One year ago today, the people of Christchurch thought we’d had a disaster, but we had no idea how much worse it was going to get as the year progressed. Unbelievable really that it’s been a year – it seems like it was only yesterday, yet in another way it also seems like we’ve been living with this “new normal” forever (and just to ram home the point, there was another aftershock half an hour ago – only 4.4, but it was a loud one).
There was some sort of official commemoration involving shining lights at the sky or something (seems like a pretty pointless exercise to me), but MrPloppy and I marked the day by going into town and having a walk around part of the cordon. There were a lot of other people doing the same thing too.
They’ve opened up a few more streets than last time I was in town, so we were able to walk past the Provincial Chambers. That was quite horrible to see – I knew it was badly damaged, but to see the extent of the damage was a bit of a shock, as I’m sure it will be to those of you who we took through it on the convention release walk – that beautiful stone chamber is no more.
Another part of Christchurch that will be familiar to convention goers, now looking very unfamiliar:
That’s the bottom end of Cashel Mall, where Cafe Bleu and Last Train to India used to be, where we shared some memorable pre- and post-convention meals, as well as The Bog, where we ended up one night listening to Irish music. All of them gone now, as are most of the buildings in the mall.
I of course marked the occasion by releasing a few books. I had some earthquake-themed books I haven’t wanted to release until now because it seemed a bit insensitive, but a year on (and six-ish months from February) it feels like enough time has passed. I made sure though I didn’t release them too close to the parts of the red zone where people died.