Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rugby World Cup Slight Cough

Bridge of Remembrance Fence
Rugby fever has hit the country and we in Christchurch have only managed a slight cough. We were watching the opening celebrations for the Rugby World Cup in Auckland and the mayor, Len Brown asked the crowd to cheer for Christchurch and they all did, very enthusiastically and I shed a tear.
It hit my heart, just how big this situation is. This is a party our city was to be part of. I care little these days for rugby, but the city would have been full of life. We were to have English and Argentinian supporters here for the first game. The atmosphere would have been great.
Instead I watch much of our city centre slowly being pulled down. Every time I drive past it, I see people standing at the fences looking in.
I think the rest of the country understands this was a big tragedy but I am not sure, in Christchurch, all of us quite get the scale yet. We are too busy dealing with the practicalities of it in our daily lives to sit back and take the big picture in. But despite the tragic big picture, all over, the city lives and works on - we are in the middle of an Arts Festival with a wonderful series of events. This is not a dead city at all.
When I hear support and sympathy from outside, the reality of just how big a recovery we have to make, starts to dawn. The officials are talking of a fifteen year strategy to rebuild the city. I love the new central city plan but I will be fifty three years old before it is complete. Lucy will be twenty one. If we stay here long term, her complete childhood will be in a city in transition and rebuild. I have to pause, - because I never added up the years before and it makes me very sad.
Yes, we are still going on about the quakes here more than the rugby, because it dominates our world. At least by talking about it, we keep moving on and it is easier to bear together.

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5 Favourite Sights Seen

  • 1996 Watching tropical lightning turn night to day, outside a little wooden church in a small village in Sabah.
  • 2004 Flying down the Rainbow Valley at 8000ft in a cessna on a clear blue day.
  • 2003 Seeing and hearing Michael Schmacher rolling out of the pit garage in his Ferrari in Hungary.
  • 2009 Chancing upon 100 or more dolphins just off the Kaikoura Coast swimming around, jumping out of the water, doing somersaults and generally having fun.
  • 2006 Finding a pool at the bottom of a waterfall in the bush at Kaikoura that was full of playing baby seals.