Monday, February 28, 2011

Getting back to normal

 My degree course is in Visual Arts, and one of my classes involves drawing organic objects.  I have never had any training in art, so this stuff is pretty challenging for me.  Here's a rose stem I drew on Thursday.  I missed most of the Tuesday class due to the earthquake - I couldn't concentrate after I received the text from Sophie saying she was stuck in her building, so went home.  Now I need to get more drawings done to catch up.
I went shopping on Saturday morning - restorative shopping, that is, as opposed to shopping for necessities.  I bought some yarn I wouldn't normally buy (it's acrylic) but I really liked the colours, and it's boucle so has plenty of texture and only a simple stitch is needed. I've stopped watching the TV footage of the quake as I find it too stressful  Instead, I watched DVDs over the weekend, and knitted this stocking stitch scarf.  I'll just knit to the end of the ball which should make a good-sized scarf, and then make a hat and gloves or mittens from the 2nd ball.  Like many handcrafts, knitting is soothing so always makes me feel better.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My City of Ruins - Christchurch earthquake 22.02.2011

 Just a couple of scenes from the devastating 6.3 magnitude aftershock yesterday - so shallow that it caused major damage and deaths that the original 7.1 quake did not. How cruel that this shock should come 5 1/2 months later, just as the city was getting back on its feet.

Christchurch is not my home town, but I lived there for 5 years as a child, and started school there at Halswell Primary, which was quite badly damaged in the original quake.  I've also lived just outside the city boundaries for 6 of the past 8 years, firstly in Lyttelton (close to the epicentre of this shock, and Christchurch's port) and later in Rangiora, about 25km north-west.

What was most distressing for me about yesterday's quake was the text I received from my daughter Sophie telling me that a big quake had struck and that she was stuck in her building.  As she works on the 15th floor of a highrise in the centre of the city, I spent a tense few hours waiting to hear about her safety.  Communication via text was patchy.  Fortunately, she and workmates were rescued from the 10th floor by the fire brigade, as stairwells below this level had collapsed.  They were drenched by fire hoses but unhurt. 

Unfortunately, not everyone was so lucky.  The death toll this morning stands at 38 identified bodies, but it could be as high as 300.  People are still trapped in collapsed buildings.

Julie Rose, who took over the Pike River Quilt Project after I left the district, has suggested that surplus quilts be distributed to earthquake victims who have lost their homes and belongings.  I have agreed with her plan.  I hope those who have contributed blocks or quilts will be happy with this.  I feel it is appropriate.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Journey to the ends of the earth

 Well, one end of New Zealand anyway.  Today I made a foray to Bluff, the southernmost town in New Zealand.  I visited Stirling Point, where State Highway 1, the main road that goes the full length of New Zealand (except for Cook Strait, naturally) starts or ends, depending on your viewpoint.

You can read more about Bluff here.  It was settled by Europeans in 1824, making it one of the country's oldest permanent towns.
 The coastline here is quite rugged, with lots of rocks and kelp.
 A key feature of Stirling Point is a new chain link sculpture which illustrates the mythological link between the canoe of Maui, Te Waka a Maui (the South Island) and its anchor Te Punga o Te Waka a Maui (Stewart Island).  An identical chain link is attached to Stewart Island.
Bluff is about 30km from Invercargill.  The surrounding landscape is all flat, apart from Bluff Hill which is an extinct volcano, 265 metres (870 ft) high.  There is logging on the hill, which makes this view over the town and port look particularly unattractive. 
 This is the start of the spiral walkway leading up to the lookout.
Looking back at the peninsula and towards Invercargill.  That's my little red VW Golf in the parking lot. The road up here is steep, 2nd gear to come up and go down.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Normal service will resume shortly

After 2 hectic days and nearly 9 hours of travelling, I'm now in Invercargill, trying to get used to a space that's about 1/3 the size of my Rangiora home.  The climate is fresh here, with cool winds and rain featuring more often than Canterbury but at least I will be spared the mid-30s temperatures that I find so trying. 

 Here's a couple of Pike River quilts that arrived before I left.  The purple one was made by Jean McKinstry, an old friend from Lake Tarawera.
 And this is another heart quilt kindly compiled and quilted by Kiwiquilter Jan Main.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Essential Supplies

I am packing.  My house, that is, not firearms.  There are boxes all over the place, and the house is in disarray.  I have to sort as I pack, because I'm not only going to a smaller place but also it will only be temporary (I hope) until my house sells and I can buy a house in Invercargill.  This means that many things will stay in boxes in the garage, so it's important to work out what will be essential supplies for the next 6 months. 

As I sorted through the storage area under the stairs (which has taken me much of today -ahem!  No prizes for guessing it was rather a mess), I found a box containing yarn that I had completely forgotten about.  At the time I packed this (in 2008), I was not really knitting with this sort of yarn, though I was clearly entranced enough to buy them. 

The red/purple yarn and the blue/turquoise one on the left of the photo are silk noil.  The blue/green/purple skein at the rear is rayon boucle. I'm not sure what the balls at the front are, they just look like fine wool, but I recall that I bought them to knit with the boucle in some way, as they have the same colours.

Naturally, they shall go into a box labelled "Essential Supplies".