About Us

My photo
In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

A lot of work still needed to get Christchurch back on it's feet.

Soooo windy overnight. At one stage we had had enough of being buffeted and rocked 'cos the wind pounding the side of the van became most uncomfortable.  Ian decided to turn the van to face into the wind. Helped a little but still had trouble falling asleep. Worried about 'limbs' falling (branches to us) as we were parked almost under a tree. 

Different day altogether when we finally awoke. The wind had eased and for once the morning felt positively warm. Destination, Christchurch and only 3 days left it was difficult to know what to do first. The Gondola was a must do and a trip on the 'Hop on Hop off' tram was also on the cards. First we visited the information centre. Good job too as a discount for the two excursions saved us $10 each. The tickets for both attractions could be used on any day, so we decided to do the Christchurch tram bit first. 

Her Majesty the Queen rode on this tram during her visit in the 90's. I apparently sat in her seat!

It was on this tour we got to see just how much damage Christchurch had suffered. Now, I am not talking about the 2016 November quake which hit Kaikoura.  Christchurch felt ground movement during that quake, more of a gentle sway then being thrown about. No, it was the biggy that hit in 2011 measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale and killing 185 people. According to the New Zealand Herald news, 80 percent of the city was damaged and the building work is still ongoing today. A staggering 1300 buildings within The Garden City's four avenues had been damaged and have since been either fully or partially demolished. Controversy over the Cathedral is ongoing as well as the 'Church' wants to completely demolish it and rebuild from scratch, whereas the townsfolk are very much against it. Consequently 6 years later the building is still as was when the quake hit. (Made safe of course)

 Even after 6 years only a minimal amount of building work has started. A lot of the problem is funding. The tram operator spoke at length of how he wished the city would be rebuilt. "We need the tourists back to make money," said he. Of course, there are things to do and see, the gondola with the stunning views over the Canterbury Plain which is at Heathcote Valley which is a 20-minute drive from Christchurch, the art museum and the new 'Cardboard church' built to replace the Cathedral as place of worship. Expected lifespan of that one is around 30 years. Then there is the Hagley park and Botanical gardens and also Re: START a shopping mall that is an attraction in itself as shipping containers were brought in during October 2011 for the people to reopen the shops. The main shopping area in New Regents Street was also damaged. Prior to the 2010-2011 earthquakes shops and restaurants occupied the street, but luckily only moderate damage occurred and alterations have been made over time to some of the interiors, shopfronts and the tiling.

New Regents Street

Container Mall (Love the ATM bottom right)

Metal statues at Container Mall

Botanical Gardens

Giant Redwood

Monterey Cypress

A midget amongst the Giant

Two things were going for us on todays visit to Hagley Gardens. The Noodle Market was serving  oriental food, Thai, Chinese, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese etc and all purchased at a very reasonable price. All we had to do was decide what to go for. Very difficult because it all looked so good. We choose Thai in the end. The Lazy Sunday all female band was also playing in the park. All very entertaining.

Look who turned up Gandalf

Yep thats Ian.
Top left, War Memorial. Top right...Another River Avon!
The Gondola for us tomorrow and then....well not sure. Maybe a good day for the beach. Will be the first time since arriving in NZ.


Jenny said...

That's not Gandalf - he is the famous Christchurch Wizard!!

So pleased you are enjoying your New Zealand trip and having lots of adventures.

Jennie said...

My brother in law and his family moved to Christchurch just 3 months before the 2011 earthquake. Not the best planning in the world. Have you experienced any after shocks whilst you have been there? Our Sister in Law was over towards the end of 2015 and had some terrifying tales to tell. I have enjoyed all your travels, Irene and will miss them when they end. Jennie nb Tentatrice

Marilyn McDonald said...

Hi Irene and Ian,

We haven't been to Christchurch since well before the 2011 earthquakes, so haven't seen the damage firsthand. (I fly into and out of the city a couple of times a fortnight on my way to/from Hokitika, but I either don't leave the airport or I head straight out on the way to the West Coast.) Your photos are a very good record. What shocked me was the overgrown nature of what used to be a bustling city square in front of the Cathedral! I haven't seen any shots like yours at all in the media - doesn't mean they haven't been shown, just that I haven't seen them.

By the way, the man in the Gandalph costume is, I think, Christchurch's Wizard - he was a fixture in Cathedral Square, and at local events - world famous, he is. I think Gandalph's costuming may have been modelled on his ...

Don't worry about tree limbs falling on you - Christchurch has a regular battering north easterly that come across the plains - if the trees haven't fallen yet, they aren't going to. Those winds sometimes make flying back from Hokitika a bit spooky for wusses like me who don't like bumps ...

Big hugs to you both,

M&D xxoo

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Since we have been on South Island 2 quakes that we know about has occurred. Neither one had been felt by us. The last one was near Amberley, Canterbury measuring 4.9 at a depth of 18km. Pretty certain we will leave New Zealand without mishap. But a snippet of information, there has been 218 quakes in the past 365 days. Frightening isn't it!

Blog Archive