We’re down in Alexandra, and feeling much better after a good night’s sleep and a relaxing day. Thanks everyone for your kind thoughts and wishes – it really does help enormously to know that people are thinking of you.
I saw several flags flying at half mast around town today, and it was strangely affecting.
George is coping ok with the upheaval. We’ve got his food and water and litter tray set up in the bedroom we’re using, and he’s quickly established that as his home base, and runs back there when his explorations of the rest of the house get too scary. He didn’t think much of the journey down here – he sat on MrPloppy’s lap the whole way, and miaowed loudly whenever the car went over a bump. And he really really didn’t like having to go back into his carrier to be transferred from the car to the house!
I’m guessing you’ve all seen the news coverage of what’s happening in Christchurch. So many deaths and horrific injuries, and so many people still trapped. I’ve heard (either directly or indirectly) from all my close friends and most of my workmates now, so know they’re ok, but I also know the chances are, in a city of only half a million, that all of us will end up knowing someone who is a victim. And probably everyone in our tiny country will know someone who’s lost someone – already I’ve heard that the owners of a shop near my brother’s have lost their son.
It’s still hard to get my head around the fact that what I’m seeing on TV is Christchurch. It may not be the city I was born in, but it’s the place I’ve lived longer than anywhere else in my nomadic life, and it definitely feels like home now. How could something like this happen to my town? Not only to be losing precious old buildings like we did in September, but for people to be dying under them. I keep thinking that the pictures on TV are from some foreign city, but then I recognise the buildings, and can work out exactly where the camera person must be standing to shoot the film – it’s all so familiar and yet so unreal.
I do feel a bit guilty having come down here, like I’m somehow letting down everyone who doesn’t have the chance to leave, by not staying put and sticking it out with them, but it really was the most sensible thing to do. We know from our experience in September how tough the first week is, with little sleep, restricted water supplies, not being able to flush the toilet or have a shower, and shortages in the supermarkets. By leaving we’re not only reducing the strain on the city’s services, but also giving ourselves time to rest and recover a bit of calm so when we do go back we’ll be more ready to maybe help out in some way.
I really will write a full account of what Tuesday was like, but not today.