were there, we ran into an old theatre friend of ours who is also a firefighter, and a member of the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team. Having spent a month or so after the quake working to check and clear buildings in this broken city, he was now enjoying some well-earned time off. It was great to catch up with him, we shared some stories and wished each other well for the rough ride ahead.

Then it was back up to the Wundy, where Adam's earlier prediction proved to be utterly true...
Us: When are you guys (The Eastern) performing?
Adam: Later...

Later was right - it was after midnight before The Eastern took to the stage but there was no way we were going home before that. Due to the general disruption to everyone's life these last few months, it's been a while since we saw a proper full-on, energetic show from these guys and we were so, so ready to boogie down. I saw many familiar faces from many different parts of my life, all having a great time celebrating the return of a local institution and the release of this fabulous tribute album. We left at around 1.30am and the band was still playing... welcome back and rock on, Wundy.
I've been listening to this album today... it's not a party album, but it's definitely a celebration - of life, of friendship and of community. Made with love & hope, using borrowed gear while sitting in a lounge, this album captures the spirit of a place that refuses to give up.

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